In 1997, Rick Hendrick was convicted for his role in a bribery and kickback scheme involving some of his auto dealerships and American Honda Motor Company. He was fined $250,000, sentenced to a year of home confinement, and three years’ probation.
If a story in Monday’s Raleigh News & Observer is to be believed, it would seem that Mr. Hendrick, currently celebrating a Jimmie Johnson win and 25 years in NASCAR, might not quite have learned the lesson that, you know, bribery isn’t acceptable. Or maybe it’s just that he’s remembering the pardon President Clinton threw his way before he left the White House in 2000.
At the very least, the allegations that Hendrick showered gifts on Governor Mike Easley and his wife raise some concerns about Hendrick’s apparent, continued reliance on questionable dealings to gain an advantage for his businesses.
I eagerly await follow-up stories by FOX and ESPN … or not.