David Dodd 2:33 a.m., May 19
At 1:30 this afternoon Henry Amigable, a defendant in the Sweetwater corruption case who pleaded innocent in Janauary to 18 counts of felony and misdemeanor charges, changed his plea to guilty of one misdemeanor.
Amigable was a program manager in charge of $644 million of Sweetwater Proposition O construction funds and subsequently of $389 million of Southwestern College's Proposition R monies.
Judge Michael T Smyth dismissed all other charges. Amigable pleaded guilty to offering gifts or things of value to Sweetwater officials for favorable contract consideration. The Educational Code violation brings with it the possibility of six months in jail and $1000 fine.
Amigable signed a cooperation agreement with the district attorney's office and has pledged to continue to work with law enforcement.
Regarding his conduct of offering gifts, meals, and tickets in exchange for preferential consideration Amigable stated in the press conference after the proceedings, "That was how I was trained by my company." His company at Sweetwater was Gilbane Construction; his company at Southwestern was Seville Construction Services.
Dan Greene, Amigable's attorney, said his client did not bribe anyone, rather, "public officials were demanding these things."
Greene also stated that part of his client's mandate was to entertain and to make relationships. He said Amigable was not aware of the code he had violated.
Today's proceedings were specific to Sweetwater Union High School District. The district attorney's office is continuing to investigate corruption at Southwestern College.
Green acknowledged there may be more forthcoming for his client. On March 20 district attorney agents searched the homes of two Southwestern board members.
Paul Pfingst, who is representing former Sweetwater superintendent Jesus Gandara, spoke to the assembled media as well. Pfingst said of Amigable's plea change, "He fingered the corporation who employed him."
Attorney Dan Greene and Contractor Henry Amigable