Papers Misidentified Corrupted Defense Official in Wade Plea

At MZM, Inc., it really was all in the family.

In today’s Daily Muck, I noted that in their story on Mitchell Wade’s guilty plea, The Washington Post identified the anonymous Defense Department “Official” as Robert Fromm. In that they differed from the Times and the SDUT, each of whom said that the unnamed official was William S. Rich, Jr.

According to the plea, after Wade arranged for his son to work for MZM, the “Official” gave Wade all sorts of help in winning contracts with the Defense Department. This went on for at least a year and a half until the “Official” decided just to go ahead and make things official and moved over to MZM himself.

This seemed like a perfect description of Rich, whose son worked for MZM and who himself eventually moved over to MZM.

I thought so too, and said this morning that I thought the Post had got it wrong.

But it turns out there was just so much corruption at MZM that it’s hard to keep the father-son sweatheart deal duos straight. In other words, yes, there was another father/son combination.

Walter Pincus at the Post, who reported on Rich’s work for MZM last year, told me that according to his sources, Robert Fromm’s son went to work for MZM in February, 2002. That matches up with the facts in the plea, which also says February, 2002. Rich’s son, William Scott Rich III, didn’t go to work for MZM until December 2002. Furthermore, Rich left the Pentagon to work for MZM in September 2003, long before the “Official” in the plea agreement, who left for MZM in July, 2004.

So there you have it: two defense officials, both in a position to help Wade win contracts, both of whom had sons go to work for Wade, and then went over themselves to work at MZM.

According to Pincus’ story last year, at least 16 Defense Department employees made their way over to MZM. Who knows how many other father/son or mother/daughter combinations were united there?

All apologies to the Post – and as for Robert Fromm, he’ll be making his Grand Ole Docket debut later in the day.

(Late Update: We’ve added the “Statement of Offenses” from Wade’s guilty plea to the TPM Document Collection. And Fromm has arrived in the Grand Ole Docket.)