Former Pontiac Fire Chief Jeffrey Hawkins has been charged with bribery and racketeering by the state attorney general's Public Integrity Unit.
Attorney General Bill Schuette announced today that Hawkins would be charged with accepting bribes from a Pontiac bar owner in exchange for ignoring code violations.
The charges stem from a 2009 FBI investigation that started when the owner of Little David's Island Bar lodged a complaint against Hawkins. The bar owner alleges that Hawkins solicited a bribe from him in exchange for allowing the bar to stay open despite violations.
Hawkins allegedly accepted a $500 bribe from the bar owner in August 2009 and another $500 bribe from an undercover FBI agent in April 2010.
"Public safety officials who accept bribes and ignore their duty to protect the public are doubly dangerous," Schuette said in a statement. "To restore public integrity and protect public safety, this dangerous corruption must come to an end. We will hold corrupt officials accountable, wherever they are found."
Hawkins has been charged with two counts of accepting a bribe as a public officer and one count of conducting criminal enterprises (racketeering). Accepting a bribe is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison, a $5,000 fine or both, along with disqualification from holding public office for life. Racketeering is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, a $5,000 fine or both, along with disqualification from public office for life.