Last week I told you about California defense contractor Brent Wilkes.
He was the one who, in addition to this defense contracting company, ADCS, Inc., had also opened up Group W Advisors, his own DC lobby shop and Group W Transportion, a private air carrier that only owned 1/16 of a Lear Jet and had as its primary line of work giving freebie flights around the country to members of Congress like Tom DeLay, Roy Blunt, but mostly our old pal Duke Cunningham, who represents the district where ADCS is located.
Now, when I read that article what jumped out to me was until a few years ago ADCS had an employee by the name of Mitchell Wade. And in case you were wondering, yes, the same Mitchell Wade (owner of MZM, Inc.) who bought Duke's house for 3/4 million dollars over price and bought the boat for him to live on in DC.
The two companies shared a lot in common: tens of thousands of dollars in contributions to Duke, lots of freebies for Duke, etc. And ADCS managed to haul in almost $76 million dollars in defense contracts from 2000 to 2004.
Apparently the Feds think there's some connection too.
This afternoon agents from the FBI, the IRS and DOD's Defense Criminal Investigative Service conducted raids on the offices of ADCS in Poway and Brent Wilkes' home.
Now, we could go back down the list of Duke's cartoonish shenanigans with his attempts to secure a pardon for convicted kickback scammer Thomas Kontogiannis after Kontogiannis bought his boat at double market rates and gave him a bunch of sweetheart loans, or all the rest of the ridiculousness with the other boat and the houses and all the rest of it.
But look at the key points. MZM, $66 million in revenues in 2004. Between 2000 and 2004 ADCS bagged $76 million in defense contracts. $60 million here, $70 million there, pretty soon you're talking about real money. The two companies were connected.
This isn't just a Duke Cunningham scandal. It's a serious defense contracting scandal. And even if Duke says he's not going to run next year, it ain't over.
Late Update: In addition to a lot of flights on their Lear Jet, between 2002 and 2004, Brent Wilkes, his wife Regina and an executive with their company gave $30,000 to Tom DeLay's ARMPAC. Brent Wilkes, Regina Wilkes, various ADCS executives and the ADCS PAC, meanwhile, combined to give approximately $59,000 to Duke and his PAC from 2000 to 2004, all but $6500 of which came in 2001 and 2002.
So Late It's the Next Day Update: As of some time last night, the websites for ADCS, Group W, and seemingly all companies tied to Brent Wilkes are offline.