By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Wednesday, Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange (R) announced that Dr. Deann K. Stone and her husband Dave Stone were both indicted on five counts of public corruption for her alleged mishandling of federal grant money while working as the Director of Federal Programs for the Alabama State Department of Education. The government accuses Dr. Stone of using her position to improperly award grants that would benefit fit Information Transport Solutions where Dave Stone was then employed.
Late Wednesday, Information Transport Solutions issued a statement regarding the indictment of Dave Stone. The Wetumpka company acknowledged the indictments:
“Earlier today, the Alabama Attorney General’s office announced the indictment and arrest of Information Transport Solutions’ employee, Dave Stone. Stone was indicted on ethics charges, and surrendered himself to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.”
Information Transport Solutions’ spokesman and CEO Steve Meany, issued a written statement in response to Stone’s indictment:
“Information Transport Solutions (ITS) was founded on the principles of integrity and sincerity, which include competing fairly in the marketplace. Upon our knowledge of Mr. Stone’s indictment, Dave was immediately placed on administrative leave pending final resolution of the case.” Meany continued, “While we are hopeful and confident that Dave’s name will be cleared and a judgment reached that no wrong doing was committed, ITS steadfastly renounces the behavior outlined in today’s indictment. ITS had – and has – no knowledge that one of our employees could be operating outside of the state’s ethics laws. As we did during the grand jury investigation, ITS will continue to provide any information requested by authorities. ITS is not a party to the indictment.”
Attorney General Luther Strange said in a written statement, “My office and the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General announced the arrest today of Dr. Deann K. Stone, the former Director of Federal Programs for the State Department of Education, and her husband on felony state ethics charges. I want to thank the Office of Inspector General for performing a thorough audit of the federal stimulus money intended to help struggling Alabama schools and for partnering with my office to investigate this matter. We will continue to work with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to maximize our resources to more effectively combat crimes of public corruption.”
Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Education Office of Inspector General (OIG) Southeastern Regional Office Yessyka Santana said in her statement that the government, “Alleges that Dr. Stone and her husband abused their positions of trust for personal gain, and that is unacceptable. OIG will continue to aggressively pursue those who misappropriate education funds for their own purposes. America’s students and taxpayers deserve nothing less.”
An OIG audit of Alabama’s use of 2010 federal stimulus grant money discovered what it alleges to be a conflict of interest in how four of those grants which were intended to help failing schools were awarded. Authorities are alleging that Dr. Stone, age 50, used her position to award those dollars to school systems using Information Transport Solutions Inc.
A Montgomery County Special grand jury on Tuesday, August 20 delivered indictments on five counts against the Stones.
If convicted, both of the Stones could spend up to 20 years in prison and be fined up to $30,000 for each of the five counts in the indictment.
Strange credited Special Prosecutions Chief Miles M. Hart, Deputy Attorney General Mike Duffy, Investigators in the Attorney General’s Special Prosecutions Division, and Special Agents and Auditors of the United States Department of Education, Office of Inspector General for their work on the case.
The Stones have only been indicted and have not yet had a chance to defend themselves. An indictment does not necessarily mean that the accused are guilty. The state will still have to prove its charges to a jury.
The Alabama Political Reporter has forwarded a detailed list of question to ITS and is awaiting their response.