Ethanol Bribe Lands Official in Jail, Seriously

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The cleantech industry will see some of its first jail time as a former state official has been sentenced to 40 months of prison for accepting a $200,000 bridbe to expedite permitting of a proposed ethanol plant in North Carolina, the AP reports. Boyce Hudson admitted to accepting a bribe from executives of Agri-Ethanol Products LLC to help speed the air quality permitting process for the planned $220 million plant.

Hudson was caught in a sting operation by an FBI agent posing as an investor in Agri-Ethanol. Hudson later met with Agri-Ethanol executives, including CEO David Brady, where a deal was reached, prosecutors said. The FBI was tipped off to Hudson’s felonious ways when Agri-Ethanol executives boasted to investors that they a state official helping to speed the permitting process. One of the investors then alerted the authorities.

Agri-Ethanol was founded in 2004 by Jim Perry, a former Wake Forest mayor, and Dave Brady, a Raleigh businessman. The company issued a press release in mid-2006 saying it had raised enough financing for up to 20 ethanol plants on the East Coast, but authorities say the money never materialized and no land for the proposed plants was bought. Prosecutors say the company wanted to rush the permit to help it leverage further investment. The company’s web site and phone have both been shut down.

Hudson cooperated with authorities and even wore a wire and had his phone calls monitored in what authorities say is an ongoing investigation into Agri-Ethanol. However, no other indictments have been made, which inclined the judge not to reduce Hudson’s time in the clink for his cleantech dirty business.

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Craig Rubens

@Sanjong Thapa:

The Wake County, North Carolina Board of Elections confirmed that Boyce Allen Hudson is a registered Democrat there.

The North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources tells us that Hudson was appointed to his post in 1983 by Democratic Governor Jim Hunt. The North Carolina News & Observer reports that Hudson donated $300 to the campaign of Democratic State Senator A. B. Swindell, where his wife, Maureen Hudson, works as an assistant in Swindell’s senate office.

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