Ex Energy Dept. official pleads guilty to bribe-taking

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - The state Justice Department says a former Oregon Department of Energy official has pleaded guilty to accepting over $291,000 in kickbacks in connection with the sale of state energy tax credits.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports ( ) that Joe Colello, who managed tax credit sales for the department, pleaded guilty Tuesday to racketeering, receiving bribes, aggravated theft, tax evasion and official misconduct charges.

Colello had told the newspaper he was under investigation for expediting the sale of tax credits for a private energy consultant.

Court documents say Colello accepted cashier's checks on 52 occasions from a Seattle-based energy consultant, Martin Shain, who is under indictment by the state for alleged forgery to secure state tax credits.

Shain's lawyer, Jim McDermott, says Shain denies being part of any racketeering enterprise and denies bribing any government officials.

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