Henry Mathis case expands - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Henry Mathis case expands

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Albany-- Another former Albany businesswoman, who's company subcontracted to pick-up trash for the City, is accusing Henry Lee Mathis of extorting money from her.

But the woman, Dora Wilson, was recently sentenced to federal prison for drug trafficking and that raises questions about her credibility.

These latest accusations of extortion came out in a court document from federal prosecutors asking the Judge to allow them to bring forth the information during Henry Mathis' trial. The documents say Mathis told Southwest Carriers owner Dora Wilson he would help her get work with the city if she paid him thousands of dollars.

A document filed in federal court yesterday says Henry Mathis starting taking money from Dora Wilson and her associates at Southwest Carriers in 2003. Documents state that Mathis once told her he needed $600 for campaign ads and that he had the votes on the city commission to insure she would get a subcontract to collect garbage for the city.

The documents claim Mathis later told Wilson that he could help her get more business outside the city for a consulting fee. She paid the money insuring Mathis "exercise favorable political influence and her behalf, with corresponding fear that if she did not pay, he would exercise negative political influence to her detriment."

"Mr. Mathis denies any wrong doing at all," says Mathis' attorney, Rick Collum. He says Wilson is just trying to get herself out of more trouble.

At the beginning of March, Wilson and her son were sentenced to federal prison for trafficking drugs. "If she gives assistance to the federal government, she can get a reduction in her sentence. I question her motives," Collum said.

The court records also state in January of this year, Mathis asked Wilson for $1,000 to pay he's lawyers fees. "That's unfounded completely," Collum said. "The court has appointed me to defend him. He didn't have to pay attorney's fees at all."

Collum says it would be easy to discredit Wilson's motives since she never mention the extortion accusation before now - just weeks before Mathis's trial.

He plans to stop the accusations from ever being brought up in Mathis trial. "Considering the source of the information, I don't think that it will hurt Mr. Mathis either way. We'll just have to wait and see."

Federal Judge Louis Sands hasn't made a decision yet about whether to allow the new accusations to be brought up in Mathis' trial which is just over a week away. Jury selection in Mathis' case is set to begin April 4th.

posted by dave.miller@walb.com