A Brookfield real estate agent was found guilty today of trying to get a $75,000 kickback from a prospective buyer of a state office building.
Larry Lupton faces up to 40 years in prison when he's sentenced June 26th. Federal Judge Lynn Adelman of Milwaukee convicted Lupton of bribery, wire fraud, and two counts of lying to an F.B.I. agent.
Prosecutors say they caught Lupton on tape, telling realtor Gabriel Silverstein he'd provide information from other bidders about the proposed sale of a $30 million building in Madison in exchange for a payment. The state later decided to keep the structure.
Lupton, who worked the UGL Equis Corporation, denied seeking a kick-back. He said he was trying to recoup fees that would be lost if the state made Equis cut its commission.
Lupton's attorney, Joseph Owens, has said the charges were politically motivated, and he'll appeal the conviction.
Owens said the case was similar to that of state official Georgia Thompson. She was convicted of arranging a state contract for the governor's campaign contributors, and later had her conviction thrown out by an appeals court. The court said the evidence was "beyond thin." But state Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said it was a case of clear corruption which would not be tolerated.