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Ex-Dallas School District Chief Of Staff Pleads Not Guilty In Atlanta Federal Court

Update, 6:20 p.m.: Former Dallas schools Chief of Staff Jerome Oberlton was released on a $25,000 bond Tuesday after pleading not guilty to charges of accepting kickbacks while he worked for Atlanta Public Schools.

Mahendra Patel, Oberlton's partner in the scheme they're both accused of participating in, also was released on bond, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Update, 3:33 p.m.: The Associated Press reports that former Dallas ISD chief of staff Jerome Oberlton has pleaded not guilty to charges of accepting bribes in exchange for awarding a technology contract when he worked for the Atlanta public school system.

Our Original Report: Jerome Oberlton, the Dallas school district chief of staff who quit last week, has been indicted by a federal grand jury. The indictment, which became public Monday, accuses him of accepting $60,000 in kickbacks while he was the technology director for Atlanta's public schools.

According to the seven-count indictment, Oberlton and a man named Mahendra Patel are accused of defrauding the Atlanta district by taking kickbacks from a company trying to get a data warehouse contract.

The indictment says that Oberlton and Patel received checks totaling $60,000 from the company, which is identified as Company A in the indictment. The company, meanwhile, was awarded more than $700,00o in work.

The indictment also accuses Oberlton of hiding from the district that he owned two companies, Global Technology Partners and Global Technology Services, that were paid bribes in the scheme.
In a statement released Tuesday, the U.S. Attorney's Office  desribed the Oberlton and Patel relationship as a friendship that "resulted in them lining their pockets with funds obtained illegally."
Oberlton was the chief information officer for Atlanta schools from 20o4 to 2007 and was responsible for the district's information technology program.
He resigned from DISD last week after telling Superintendent Mike Miles that he expected to be indicted. He's the latest in a string of high-level departures during Miles' first year at the helm.
Oberlton came to Dallas earlier this year after a two-year stint as technology chief of the Baltimore school district, where he also came under fire for spending, including remodeling his executive suite.
You can read the indictment below and the U.S. Attorney's Office press release here.
Oberlton Indictment by KERANews

Stella M. Chávez is KERA’s immigration/demographics reporter/blogger. Her journalism roots run deep: She spent a decade and a half in newspapers – including seven years at The Dallas Morning News, where she covered education and won the Livingston Award for National Reporting, which is given annually to the best journalists across the country under age 35.