State Department contractor Alan Gross, wife sued company and U.S. government
Settlement only includes company that hired him on State Department contract
Gross jailed in Cuba for smuggling banned satellite communications equipment
State Department says that Gross is not a spy and has urged his release
A State Department contractor jailed in Cuba has reached a financial settlement with the company that sent him to the island, according to court papers filed Thursday.
The amount to be paid to Alan Gross and his wife, Judy, by Development Alternatives Inc. was subject to a non-disclosure agreement, the court filing said.
Last year, the couple sued the company and the U.S. government for $60 million. The settlement does not include the government.
The company hired Gross to fulfill a U.S. Agency for International Development contract to connect private citizens to the Internet in Cuba, a scarce commodity on the island.
But Gross was arrested in 2009 after arriving in Cuba. He was later sentenced to 15 years in jail for smuggling in banned satellite communications equipment to the island and trying to destabilize the Cuban government.
Gross argued that his work wasn’t political and he was trying to connect Cuba’s tiny Jewish community to the Internet.
In the lawsuit, Gross’ attorney’s argued that he was not warned by Development Alternatives Inc. that his work could run afoul of Cuban authorities.
“We have been clear from day one that Alan’s safe return to his family is our first priority,” Jim Boomgard, the company’s president and chief executive, said in a joint statement with Judy Gross. “Settling this litigation allows us to work together on that overriding goal.”
“We are very pleased that DAI has committed to help address the injuries sustained by our family,” Judy Gross said in the statement. “We want Alan back home, safe and sound.”
Last year, Cuban authorities offered to discuss to Gross’ case with the United States as well as that of five Cuban agents jailed in the United States on spy charges.
But the State Department refused to discuss a possible swap, saying Gross is not a spy and that shaky U.S.-Cuba relations will not improve until he is released.