RTD Supervisor Found Guilty of Accepting Bribes in Connection with His Official Duties
DENVER – Following a 3-day jury trial before Chief U.S. District Court Judge Marcia S. Krieger, Kenneth P. Hardin, age 62, of Aurora, Colorado, was found guilty late yesterday of three of four counts related to accepting bribes in connection with his official duties as a senior manager at RTD, United States Attorney John Walsh, FBI Special Agent in Charge Thomas P. Ravenelle, and IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Stephen Boyd announced. Hardin, who appeared at the trial free on bond, is scheduled to be sentenced by Chief Judge Krieger on May 16, 2016. The jury deliberated for about two hours before reaching their verdicts.
Hardin was indicted by a federal grand jury on November 5, 2014. He was arrested and made his first appearance in federal court in Denver on November 12, 2014. After a series of detailed hearings, Hardin’s jury trial began on February 1, 2016. He was found guilty of three counts of Bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds, on February 3, 2016. He was found not guilty of a similar count.
According to the indictment as well as facts presented to the jury during trial, Hardin was an employee of the Regional Transportation District in Colorado (“RTD”), holding the position of Senior Manager of RTD’s Civil Rights Division. In that position, Hardin’s duties at RTD included directing and managing the operations of RTD’s Civil Rights Division, which was responsible for furthering civil rights goals through regulatory compliance, complaint investigation, community outreach, and programmatic strategy development. The Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program is one of the programs that fell under the umbrella of RTD’s Civil Rights Division. As the Senior Manager of the Civil Rights Division, Hardin also served as RTD’s Diversity Officer. RTD receives money from federal grants.
Hardin was found guilty of corruptly soliciting and accepting money, on or about the dates listed below, from a person intending to be influenced in connection with RTD business involving more than $5,000.
Date Amount of Bribe
May 15, 2014 $1,000
June 26, 2014 $1,000
September 15, 2014 $2,000
Bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds carries a penalty of not more than 10 years in federal prison, and up to a $250,000 fine per count for each of the three counts of conviction.
“Public officials get paid to make other people’s lives better. When they take money to line their own pockets, we will hunt them down and punish them,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh. “The fact that the jury took just under two hours to return guilty verdicts in this case is a testament to the exceptional skill of the federal criminal investigators and the Assistant U.S. Attorneys who handled this case.”
"The guilty verdict against Mr. Hardin shows public servants are not above the law and must be held accountable for failing to uphold their oath to maintain the public's trust," said FBI Denver Division Special Agent in Charge Thomas Ravenelle.
“Offenders who abuse the public’s trust are inherently more culpable. Mr. Hardin made a conscious decision to deceive and benefit personally at the expense of the citizens of Colorado,” said Stephen Boyd, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Denver Field Office. “This verdict demonstrates our collective efforts to enforce the laws and ensure public trust.”
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation with substantial assistance from the U.S. Department of Transportation Office of the Inspector General. Hardin was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Pegeen D. Rhyne and J. Chris Larson.