A former high-ranking Houston Independent School District official and a co-conspirator have been indicted on federal public corruption charges for a multimillion-dollar scheme authorities say included bribery and witness tampering.
Former HISD Chief Operating Officer Brian Busby and school district contract vendor Anthony Hutchison are charged in the 26-count indictment, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Houston office announced today.
Busby and Hutchison are accused of conspiring to engage in a bribery scheme, diverting local school tax dollars and federal money meant for students to enrich themselves.
Busby allegedly helped Hutchison get HISD construction and grounds maintenance contracts. In return, Hutchison gave Busby cash bribes and hundreds of thousands of dollars in home remodeling.
According to the indictment, once the two learned of the federal investigation, they tried to interfere with potential witnesses.
The FBI reported both are charged with conspiracy, bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds, and witness tampering. Hutchison is also charged with wire fraud. If convicted, they face penalties of up to 20 years in prison and $250,000 fines.
The FBI said several former district officials have already admitted guilt in the case, including former Houston ISD school board president Rhonda Skillern-Jones.
“Houston taxpayers and the thousands of HISD students, along with their teachers and staff, are the potential victims of this alleged multimillion-dollar public corruption scheme,” said FBI agent Richard Collodi.
Busby and Hutchison were arrested this morning and are expected to appear before a federal judge later today.