Gross to receive $3.2 million from federal government

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Ron Halber (left), JCRC executive director, and Steven Rakitt, CEO at Jewish Federation of Greater Washington (right) welcome Alan Gross home with a visit to the federation's new building.
Ron Halber (left), JCRC executive director, and Steven Rakitt, CEO at Jewish Federation of Greater Washington (right) welcome Alan Gross home with a visit to Rockville.

Alan Gross will receive $3.2 million from the federal government to cover expenses he occurred during his five years in a Cuban prison.

The U.S. Agency for International Development announced Tuesday that it would pay the money under a contractual agreement. Under the terms of the agreement, USAID will make payment directly to Gross, according to a spokesperson from USAID.


Gross had been working for the Development Alternatives Inc. of Bethesda, bringing Internet access to Cuba’s small Jewish community, when he was arrested in 2009 after being accused by Cuban authorities of trying to instigate a “Cuban Spring.” He was sentenced to 15 years in prison and served five.

He was freed Dec. 17 on humanitarian grounds as President Barack Obama announced new diplomatic relations with Cuba.

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“The settlement avoids the cost, delay and risks of further proceedings, and does not constitute an admission of liability by either party,” according to a Dec. 23 press release from USAID.

The DAI had sought a $7 million payout, according to a spokesperson. The smaller amount was agreed to in November and was not related to his release, according to the spokesperson.


The money awarded to Gross is connected to his legal fees and other expenses. According to the spokesperson, the DAI and USAID did not reach an agreement on whether Gross’ expenses were reimbursable but rather decided to pay the $3.2 million “given the cost, delay, risks, and uncertainty of further proceedings.”

On Monday, Gross and his wife, Judy, visited the Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington and the Jewish Community Relations Council to express their thanks for their efforts to help free him. He lit Chanukah candles while at the JCC.

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