September 24, 2018

Former Vigo Co. Superintendent Facing Felony Bribery Charges

Daniel Tanoos served as superintendent of Vigo County School Corporation for 20 years. - Barbara Brosher/ WFIU-WTIU News, file

Daniel Tanoos served as superintendent of Vigo County School Corporation for 20 years.

Barbara Brosher/ WFIU-WTIU News, file

Former Vigo County School Corporation Superintendent Daniel Tanoos is facing three felony counts of bribery.

The charges were filed Monday in Marion County, and are connected to events that allegedly took place in 2013 and 2014.

Court documents accuse Tanoos of accepting meals, event tickets and miscellaneous items from an employee at Energy Systems Group, a guaranteed energy savings contractor. The documents allege ESG employee Doug Tischbein gave Tanoos the gifts in an effort to ensure and maintain a contract with the school corporation.

The investigation looked into the expenses of both ESG and Tischbein from 2006 to 2016.

The documents show Tischbein expensed dinners for Tanoos and other VCSC officials, although no ESG employees were present. He also supplied Tanoos and other district officials with tickets to Colts games, the Indianapolis 500 and sporting events in select years.

Court documents claim more than $18,000 was spent in that time, not including sporting tickets or money spent by Tischbein but not expensed through the company. ESG also gave more than $83,000 in donations related to VCSC.

The case highlights three specific incidents. In August 2013, Tanoos allegedly solicited from Tischbein a dinner and tickets to a Colts game for his friends and family. According to the affidavit, Tanoos asked for the tickets after Tischbein asked about a different county school corporation, “for an opportunity to do a project there.”

The document also lists a dinner in July 2014, which Tanoos solicited after alerting Tischbein to a competitor’s interest in pursuing a contract with VCSC. Neither Tischbein nor any other ESG employees attended the $1,000 dinner, and Tischbein did not list it as a business expense.

And in August 2014, Tanoos allegedly solicited tickets to a concert, complete with a limousine and complimentary liquor. The request was made near the end of an ESG contract.

The documents allege that Tanoos solicited some of these gifts, and in exchange, supported ESG in its pursuit of contracts with the school corporation. While Tanoos did not vote to approve those contracts, he spoke in favor of them to the school board. Each contract was approved by the board.

Tanoos is scheduled to appear in court for an initial hearing on Wednesday morning.

Tanoos served as superintendent of VCSC for 20 years until retiring this summer. Tanoos said in June that he would stay on at VCSC until the end of December to mentor new superintendent Rob Haworth as he transitioned into the position.

The school corporation suspended him Monday from his current position as director of safety.

An FBI investigation that began in 2016 found two former Vigo County school officials guilty in a multi-year kickback scheme that federal authorities say cost the district more than $100,000.

The VCSC office has not returned a call for comment. Tanoos could not be reached for comment.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. This post has been updated.

Read the Affadavit for Probable Cause:

Daniel Tanoos - Probable Cause by on Scribd

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