The former subcontractor freed last week after five years in a Cuban jail will receive $3.2 million from the federal government as part of a settlement with the Maryland-based company that employed him at the time of his 2009 arrest. Alan Gross had been working in Cuba to set up Internet access without local censorship for its small Jewish community, but the Cuban government considered such work subversive and sentenced him to 15 years in prison. The US Agency for International Development said in a statement yesterday that an agreement with Development Alternatives Inc. of Bethesda, Md., had been made final this week. Although the statement didn't specify the amount Gross was to be paid, a USAID spokesman said it was $3.2 million.
The USAID statement said that the agreement would resolve claims pending before the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals for unanticipated claims under a cost-reimbursement contract, including claims related to Gross. The USAID spokesman, speaking anonymously, said DAI had sought $7 million; DAI didn't respond to an email seeking comment. USAID said the settlement "avoids the cost, delay, and risks of further proceedings, and does not constitute an admission of liability by either party." In November a federal appeals court upheld the dismissal of a suit filed against the US government by Gross and his wife. They had sued for negligence, arguing that the government sent him into a situation it knew was dangerous. Federal courts said the government was immune from any claim arising in a foreign country. (Read more Cuba stories.)