Two former Union City officials were sentenced in Spartanburg for conspiring to take $30, 000 in kickbacks in exchange for government contracts. Union Mayor Bruce Morgan received just under six years in federal prison, and three years supervised release. He must serve 85 percent of that time, as is the case with all federal prison time. He must also pay $7,500 to the government to help with the cost of his investigation, and must pay a $7,000 restitution. Former Zoning Administrator Jeffrey Lawson received one year behind bars and three years supervised release, and must pay similar fees and restitution. The two men pleaded guilty in September.
Steven Ramsey of WBCU Radio was in the courtroom Wednesday. He says the judge was emphatic about the wrong that the officials had done. “Judge Henry Floyd, as he was handing down the sentence, told the defendants that even though they had cooperated to the full extent with authorities, that the message had to be sent to the people of Union, that in the future, all public officials will hold to the highest public standard of conduct in office, and that if they do not, they will pay the strictest penalties handed down by the law.”
Morgan and Lawson faced up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each of the two counts. Federal agents approached Lawson after a source told them that contractors were being asked to make payments to obtain deals. Lawson agreed to wear a secret microphone. Authorities say he made two payments to Morgan in July. An official with the U.S. Attorney’s office told the judge that he expected other public corruption cases in Union County.