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UP determines alleged SG bribe not a crime

University Police (UP) determined that no crime was committed by those allegedly involved in a bribe that took place during the Student Government (SG) presidential and vice presidential elections.

The bribe concerned $7,000 allegedly offered to then running mates and newly inaugurated student body president and vice president Chris Griffin and Alec Waid, who claimed to deny the bribe.

According to documentation from UP, Officer Anthony Grucza met former SG Sen. Muhammad Imam and USF student Ola Mohamad on March 14 about a complaint of “racial trouble.”

“We just want to get to the bottom of this,” Imam said. “We want to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

The only evidence for these claims were screenshots of text messages and testimony from the accused at Judiciary Ethics Committee (JEC) hearings conducted by SG. Allegedly, the bribe was to keep Muslim students out of appointed positions in SG after the two were elected.

According to Imam and UP records, Imam sent Officer Hector Torres an email containing screenshots of messages allegedly between Griffin and Sen. Danish Hasan.

A report from Corporal Howard Owens stated Griffin was contacted by UP to confirm the validity of statements made at that point into UP’s handling of the complaint. Griffin was also said to have complied to writing a statement.

UP was also looking to confirm whether or not those involved were public officials at the time of the alleged crime.

In a report from Officer Brian Pearson from April 1, UP attempted to contact Griffin, Waid and others in SG with no response. UP did, however, receive information regarding the public official status of those allegedly involved.

“The persons accused of receiving the bribe were not and are not public servants,” Pearson's report stated. “Information obtained to date document the offer to Waid and Griffin occurred before they had completed their paperwork to enter into the USF student body President elections.”

In Pearson’s next report, he stated Griffin was interviewed by UP on April 11 in his SG office. In this interview, Griffin said he and Waid were approached with the bribe but refused it in a meeting he said took place in December of 2015.

The same report mentioned the deadline for the presidential and vice presidential ticket was Feb. 5, and they would not, upon election, became public officials on April 1.

UP Public Information Officer Renna Reddick said no elements of a crime existed in the case. The last report concerning the complaint confirms this decision by UP.

“The circumstances here have been brought to other internal USF processes for review of University Rule violation,” Pearson’s report stated. “There is no information supporting further criminal investigation.”