Former NASA Chief of Staff Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy Involving $600,000 NASA Contract with Mississippi State University
"A former high-ranking National Aeronautics and Space Administration ("NASA") official, Courtney A. Stadd, 55, of Bethesda, Maryland, has entered a guilty plea to conspiracy charges in connection with actions he took to obtain and receive funds from a $600,000 sole-source contract from John C. Stennis Space Center to Mississippi State University ("MSU") on a remote sensing study, United States Attorney Donald R. Burkhalter and NASA Inspector General Paul K. Martin announced today.
At the plea hearing, the defendant admitted that beginning in 2004, Stadd, who previously served as NASA Chief of Staff and White House Liaison, conspired with the NASA Deputy Chief Engineer of Programs [Liam Sarsfield] to allocate approximately $600,000 in NASA funds to one of Stadd's consulting clients, Mississippi State University, which subsequently subcontracted $450,000 of those funds to Stadd's consulting business called Capitol Solutions, also known as Capitol Alliance Solutions. .... In furtherance of the conspiracy, Stadd met with senior government officials in an ill-fated attempt to stop the NASA Office of the Inspector General from continuing to investigate his activities. Stadd admitted that, to further conceal the conspiracy, he created false documents in response to a Federal Grand Jury subpoena."
Keith's note: Personally I have always thought that Lee Sarsfield was a self-serving creep. As such, none of what he has admitted to doing really surprises me. But Courtney Stadd, on the other hand, has always impressed me as being genuinely interested in helping people gain personal access to- and appreciate the value of space exploration. Alas, regardless of my personal impressions, these guys were put in positions of authority in America's space program. And what did they do with that opportunity? According to their guilty pleas they tried to cash in and when they were caught, they tried to cover it up. One word comes to mind: betrayal. In the case of Lee Sarsfield, I am not inclined to shed a single tear. But in the case of Courtney Stadd, despite his admitted criminal activity, I am very, very saddened to see someone with such a clear passion for space exploration end up like this.
Both Sarsfield and Stadd face a maximum imprisonment term of 5 years and a fine of $250,000. Sarsfield was originally supposed to have been sentenced on 24 June 2010. Stadd is scheduled to be sentenced on 18 November 2010. They both deserve to be punished for what they have admitted to doing. I do hope, however, that when his debt is paid to society, that there is a second act for Courtney in space.
Courtney Stadd Joins Liam Sarsfield In Pleading Guilty, Earlier Post