Hearing in Tanoos bribery case reset to July 24

Tribune-Star file photoFormer Vigo County schools superintendent Danny Tanoos, right, is shown with his attorney, James Voyles, in this file photo from September 2018. 

A pretrial hearing originally set for Wednesday (June 12) in the Marion County bribery case against former Vigo County schools superintendent Danny Tanoos has been rescheduled to 9 a.m. July 24.

Marion Superior Court 4 Judge Lisa Borges reset the hearing date on her own motion, according to court files available online.

Tanoos faces one count of bribery as a Class C felony, which carries a potential sentence of two to eight years in prison with an advisory sentence of four years. He also faces two counts of bribery as a Level 5 felony, which carry a potential penalty of one to six years in prison with an advisory sentence of three years.

He has maintained his innocence.

The charges filed in September 2018 allege Tanoos solicited and accepted items of value including concert tickets and dinners from an Indianapolis-based employee of a vendor, Energy Systems Group, in exchange for recommendations that ESG be contracted to do work for the school system.

Dating back to 2000, prosecutors said, ESG did $42 million worth of business with the Vigo County School Corp. and made a profit of $11 million. During that time, ESG donated or expensed $100,000 or more to Tanoos or Vigo County School Corp, according to the state.

Tanoos' defense team, led by attorney James Voyles, also has a mid-case appeal pending before the Indiana Court of Appeals. 

That appeal seeks dismissal of the charges. It argues that accepting dinners and tickets from a vendor doing business with the school corporation does not constitute bribery. The mid-trial appeal also raises the argument that any Indiana public official could face prosecution for accepting gifts from an individual or organization.

No date had been set in the Court of Appeals case as of Tuesday morning.