A former U.S. official who’s a defendant in a whistle-blower lawsuit against Gallup pleaded guilty to using his job overseeing government contracts for personal gain.
Timothy Cannon, 63, formerly the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s human capital division, pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court in Washington to one felony count of conflict of interest.
Cannon expressed an interest in working for a company that was seeking a FEMA contract and “was instrumental” in its procurement of a five-year, $6 million award, Assistant U.S. Attorney David Johnson said in a hearing before U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson.
“We would agree that Mr. Cannon had a role in this contract,” said David Schertler, Cannon’s attorney.
Gallup isn’t named in court records in the criminal case. Prosecutors and the charging document referred to “Company A,” which oversaw “the BEST Workforce Initiative,” a FEMA program that, according to the agency’s website, was managed by Gallup. Gallup’s operational headquarters is in Omaha.
William Kruse, Gallup’s in-house counsel, said in an emailed statement, “Since these allegations and charges were not against Gallup, there is nothing Gallup can comment in regards to this development.”
Kruse said the “civil case against Gallup was based on the false allegations of a former disgruntled employee. I am confident that there were no illegal actions taken by Gallup staff on government contracts or any other contract for that matter.”
In the whistle-blower lawsuit, Gallup is accused of overbilling the U.S. on polling for federal agencies and offering a job to Cannon as it sought additional funding from FEMA. A Gallup executive described Cannon as the company’s “internal advocate” at FEMA, according to the lawsuit brought by Michael Lindley, a former Gallup employee, and joined last year by the Justice Department.
Gallup caused more than $10 million in overpayments by inflating the time required to fulfill contracts for the U.S. Mint, the State Department and other agencies, according to the suit.
Cannon faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 when he is sentenced April 9.