Ex-councilman barred from gambling after prison

Published 2:41 pm Friday, September 16, 2011

A federal judge has barred former New Orleans City Councilman Oliver Thomas from gambling following his release from prison after he served more than two years for a bribery conviction.

Acting on a probation officer’s request, U.S. District Judge Sarah Vance agreed Wednesday to amend the terms of Thomas’ supervised release to prohibit him from entering any gaming establishments or engaging in any legal or illegal gambling.

The probation officer, Michael Fulham, said in a court filing that Thomas agreed to the change because his gambling habits contributed to his downfall. Fulham didn’t specify why the restriction has been added more than a year after Thomas’ release from prison.

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Thomas, once considered a mayoral contender, pleaded guilty in 2007 to taking $15,000 in bribes from Stan “Pampy” Barre, a businessman who wanted to keep a parking lot contract.

Barre was sentenced to five years in prison for his role in a scheme to skim money from a City Hall energy management contract during the administration of former Mayor Marc Morial.

Vance sentenced Thomas to 37 months in prison and three years of supervised release, but he was released last year after his sentence was reduced for good behavior.

Thomas hasn’t kept a low profile since his release from prison, performing in an autobiographical play and portraying himself on the most recent season of HBO’s “Treme.”