Savant pleads guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery

Savant pleads guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery

HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Former Harrison County supervisor Kim Savant pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery Tuesday afternoon, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and up to three years of supervised release. The plea came just hours after Savant resigned from office, and appeared in federal court to learn the ramifications of "the mistake I have made and for which I take responsibility."

The federal grand jury information alleges that while Savant served on the Harrison County Utility Authority, he "voted for HCUA contracts and payments that benefited others known and unknown to the United States Attorney in exchange for receiving cash from other known and unknown to the United States Attorney." The court document says between 2011 and 2013, Savant "received monthly cash payments from Company A to secure Savant's support and vote on the HCUA board." According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Savant received $1,500 a month in bribe money.

Prosecutors also allege Savant "voted for multiple payments from the HCUA to Company A relating to emergency services and other services that fell outside Company A's existing contract."

Savant's sentencing is set for March 26, 2015. He arrived at the federal courthouse in Gulfport Tuesday with his family and an attorney by his side just moments after he resigned as Harrison County supervisor. 

In that resignation letter, Savant wrote, "Due to current circumstances it is in the best interests of the people of District Two and all of Harrison County that I resign." He ends that letter by saying, "I will truly miss my public service and I hope that during my seven years as a Supervisor, my public service will not be forsaken for my recent error in judgment which I profoundly regret."

Read Kim Savant's full resignation letter here:

Savant's resignation comes in the midst of a federal investigation WLOX News reported last week into the Harrison County Utility Authority. Savant, in his supervisor role, served as secretary for the Harrison County Utility Authority.

Tuesday morning former Harrison County Utility Authority executive director Kamran Pahlavan was indicted by a federal grand jury. Pahlavan is accused of bribery and wire fraud.

Read the full indictment against Kamran Pahlavan here:

Harrison County Utility Authority Board Member and Supervisor Marlin Ladner confirmed to WLOX News a federal investigation is underway. Ladner said he learned of the probe during a utility meeting a couple of months ago.

Attorney Jim Simpson said federal investigators subpoenaed records from the authority about 18 months ago. Simpson said the federal probe does not involve the new sewer plants that were built after Hurricane Katrina but it is looking into utility operations in general.

WLOX News has reached out to the US Attorney's Office about the federal investigation into the Harrison County Utility Authority but was told "no comment."

Kim Savant's resignation from the Harrison County Board of Supervisors is effective immediately. Savant has served as the District two supervisor since 2008. His current term was until December 31, 2015. Before becoming a supervisor, Savant served 12 years on the Gulfport City Council.

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