Testimony tries to link Eversole to developer

March 15, 2011 5:02:15 PM PDT
The political corruption trial of Harris County Commissioner Jerry Eversole continued Tuesday. He's accused of exchanging bribes for political favors.

For three days, the jury in Eversole's bribery trial heard intricate details about county contracts. Today, the jury finally heard from a witness about concerns over how those contracts were won.

Real estate developer Mike Surface went from county employee to private contractor. Evidence shows Surface wined and dined county employees after he started his own company -- the very same employees who would approve his bids.

Tuesday, one of Surface's business partners admitted on the stand those expenses from the late 1990s and early 2000s "concerned" him. Bill Gravenor told the jury he was concerned if the business "was getting a benefit from (the expenses) and... about whether it was legal or not."

Gravenor told the jury he didn't know if Eversole was getting meals or tickets or even a $63,000 check from Surface. He also told jurors the company's lawyer approved the tickets.

The testimony is nonetheless important because for the first time it links Surface and Eversole to legal concerns.

That $63,000 check was used to pay off a loan on Eversole's Heights home. But Eversole's lawyer says the check doesn't prove any law was broken.

Reporter Ted Oberg is following the Jerry Eversole corruption trial and will have live reports this week.