The Suffolk County information technology department commissioner was arrested for allegedly falsifying paperwork as well as lying to the county legislature about signing a $5-million computer software contract without approval, authorities said.
Donald Rodgers pleaded not guilty Thursday at First District Court in Central Islip to a felony charge of filing a false instrument and two misdemeanor counts of official misconduct.
“One charge of official misconduct accuses Rodgers of lying to the Suffolk County Legislature during questioning by lawmakers about whether he had signed an agreement with the Microsoft Corporation,” District Attorney Tom Spota said. “Rodgers said ‘no’ and in fact he had signed it and lied to conceal this fact.”
Prosecutors said that the second misconduct charge was for allegedly ordering a staffer to create a fake requisition number to place on an official Letter of Intent to purchase the computer licenses from Microsoft and Dell corporations.
The felony count stems from his allegedly failing to disclose outside income in his position as president of his own computer firm, Red Dog Design Inc., on a County Financial Disclosure statement he filed with the county Board of Ethics.
The 60-year-old Centereach resident, who County Executive Steve Bellone appointed in April 2012, made $139,943 last year, records show. That doesn’t include the outside income from his company.
His attorney, Alan Abramson, told reporters that “county officials” were aware of his private company and the omission on the disclosure forms were an “error.” Rodgers declined to answer questions after being arraigned.
Transcripts of the June 18, 2013 county legislature meeting show that when Minority Leader John M. Kennedy Jr. (R-Nesconset) asked Rodgers if the agreement had been signed when the commissioner offered the denial that landed him in court.
But, three months prior, Rodgers ordered the fake paper trail “in violation of the standard acquisition process, and in violation of proper county procedures…with the knowledge that the agreement to purchase had not been budgeted, funded, or authorized by Suffolk County,” investigators wrote in court documents.
Except in limited instances, government agencies are required to publicly issue requests for proposals asking companies to bid on contracts before choosing vendors, but Rodgers allegedly sidestepped that process.
Rodgers was released without bail and is due back in court next month. Representatives for Bellone did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Rodgers’ employment status.