HAMMOND, Indiana — A Hammond city councilman pleaded guilty to a federal bribery charge Monday for taking $10,500 in return for steering city tree-trimming contracts to one service.
Councilman Al Salinas, 52, also pleaded guilty to one count of not filing a federal tax return for the 2006 tax year, The Times of Munster and the Merrillville Post-Tribune reported.
Salinas faces up to 10 years in prison on the bribery count and up to one year on the tax count. Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 13.
Salinas also resigned his council seat Monday. Indiana law bars a convicted felon from holding public office.
"None of us are immune from our share of shortcomings and human frailties," he said in a statement announcing his resignation. "Still I offer no excuse for my conduct, and I fully accept my responsibility for the improper decisions and mistakes I have made."
Salinas explained during a change-of-plea hearing that another city official introduced him to David Johnson, owner of Dave's Tree Service. He said Johnson handed him money that he considered a bribe, and he gave $310,000 in city contracts to Johnson.
Johnson pleaded guilty in October to a federal charge of paying more than $10,000 in bribes.
Mayor Thomas McDermott said Salinas broke the law.
"I'm not happy as mayor, and I know the other council members are hanging their heads," McDermott said.