Former Ho-Chunk legislator gets prison for bribery scheme

MADISON, Wis. — A former member of the Ho-Chunk Nation government will spend time in federal prison for accepting bribes for contracts awarded by the tribe.

Clarence Pettibone, 53 of Black River Falls, was sentenced Wednesday in federal court in Madison to five years in prison.

Pettibone pleaded guilty in April to the bribery scheme, which ran from 2002 to 2009.

Prosecutors say the scheme generated $3 million paid by clients from funds they received from the Ho-Chunk Nation.

In one instance, Pettibone received an 1989 Pontiac Firebird, valued at $8,000, in exchange for his support of a $250,000 contribution to Trinity Financial Group for a housing study.

Co-defendants Timothy Whiteagle and Deborah Atherton, who represented Trinity Financial Group, are scheduled to stand trial July 23.