FBI raid Houston ISD: Documents show 5 agents accepted plea agreement in case

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) – It’s been nearly two years since the FBI raided the ISD administration building in Houston as part of a years-long investigation.

On February 27, 2020, FBI agents served a search warrant for the county’s Hattie Mae White Building, the northwest Harris County home of former executive Brian Busby, and the home of Anthony Hutchison, the owner. Owner of Southwest Wholesale who is contacted to do. landscape for the district.

Court documents say agents seized $90,000 from Busby that day and about $100,000 from Hutchison.

Since then, the men have been arrested and charged in federal court with orchestrating a seven-year seven-year scheme to defraud the area. Court documents claim Busby deposited $2.6 million in the bank between 2016 and 2020 without including his salary.

ABC13 asked the district when it learned who was under investigation and why. County officials told us this week that they would not comment further on the subject.

Busby was immediately sent home with a paycheck. In May 2020, he was sent a memo asking him not to speak to any other HISD employees. His contract with the district was not renewed for the 2020-2021 school year. The last day of the longtime county employee is August 31, 2020, which is six months after the raid.

SEE RELATED STORY: Former HISD COO indicted: Prosecutors allege contractor overcharged school district by $6 million in scheme

The former COO’s wife also worked for HISD as a school support worker earning $140,000 annually, according to court documents.

She resigned from the district a year and a half after her home was raided on August 31, 2021, according to a letter obtained by ABC13, citing personal reasons.

The FBI announced in a press release on December 16, the day Busby and Hutchison were arrested, that five other people were arrested and charged in this alleged kickback scheme. They accepted plea agreements in October.

Former HISD Board of Education president Rhonda Skillern-Jones admitted to receiving more than $10,000 in bribes from Hutchison, according to a guilty plea filed in her case.

At the time of the news, she was serving on the Houston Community College Board and working for District 1 Commissioner Rodney Ellis. Both said they were surprised by the news. She resigned from the board and was terminated by the county.

SEE RELATED STORY: HCC board member resigns amid HISD allegations

Four others work in different facility and maintenance roles at HISD.

Derrick Sanders has been with the district for seven years. He left in September 2020. Alfred Hoskins was with HISD for 34 years and left in October 2021. Gerron Hall worked for the district for 25 years and also left in October 2021. Tovar has been with HISD for 16 years. He was still working there the day the FBI announced the plea agreements. His contract was terminated on December 17.

ABC13 received a copy of the letter sent from the school district to Southwest Wholesale on June 25, 2020, terminating their contract with the landscaping company. They have made part of the agreement that allows them to terminate it without reason with 30 days notice period.

However, the bills show that HISD paid Hutchison’s company nearly $500,000 in the four months between the FBI raid and the termination of the contract.

When asked what HISD is doing to protect future taxpayer funds, they submitted the following statement:

An internal team review and supplier and contract systems, as well as an external review of the district’s procurement procedures, were required. While we would not comment on specific additional internal procedures implemented to protect against this type of behavior as a security matter, Mr House remained steadfast in his commitment as as parents, teachers, and taxpayers, to make sure HISD does everything in its power to never again be vulnerable to this type of alleged misconduct.

For more on this story, follow Mycah Hatfield on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Dais Johnston

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