Former Davenport 3rd Ward Alderman Bill Boom was sentenced Wednesday to two years of probation for lying to a federal grand jury during a crystal methamphetamine investigation in 2016.
He also must serve 80 hours of community service and pay a $5,000 fine, Chief District Judge John Jarvey ordered during a sentencing hearing that lasted about 15 minutes in U.S. District Court, Davenport.
"I am remorseful for my actions and are accountable to them," Boom said during a short statement to the court.
He added that he will do "everything in my power" not to appear in this court again.
Boom, 66, pleaded guilty April 18 in U.S. District Court, Davenport, to one count of false declaration before a grand jury, a felony.
He resigned from the City Council the same day.
Boom's plea came more than a year after Scott County Sheriff's deputies searched his home in the 400 block of West 7th Street as part of an investigation into the sale of crystal methamphetamine by Gage A. Wenthe, 27, who was living with Boom.
Deputies seized the drug, also known as "ice," marijuana, suspected marijuana wax, an unknown white powder, drug paraphernalia, a digital scale, packaging materials and two rifles, according to investigators.
Wenthe, when questioned by deputies, admitted to being a middle man for the sale of methamphetamine and marijuana to several people in the area, according to investigators.
Boom was representing the City Council at a broadband conference in Austin, Texas, at the time of the search. He told the Quad-City Times in an interview at the time that he had no knowledge about the drugs found in his home.
He was not charged with any drug offenses.
A second man, Joseph Allen Terry, 40, was charged later that day after a search of his Davenport home turned up approximately 63 grams of "ice" methamphetamine, a digital scale, $1,375 cash and 37 hydrocodone pills. Packaging materials and drug paraphernalia also were seized.
Terry and Wenthe were both charged in Scott County District Court. Wenthe pleaded guilty to possession with intent to deliver methamphetamine and possession with intent to deliver marijuana in Scott County District Court and was given a deferred sentence and placed into the Mental Health Court program.
Wenthe violated the terms of the program and was ordered in January to serve the original sentence of up to 10 years in prison.
The state charges were dropped against Terry in July 2016 when he was charged in federal court.
He pleaded guilty in January to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and will be sentenced Sept. 21.
According to the plea agreement, Boom testified before a federal grand jury on July 19, 2016, in connection with the investigation.
He was advised by an assistant U.S. attorney that he could face criminal penalties if he failed to testify truthfully or misled the grand jury, according to the plea agreement.
During the grand jury proceedings, Boom was asked if he was aware that Wenthe used methamphetamine prior to the search of his home on April 6, 2016. He said no, according to the plea agreement.
"There was a time when I found a syringe in his room, but he told me that that was from one of his friends that had diabetes," Boom told the grand jury, according to the plea agreement. "But every time that I suspected something, I would give him holy hell."
He also testified that he had never given money to Terry but said that he had given money to Wenthe or his relatives.
Boom admitted in the plea agreement that he knowingly made a false statement and that he knew that Wenthe used methamphetamine prior to April 6, 2016. He also admitted in the plea agreement that he had given money to Terry.
These questions and answers were material to an investigation into the distribution of methamphetamine in southeastern Iowa, according to prosecutors.
Boom's attorney, Murray Bell, argued Wednesday for a sentence of one year of probation, citing his client's lack of a criminal history, his service to the community, and his acceptance of responsibility for his actions.
Bell said that although dishonesty in the justice system can cause problems, Boom's actions did not interfere in prosecutors' ability to obtain an indictment against Terry.
"This one wasn't as bad as it could have been," he said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Will Ripley said that in this case, Boom served himself and not the community. A lengthy period of probation, he argued, would send a message to the community that truthfulness is important.
Boom told the judge that he was born into meager means and has been successful in life through hard work. He said he felt a responsibility to serve his community and had tried to help Wenthe, though he said he did not know the extent of his mental afflictions.
Boom told the Times in April 2016 that Wenthe had lived with Boom for six years and that he had been taking care of the young man's health care, including making sure he stayed on a regimen of prescription drugs. He also helped Wenthe pass his GED exam and find health insurance.
"This is not an easy thing to deal with," Boom told the Times. "It's been a real struggle. I really empathize with parents who have children with these types of afflictions. I've learned it first hand."
Boom declined to speak to reporters after Wednesday’s sentencing hearing.
Bell told reporters that Boom would have preferred one year of probation but that "he's happy that he didn't have to go to prison.”