A former Ho-Chunk tribal lawmaker has pleaded guilty to taking part in a large bribery scheme.
53-year-old Clarence Pettibone of Black River Falls could face up to 10 years in prison when he’s sentenced on July 11th in federal court in Madison. Pettibone admitted taking a car and other items in exchange for his vote in 2006 to award a contract for a tribal housing study. A Kentucky management firm got the contract for a quarter-million dollars. Prosecutors said it was part of a scheme in which lobbyist Tim Whiteagle got three-million-dollars from companies wanting to do business with the Ho-Chunk tribe. Pettibone chaired the tribe’s Finance Committee. And Whiteagle and others allegedly gave him cash and numerous gifts for his votes on trial contracts from 2002-through-’09. Authorities said Whiteagle’s girl-friend, Deborah Atherton of Black River Falls, also received money from the deals. Whiteagle and Atherton are both scheduled to go on trial in federal court July 23rd.