One word was noticeably absent Thursday when Pete Theodocion argued why his client should receive a probated sentence: “bribe.”
“Proposal,” “concept” and “discussion” were used instead to describe David Fry’s interaction with two Augusta Commission members Aug. 21, 2009.
Fry’s offer to give Commissioners Alvin Mason and Corey Johnson a 3 percent cut on profits from a management company if they approved a parking deck for the downtown Trade, Event and Exhibition Center was only an idea, Theodocion said.
Assistant District Attorney Adam King didn’t argue that that Fry didn’t have control over that contract, nor that money never exchanged hands. That was part of the reason the state agreed to go ahead Thursday with the Alford plea, which would acknowledge the prosecution has enough evidence for trial without admitting guilt.
King said it was more than an idea, however. If something was offered in exchange for the commissioners’ votes, “he is guilty when he makes that agreement, regardless of whether he has a dollar in his pocket,” King said.
After listening to both sides, Superior Court Judge Carl Brown said there was obviously a difference of opinion about what constituted bribery.
Officials say Fry met with the commissioners and gave them a handwritten letter that laid out the plan, which would give the commissioners a cut of profits and management positions in the company.
Johnson said Thursday he had no problem with Fry’s case going to trial. He said he remains surprised at an offer of profits from managing the parking deck connected to the TEE Center, something that he believes to be an “unethical” offer.
Staff Writer Susan McCord contributed to this article.