Thursday March, 20th the Indiana Supreme Court ruled it would not hear Danny Tanoos’ petition to dismiss his case. The case will now move back to the Marion Court and a hearing is scheduled on May 6th.
If Tanoos were to be found guilty and subsequently lose his appeal, he is encourage to know that he only needs to convince one of the three Justices that voted to deny his motion to transfer. The odds are looking pretty favorable for Danny now.
On September 24, 2018 Vigo County School Superintendent Daniel “Danny” Tanoos was charged by the State for three counts of bribery. The Vigo County School Board terminated his contract on Oct. 8, 2018. Some proclaim that weeping and beating of chests filled 686 Wabash Ave.
Tanoos filed a motion to dismiss the charges on October 22, 2018. Tanoos was seeking a dismissal of all the charges against him on the grounds that the charges do not constitute the offense of bribery because “Indiana does not recognize a ‘generalized bribe‘ theory and the allegation that Tanoos would recommend Vigo County School Corporation to award contracts or continue business with ESG (the energy savings contractor awarded over $42million in contracts) was too general. Tanoos maintained the State was required to show “quid pro quo” for any gifts he received.
On March 26, 2018, the trial court issued Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law denying Tanoo’s motion to dismiss. The court said the facts are that in each of bribery counts the State alleges that Tanoos, being a public servant, accepted property that he was not authorized by law to accept, to control the performance of an act related to his function as a public servant.
The State says that Tanoos requested dinner, tickets, donations, and favors of value from ESG, a vendor of VCSC. In return Tanoos, in position as Superintendent, made recommendations to VCSC Board to award contracts to ESG. The VCSC Board always did what Tanoos recommended. While receiving benefits from ESG, Tanoos repeatedly recommended and the School Board repeatedly followed his recommendations. $42 million dollars worth.
The court went on to say in its “Conclusions of Law” that Tanoos, wanting to have the charges dismissed without going to trial, bears the burden of showing as a matter of law that the Charging Information and Probable Cause Affidavit insufficiently show the crimes alleged and do state an offense. He did not.
Tanoos filed with the Indiana Court of Appeals to have his bribery charges dismissed.
December 6, 2019, the Indiana Court of Appeals upheld the trial courts decisions that the case should not be dismissed due to lack of evidence that insuffciently show crimes alleged or state an offense. The Court of Appeals said that there were three specific incidents identified in the probable cause affidavit that allege Tanoos requested dinner, gifts, favors, that were directly related to contract awards.
Tanoos does not dispute the allegations in the affidavit for his motion, he disputes that it was a crime for him to request gifts and favors from a vendor in exchange for his recommendation to award contracts to them.
This is know in Terre Haute as a “Geeb”. Tanoos argues that any geeb he received was just part of building a good working relationship with those that do business with the School Corporation. Tanoos further argues that Indiana Law does not prohibit gifts, and in fact, the Governor of Indiana received gifts of private flights that were worth much more than Colts tickets, and dinner for friends.
Tanoos has now asked the Indiana Supreme Court to Consider his Motion to Dismiss. If the Court does not rule in his favor, Tanoos will face three counts of bribery. That trial has been postponed and rescheduled and will again be rescheduled pending the Supreme Court decision.
Long story short, it may be several more years before the outcome of his bribery charges are ever known, unless he can get the case dismissed.