HCC Trustee Sentenced To Nearly Six Years In Prison

Chris Oliver took bribes in exchange for influencing contract awards

Former HCC trustee Chris Oliver (second, left) stands at an intersection with his lawyer after being sentenced to nearly six years in prison on January 8, 2018.

Former Houston Community College board member Chris Oliver will serve 70 months in federal prison, U.S. District Judge Vanessa D. Gilmore decided Monday. 

Contractors allegedly paid Oliver a total of more than $250,000 influence contract awards between 2009 and 2016. Oliver plead guilty to accepting a $12,000 bribe from an HCC contractor, a bribe for which the Federal Bureau of Investigation provided funding. Oliver will have to return that $12,000 to the FBI.

During the sentencing, Gilmore asked if accepting bribes was “standard” at HCC, saying the college appeared to be a “cesspool.” When asked if Oliver’s actions were the only corruption that has gone on at the college, HCC trustee Dave Wilson responded, “Hell no.” 

Wilson said he expects Oliver’s case to be “just the beginning” of action against corruption at HCC. 

In a statement, Houston Community College says it has strengthened its rules regarding contract awards. The statement claims the college has hired outside consultants to review the rules and the school’s procurement history.