Gwinnett Developer Plea Hearing Scheduled for Oct. 1
Mark Gary is charged with bribing former Gwinnett Commissioner Shirley Lasseter.
A federal plea hearing has been scheduled for Gwinnett developer Mark Gary on corruption charges at 2 p.m. Monday, Oct. 1, before U.S. District Judge Charles Pannell Jr. in the Richard B. Russell Federal Building in Atlanta.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Atlanta has charged Gary with bribing former Gwinnett District 1 Commissioner Shirley Lasseter to obtain commission approval in 2009 of a controversial $4 million waste transfer station in Norcross which he had a personal stake. Gary was implicated in an investigation of corruption in Gwinnett County government.
Gary's company developed the Noble Village residential complex on Satellite Boulevard in Suwanee. Also, his company has another such development under way in Peachtree Corners. These developments are not part of the bribery charges.
Gary also is a former Gwinnett planning official -- appointed to the position by Lasseter.
After Lasseter voted in favor of the permit for the 2009 project, Gary allegedly gave her son John Fanning a bribe consisting of $30,000 worth of chips at an out-of-state casino. Fanning reportedly later shared the bribe with Lasseter. Although the Gwinnett County Commission approved the project, it was never built.
A Duluth resident, Gary, 39, was arraigned Sept. 5 before U.S. Magistrate Court Judge Justin Anand on the federal bribery charge, waived indictment, and was released on bond.
If Gary pleads guilty, Judge Pannell would set a date for Gary's sentencing hearing.
Gary faces a possible maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Lasseter, 64, of Duluth has been sentenced to 33 months in federal prison for accepting bribes. She pleaded guilty May 31 to accepting $36,500 in bribes during 2011 from an FBI agent posing as a South Florida real estate developer to support a proposed development in her district.
Lasseter, who represented Duluth, Suwanee and Sugar Hill, has resigned from her District 1 commission seat. She was not charged in the Gary case.
Fanning, 34, of Dacula, was sentenced to 57 months in prison without parole Sept. 18 for bribery and drug trafficking. Carl “Skip" Cain, 66, of Flowery Branch also received a sentence of 57 months without parole Sept. 18 on the same charges. Fanning and Cain had pleaded guilty May 31 to participating in the scheme to sell Lasseter’s vote and to trafficking drugs.