The former Dallas County Schools superintendent who oversaw school bus transportation agreed to plead guilty to federal wire charges, reports NBCDFW.com.
Rick Sorrells, who appeared on the September 2016 cover of School Transportation News magazine for an article on the government agency’s adoption of on-board tablets for managing school bus routes, admitted to receiving more than $3 million in bribes and kickbacks in exchange for entering into $70 million in contracts with school bus stop-arm camera manufacturer Force Multiplier Solutions.
Voters last fall approved the dissolution of DCS, which was formed by the state legislature 90 years ago, to provide educational support services, such as transportation, to the area’s school districts. Nine school districts, including Dallas Independent Schools, were forced to either bring transportation in-house or contract out the service for the coming school year.
The DCS scandal included a $25 million real estate deal for new school bus facilities and the purchase of camera systems that were never installed.
Force Multiplier also created fake agreements, invoices and loan documents tied to Sorrells, who NBC 5 said made payments on the items, only to have the funds return to him. The report also said Sorrells used some of the money to purchase a luxury apartment building in New Orleans—next door to one owned by Force Multiplier—which has since gone out of business, as well as sports cars and jewelry.
Sorrells forfeited the property as part of his plea deal. He also faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of at least $250,000.
Meanwhile, Dallas County taxpayers must continue to pay off millions in debt that has been accumulated by DCS.