Eight more Air Force contracts will be investigated
The Pentagon is investigating eight additional Air Force contracts, at least four of them involving Boeing, to determine whether they were manipulated or influenced illegally by Darleen Druyun.
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The Pentagon is investigating eight additional Air Force contracts, at least four of them involving Boeing, to determine whether they were manipulated or influenced illegally by Darleen Druyun, a former Air Force official who was convicted last year of giving Boeing special treatment on a tanker lease deal.
The eight contracts range in value from $42 million to $1.5 billion and their total value is about $3 billion, according to a summary provided by the Pentagon today.
Michael Wynne, the acting chief of Pentagon acquisition programs, told reporters that the eight contracts were identified as suspicious from among 407 reviewed by a team of military and civilian contracting experts. They referred the eight to the Pentagon's inspector general.
The eight are in addition to seven others that already are being investigated. Wynne stressed that it is not yet clear that any of the additional eight have been tainted. They were picked for further investigation because they ``seemed to be out of the normal process.''
The review and investigations are an outgrowth of revelations about Druyun's handling of the multibillion-dollar deal with Boeing that would have allowed the Air Force to lease a fleet of new aerial refueling aircraft. Congress eventually killed the deal because of Druyun's involvement.
Druyun was an Air Force acquisition executive who later was hired by Boeing as a top executive. Druyun pleaded guilty last year and is serving nine months in federal prison.
Boeing's former chief financial officer, Michael Sears, has also pleaded guilty for his role in hiring Druyun. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Friday.
Boeing spokesman Dan Beck said today that the firm would continue to cooperate with the government to resolve any outstanding questions.
``We'll continue to cooperate as these go to the IG and we'll be responsive to every request for information from DoD. If any problems are found, we've got both the will and the processes to fix them,'' Beck said.
The eight contracts that were referred for further investigation were awarded between 1998 and 2002, Wynne said. The contractors involved are Boeing, Lockheed Martin Corp., Andersen Consulting, Systems & Electronics Inc., and Pemco Aviation Group Inc.
The biggest was a $1.5 billion award to a Boeing-Pemco team in 2000-01 for depot maintenance for the Air Force's KC-135 aerial refueling aircraft.
Wynne said the reviews and investigations have not identified any other Air Force acquisition executive, besides Druyun, who acted improperly or illegally in the contracting process.
``It appears what we had here was a fairly straightforward two-person conspiracy,'' said Loren Thompson, a defense analyst for the Lexington Institute in Virginia with close ties to Pentagon investigators. ``There were no wider ramifications.''
The company has maintained that any ethical violations were confined to Sears and Druyun.
Boeing CEO Harry Stonecipher told analysts a week ago that he believed the investigations ``now are all completed.''
By the end of this month, he said, Boeing will ``be able to move forward in settling a bunch of these issues.''