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Former NASA chief of staff is indicted

Courtney Stadd is accused of steering $9.6 million from an earth science appropriation to a consulting client.

March 07, 2009|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — A former top NASA official has been indicted on charges of steering $9.6 million in agency funds to a consulting client.

The U.S. attorney's office announced a three-count indictment on Friday against Courtney Stadd of Bethesda, Md., who had served as NASA's chief of staff and White House liaison.

The indictment accuses Stadd of steering money from an earth science appropriation to Mississippi State University, which was paying him as a consultant. Stadd is also accused of lying to NASA ethics officials investigating the matter.

He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted on all three charges. NASA officials on Friday declined to comment on the indictment.

Stadd joined NASA as chief of staff in 2001 and left the agency in 2003.

After leaving NASA, Stadd started a management consulting firm called Capital Solutions that specialized in advising aerospace-related clients, including Mississippi State University's GeoResources Institute, according to the indictment.

Stadd returned to NASA as a consultant in 2005 to help with the transition to new NASA Administrator Michael Griffin, said Scott Pace, a George Washington University professor and Stadd's former deputy at NASA.

The indictment says that Stadd disclosed to NASA officials upon his return that the university was one of his clients, but that he said he was recusing himself from any agency activities related to the client.

The indictment accuses Stadd of using his position in the administrator's office to steer $12 million of $15 million that Congress appropriated for NASA's earth science program to Mississippi, with Mississippi State ending up with $9.6 million through five subcontracts.

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