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Former Minnesota superintendent gets 2-year prison term for soliciting bribe

April 1, 2019
Rodney K. Thompson, 53, who was superintendent of Shakopee Public Schools, coerced a construction company to remodel his basement in exchange for school contracts.

The former superintendent of a school district in Minnesota has been sentenced to two years in prison for soliciting a bribe from a construction firm.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that Rodney K. Thompson, 53, who served as superintendent of Shakopee Public Schools from 2011 to 2017, has admitted to swindling tens of thousands of dollars from the district. He used his school-issued credit card to acquire sports memorabilia, first-class airfare, concert tickets and an Xbox gaming system.

A 16-month FBI investigation found that Thompson used his position to obtain personal benefits from ICS Consulting, a construction firm that managed an expansion of Shakopee High School. Authorities say that in 2012 the superintendent coerced the company into renovating his basement—a job that cost about $44,000—in exchange for school contracts.

Thompson resigned from the $176,000-a-year job in July 2017.

He pleaded guilty in federal court in November to solicitation of a bribery. A day later, he pleaded guilty in Scott County District Court to 19 state felonies, including theft by swindle, embezzling public funds and possessing stolen property.

The 24-month sentence will be served concurrently with one that will be imposed for state charges he has pleaded guilty to. His sentencing on those charges is set for next month.

"Mr. Thompson abused his position of trust throughout his entire tenure. … And now, his greedy and corrupt dealings have earned him a prison sentence," U.S. Attorney Erica MacDonald said in a news release.

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