2 men in Skiatook schools bribery case plead guilty to federal charge
BY RHETT MORGAN World Staff Writer
Saturday, October 27, 2012
10/27/12 at 7:33 AM
Two men convicted of state charges in a Skiatook Public Schools bribery scandal each pleaded guilty in federal court Friday to a charge accusing them of filing false federal income tax returns and accepting and soliciting bribes.
U.S. District Judge Claire V. Eagan accepted the pleas of former Skiatook Superintendent Gary Johnson, 57, and Oklahoma City vendor Rick Enos, 60.
Prosecutors contend that from May 2004 to July 2010, Johnson and Enos conspired to "defraud the United States and to corruptly solicit, accept, give and offer things of value," according to information filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma.
Eagan ordered a presentence investigation and scheduled a Feb. 7 sentencing on each conviction, which carries a punishment of as many as five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, Assistant U.S. Attorney Trent Shores said. In determining the sentence, Shores said the federal government will take into consideration terms already meted out by the state and the fact that the crime involved a person in a position of public trust.
The plea agreement includes no guarantees on punishment.
"Just as he did in the state court case, Dr. Johnson accepts full responsibility for his conduct," Rob Nigh, Johnson's attorney, said in a phone interview following the plea. "He has been making every effort to make up for what he has done and will continue to do so."
Stan Monroe, Enos's attorney, said outside the courtroom Friday that his client was glad to put the federal court proceedings behind him. Monroe also said Enos was making state restitution payments and that he hoped that would reflect positively on him at federal sentencing.
A former vendor of custodial supplies and security equipment to the school district, Enos pleaded guilty in state court in May to offering bribes totaling $10,000 to Johnson while he was the district's superintendent. Enos was sentenced to 10 years of probation and was ordered to pay restitution of $420,606.
Johnson pleaded guilty in Tulsa County District Court to four counts of accepting cash bribes and in June was sentenced to 15 years' probation. He was ordered to pay $236,591 in restitution.
A state audit found that the school district paid Enos - through companies he manages - $570,000 more than it would have paid for custodial supplies and security equipment had it bought them directly. Tulsa County grand jury indictments unsealed in 2010 accused Johnson, who later resigned, of embezzlement and bribery in connection with that audit.
According to the federal count, Enos also operated E&E Tax Services, through which he prepared and submitted Johnson's individual federal income tax returns for certain years. In March 2009, Enos prepared Johnson's 2008 federal income tax return knowing that the cash kickbacks paid to Johnson weren't included as income on the return, the charges allege.
Johnson accepted and Enos gave things of value, including cash, tickets to college football games, and the costs of travel, food, entertainment and lodging, documents show.
To conceal their agreement, the pair communicated using code words, records say.
As early as 2007 and on a recurring basis, the two communicated using the code word "cabinet" to refer to corrupt cash payments of $100 and the code words "large cabinet" to refer to corrupt cash payments of $1,000, court documents state.
While in a suite at an OU football game in the fall of 2008, Enos clandestinely gave Johnson a cash payment hidden in a football program, the charges claim.
In any one-year period, Skiatook Public Schools received benefits in excess of $10,000 under federal programs involving grants and other forms of federal assistance, documents show.
Original Print Headline: Men in bribery case plead guilty to federal charge
Rhett Morgan 918-581-8395
Former Skiatook Superintendent Gary Johnson (left) and Rick Enos: "Just as he did in the state court case, Dr. Johnson accepts full responsibility for his conduct," said Johnson's attorney Rob Nigh. Enos was glad Friday to put the federal court proceedings behind him, said his attorney Stan Monroe.