The former superintendent of the Vigo County School Corp. will Wednesday appear in federal court in Indianapolis. Danny Tanoos, who retired from the district in May, faces three felony counts of bribery related to contracts awarded to Newburgh-based Energy Systems Group.
A probable cause affidavit made public Monday alleges Tanoos received bribes in the form of dinners, concert tickets and Indianapolis Colts tickets, in exchange for contracts awarded to ESG. The document, filed by the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office, suggests the bribes were made possible through Tanoos’ close relationship with ESG representative Doug Tischbein.
Our partners at WTHI-TV received a statement from ESG regarding the charges:
For the past 18 years, Energy Systems Group (ESG) has proudly partnered with the Vigo County School Corporation to bring energy-saving and infrastructure modernization projects to its schools. Those projects have generated significant energy and cost savings for the school system and its taxpayers and will continue to do so in the coming years. We are surprised and disappointed by the news of criminal charges filed today in Marion County against retired Vigo County School Corporation Superintendent Daniel Tanoos. ESG has and will continue to fully cooperate with law enforcement in the course of their investigation, and we have conducted a separate internal investigation into this matter.
Even though Tanoos retired as superintendent this year, he continued to serve the district as director of safety and security. The VCSC Board of Trustees held executive sessions Monday and Tuesday to discuss the situation and released a statement Tuesday afternoon:
Yesterday, the Vigo County School Corporation was informed of criminal charges filed by the Marion County Prosecutor against a VCSC employee.
Today we have started an investigation, with the assistance of our legal counsel, which will include conducting interviews and following the due process requirements mandated by law. Along with the investigation, VCSC has launched a comprehensive review of School Board policy and administrative guidelines.
A major focus of the review will be vendor relationships, purchasing procedures, and overall school finance.
Tanoos also served as a special deputy with the Vigo County Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff Greg Ewing announced Tuesday he has suspended Tanoos’ special deputy privileges:
Mr. Danny Tanoos who has served as a special deputy with the Sheriff’s Office for many years was suspended yesterday following the criminal charges filed in Marion County. Mr. Tanoos’ special deputy status is contingent upon his duties with the school system. As a result of his administrative suspension by the school board, the nexus no longer exists and therefore his special deputy status has been suspended pending the outcome of this case.