LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A former state lawmaker extorted money from race tracks and gave and accepted bribes to influence racing legislation in recent years, according to federal indictments returned Tuesday.
Four charges returned by grand juries in Louisville and Covington allege a continuing conspiracy by former Rep. Bill McBee to sell his influence as chairman of the House Business Organizations and Professions Committee and as a lobbyist after his defeat for reelection in 1990.
McBee, a 59-year-old Burlington Democrat, will plead guilty to three charges of extortion or conspiracy and one count of interstate travel in aid of racketeering, according to his attorney, William E. Johnson of Frankfort.
The charges carry a maximum penalty of 65 years in prison and a fine of $1 million. Johnson said a plea agreement has been reached with prosecutors, but declined to reveal details.
Arraignment on the charges is scheduled for Thursday in U.S. District Court in Frankfort. McBee became the fifth former state official to be indicted as the result of a federal investigation of state government corruption.
Two of the charges involve Riverside Downs, the Henderson harness track that has been a focus in the four previous indictments. McBee is charged with bribing as many as three House members to influence them on behalf of Riverside.