H/T to Joseito!
Letter to the Editor at the Miami Herald:
In March 2007 I resigned as Special Assistant to President Bush. I did so a week before press reports disclosed that I had been involved in the theft of funds while employed at the Center for a Free Cuba. After months of cooperating, first with the Center, and then with the federal government, I pleaded guilty to one count of theft concerning programs receiving federal funds. For months now, rumors have circulated regarding the nature of the theft. I would like to clear things up.
While I worked at the Center, my assignment was to procure shortwave radios and other equipment to be shipped to Cuba in support of USAID's programs to strengthen civil society on the island. Without the knowledge of the Center's staff or its directors, I bought bulk shipments of radios from the cheapest vendor through two companies that I created and controlled. I then resold the equipment to the Center at a higher price than I paid for it, making my self a de facto middle man and keeping the profits, which I used for personal expenditures.
Though the Center always received the radios and other equipment it ordered at a price and quality equal to previous purchases, it was my obligation to get the best price I could for the equipment and pass it along to the center without making any personal profit.
I breached that duty, violated the trust of an old friend, damaged the reputation and operation of the Center and humiliated my family. My family has been subjected to criticism, speculation and investigation. Furthermore, I violated my own standards of integrity and the sense of honor that my family instilled in me. I committed this betrayal for selfish reasons.
Granma, the Cuban government's daily newspaper, alleged that this theft was a part of a conspiracy orchestrated by Frank Calzon, executive director of the Center, Adolfo Franco, former assistant administrator at USAID, and other USAID officials. Granma also alleged that the funds were used for domestic propaganda, political campaigns and other schemes. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Calzon is an honest Cuban patriot who has dedicated his life to the cause of freedom in Cuba. He was nothing more than a victim of my actions. I regret that they have destroyed our friendship and damaged the organization he worked so diligently to establish. Furthermore, Franco and all officials from USAID with whom I dealt while at the Center and the White House were professionals who worked tirelessly to promote democracy abroad.
I have repaid all the profit I made, with interest, to the Center and I accept full responsibility for my actions. I would like to say that I have made full restitution, but that is not the case. The Center has suffered suspension of its contracts and decreases in funding that I hope will be restored but that I cannot remedy. No matter how many times I say I am sorry, it would not be enough; not enough to restore the honor lost by my family, the Center's reputation and that of its directors, the trust of former colleagues and the delay in freedom for the people of Cuba.
Nevertheless, I regret my actions and am sorry.
FELIPE E. SIXTO, Miami