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Second Official Pleads Guilty In Oil Office Scandal

POSTED: 10:34 PM ET, 09/15/2008 by The Editors

A second official from the U.S. Interior Department program that collects oil and gas royalties from private companies drilling on federal land has pleaded guilty to a felony for his part in helping design and award contracts that benefited him after his retirement.

The plea announced today follows a scathing report last week that said officials at the federal office near Denver accepted gifts, steered contracts to favored clients and engaged in drug use and illicit sex with employees of the energy firms whose drilling contracts they controlled in a multi-billion-dollar program, according to federal investigators.

Milton K. Dial, 60, of Las Vegas, was the $142,500-a-year deputy associate director of Minerals Revenue Management, when he arranged a contract for a former colleague who then hired Dial within six months of Dial's 2004 retirement, court records show. Dial's role violated restrictions on former employees of the executive branch.

Dial went to work for a company created out of the home of Jimmy W. Mayberry, 65. of Strawn, Texas. Mayberry pleaded guilty in July to a felony conflict of interest charge in the same scheme that awarded roughly $1.4 million to Mayberry's firm for technical advice to Interior's mineral management program, according to a U.S. Department of Justice statement. Mayberry created requirements for his contract immediately before he retired knowing he would bid on it, according to his plea.

Mayberry is scheduled to be sentenced in November and Dial in December, each facing maximums of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

--Mary Pat Flaherty

By The Editors |  September 15, 2008; 10:34 PM ET Post Investigations
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