FBI: Ex-Shakopee superintendent bribed school contractor for personal gain

November 14, 2018

Ex-Shakopee schools Superintendent Rod Thompson, accused of embezzling more than $70,000 in public funds, is now facing federal bribery charges after authorities say he coerced a construction company into renovating his basement in exchange for school contracts.

A 16-month FBI investigation found that Thompson used his position of authority to obtain personal benefits from a contractor for the Shakopee School District namely, he solicited home improvement projects, personal travel, and attendance at sporting events in exchange for contracts with the district, United States Attorney Erica H. MacDonald announced Tuesday.

Thompson, 53, has been charged with one felony count of corrupt solicitation of a bribe.

According to the criminal complaint, Thompson over a period of six years sent bills to the company for tickets to Vikings, Timberwolves and Twins games; martial arts events and luxury hotels totaling more than $5,000.

The embattled schools chief is already awaiting trial in Scott County District Court on 20 felony charges, including six counts of theft by swindle, 13 counts of embezzlement of public funds and one count of possession of stolen property, plus one misdemeanor count of receiving stolen property.

A plea hearing on those charges scheduled for Tuesday afternoon was postponed until next Monday.

In 2012, he coerced the same company to install a concrete patio slab outside his walkout basement, court records show. Thompson then awarded contracts to the company that substantially exceeded the amounts he caused them to spend on his behalf, the complaint says.

Authorities allege that Thompson used several schemes to make hundreds of purchases on the districts dime over the six-year period.

He resigned as superintendent in July 2017 amid accusations that he had abused his school credit card. Spending reports showed that he had purchased sports memorabilia, first-class airfare, concert tickets and an Xbox system.

Thompsons attorney, Peter Wold, has repeatedly denied that his client did anything illegal.

Liz Sawyer 612-673-4648

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