Education A Washington Roundup

Former Ed. Dept. Employee Pleads Guilty in Gratuity Case

By Michelle R. Davis — August 29, 2006 1 min read

A former Department of Education program specialist could go to prison for accepting $10,000 to steer a contract to a company to install school computers in California and Oregon.

Ramon Rodriguez, 76, of Alexandria, Va., pleaded guilty July 26 to a federal charge of offering, giving, soliciting, or receiving a gratuity, according to the Department of Justice. Under the terms of his plea agreement in the U.S. District Court in Washington, Mr. Rodriguez could get two years in prison at his sentencing, scheduled for Oct. 20.

According to the Justice Department, Mr. Rodriguez, who worked in the Education Department’s office of special education and rehabilitative services, admitted to accepting the cash in two installments between January and May 2005 from the president of the company that received the computer-installation contract. The name of the company was not released.

Mr. Rodriguez admitted that the company’s president had told him that he would be able to pay Mr. Rodriguez for services he had provided over the past two years if the company received the contract with a federal grantee in California, according to the prosecutor’s office.

Mr. Rodriguez also told investigators that the company’s president had hired Mr. Rodriguez’s girlfriend as a research director, the office said.

A version of this article appeared in the August 30, 2006 edition of Education Week