November 16, 2018 06:00 PM
Former Shakopee superintendent Rodney Thompson pleaded guilty Friday in Scott County to five counts of theft by swindle, 13 counts of embezzlement and one count of receiving stolen property.
The pleas came one day after he pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of corrupt solicitation of a bribe.
The charges in Scott County came after authorities alleged Thompson used his district-issued credit card to purchase 305 items for personal use including airfare and hotel stays, various electronic devices, tickets to the Grand Ole Opry, sports decor and memorabilia, alcohol flasks, jewelry and cowboy boots.
They also alleged Thompson committed fraud with his contractual adoption benefit. Over five years, a release last year claimed, the investigation revealed $73,642.26 in fraudulent purchases and reimbursements. A group of concerned parents shared their suspicions with investigators, after the school board reported a $4.5 million budget shortfall last spring and cited "human error."
According to the official complaint, Thompson's transgressions included allegedly telling the school board there would be no expense to the district for travel to Washington D.C. and New Orleans for the Urban Superintendents Academy. Thompson is reported to have claimed the costs would be covered by grant.
However, the complaint alleges he put the cost for 10 trips total on his district P-Card, charges that amounted to $13,448.71.
As part of a plea agreement, KSTP's Katherine Johnson reports he is scheduled to be sentenced on May 3 to 24 months in prison and ordered to pay $25,674 in restitution.
Staff and parents from the school district and other members of the community were on hand for his plea hearing Friday.
The federal charge came after an investigation conducted by the FBI found Thompson allegedly used his authority as superintendent to obtain services from and bill travel and sporting event tickets to a company interested in being awarded contracts with the district.
The charging document alleged Thompson demanded the company remodel the basement of his home and complete other projects totaling $44,422. And that the company spent more than $5,000 to allow Thompson to attend sporting events and stay at a luxury hotel in Nashville.
It also alleged the company was awarded contracts with a value that "substantially exceeded the amounts defendant Thompson caused Company A to spend on his behalf."
He is scheduled for sentencing on the federal charge on March 29.
Updated: November 16, 2018 06:00 PM
Created: November 16, 2018 03:14 PM
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