After six sentencing delays, former Houston mayoral aide William Paul Thomas was sentenced Monday morning to one year and one day in federal prison on bribery charges, according to the Houston FBI.
In 2020, Thomas accepted a $13,000 bribe from a business owner in exchange for altering the classification of a bar to a restaurant so it could remain open during COVID. Immediately after pleading guilty in 2022, he resigned his position as council liaison. At the time, then-Mayor Sylvester Turner expressed disappointment and said that the charges were not representative of the person he knew.
Thomas first started at city hall under Mayor Annise Parker, but has long held positions for a variety of Houston-area elected officials.
He had an active and visible role in the Turner administration, regularly seen with the mayor and serving as the liaison between the mayor’s office and city council members.
The sentencing comes months after a report from a local outlet that Thomas received a Porsche from an airport vendor in exchange for getting fines and fees dismissed. The same vendor also allegedly offered $500,000 to a charity of the mayor’s choice in exchange for Thomas’ assistance on a land deal, but that never materialized.
Thomas also faces three years of supervised release after his federal sentence and a $5,000 fine.