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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

HOLDING A CRIMINAL TERM
GRAND JURY 97-1, SWORN ON JANUARY 31, 1997


UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

 

VS.

 

ALPHONSO MICHAEL ESPY,

  Defendant.

 

INDICTMENT

Criminal No. 97-0335

Violations:

18 U.S.C. 1343, 1346
(Wire Fraud)
[COUNTS 1 - 7]

18 U.S.C. 1341, 1346
(Mail Fraud)
[COUNT 8 - 12]

18 U.S.C. 201(c)(1)(B)
(Gratuity to Public Official)
[COUNTS 13 - 25]

21 U.S.C. 622
(Meat Inspection Act)
[COUNTS 26 - 28]

18 U.S.C. 1952
(Travel Act)
[COUNTS 29 - 33]

18 U.S.C. 1001
(False Statement)
[COUNTS 34, 36 - 39]

18 U.S.C. 1512(b)(2)(A) &
(B); 1512(b)(3)
(Tampering With a Witness)
[COUNT 35]

18 U.S.C. 2
(Causing an Act to be Done)
[COUNTS 1 - 28, 34, 35, 37 & 38]


 

THE GRAND JURY CHARGES:

BACKGROUND TO ALL COUNTS

At all times relevant to this Indictment:

  1. The United States Department of Agriculture ("USDA") was a department of the United States Government. The mission of the USDA was, among other things, to improve and promote agricultural development and production in the United States.
  2. From on or about January 22, 1993 until on or about December 31, 1994, defendant ALPHONSO MICHAEL ESPY ("ESPY") was the Secretary of Agriculture. Defendant ESPY was selected by the President-Elect to be Secretary of Agriculture on or about December 24, 1992.
  3. The Secretary of Agriculture was the senior official in charge of the USDA, a member of the President's Cabinet, and ninth in line to succeed the President of the United States should it be necessary.

The Duty of Honest Services

  1. Public service is a public trust. As the Secretary of Agriculture, an employee and official of the United States and the Executive Branch, the honest services owed by defendant ESPY to the United States, its citizens, the officials of the Executive Office of the President, and the USDA included the duties to: (A) neither solicit nor receive gratuities in violation of federal law; (B) perform his job as a Cabinet official free from deceit, fraud, dishonesty and self-enrichment; (C) obey the criminal and civil laws of the United States and regulations promulgated by the authority of the President and Executive Branch agencies in the performance of his official duties; and (D) disclose to the government and the public material information as required by law and regulation.
  2. Beginning on or about January 5, 1993 and continuing thereafter through on or about February 16, 1995, in the District of Columbia and elsewhere, defendant ESPY and others known and unknown to the Grand Jury did devise, and intend to devise, a scheme and artifice: (1) to defraud and to deprive the United States, its citizens, the officials of the Executive Office of the President, and the USDA of their right to honest services; and (2) to obtain money and property by means of false and fraudulent pretenses, representations and promises.
  3. The rights of the United States, its citizens, the officials of the Executive Office of the President, and the USDA contravened by defendant ESPY's scheme and artifice included, but were not limited to:
    1. the right to defendant ESPY's conscientious, loyal, faithful, disinterested services, actions, and performance of his official duties, free from dishonesty, deceit, official misconduct, willful omission, and fraud;
    2. the right to have defendant ESPY conduct his official duties in accordance with the relevant laws and regulations, free from his receipt of gifts and gratuities from persons, firms and entities that were: (i) seeking official action from the USDA; (ii) doing business with the USDA; (iii) conducting activities regulated by the USDA; (iv) having interests that may be substantially affected by the performance of the official duties of the Secretary of Agriculture and the USDA; and (v) having interests that may be substantially affected by the non-performance of the official duties of the Secretary of Agriculture and the USDA (collectively hereinafter sometimes referred to as "prohibited sources") (all as is more fully set forth within the text of 5 U.S.C. 7353);
    3. the right to not have the Secretary of Agriculture use government assets and expend public funds for his personal benefit;
    4. the right to accurate and complete personal financial information disclosed by defendant ESPY as was required by law and regulation, including, but not limited to, Executive Branch Public Financial Disclosure Report, Standard Form 278, so that the public, and responsible officials, agencies, and departments of the federal government would have sufficient information concerning defendant ESPY's interests and activities to make an informed judgment with respect to defendant ESPY's compliance with applicable conflict-of-interest laws and standards of conduct regulations; and
    5. the right to truthful and complete responses from defendant ESPY when inquiries were made by representatives of the President, the USDA Office of Inspector General ("USDA Inspector General") and the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI"), concerning whether defendant ESPY received or solicited gifts, gratuities, or other things of value.

The Solicitation and Receipt of Gratuities

  1. From on or about January 5, 1993, after the President-Elect announced that defendant ESPY was selected for appointment as Secretary of Agriculture, and continuing through his term as Secretary of Agriculture, defendant ESPY sought, solicited, received, and accepted gifts, gratuities and things of value for himself and for his girlfriends and family members, from corporations and individuals seeking official action by, doing or seeking to do business with, and conducting activities regulated by the USDA.
  2. The prohibited sources from whom defendant ESPY solicited and received gifts, gratuities and things of value, directly or indirectly, and who had interests that could be substantially affected by performance or nonperformance of defendant ESPY's official duties included, among others:
    1. Sun-Diamond Growers of California ("Sun-Diamond") and its officers and agents. Sun-Diamond is a California agricultural cooperative corporation comprised of five member cooperatives -- Diamond Walnut, Sun-Maid Growers of California, Sunsweet Growers, Inc., Valley Fig Growers, and Hazelnut Growers of Oregon -- with approximate annual revenues of $648 million. Sun-Diamond did business with, was seeking official action by, and was regulated by the USDA on a variety of matters;
    2. Richard Douglas ("Douglas"), the Senior Vice President for Corporate Affairs for Sun-Diamond. Douglas was in charge of and responsible for (1) communicating with the Secretary of Agriculture and other decision-makers at the USDA; and (2) directing Sun-Diamond's federal government lobbying activities and representatives. Douglas was seeking official action by the USDA on behalf of Sun-Diamond, its member cooperatives and others;
    3. Tyson Foods, Inc. ("Tyson Foods") and its officers and agents. Tyson Foods is a corporation with approximately $5 billion in annual revenues and which does business from facilities in Arkansas, 17 other states, and in three foreign countries. Tyson Foods processes, produces and markets poultry and red meat and conducts activities regulated by, and did business with, the USDA;
    4. Jack L. Williams ("Williams"), a registered lobbyist for Tyson Foods in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere. Williams was seeking official action by the USDA on behalf of various organizations, including Tyson Foods, whose activities were regulated by the USDA;
    5. Oglethorpe Power Corporation ("Oglethorpe Power") and its officers and agents, which included but was not limited to, Smith Barney, Inc. ("Smith Barney"), an investment, securities banking and brokerage firm. Oglethorpe Power is a Georgia electrical power cooperative serving approximately 2.3 million customers, with approximate annual revenues of over $1 billion. Oglethorpe Power was seeking official action by the USDA on various matters, including the refinancing of over $3 billion in Rural Electrification Association ("REA") bonds;
    6. EOP Group, Inc. ("EOP") and its officers and agents. EOP is a Washington, D.C. political and business consulting company with approximate annual revenues of $2 million. EOP was seeking official action by the USDA on behalf of various organizations, including Oglethorpe Power, whose activities were regulated by the USDA;
    7. Quaker Oats Company ("Quaker Oats") and its officers and agents. Quaker Oats, headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, is a corporation with approximately $5.7 billion in annual revenues, does business in the areas of grain-based cereals and snacks, and has a food division that processes red meat products. Quaker Oats' business is regulated by the USDA; and
    8. Fernbank, Inc. ("Fernbank") and its officers and agents. Fernbank is a private non-profit organization which runs the Fernbank Museum of Natural History in Atlanta, Georgia, and was doing business with the USDA by virtue of a $71,000 Federal Financial Assistance Grant for the 1994 Smokey Bear Exhibit.
  3. The gifts, gratuities, and things of value solicited and received, directly and indirectly, by defendant ESPY for himself, his family and his girlfriends from the specified prohibited sources, which totaled in value approximately $35,458, were all for the benefit of defendant ESPY and included, but were not limited to, those listed hereinafter:
    a. SUN-DIAMOND/DOUGLAS:
    DATE* THINGS OF VALUE VALUE**
    (1) 3/14/93 Luggage $ 2,427
    (2) 5/13/93 Cash to defendant ESPY's girlfriend $ 3,200
    (3) 9/11/93 Limousines in New York $ 246
    (4) 9/11-12/93 U.S. Open Tennis Tickets $ 4,200
    (5) 11/10/93 Tickets to Washington Bullets-NewYork Knicks
    National Basketball Association
    ("NBA") Game
    $ 222
    (6) 1/17/94 Waterford Crystal Bowl $ 173
    (7) 4/1/94 Contributions to defendant
    ESPY's brother
    $10,000
    TOTAL VALUE: $20,468

    * All dates in this Indictment are "on or about."

    ** All values in this Indictment are approximate.

    b. TYSON FOODS/WILLIAMS:
    DATE* THINGS OF VALUE VALUE
    Inauguration
    (1) 1/18/93 Four seats at Presidential
    Inaugural Dinner
    $ 6,000
    Russellville Birthday Party
    (2) 5/14/93 Round trip airfare from Washington
    National Airport to Russellville,
    AR for defendant ESPY's girlfriend
    $ 830
    (3) 5/16/93 Lodging, meals and entertainment
    at the Tyson Management
    Development Center ("TMDC")
    for defendant ESPY and his
    girlfriend
    $ 1,726
    Scholarship
    (4) 1/4/94 Check to defendant
    ESPY's girlfriend
    $ 1,200
    Dallas Trip
    (5) 1/15/94 Airfare from Washington National
    Airport to Dallas, TX for defendant
    ESPY's girlfriend
    $ 1,009
    (6) 1/15-16/94 Limousines and parking charges in
    Dallas, TX
    $ 968
    (7) 1/16/94 Skybox Tickets to Dallas
    Cowboys-Green Bay Packers
    National Football League ("NFL")
    Playoff Game
    $ 110
    TOTAL VALUE: $11,843
    c. OGLETHORPE POWER/EOP/SMITH BARNEY:
    DATE* THINGS OF VALUE VALUE
    1/30/94 Super Bowl Ticket $ 2,200
    d. EOP:
    DATE* THINGS OF VALUE VALUE
    5/1/93 Employment for defendant
    ESPY's girlfriend
    Not assigned
    e. QUAKER OATS:
    DATE* THINGS OF VALUE VALUE
    6/18/93 Tickets to Chicago Bulls-Phoenix
    Suns NBA Championship Game
    $ 90
    f. FERNBANK:
    DATE* THINGS OF VALUE VALUE
    1/30/94 Super Bowl Tickets $ 857

    The Concealment of Material Information and Use of False Pretenses

  4. To ensure confidence in the integrity of the Federal Government, the Ethics in Government Act (the "Act") imposed upon government officials, including defendant ESPY, a duty to fully and accurately disclose publicly their personal financial interests. This duty included, but was not limited to, the duty to accurately prepare and file yearly, and at other times, a Public Financial Disclosure Report, SF-278, that required disclosure of, among other things, "all gifts aggregating $250 or more in value . . . from any one source." A purpose for such reports is to ensure that the public and responsible officials, agencies, and departments of the federal government are given sufficient information by reporting individuals concerning the nature of their outside interests and activities so that an informed judgment can be made with respect to compliance with applicable conflict-of-interest laws and standards of conduct regulations. In contravention of this duty, and to conceal his receipt of things of value, gifts and gratuities solicited and received in violation of law, defendant ESPY:
    1. on or about June 13, 1994, prepared, signed and submitted a Public Financial Disclosure Report, SF-278, for the 1993 calendar year which failed to disclose the receipt of approximately $9,561 in gratuities, gifts and things of value received by defendant ESPY from Tyson Foods, Williams, Sun-Diamond, Douglas and others; and
    2. on or about February 16, 1995, prepared, signed and submitted a Public Financial Disclosure Report, SF-278, for the 1994 calendar year which failed to disclose the receipt of approximately $3,191 in gratuities, gifts and things of value received by defendant ESPY from Tyson Foods, Williams, Oglethorpe Power, EOP, Smith Barney and Fernbank.
  5. To further conceal his acceptance of gratuities, gifts, and things of value from prohibited sources, defendant ESPY made false representations and pretenses regarding his travel and the necessity of his attendance in his official capacity at certain functions including, but not limited to:
    1. on or about May 14, 1993, for the purpose of justifying his travel to and presence at the TMDC in Russellville, Arkansas at the 40th birthday party of a Tyson Foods' official, defendant ESPY accepted an invitation to speak in his official capacity to the Arkansas Poultry Federation, while in truth defendant ESPY was in Russellville to attend the weekend birthday celebration as a guest of Tyson Foods;
    2. on or about January 14, 1994, for the purpose of justifying his presence in Dallas, Texas, defendant ESPY arranged to meet with a local agent of the USDA Inspector General to discuss official USDA business, while in truth the reason defendant ESPY was in Dallas, Texas was to attend a playoff football game as a guest of Tyson Foods; and
    3. on or after January 21, 1994, defendant ESPY was advised that there were no official USDA events scheduled for the Super Bowl in Atlanta. Thereafter, defendant ESPY caused his staff to schedule and attempt to schedule various meetings in Atlanta during the weekend of January 29 through 30, 1994 to justify his travel to Atlanta, Georgia and his attendance at the Super Bowl.
  6. Once questions arose on or after March 17, 1994, with the publication of an article in The Wall Street Journal, as to whether and to what extent defendant ESPY had accepted gratuities, gifts, and things of value from prohibited sources, including Tyson Foods, defendant ESPY made false statements to various Executive Branch members and officials as follows:
    1. on or about April 1, 1994, when questioned by Special Agents of the USDA Inspector General about events surrounding his travel to Russellville, Arkansas on the weekend of May 14 through May 16, 1993, defendant ESPY concealed the fact that he and his girlfriend were at the TMDC as guests of Tyson Foods for a weekend birthday party, complete with lodging, food, drink and professional musical entertainment, and falsely stated that he returned to Washington, D.C. on a Tyson Foods' jet because there were no available commercial facilities, when in truth defendant ESPY's staff had previously made commercial reservations for ESPY's return which defendant ESPY had directed to be canceled so he could fly in a Tyson Foods' jet;
    2. on or about April 8, 1994, in response to a request by Special Agents of the USDA Inspector General to produce a copy of defendant ESPY's travel itinerary for the weekend of January 15 through 16, 1994, defendant ESPY caused to be made and delivered to the USDA Inspector General Special Agents an altered travel itinerary which deleted all references to defendant ESPY's girlfriend, the Chairman of Tyson Foods, limousine service provided by Tyson Foods and the Green Bay v. Dallas 2nd Round National Football Conference football game which defendant ESPY and his girlfriend attended as guests of Tyson Foods;
    3. on or about June 1, 1994, when questioned by Special Agents of the FBI about the source and nature of certain gifts provided to defendant ESPY and his girlfriend by Tyson Foods' Chairman and others, defendant ESPY falsely stated that he attended the NBA Championship playoffs in Chicago in 1993 with a ticket provided by Richard Douglas, and that defendant ESPY could not recall any time when he accepted favors, benefits or gifts from any organizations or companies other than Tyson Foods when in truth defendant ESPY directed a member of his staff to solicit NBA Championship game tickets from the Chairman of Quaker Oats, and defendant ESPY had accepted the gratuities, gifts, and things of value from the organizations and companies specified in paragraphs 9.a., and 9.c. - 9.f., above; and
    4. on or about September 30, 1994, when questioned by the Chief of Staff of the President of the United States concerning his receipt and solicitation of gifts, gratuities, and things of value from prohibited sources, defendant ESPY, in substance and among other things, stated "there's nothing else out there," well knowing at the time such statement and representation was false when made and that he had concealed and covered up the gifts, gratuities, and things of value he had received from the entities and individuals set forth in paragraphs 9.a., 9.b.(1), (3), (5), 9.c., and 9.d.
  7. Further, as questions arose as to whether and to what extent defendant ESPY had accepted gratuities, gifts, and things of value from prohibited sources and as those questions and concerns were published in media accounts and made known to defendant ESPY through interviews by the USDA Inspector General and the FBI, defendant ESPY made payments to the prohibited sources for certain of the gratuities, gifts, and things of value in order to conceal, cover up and disguise his activities and intent regarding his solicitation and receipt of the gratuities, gifts, and things of value. Moreover, in response to these published reports, defendant ESPY also made payments to the USDA to disguise his intent to take, convert and misappropriate public funds for his personal benefit for transportation. Defendant ESPY's deceptive payments included, but were not limited to the following:
    1. March 18, 1994 payment of $68 to the Chairman of Tyson Foods for the January 16, 1994 Dallas Cowboys - Green Bay Packers NFL Playoff Game Ticket, which payment followed an article in The Wall Street Journal on March 17, 1994;
    2. June 2, 1994 payment of approximately $69 to the Arkansas Poultry Federation for lodging at the TMDC on May 15, 1993, which payment followed the June 1, 1994 interview of defendant ESPY by Special Agents of the FBI, wherein defendant ESPY was questioned about his travel to Russellville;
    3. August 25, 1994 payment of $90 to the Chairman of Quaker Oats for tickets to the Chicago Bulls - Phoenix Suns NBA Championship game on June 18, 1993, which payment followed published press reports on or about August 7, 1994 stating that the Chairman of Quaker Oats was the source of the tickets used by defendant ESPY and Douglas;
    4. September 14, 1994 payment of $700 to a Trustee of the Fernbank Museum for four tickets to the January 30, 1994 Super Bowl following the appointment of the Independent Counsel on September 9, 1994 to investigate, inter alia, defendant ESPY's acceptance of gratuities, gifts and things of value, including tickets to sporting events; and
    5. September 15, 1994 payment of approximately $6,204 to the USDA for defendant ESPY's personal use of a Jeep Cherokee vehicle, leased by the USDA, following the September 9, 1994 appointment of the Independent Counsel.

    The Use of Government Assets and
    Expenditure of Public Funds for Personal Benefit

  8. From on or about January 22, 1993 through on or about February 16, 1995, defendant ESPY used government assets and expended public funds for his personal benefit including, but not limited to, a Jeep Cherokee as follows: (i) while serving as a member of the United States House of Representatives from Mississippi, defendant ESPY was entitled to lease an automobile for official use at the expense of the House of Representatives; (ii) on December 21, 1992, three days prior to the President-Elect's announcement of defendant ESPY as his selection for appointment as Secretary of Agriculture, defendant ESPY obtained in Mississippi a lease on a 1993 Jeep Cherokee valued at approximately $27,000; (iii) upon assuming the position of Secretary of Agriculture, defendant ESPY was entitled to a USDA-leased limousine and a USDA driver; (iv) wanting to keep the Jeep Cherokee in Mississippi for his personal use, defendant ESPY, on or about January 22, 1993, requested the USDA to assume the lease payments, falsely representing to officials of the USDA that he would use the Jeep Cherokee in the Washington, D.C. area as his official automobile, eliminating the necessity for the USDA to furnish him with a limousine and driver; (v) in reliance upon defendant ESPY's representations, the USDA paid a total of approximately $6,200 for the Jeep Cherokee for the months of February 1993 through September 1993; and (vi) contrary to defendant ESPY's representations, (1) defendant ESPY did not bring the Jeep to the Washington, D.C. area but, instead, it remained in Mississippi through in or about November 1993 where he used the vehicle for non-official purposes, and (2) on or about April 5, 1993 and continuing through on or about December 31, 1994, defendant ESPY requested and used a USDA limousine and driver in Washington, D.C.

    COUNTS ONE THROUGH SEVEN

    WIRE FRAUD

  9. Paragraphs 1 through 14 of this Indictment are realleged and incorporated by reference as though fully set forth herein.
  10. On or about the dates set forth below, in the District of Columbia and elsewhere, defendant ESPY, for the purpose of executing and intending to execute the aforesaid scheme and artifice to defraud the United States, its citizens, the officials of the Executive Office of the President and the USDA of the intangible right of honest services and to obtain money and property by means of false and fraudulent pretenses, representations, and promises, transmitted and caused to be transmitted by means of wire communications in interstate commerce writings, signs, signals, pictures and sounds, the following:
    COUNT DATE DESCRIPTION
    ONE 5/4/93 Telephone communications between the USDA in Washington, D.C. and Tyson Foods in Springdale, Arkansas, to accept Tyson Foods' invitation to a weekend birthday party hosted by Tyson Foods.
    TWO 5/12/93 Facsimile communication between Tyson Foods in Springdale, Arkansas and the USDA in Washington, D.C. to provide defendant ESPY travel and lodging arrangements for a weekend birthday party hosted by Tyson Foods.
    THREE 6/17/93 Telephone communications between the USDA in Washington, D.C. and Quaker Oats headquarters in Chicago, Illinois to solicit two 1993 NBA Championship tickets from Quaker Oats.
    FOUR 1/18/94 Facsimile communication between the USDA Office of Inspector General in Temple, Texas and in Washington, D.C. to report the results of a meeting between defendant ESPY and an official of the USDA Inspector General in Dallas, Texas.
    FIVE 1/27/94 Facsimile communication from the President of Oglethorpe Power in Tucker, Georgia to defendant ESPY at the USDA in Washington, D.C., transmitting a letter and map, and to confirm a meeting on January 29, 1994 at Oglethorpe Power corporate headquarters.
    SIX 1/27/94 Telephone communications between the USDA in Washington, D.C. and Fernbank Museum in Atlanta, Georgia to request a total of four 1994 Super Bowl tickets.
    SEVEN 2/4/94 Facsimile communication from the President of Oglethorpe Power, in Tucker, Georgia to defendant ESPY, USDA in Washington, D.C. requesting that defendant ESPY elevate to other government officials Oglethorpe Power's proposal to pre-pay REA bonds after the proposal was rejected by the administering federal bank.

    (In violation of 18 United States Code 1343, 1346 and 2)

    COUNTS EIGHT THROUGH TWELVE

    MAIL FRAUD

  11. Paragraphs 1 through 14 of this Indictment are realleged and incorporated by reference as though fully set forth herein.
  12. On or about the dates set forth below, in the District of Columbia and elsewhere, defendant ESPY, for the purpose of executing and intending to execute the aforesaid scheme and artifice to defraud the United States, its citizens, the officials of the Executive Office of the President and the USDA of the intangible right of honest services and to obtain money and property by means of false and fraudulent pretenses, representations and promises, and attempting to do so, did place and cause to be placed in an authorized depository for mail matter, the items described in Counts Eight through Twelve, to be sent, as addressed, by the United States Postal Service, and did knowingly cause to be delivered by mail according to the direction thereon, as described in each of the Counts Eight through Twelve, such mail matter described below:
    COUNT DATE DESCRIPTION
    EIGHT 4/6/93 Purchase Order for $6,204 for the period of February 1993 through September 1993 sent from the USDA, 14th & Independence Ave., S.W., Rm. 1547, South Building, Washington, D.C. 20250 to Chrysler Credit, P.O. Box 1050, Ridgeland, Mississippi 39158-1050, for the lease of a 1993 Jeep Grand Cherokee.
    NINE 3/18/94 Handwritten note from defendant ESPY, Department of Agriculture, 14th Street & Independence Avenue, S.W., Rm. 200-A, Washington, D.C. 20250, to P.O. Box 2020, Springdale, Arkansas 72765, with a $68 personal check as payment for the January 16, 1994 Dallas Cowboys -Green Bay Packers NFL Playoff game.
    TEN 6/2/94 Letter from Speaking/Travel Coordinator, Department of Agriculture Office of the Secretary, Washington, D.C. 20250, to the Arkansas Poultry Federation, P.O. Box 1446, Little Rock, Arkansas 72203, containing defendant Espy's personal check in the approximate amount of $69 for lodging expenses at the TMDC on May 15, 1993.
    ELEVEN 8/25/94 Letter from defendant ESPY to The Quaker Oats Company, P.O. Box 049001, Chicago, Illinois 60604-9001, stating that tickets to the Chicago Bulls - Phoenix Suns NBA Playoff game provided to defendant ESPY and Douglas had not been repaid due to an oversight, and containing defendant ESPY's personal check for $90.
    TWELVE 9/14/94 Letter from defendant ESPY to Trustee, Fernbank Museum of Natural History, 767 Clifton Road, N.E., Atlanta, Georgia 30307-1221, stating that defendant ESPY is sending his personal check to reimburse the Fernbank Museum for four tickets to the Super Bowl on January 30, 1994, and including a personal check for $700.

    (In violation of 18 United States Code 1341, 1346 and 2)

    COUNTS THIRTEEN THROUGH TWENTY-FIVE

    ILLEGAL GRATUITIES

  13. Paragraphs 1 through 14 of this Indictment are realleged and incorporated by reference as though fully set forth herein.
  14. On or about the dates set forth below, in the District of Columbia and elsewhere, defendant ESPY, having been selected to serve and while serving as Secretary of Agriculture, other than as provided by law for the proper discharge of official duties, directly and indirectly demanded, sought, received, accepted and agreed to receive and accept the following things of value, totaling approximately $25,458, and the benefit thereof personally from the respective entities and persons listed below, for and because of official acts performed and to be performed by defendant ESPY:
      a. SUN-DIAMOND GROWERS/DOUGLAS:
    COUNT DATE THINGS OF VALUE VALUE
    THIRTEEN 3/14/93 Luggage $2,427
    FOURTEEN 5/13/93 Cash to defendant ESPY's girlfriend $3,200
    FIFTEEN 9/11-12/93 U.S. Open Tennis Tickets and Limousines $4,446
    SIXTEEN 11/10/93 Tickets to Washington Bullets-New York Knicks NBA Game $ 222
    SEVENTEEN 1/17/94 Waterford Crystal Bowl $ 173
      b. TYSON FOODS/WILLIAMS:
    COUNT DATE THINGS OF VALUE VALUE
    EIGHTEEN 1/18/93 Four seats at Presidential
    Inaugural Dinner
    $6,000
    NINETEEN 5/14-16/93 Russellville birthday
    party, including airfare,
    meals, lodging and
    entertainment
    $2,556
    TWENTY 1/4/94 Check to defendant ESPY's girlfriend $1,200
    TWENTY-ONE 1/15-16/94 Weekend trip to Dallas,
    TX, including airfare,
    limousines and tickets to
    Dallas Cowboys - Green
    Bay Packers NFL
    Playoff Football Game
    $2,087
      c. OGLETHORPE POWER/EOP/SMITH BARNEY:
    COUNT DATE THINGS OF VALUE VALUE
    TWENTY-TWO 1/30/94 Super Bowl Ticket $2,200
      d. EOP:
    COUNT DATE THINGS OF VALUE VALUE
    TWENTY-THREE 5/1/93 Employment for defendant ESPY's girlfriend Not assigned
      e. QUAKER OATS:
    COUNT DATE THINGS OF VALUE VALUE
    TWENTY-FOUR 6/18/93 Tickets to Chicago
    Bulls-Phoenix Suns NBA
    Championship Game
    $ 90
      f. FERNBANK:
    COUNT DATE THINGS OF VALUE VALUE
    TWENTY-FIVE 1/30/94 Super Bowl Tickets $ 857

    (In violation of 18 United States Code 201(c)(1)(B) and 2)

    COUNTS TWENTY-SIX THROUGH TWENTY-EIGHT

    MEAT INSPECTION ACT

  15. Paragraphs 1 through 14 of this Indictment are realleged and incorporated by reference as though fully set forth herein.
  16. On or about the dates set forth below, in the District of Columbia and elsewhere, defendant ESPY, while serving as Secretary of Agriculture, an official and employee of the USDA authorized to perform the duties prescribed under the Meat Inspection Act, did knowingly receive and accept the gifts and things of value totaling approximately $4,221 set forth below from the respective persons, firms, and corporations engaged in commerce and subject to the Act:
      a. TYSON FOODS/WILLIAMS:
    COUNT DATE THINGS OF VALUE VALUE
    TWENTY-SIX 5/15-16/93 Russellville birthday
    party, including airfare,
    meals, lodging and
    entertainment
    $2,044
    TWENTY-SEVEN 1/15-1/16/94 Weekend trip to Dallas,
    TX, including Airfare,
    Limousines and Tickets
    to Dallas Cowboys -
    Green Bay Packers NFL
    Playoff Game
    $2,087
      b. QUAKER OATS:
    COUNT DATE THINGS OF VALUE VALUE
    TWENTY-EIGHT 6/18/93 Tickets to Chicago
    Bulls - Phoenix Suns
    NBA Championship
    Game
    $ 90

    (In violation of 21 United States Code 622 and 18 United States Code 2)

    COUNT TWENTY-NINE THROUGH THIRTY-THREE

    TRAVEL ACT

  17. Paragraphs 1 through 14 of this Indictment are realleged and incorporated by reference as though fully set forth herein.
  18. On or about the dates set forth below, in the District of Columbia and elsewhere, defendant ESPY traveled in interstate commerce as set forth below with intent to promote, manage, establish and carry on, and to facilitate the promotion, management, establishment and carrying on of unlawful activities, that is, the unlawful acceptance and receipt of unlawful things of value in violation of 18 U.S.C. 201(c) and 21 U.S.C. 622, and thereafter defendant ESPY accepted and received the following:
    COUNT DATE TRAVEL THINGS OF VALUE
    From   To
    TWENTY- NINE 5/15/93 Washington, D.C.- Russellville, AR Lodging,
    Entertainment and
    Airfare
    THIRTY 6/18/93 Washington, D.C.- Chicago, IL Chicago Bulls-Phoenix
    Suns NBA
    Championship
    Game Tickets
    THIRTY-ONE 9/11/93 Washington, D.C.- New York, NY U.S. Open Tickets and Limousines
    THIRTY-TWO 1/15/94 Washington, D.C.- Dallas, TX Dallas Cowboys-Green Bay
    Packers NFL Playoff Tickets
    and Limousines
    THIRTY-THREE 1/29/94 Washington, D.C.- Atlanta, GA Super Bowl Tickets

    (In violation of 18 United States Code 1952)

    COUNT THIRTY-FOUR

    FALSE STATEMENT

  19. Paragraphs 1 through 14 of this Indictment are realleged and incorporated by reference as though fully set forth herein.
  20. The USDA Office of Inspector General was a law enforcement organization charged with investigating potential violations by USDA employees of federal laws and, among other things, applicable Executive Branch and USDA ethics regulations. Beginning on or about March 17, 1994, USDA Inspector General Special Agents were conducting an investigation regarding the acceptance by USDA employees of gifts and gratuities from Tyson Foods, a "prohibited source." It was material to the USDA Inspector General investigation to determine whether Tyson Foods had given, and USDA employees had accepted, anything of value and whether defendant ESPY had received anything of value from Tyson Foods.
  21. On or about April 1, 1994, in Washington, D.C., defendant ESPY was interviewed by Special Agents of the USDA Office of Inspector General and made false statements and representations. During the interview, defendant ESPY referred to trip itineraries for official travel he undertook in May 1993 and January 1994. At the conclusion of the interview, defendant ESPY was asked to produce these trip itineraries. On or about April 8, 1994, defendant ESPY caused to be delivered to USDA Inspector General Special Agents an altered and false trip itinerary for the weekend of January 15 through 16, 1994, which concealed and covered up material facts.
  22. From on or about April 1, 1994 until on or about April 8, 1994, in the District of Columbia, defendant ESPY knowingly and willfully falsified, concealed and covered up by trick, scheme and device material facts and made false, fictitious and fraudulent statements and representations to a department and agency of the United States, the USDA Inspector General, in a matter within its jurisdiction, namely, its investigation of allegations of the unlawful receipt of gratuities by defendant ESPY in that:
    1. On or about April 1, 1994, defendant ESPY, in response to questions posed by Special Agents of the USDA Inspector General, stated and represented that following an overnight stay at the TMDC, on Sunday, May 16, 1993, Tyson Foods flew him back to Washington National Airport in its corporate jet because defendant ESPY was directed to return to the White House for dinner with the President and there were no available commercial airline facilities to return him to Washington, D.C. in time to attend the dinner. In truth and fact, (1) as early as May 6, 1993, defendant ESPY had planned to return to Washington, D.C. on a Tyson Foods' corporate jet; (2) commercial airline flights were available to defendant ESPY from Arkansas to the Washington National Airport; and (3) defendant ESPY's staff had previously made commercial reservations from Arkansas to the Washington National Airport which defendant ESPY had directed to be canceled;
    2. On or about April 8, 1994, defendant ESPY caused his staff to prepare and deliver to the USDA Inspector General an altered and false trip itinerary which concealed and covered up material facts, in that references on Saturday, January 15, 1994, to: (1) defendant ESPY's girlfriend, (2) arrangements for "Limo service" in Dallas, Texas, (3) the Chairman of Tyson Foods and his girlfriend at the "Mansion on Turtle Creek," and references on Sunday, January 16, 1994, to (4) a "brunch at Stadium in Irving, Texas," (5) the "Green Bay vs. Dallas 2nd Round National Football Conference Playoffs," and (6) defendant ESPY's girlfriend were deleted and deliberately concealed from the USDA Inspector General.

    (In violation of 18 United States Code 1001, 2)

    COUNT THIRTY-FIVE

    TAMPERING WITH A WITNESS

  23. Paragraphs 1 through 14 and 26 through 28 of this Indictment are realleged and incorporated by reference as though fully set forth herein.
  24. On or about April 8, 1994, in the District of Columbia, defendant ESPY engaged in misleading conduct toward another person, that is, an employee of the USDA, with the intent to:
    1. withhold a record, document, and other object from an official proceeding, that is, an investigation by the USDA Inspector General;
    2. cause and induce that person to alter, destroy, mutilate and conceal an object with intent to impair the object's integrity or availability for use in such official proceeding; and
    3. hinder, delay and prevent the communication to law enforcement officers of the United States, that is, Special Agents of the USDA Inspector General, information relating to the commission and possible commission of Federal offenses by defendant ESPY.

    (In violation of 18 United States Code 1512(b)(2)(A)
    and (B); 1512(b)(3) and 2)

    COUNT THIRTY-SIX

    FALSE STATEMENT

  25. Paragraphs 1 through 14 of this Indictment are realleged and incorporated by reference as though fully set forth herein.
  26. On or about June 1, 1994, in the District of Columbia, defendant ESPY knowingly and willfully made material false, fictitious and fraudulent statements and representations to a department and agency of the United States, that is the FBI, in a matter within its jurisdiction, that is, an investigation of allegations of wrongdoing by defendant ESPY.
  27. It was material to the FBI to determine whether defendant ESPY received anything of value from companies or individuals regulated by the USDA, including companies or individuals defined as "prohibited sources."
  28. On or about June 1, 1994, in the District of Columbia, defendant ESPY, in response to questions posed by Special Agents of the FBI, falsely, fictitiously and fraudulently stated and represented that:
    1. he attended the NBA Championship Playoffs in Chicago in 1993 with his friend Richard Douglas who provided the tickets, when in truth and fact, as defendant ESPY well knew, defendant ESPY had directed a member of his staff to solicit the playoff basketball tickets from the Chairman of Quaker Oats; she had in fact done so; and the Chairman of Quaker Oats made two playoff basketball tickets available to defendant ESPY; and
    2. he could not recall any time when he accepted favors, benefits or gifts from any organizations or companies other than Tyson Foods, when in truth and fact, as defendant ESPY well knew, he had solicited and accepted favors, benefits and gifts from the organizations and companies specified in paragraphs 9.a., and 9.c. - 9.f., above.

    (In violation of 18 United States Code 1001)

    COUNT THIRTY-SEVEN

    FALSE STATEMENT

  29. Paragraphs 1 through 14 are realleged and incorporated herein by reference as though fully set forth herein.
  30. In the calendar year 1993, for purposes of the Ethics in Government Act, 5 U.S.C. App. 6 101 et seq., defendant ESPY received gifts and gratuities totaling approximately $6,761, which are listed herein below:
    DATE REPORTABLE GIFT SOURCE VALUE
    (1) 1/18/93 Seat at Presidential
    Inaugural Dinner
    Tyson Foods $ 1,500
    (2) 3/14/93 Luggage Sun Diamond $ 2,427
    (3) 5/15/93 Entertainment at TMDC Tyson Foods $ 500
    (4) 9/11/93 Limousines in New York Sun Diamond $ 123
    (5) 9/11-12/93 U.S. Open Tennis Ticket Sun Diamond $ 2,100
    (6) 11/10/93 Ticket to Washington
    Bullets-New York Knicks
    NBA Game
    Sun Diamond $ 111
  31. In addition, in the spring of 1993, defendant ESPY received as a gift an inscribed hand-colored monotype entitled "Spring Light" from artist William Dunlap with a value of approximately $2,800.
  32. It was material pursuant to the Ethics in Government Act that defendant ESPY report all sources of gifts so that those having responsibility for the review of reports filed pursuant to the Act could make an informed judgment about defendant ESPY's compliance with applicable conflict of interest laws and standards of conduct regulations.
  33. On or about June 13, 1994, in the District of Columbia, defendant ESPY, knowingly and willfully, in a matter within the jurisdiction of the USDA, a department of the United States, falsified, concealed, and covered up by trick, scheme, and device material facts and made false, fictitious and fraudulent statements and representations, and made and used a false writing and document knowing the same to contain false, fictitious and fraudulent statements and entries, in that defendant ESPY, as required by law, prepared, signed and submitted to the USDA a Public Financial Disclosure Report, SF-278 (covering the calendar year 1993), on which he certified that the statements made were "true, complete and correct" to the best of his knowledge and belief. In truth and fact, as defendant ESPY well knew, said Public Financial Disclosure Report failed to disclose the receipt of approximately $9,561 on Schedule B, Part II.

    (In violation of 18 United States Code 1001 and 2)

    COUNT THIRTY-EIGHT

    FALSE STATEMENT

  34. Paragraphs 1 through 14 are realleged and incorporated herein by reference.
  35. In the calendar year 1994, for purposes of the Ethics in Government Act, 5 U.S.C. App. 6 101 et seq., defendant ESPY received gifts and gratuities totaling approximately $3,191, which are listed herein below:
    DATE REPORTABLE GIFT SOURCE VALUE
    (1) 1/15-16/94 Limousines and Parking
    Charges in Dallas, TX
    Tyson Foods $ 484
    (2) 1/30/94 Super Bowl Ticket Oglethorpe Power/EOP/
    Smith Barney
    $2,200
    (3) 1/30/94 Super Bowl Tickets Fernbank $ 507

It was material pursuant to the Ethics in Government Act that defendant ESPY report all sources of gifts so that those having responsibility for the review of reports filed pursuant to the Act could make an informed judgment about defendant ESPY's compliance with applicable conflict of interest laws and standards of conduct regulations.

On or about February 16, 1995, in the District of Columbia, defendant ESPY, knowingly and willfully, in a matter within the jurisdiction of the USDA, a department of the United States, falsified, concealed, and covered up by trick, scheme, and device material facts, made false, fictitious and fraudulent statements and representations, and made and used a false writing and document knowing the same to contain false, fictitious and fraudulent statements and entries, in that defendant ESPY, as required by law, prepared, signed and submitted to the USDA a Public Financial Disclosure Report, SF-278 (covering the calendar year 1994), on which he certified that the statements made were "true, complete and correct" to the best of his knowledge and belief. In truth and fact, as defendant ESPY well knew, said Public Financial Disclosure Report failed to disclose the receipt of approximately $3,191 on Schedule B, Part II.

(In violation of 18 United States Code 1001 and 2)

COUNT THIRTY-NINE

FALSE STATEMENT

Paragraphs 1 through 14 of this Indictment are realleged and incorporated by reference as though fully set forth herein.

It was material to officials of the Executive Office of the President whether and to what extent defendant ESPY received anything of value from companies or individuals regulated by the USDA, including companies or individuals defined as "prohibited sources."

On or about September 30, 1994, in the District of Columbia, defendant ESPY, knowingly and willfully in a matter within the jurisdiction of the Executive Office of the President, within the Executive Branch, a department of the United States, falsified, concealed and covered up by trick, scheme, and device material facts and made false, fictitious and fraudulent statements and representations in that defendant ESPY, in response to questions by the President's Chief of Staff and Counsel concerning his receipt and solicitation of gifts, gratuities, and things of value from prohibited sources, in substance and among other things, stated "there's nothing else out there," well knowing at the time such statement and representation was false when made and that he had concealed and covered up the gratuities he had received as set forth in Paragraphs 9.a., 9.b.(1), (3), (5), 9.c, and 9.d.

(In violation of 18 United States Code 1001)

 

DATED: August 27, 1997

Washington, D.C.

 



DONALD C. SMALTZ
Independent Counsel

A TRUE BILL

 

 

 



FOREPERSON

 

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