Kevin White Found Guilty

A federal jury steeped in hours of secret recordings and talk of dirty money has convicted Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin White of seven public corruption charges.

White faced 10 counts, including bribery, mail and wire fraud, conspiracy and lying to an FBI agent, dating from late 2009 to early this year.

The 12 jurors deliberated about 3-1/2 hours Tuesday and most of Wednesday morning.

U.S. Attorney Robert O’Neill told them White had abused his position, promising special assistance to people who gave him money.

Defense Attorney Grady Irvin Jr. had characterized White as a public servant helping people navigate bureaucracy, and his father, Gerald, as a “master manipulator” who cashed in on his son’s position.

Jurors deliberated with hundreds of hours of surreptitious recordings between White, a confidential informer, an undercover FBI agent and two alleged co-conspirators, including White’s late father.

The other co-conspirator, tow-truck operator George Hondrellis, is facing a separate trial, and Gerald White died shortly before his son’s arrest in June.

Jurors had transcripts of most of the secret recordings, a copy of the 27-page indictment and a video that shows White accepting and counting 50 $100 bills.

Prosecutors accused White and his late father of accepting $8,000 and a used Lincoln Navigator from a combination of Hondrellis, the undercover agent and Peter Rockefeller, another tow truck operator who was the informer.

In return, they said Kevin White promised to help them secure wrecker operating permits fronted by straw-men owners, as well as spots on lucrative lists police use when they need a car towed.

St. Petersburg Times