Michael Hockett Jr., the former owner of Tidewater Auto Auction, was sentenced on Nov. 19, 2001, to five months in prison, home detention, and a fine for attempting to blackmail a Suffolk (VA) city councilman during a rezoning request, according to a report on AutoRemarketing.com. He will report to prison after Christmas. Hockett will also serve 150 days of home detention and pay a $20,000 fine. He pled guilty July 18 in a federal court to charges of conspiracy to commit extortion, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Federal court judge Jerome Friedman said he was granting leniency because of sympathetic letters and testimony from a preacher, two lawyers, and a retired Marine general. Hockett, who at the time was the principal owner of Tidewater Auto Auction, had sought a re-zoning request from the Suffolk City Council so that he could move the auction from its current Chesapeake address. When the council rejected the $13 million deal, Hockett admitted trying to blackmail Councilman E. Dana Dickens III in an attempt to get him to change his vote.

Originally posted on Fleet Financials