NEW ORLEANS — A contractor who was preparing to plead guilty to a minor role in the bid-rigging and kickback case at Orleans Parish Prison has died.
John Killeen, an electrical contractor referred to as “Businessman B” in court papers, died of pancreatic cancer after he was granted a deferral in his case. He had previously agreed to enter into a plea bargain and cooperate with authorities, but the culmination of that deal in court had been postponed due to his illness, his attorney Vinny Mosca said.
Three people previously pleaded guilty in the ongoing case.
Former OPP maintenance chief Gerard Hoffman Jr. and former purchasing director John Sens pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery for rigging bids and accepting payoffs from sheriff's office contractors.
Killeen was one of those contractors.
In the court documents detailing the actions of Hoffman, Killeen – referred to as “Businessman B” – is accused of providing less than $10,000 worth of kickbacks to Hoffman in the form of a trailer and storage container, as well as providing free electrical work at Hoffman’s home.
Killeen’s role in the case was similar to that of contractor Richard Molenaar III, whose companies did air-conditioning and mechanical work at the jail complex. Molenaar pleaded guilty to conspiracy and continues to cooperate with the federal authorities along with Sens and Hoffman.
In his guilty plea, Molenaar admitted providing kickbacks valued at nearly $60,000, including a swimming pool installed in Sens’ Mississippi vacation home as well as about $30,000 in cash.
Eyewitness News broke the news last year about federal grand jury subpoenas being issued in connection with Orleans Parish Prison contracts.
Hoffman worked at the sheriff’s office from 1976 to 2012, while Sens worked at the sheriff’s office in 2006 and started as a POST-certified deputy at Orleans Parish Prison.