U.S. pays Alan Gross $3.2 million in settlement

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WASHINGTON (CNN) — The U.S. Agency for International Development has paid Alan Gross $.3.2 million, settling a claim over the former contractor freed last week by Cuba after five years in prison, a spokesman for the federal agency tells CNN.

USAID, the agency which oversees foreign aid, said it finalized the settlement with Development Alternatives, Inc (DAI).

Gross was employed by the Maryland-based company when he was arrested in 2009 trying to provide cell phones and other communications equiment to Cuba’s Jewish community under a USAID program. The U.S. maintained Gross was trying to help Cubans access the Internet as part of democracy-building program in a country where information is tightly controlled.

Gross was serving a 15-year sentence for trying to subvert the Cuban government, but was released last week as part of a landmark deal that paved the way for a restoration of diplomatic ties between the U.S. and Cuba after more than 50 years.

In a statement released Tuesday, USAID said the settlement — agreed to in principle in November — calls for payment by USAID for unanticipated claims under a cost-reimbursement contract, including claims related to Gross. DAI had been seeking $7 million in costs before the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals.

“The settlement avoids the cost, delay and risks of further proceedings, and does not constitute an admission of liability by either party,” the statement said. The USAID spokesman said as part of the settlement agreement, the agency agreed to pay Gross the $3.2 million directly.

Gross and his wife, Judy, filed a $60 million lawsuit in November 2012 for gross negligence against the U.S. government and DAI. They settled with DAI for undisclosed terms in May 2013, and a U.S. district court threw out his claim against the U.S. government. That ruling was upheld on appeal last month.