Former NASA Chief of Staff Gets 3 Years in Contract Case
Former NASA chief of staff Courtney Stadd was sentenced Nov. 18 in Gulfport, Miss., to 41 months in federal prison on a conspiracy charge related to a $600,000 NASA remote sensing study contract he steered toward a consulting client.
Stadd also was ordered to pay a $7,500 fine and $287,000 in restitution to NASA.
Stadd, 55, of Bethesda, Md., was convicted in 2009 of breaking ethics laws in steering nearly $10 million in NASA funds to Mississippi State University — a consulting client — when the former chief of staff returned to NASA in mid-2005 for a two-month stint as a special government employee to help incoming NASA Administrator Mike Griffin reorganize the agency. He was fined $2,500 and sentenced to three years of probation and six months of house arrest.
Last December, U.S. Attorney Donald Burkhalter secured a nine-count indictment charging Stadd with conspiring with a NASA official to steer money to his consulting firm and submitting invoices for work he did not perform. During a court appearance in August before U.S. District Judge Sul Ozerden, Stadd pleaded guilty and admitted that beginning in 2004 he conspired with the NASA deputy engineer of programs, Liam Sarsfield, to allocate NASA funds to Mississippi State for a $600,000 remote sensing study. Some $450,000 of those funds was subcontracted to Stadd, who subsequently paid a newly retired Sarsfield $87,000 for his work on the study. Stadd also admitted to submitting falsified invoices to Mississippi State and meeting with senior government officials to try to stop a NASA inspector general investigation of his activities, the U.S. Justice Department said in August.
Sarsfield pleaded guilty last November to a charge of conflict of interest and was sentenced Sept. 27 to three years’ probation, fined $5,000 and ordered to pay $87,752 restitution to NASA.