ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) - Rod Thompson arrived at the federal courthouse in St. Paul a broken man who has fallen from grace.
The former Shakopee superintendent, who once earned an annual salary in excess of $176,000 dollars, was granted a public defender going forward.
He told the court he has very few assets and is now making $13.50 an hour.
He’s also likely headed to prison after entering a guilty plea to corruptly soliciting a bribe.
“Why not take this to trial?” said Peter Wold, a defense attorney. “Well, because he knows now and knew then that it was improper what he did.”
Thompson admitted as superintendent he had a local firm, ICS Consulting, remodel and finish his Shakopee basement at a $44,000 value, but he didn’t pay a cent.
Instead, the agreement called for ICS to do the work for free and the company would continue to get construction contracts for the district.
Thursday’s plea deal calls for a two-year prison sentence, but that must still be approved by a judge. Sentencing is set for March.
“Him getting a free basement from it was inappropriate for any leader to do,” Wold said. “Rod’s role as educator was to teach responsibility to the kids and he didn’t live that at the time. And he wants to take responsibility now to set the example for them.”
Statement from school district:
In light of the unscrupulous actions of a previous superintendent related to our work with the construction management company ICS, the district has taken the following actions:
Directed the district’s Finance Department to examine our financial and other interactions with ICS for any irregularities.
Directed the employees from ICS currently managing the conclusion of our construction project to have no contact with any employee of Shakopee Public Schools without the express permission of district administrators, and to not be present on any of our school district sites, until further notice.
The statements above are in no way meant to imply any wrongdoing by anyone currently contracted with the district. However, the district is employing an abundance of caution as it relates to this situation.