Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Peace Corps' Chief in Botswana Fired over Remodeling Work

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Peace Corps' Chief in Botswana Fired over Remodeling Work

Article excerpt

The Peace Corps director in Botswana set up an illegal loan scheme to remodel his house with such renovations as gold-plated fixtures and a Jacuzzi, prosecutors say.

The director, Howard Steverson, has been fired, but he denies the charge.

A federal indictment charging Steverson with conspiracy and four other felonies said that none of the work had been approved by the Peace Corps or by Botswana, which provides housing for Peace Corps staff members.

The indictment alleges that Steverson illegally obtained a government guarantee for a bank loan financing the work and then devised a system of invoices and multiple payment of bills to pay off the loan and the interest.

Steverson's lawyers, Barry Coburn and Roberto Iraola, said Friday that the director had full authority to undertake improvements on the Peace Corps residence.

"Mr. Steverson did not own the residence he is accused of improperly upgrading, and other residential buildings used by Peace Corps personnel in Botswana were upgraded during the same time period covered by the indictment," said a statement by the firm Coburn & Iraola. …

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