Archive



 

O.I.C. logo

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA


UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

 

VS.

 

TYSON FOODS, INC.,

  Defendant.


 

CRIMINAL INFORMATION

Criminal No.97-506

Violation:
Gratuity to Public Official
(18 U.S.C. 201(c)(1)(A))

 

THE INDEPENDENT COUNSEL CHARGES:

COUNT ONE

At all times material to this Information:

The Defendant, Tyson Foods, Inc.

   1. Defendant TYSON FOODS, INC. (hereafter "TYSON FOODS") was the world's largest fully-integrated producer, processor, and marketer of poultry-based food products and was responsible for more than twenty percent (20%) of the chicken sold in the United States.

   2. Defendant TYSON FOODS was a publicly-held company with sales in excess of $5 billion. It produced and marketed poultry, red meat, and other products from facilities located in Springdale, and elsewhere in Arkansas, approximately seventeen other states, and three foreign countries.

   3. Defendant TYSON FOODS owned and operated approximately sixty poultry processing plants, of which approximately eighteen plants also processed beef and pork products.

   4. The processing of beef and pork products was administered through Defendant TYSON FOODS' Beef and Pork Division. During fiscal year 1994, TYSON FOODS' Beef and Pork Division operated plants in eight states and accounted for approximately eleven percent of the company's total revenues and total pounds of product produced.

   5. The Tyson Foundation, Inc., not a defendant herein, was a not-for-profit Arkansas charitable corporation that provided, among other things, college scholarships to students from geographic areas in the vicinity of TYSON FOODS' operating facilities.

Secretary of Agriculture Espy

   6. The USDA was a department of the United States of America. The Food Safety and Inspection Service was the USDA agency that inspected meat and poultry and was responsible for promulgating and administering regulations related thereto.

   7. Alphonso Michael Espy, not a defendant herein, served as Secretary of Agriculture from January 22, 1993, until the effective date of his resignation therefrom on December 31, 1994. On or about December 24, 1992, the President-Elect selected Espy to be Secretary of Agriculture. As Secretary of Agriculture, Espy was in charge of the USDA.

Issues Involving The Secretary of Agriculture

   8. TYSON FOODS did business with, had various matters pending before, and conducted activities regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture (hereafter "USDA"). Among other things, Defendant TYSON FOODS participated in the sale of various of its products through programs administered by USDA. Defendant TYSON FOODS held approximately $200 million in annual procurement and non-procurement contracts involving the USDA.

   9. Defendant TYSON FOODS had interests, issues, questions, and matters pending before the Secretary of Agriculture, Alphonso Michael Espy, and the USDA at the time that TYSON FOODS did knowingly, directly and indirectly, give, offer, and promise things of value to Secretary Espy. These included, among other things, an emergency interim final rule issued on or about August 16, 1993 by the USDA that amended the meat and poultry products inspection regulations to require processors, including TYSON FOODS, to place safe handling instructions on all raw meat and poultry packaging labels, which interim rule was to take effect on October 15, 1993. The October 15th deadline would have imposed on defendant TYSON FOODS an estimated $30 million in additional costs. Defendant TYSON FOODS urged USDA to phase in the requirement of safe handling instructions on packaging labels to concide with other USDA-required labeling changes. On or about October 14, 1993, the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas held that the interim rule had been issued in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act and enjoined its enforcement.

Things of Value and the Benefit Thereof Given to Secretary of Agriculture Espy by and on Behalf of Defendant Tyson Foods, Inc.

   From on or about January 18, 1993, through on or about January 16, 1994, in the District of Columbia and elsewhere, otherwise than as provided by law for the proper discharge of official duties, defendant TYSON FOODS, acting through its agents including Don Tyson, John Tyson, Jack Williams, Vice President X, and The Tyson Foundation did knowingly, directly, and indirectly, give, offer and promise things of value, and the benefit thereof, totaling approximately $12,000, as set forth below, to a public official and person selected to be a public official, namely: The Secretary of Agriculture, Alphonso Michael Espy, for and because of official acts performed and to be performed by Secretary of Agriculture Alphonso Michael Espy, to wit:

  1. Four tickets to the January 18, 1993 Presidential Inaugural Dinner, Sheraton Washington Hotel, Washington, D.C., in the total cost of $6,000;
  2. On May 14-16, 1993, air transportation (round trip for Secretary Espy's girlfriend and one way for Secretary Espy) on a TYSON FOODS jet, meals, lodging, and entertainment at the Don Tyson/John Tyson Birthday Party, Tyson Management Development Center, Russellville, Arkansas, in the approximate amount of $2,556;
  3. On or about January 4, 1994, a Tyson Foundation scholarship check for Secretary Espy's girlfriend in the amount of $1,200 for the first semester of an eight semester program; and
  4. Airline tickets for Secretary Espy's girlfriend, skybox tickets, food, and limousines for the Dallas Cowboys--Green Bay Packers January 16, 1994 playoff game in the approximate amount of $2,271.

    (All in violation of 18 U.S.C. 201(c)(1)(A) and 18 U.S.C. 2)

     

DATED: December 29, 1997

Washington, D.C.

 

 


DONALD C. SMALTZ
Independent Counsel
THEODORE S. GREENBERG
Deputy Independent Counsel
Robert W. Ray
Chief Associate Independent Counsel
Jacob S. Frenkel
Associate Independent Counsel

 

Back to top