Jimmy S. Fox III, special agent in charge of the New Orleans division of the Drug Enforcement Administration, will retire from the agency Friday, according to a Jan. 4 email obtained by The Lens.
Fox has been under fire for possible federal ethics-law violations since a recent Times-Picayune report called the 26-year DEA veteran to task for “putting in” on a bid to monitor a proposed New Orleans Police Department consent decree negotiated by the city and the U.S. Department of Justice.
The Drug Enforcement Administration operates under the aegis of the Justice Department, and The Times-Picayune reported that federal lobbying and ethics laws require a cooling-off period of up to two years for government officials who seek private-sector employment with any company doing business with their former employer.
Four days after The Times-Picayune’s report, on Jan. 4, Fox wrote colleagues from his government email account to say his “last day on the job” will be Friday. In the email, Fox said he was leaving his government job “for a private sector job.”
Fox’s freshly incorporated business, Fox Security Systems, was selected by the Colorado-based KeyPoint Government Solutions to be its disadvantaged-business-enterprise hire, a requirement of all bids for the court monitor.
The city issued the first of two requests for proposals for the consent decree monitor, part of the proposed 492-point agreement, in September. KeyPoint was one of seven companies that bid in the first round; an additional five companies joined in when the city extended the deadline by a month.
On Sept. 24, the city certified Fox Security Systems as a qualified disadvantaged business enterprise. The certification was included in the KeyPoint proposal.
All this happened while Jimmy Fox was still employed with the Drug Enforcement Administration.
The KeyPoint proposal said that Fox would leave his “current position” if the company was selected as court monitor, though it wasn’t clear if that referred to his post at the Drug Enforcement Administration or his board positions for a couple of local nonprofits.
Fox would stand to earn about $3 million over four years (about 35 percent of the $9 million cost) under the terms of the KeyPoint proposal, which said he would be hired as Deputy Monitor, Liaison to Parties.
KeyPoint President and Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Schlanger told The Lens on Wednesday that he didn’t believe there would be any ethical problem if Fox moved immediately from his government job to KeyPoint.
“The rules which are promulgated by the Office of Government Ethics clearly indicate, at least from our reading, that the DEA is deemed a separate agency from the Special Litigation Section of the Department of Justice, which is dealing with the monitorship,” he said. “And as such there would be no problem with Mr. Fox, upon his retirement, working on the project.”
In several places, the KeyPoint proposal indicated that Fox had already left his government post. Schlanger described those inferences as “perhaps inartfully drafted,” but said there was “no intent to mislead anyone” about Fox’s employment status.
One sentence in the KeyPoint proposal reads, “Jimmy Fox III was employed by the U.S. Department of Justice, Special Agent, DEA, from 1987 to 2012.”
He’ll be leaving the job in early 2013, anyway.
“I would like to take this opportunity to bid you all farewell,” wrote Fox in his Jan. 4 email. He did not respond to email or voice mail messages.