Same Game, New Name 

Bruce Thompson is latest local politician to be indicted

Former county commissioner Bruce Thompson was indicted by a federal grand jury this week in connection with a city schools construction contract.

Under the indictment, Thompson, 48, faces one count of extortion and three counts of mail fraud. According to the document, Thompson received more than $260,000 from H&M Construction Company, Inc., to purportedly influence a contract to build three city schools.

H&M joined with minority contractor Salton-Fox Construction to contract with the Memphis City Schools system.

"[Thompson] would falsely represent to representatives of the joint venture described above, that by reason of his position as a Shelby County Commissioner, he had the ability to control the votes of members of the Memphis City School Board," read the indictment.

The indictment also said that Thompson, who served on the commission from 2002 to 2006, told representatives of the joint venture that he had made commitments to give campaign contributions to members of the city school board and that without those payments the venture would not get the contract for the three schools.

In 2004, Thompson gave Kirby Salton a check for $7,000 purportedly for campaign contributions to school board members.

"What can I say? What can I possibly say? Same game, different name," FBI special agent in charge My Harrrison said. "Those persons who feel they are entitled — whether you are North, South, East, or West — we're here and we're watching."

Last month, the grand jury subpoenaed Memphis City School documents relating to building projects begun between 2000 and 2004.

"We will continually, aggressively prosecute these matters," said U.S. attorney David Kustoff. "The grand jury investigation is ongoing."

Thompson did not run for re-election in 2006.

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