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      Ex-Con hired by City of Columbia pleads guilty to accepting kickbacks

      Damon McDuffie took $10,000 in kickbacks from a contractor from 2006 through 2010.

      COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- A Columbia Parks and Recreation Department employee has pleaded guilty to taking kickbacks from contractors working on city projects.

      A Columbia newspaper reported Friday that 35-year-old Damon McDuffie admitted in court that he took $10,000 in kickbacks from a contractor from 2006 through 2010 for projects including the refurbishment of a bridge at Columbia's Riverfront Park.

      Prosecutors say McDuffie has agreed to repay the city $10,000.

      McDuffie's criminal record includes 13 fraudulent check charges. Police say he was on probation for his last conviction when he was hired by the city in 2003. City officials say they knew about McDuffie's past when they hired him.

      McDuffie will be sentenced later and has agreed to a 15-month sentence. McDuffie's attorney would not discuss the case.

      (Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)