Former Clinton Fund-Raiser Indicted In Bribery Case
ATLANTA (AllPolitics, Dec. 4) -- The top fund-raiser in Georgia for Bill Clinton's 1992 election campaign was indicted Wednesday on charges that he took a bribe to help a Wall Street investment company gain an estimated $500 million in bond business.
Former Fulton County financial advisor Michael deVegter was accused of conspiracy and wire fraud, stemming from his alleged acceptance of a $41,936 bribe from Lazard Freres & Co. in return for his help in gaining the firm an unfair advantage in the county's bond business.
At the time, deVegter also served as vice president in the Atlanta office of Stephens Inc., a Little Rock, Ark.-based firm whose owners, in an unrelated transaction, helped arrange a $3.5 million credit line for Clinton's 1992 campaign.
Also indicted was Richard Poirier Jr., a former Lazard Freres partner. Both men deny the charges.
DeVegter was chosen as Fulton County's financial advisor in June 1992, according to the indictment, at the same time the county was deciding whether to refinance its water and sewer bonds to get a lower interest rate.
In July 1992, deVegter made a deal with Poirier and another Lazard Freres executive, James Eaton, under which he would accept the bribe money in exchange for funneling the bond business to the firm, the indictment alleges.
Lazard Freres refinanced $163.4 million in bonds for the county in November 1992. Later that year, the investment firm also refinanced $336 bonds for Grady Memorial Hopsital, where deVegter was also a financial advisor.
Last month a bribery lawsuit against deVegter was filed with the Securities Exchange Commission.
Lazard Freres has agreed to a $12 million settlement to the civil charges of defrauding the county and investors in three municipal bond sales. The U.S. attorney's office announced that no charges are planned against the investment bank.
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