Letter may shed light on TEE Center bribery offer

If the motive remains a mystery in an alleged bribery attempt involving parking deck profits and the downtown trade, exhibit and event center, a handwritten document attorney David W. Fry purportedly gave two city commissioners may shed some light.

 

According to an attorney who read it, the author of the illicit offer wanted a cut for himself.


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Mr. Fry, 57, faces two counts of bribery, accused of offering Mayor Pro Tem Alvin Mason and Commissioner Corey Johnson a contract to operate a parking deck if they would change their votes to approve the TEE center. Commissioner and city officials have said the two were offered posts in a management company, yet to be established.

Mr. Fry was arrested at his Indian Cove Road home Tuesday and is currently free on $11,400 bond.

At a news conference Tuesday announcing the charges, Sheriff Ronnie Strength said Mr. Mason and Mr. Johnson met with Mr. Fry the evening of Aug. 21 – a Friday – then went to see Attorney Freddie Sanders the following Monday. Mr. Sanders then contacted the sheriff’s office and arranged for the two to make a formal report, she sheriff said.

Mr. Sanders told The Chronicle today that Mr. Mason had been trying to reach him all weekend. He said he had represented Mr. Mason in other matters in the past.

At his office, both commissioners were upset over their meeting with Mr. Fry, Mr. Sanders said.

“They were just livid at how wrong this was,” he said.

They showed him a handwritten letter that laid out the whole plan, even floating a possible name for the company and laying out percentages for Mr. Mason, Mr. Johnson and the writer, Mr. Sanders said. He said he couldn’t recall the percentage amounts nor the proposed company name.

“When I first looked at it, it was incredible,” Mr. Sanders said. “In all my years, I’ve never seen anything like that.”

Mr. Sanders said he made an appointment with the sheriff, accompanied the two when they went to the department and hasn’t been involved since.

Sheriff Strength wouldn’t comment on the case today. Asked about a motive, he said, “I don’t know. I really don’t. Maybe in the course of things, we’ll find out.”

The sheriff said Tuesday that the investigation is ongoing, that his office has obtained documents and recordings supporting the charges and that more arrests are possible.

A message left at Mr. Fry’s home today has not been immediately returned.

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