City commissioner indicted by federal grand jury - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

City commissioner indicted by federal grand jury

City Commissioner Henry Mathis City Commissioner Henry Mathis

January 11, 2005

Albany-- Henry Mathis is accused of extorting money from a night club associate. He was summoned to appear in front of a Magistrate Judge tomorrow to have a bond and trial date set.

According to the indictment, problems for Henry Mathis started in April of 2003, when he was the Mayor Pro Tem. Vivian Sampson was fighting the denial of her alcohol consumption license for the Old Roadmasters Motorcycle ClubNorth Blaylock Street.

Under city ordinance, bars must be at least 1,000 feet away from each other and there was already a bar nearby. Sampson asked for that law to be changed. After some discussion, Mathis motioned to repeal and change the ordinance and other commissioners passed the changes.

The indictment states that from July and December of that same year, Mathis extorted the night clubs' treasurer, Joseph McDonald, taking money from him and threatening the livelihood of the club. The indictment also states Mathis then lied to GBI agents about the extortion.

U.S. Attorney Max Wood says Mathis wasn't arrested, but summoned to appear in front of a Magistrate Judge Wednesday, when most likely his bond will be set and a trial date scheduled. "Right now, all I am at liberty to discuss with you is the fact that we'll be having an initial hearing on the case tomorrow at 3:00PM at the federal magistrates court," said. "At that time, certain preliminary matters will be dealt with."

Mathis didn't return our phone calls today, so we stopped by his house. As we pulled up, a man who looked like Mathis shut the front door. When we tried to knock, no one answered.

Under state law, the governor can suspend Mathis from office until the trial. In the next 14 days, the Governor will choose two other city commissioners from around the state to sit on a panel with the Attorney General to determine if Mathis should be suspended during the trial.

posted at 4:20PM by dave.miller@walb.com