A liquor distributorship will not be prosecuted by an independent counsel appointed by Attorney General Beau Biden. A former executive for the liquor distributorship made illegal campaign finance contributions to political candidates, including vice president Joe Biden. The non-prosecution agreement between E. Norman Veasey and NKS Distributors was approved by a Superior Court judge on Thursday after a brief hearing.
NKS agreed to settle the issue for $500,000 but did not admit or deny that former company CEO Christopher Tigani gave illegal contributions to various state and county offices.
“We’re just very happy that NKS can begin a new chapter and that this chapter is over,” said current president and CEO Timothy Donnelly.
The $500,000 must be paid by July 16 from money that is made available by a refinancing that the company is undertaking at the moment. NKS also agreed to create and maintain different corporate governance reforms for the upcoming five years. This includes the creation of a code of business ethics and conduct, a policy for whistleblowing and an audit performed by a committee of independent directors.
A lawyer working for Veasey as a special deputy attorney general, Christine Di Guglielmo, said that the agreement for non-prosecution will permit NKS to remain in business and will also save the state of Delaware money that would have been spent on an investigation and prosecution. The agreement also allows the state to recover some of the costs incurred by the hiring of the independent counsel. Di Guglielmo also noted that the agreement will have a deterrent effect for similar behavior in the future. She did say that a successful prosecution would have been a better deterrent.
“Yes, it would, but it would be costly and it’s an unprecedented case,” she said. “There’s a lot of uncertainty in that.”
Tigani was sentenced to two years in federal prison in March for illegal campaign contributions sent to federal candidates. One of those contributions went to Joe Biden’s presidential campaign in 2008. Di Guglielmo said that Veasey will be releasing his final report on the contributions to state and local candidates sometime in the late summer or early fall.
It was alleged that Tigani had reimbursed employees of NKS for their contributions to candidates so as to evade financial limits on contributions made to state and local candidates. Veasey said that NKS could have faced felony prosecution for the actions it took with the campaign contributions. Judge Scott was told that Tigani began the scheme so NKS could receive benefits after Tigani gained influence with the candidates. Tigani’s scheme included $219,800 to state and federal candidates over a span of five years from October of 2003 to December of 2008. Tigani also failed to report his $1 million worth of income from NKS during that same time.
“I was the number one fundraiser for (the candidate’s) bid and will play a role in his new campaign as well as his son’s role as a future senator,” Tigani wrote in an email he sent in 2008 to the president of Anheuser-Busch after Biden was selected as Barack Obama’s running mate. “They are very good and close friends and I know that we can take advantage of that relationship as needed.”