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Originally published Saturday, October 1, 2005 at 12:00 AM

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Druyun released after nine-month stint in federal prison

Darleen Druyun, the former Air Force acquisition chief who admitted to helping Boeing improperly secure contracts, is out of prison.

By Bloomberg News

Darleen Druyun, the former Air Force acquisition chief imprisoned for violating federal conflict-of-interest laws during negotiations with Boeing, was released yesterday.

Druyun, 57, served nine months at a medium-security facility in Marianna, Fla. She was also fined $5,000 and ordered to serve three years of community service.

Druyun and Michael Sears, Boeing's chief financial officer, discussed Druyun's hiring during negotiations on a $23 billion deal in which the Air Force would buy or lease as many as 100 Boeing 767 aerial-refueling planes. Druyun subsequently went to work for Boeing. Sears also was convicted and served four months in prison.

There were wide repercussions from the scandal. Two senior civilian officials in the Air Force, one of them the service's secretary, James Roche, went into early retirement. Plans to replace the aging fleet of aerial-refueling planes are on hold. The position of acquisition chief remains vacant.

The Pentagon last year assumed oversight of the Air Force's top acquisition programs until the service has a new acquisition chief and fills other key vacancies.

Druyun's conviction triggered 51 reviews — of contracts, Air Force procedures, Pentagon acquisition practices and conflict-of-interest regulations — then-acting Air Force Secretary Michael Dominguez told the Senate Armed Services Committee in April.

One consequence was that the Air Force said Boeing must compete again for work worth $3.3 billion to upgrade avionics on C-130 transports. The U.S. Government Accountability Office, a congressional watchdog agency, concluded Druyun improperly steered the original contract to Boeing.

The Air Force also is opening to competition a portion of its contract to build a new small satellite-guided bomb that had been awarded to Boeing.

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