Ex-DISD Chief of Staff to Admit to Kickback Scheme, Probably Regrets Sending Himself Those Incriminating Emails

It's been a while since we had occasion to skewer Dallas ISD Superintendent Mike Miles for a personnel move. Jennifer Sprague, the overpaid and underqualified strategy maven; Miles saboteur Rebecca Rodriguez; chief of staff and FBI target Jerome Oberlton -- they are all long gone.

But now that Oberlton is set to plead guilty to taking $60,000 in kickbacks while overseeing technology for Atlanta Public Schools, it's worth revisiting what a monumentally bad hire he was.

It's not just that Miles hired a chief of staff who appears to have broken federal law. It's that he broke federal law, then used his DISD email account to send himself descriptions of precisely how he had broken federal law.

It came to light during a review of Oberlton's work by DISD investigators. Here's The Dallas Morning News' Matthew Haag:

The DISD investigative report includes two emails that were forwarded from Oberlton's Dallas ISD email account to his private Yahoo account on the day he met with Miles to resign. One includes notes about data warehousing deal in Atlanta with Computech, the Detroit company.

"I received in total about $50K in total kickbacks from the work Computech did with APS," the email says. "I surmised that accepting funds after I left APS would be legitimate and [I] moved on with life until I was met by two FBI agents on March 8, 2013, at my job."

The other email was a journal entry about when FBI investigators met with him at DISD administration building in spring.

"They [FBI investigators] indicated that because I entered into a contract with a company called Computech and accepted funds from them, I would be indicted with a crime. I nearly lost my breath and thought this was some kind of joke or something. ... I am still praying and believing that God will bring a resolution to this case in my favor," the email says.

Instead of praying, Oberlton would have been wiser to not leave such a blatant electronic record of his misdeeds, or to have not accepted kickbacks in the first place.

Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.

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Eric Nicholson
Contact: Eric Nicholson