Former FDA supervisor admits to profiting from maintenance vendor

A former employee with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration pleaded guilty to not disclosing his conflict of interest to the government.
A former employee with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration pleaded guilty to not disclosing his conflict of interest to the government.

Credit: Pattanaphong Khuankaew

Credit: Pattanaphong Khuankaew

A former U.S. Food and Drug Administration supervisor pleaded guilty to not disclosing a conflict of interest involving services performed by a company in which he had a financial interest.

Elvis Gordon pleaded guilty this week to one charge of federal conflict of interest related to his duties as a senior facilities technician.

According to prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia, Gordon, 53, was tasked with scheduling, purchasing janitorial supplies and overseeing the maintenance of the FDA’s district office in Atlanta from November 2010 to December 2017.

During the same period, prosecutors said the Marietta resident had a financial interest in P&E Management LLC, a Georgia-based janitorial and supply maintenance business owned by co-defendant Ivan Ponder.

P&E Management was “continuously selected” as a vendor to clean the Atlanta office, and Gordon paid the organization for its work by using a government-issued credit card in his possession, the feds said.

According to an indictment issued in October 2017, Gordon was able to pay P&E for so long because the amounts he doled out were below the federal threshold required to report those payments.

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P&E Management got contracts worth more than $126,000 at the Atlanta building, prosecutors said. The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Gordon did not disclose his relationship with the company or that he received financial payments from the company.

The indictment also states that in exchange for the government contracts, Ponder covered the car payment of a Cadillac owned by Gordon’s girlfriend for four years, paid for a three-night Florida beach vacation to Destin, a Delta flight for Gordon’s mother and another vacation for Gordon to Savannah.

U.S. Attorney BJay Pak said federal employees, who are in a position of public trust, “must be held to the highest standards of integrity.”

“Instead of exposing his conflict of interest, Mr. Gordon capitalized on it, putting his personal benefit above his obligation to serve the public.”

Ponder, 49, of Hiram, pleaded guilty in July to helping Gordon with his actions. Gordon’s sentencing is set for Nov. 17 before U.S. District Court Judge Mark H. Cohen.

AJC reporter Ben Brasch contributed to this article.

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