There are currently 33 counts in the indictment against former HISD COO Brian Busby and HISD contractor Anthony Hutchinson.
HOUSTON — A grand jury returned additional charges Thursday against a former Houston Independent School District leader and contract vendor charged in an ongoing public corruption investigation, U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery said.
EDITORIAL NOTE: The above video originally aired in December 2021.
Former HISD Chief Operating Officer Brian Busby and HISD contractor Anthony Hutchinson are currently charged with 33 counts which include the following costs:
- Corruption involving packages that obtained federal funds
- Manipulation of cookies
Hutchison can be charged with wire fraud.
There were 26 counts in the single indictment. He accused the 2 of corruption in a multi-million dollar kickback scheme.
The other seven counts are tax evasion charges – 5 of them against Busby who is accused of underreporting his income in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. The other two counts are against Hutchinson who is accused of overpricing items from his company, Southwest Wholesale, in 2017 and 2018.
RELATED: FBI: Former HISD Executive Brian Busby, Entrepreneur Charged with Public Corruption
After the introduction of the new charges, HISD Superintendent Millard House II issued the following statement:
“Today’s indictments of a former district official and salesman are a stark reminder of this district’s responsibility to operate with integrity in all that it does. Our students, families, employees and groups deserve nothing less. I hope that with the immediate indictments, this district and the team it serves can finally turn the page on a tragic chapter in HISD’s history.
We appreciate all the work the FBI has done to bring to justice these individuals who would seek to undermine public confidence in the district and may continue to fully cooperate with the investigation. Additionally, we have strict measures in place to protect the integrity of the District’s procurement and contracting processes.
What led to the indictment?
Busby reportedly helped Hutchinson secure HISD construction and maintenance contracts. In return, Hutchinson overcharged the college district by $6 million and then split the revenue with Busby who received kickbacks and hundreds of dollars in home renovations, according to the indictment.
Busby also allegedly used some of the money to pay off five other people who were convicted in the scheme.
“This was flagrant corruption and a breach of trust of all members of the community, especially students and HISD employees,” Authorized KHOU Analyst Carmen Roe said in December 2021 when Busy and Hutchinson were arrested. “It’s unprecedented.”
Busby’s attorney, Dick DeGuerin, claimed he was harmless.
“He went from janitor to COO without a hint of illegality. He didn’t take a bribe, pay a bribe, he’s innocent and a fair jury will see him,” DeGeurin said. . “
Federal brokers seized more than $186,000 in cash from the homes of Hutchison and Busby in February 2020 in reference to the investigation, according to courtroom documents. No charges were filed at the time.
RELATED: Former HISD official charged with kickback scheme