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Former FEMA official pleads guilty in conflict-of-interest case

Jan. 15, 2013 - 05:40PM   |  
By STEPHEN LOSEY   |   Comments

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s former human resources director pleaded guilty Tuesday to a charge of violating conflict-of-interest rules.

Timothy Cannon admitted to pursuing a lucrative job with a company that was contracting with FEMA while he was still employed there. He will be sentenced April 9, and faces up to five years in prison.

According to a document Justice filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Cannon got FEMA to hire the unnamed company in 2008 to poll the agency’s employees and provide consulting services. Around the same time, Cannon was talking to the company’s CEO about hiring him as a partner, with a salary of $175,000.

While the Jan. 2 Justice document does not name the company, a Justice suit filed in the same court in November names Cannon as a co-defendant in a case against the Gallup Organization that cites more than 200 instances where Gallup inflated prices on $13 million in contracts with FEMA, the U.S. Mint and the State Department.

While Cannon was pursuing a job with the company, Justice said, he got FEMA to add at least $1.6 million to the original five-year contract, which started out at $6 million. The company offered to hire Cannon in February 2009, at which point Cannon announced his retirement from FEMA. The company withdrew Cannon’s offer a month later, Justice said.

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