Arizona lobbyist sentenced for misdemeanor

Posted: Updated:
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX (AP) -- An Arizona lobbyist targeted in an investigation into corruption at the Fiesta Bowl was sentenced to one year probation and 200 hours of community service after he pleaded guilty to an unrelated misdemeanor charge.

Gary Husk, 56, was a key figure in the Fiesta Bowl case, though he was not charged in relation to that inquiry. His firm represented the bowl from March 2000 to January 2011.

Prosecutors weren't seeking jail time under Husk's deal to plead guilty to conspiracy to make a prohibited contribution while running an illegal campaign finance scheme. But he did face up to a six-month sentence.

Husk has also agreed to pay $30,000 in restitution.

He and his firm, Husk Partners, were charged with using the company's money to reimburse staff members who made contributions to high-profile politicians, including Gov. Jan Brewer.

Husk, a former federal prosecutor, also pleaded guilty on behalf of his business to a misdemeanor charge of conspiracy to make a prohibited contribution.

He has said he feels vindicated and that he wasn't responsible for the scandal that brought down the Fiesta Bowl's former CEO, John Junker, who was fired in March 2011 for leading a conspiracy in which bowl employees were reimbursed at least $46,000 for political-campaign contributions.

Junker has pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy charge and a state charge of soliciting a fraudulent scheme and faces up to 2 1/2 years in prison combined. He is set for sentencing at a later date and has declined to comment.

Several other Fiesta Bowl employees also have pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the bowl investigations. The scandal nearly jeopardized the bowl's role as a host of college football's national championship game and its NCAA license.

Federal and state authorities had raided Husk's office as part of their criminal investigation involving the postseason college game in January 2012.

The campaign contribution reimbursements were first revealed in December 2009.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.