Duke Cunningham Bribery Ring: Two Down, Two to Go

Tommy K has now joined Duke Cunningham in prison, with Tommy K being sentenced
to more than eight years and more than a million dollar fine. That leaves Dusty Foggo–presently due to be tried for bribery and then some in the fall in Virginia and currently squabbling over discovery with the government. And Brent Wilkes, who is trying to negotiate bail while he prepares to appeal his conviction.

These guys were all indicted for the gaming of our defense and intelligence contracts using bribes. But the housing crisis has added a nice touch of irony to the equation. Brent Wilkes has had trouble making bail because his southern California real estate has declined in value so much it’s no longer enough to back the $2 million he originally posted for bail.

Burns reinstated the $2 million bail, but wanted current appraisals of any real estate Wilkes would put up to secure $1.4 million of that amount.

Wilkes was short about $600,000 at first. The crash in the real estate market had devalued property previously used to secure the bail.

And Judge Larry Burns was none too happy that–after Tommy K signed a plea deal with the government–he continued to engage in massive mortgage fraud.

Burns also took into account that Kontogiannis continued breaking the law after he pleaded guilty.

“Here you are with your rear end on fire over this Cunningham thing, and you’re out there making bad loans?” Burns said. “I think that’s just brazen.”

So two and a half years after this little bribery ring first became public, its perpetrators are beginning to go to jail.

Howie’s got a good post on the secrecy surrounding Tommy K’s sweet plea deal. Like Howie, I hope that we begin to learn why the government almost gave Tommy K a pass on bribing a Congressman because–they claim–he was cooperating on some counter-terrorism investigation. We saw how Chiquita Bananas similarly got a pass on their crimes, courtesy of Michael Chertoff. I just wonder how many of the folks ripping off middle class home owners in the last several years will, like Tommy K almost did, similarly get a pass.

19 replies
  1. FormerFed says:

    I hope they throw the book at Foggo. There is nothing that burns a career person’s ass more than some inside government puke on the take.

  2. BlueStateRedHead says:

    I am back from lurkingland.

    Nice to be among the weeds with you but a tad disappointed that Arlen Specter was not an excuse-albeit a sorry one–for some Friday Trash talk. Trashing Arlen, of course, not the Patriots thing. Love to know if you think anything is about to roll out in the Sentate that he would want to impede with waste-of-time hearings.

    Your thoughts much appreciated on this matter.

    • PetePierce says:

      I think while the Patriots or anyone else should not be stealing signals via video, that the place to take care of this is supposed to be the NFL, although they obviously didn’t, not the US Senate.

      Roger Goodell as scores of media outlets pointed out last week, will now spend a lot of his time fending off Congress.

    • emptywheel says:

      You know, bmaz and I actually discussed it.

      I don’t think Scottish Haggis is trying to distract. As Sadly No has argued, I just think Haggis is just trying to come up with excuses for his aging QB.

      So Arlen Specter apparently wants an independent investigation to explain why his team’s quarterback was too lazy and out of shape to run a hurry-up offense in the most important game of his life.

      • phred says:

        Ouch ; )

        I would imagine that being a Republican, Arlen is simply trying to think about anything, anything at all, other than politics these days. Now he’s given himself an excuse to shut himself in his den at home with a 6-pack and a remote, where he can hide over the next several months, as he scrutinizes each and every Patriot play looking for tell-tale signs of cheating ; )

  3. PetePierce says:

    It would be great to see Tom Delay and Ralph Reed who ran scores of federal criminal enterprises including the Mariana Islands scams/slavery rings join them.

    • Loo Hoo. says:

      I keep waiting to see headlines…instead, I see DeLay amongst the talking heads. Pimping a book…

      • PetePierce says:

        Yep, welcome to the USA. I’d go after his book proceeds, but although it’s going to take a while, he is going down–the odds are huge against an acquittal. Of course when the trial is over, he’ll appeal and probably remain free on trial so his obnoxious talking head will become a Fox fixture of course.

        Although he isn’t showing it in public, having the pending conviction hanging over his head is taking its toll, and the legal fees are significant. It couldn’t happen to someone more deserving.

        • PetePierce says:

          free on appeal. This has to be one of the longest pre-trial time periods in history. It makes the Nichols motions pale in comparison.

  4. Loo Hoo. says:

    Can you imagine making a plea deal with the government and continuing in the criminal activity? Where do these freaking people get off?

    • PetePierce says:

      That happens a significant percent of the time Loo Hoo, and not just with Sopranoesque people–it happens in a lot of ‘White Collar’ cases.

      It also happens when the line may be somewhat grey, and it has really been encouraged by Bush DOJ’s adoption of DPAs, Deferred Prosecution Agreements. An example of one of those (I’m not saying though in this case that criminal activity continued on the part of the monitored company) and its spin off to hugely enrich cronies of a particular AUSA or US Attorney was the situation with Christopher J. Christie, US Attorney in New Jersey egregiously appointing John Ashcroft’s law firm to oversee Bristol-Meyer’s Squibb.

      Pat Leahy unhappy with new DOJ guidelines

      DPA Bristol-Meyer’s Squibb

  5. MartyDidier says:

    “We saw how Chiquita Bananas similarly got a pass on their crimes”

    Actually it may LOOK like Chiquita got a pass on this round, but not many know about what other criminal situations lurk up ahead for Chiquita (and others involved). And also once the other criminal activities surface we all will them start to see what really was happening with the Gun Running part AND no longer believe the lies and insanity told to us earlier. As they say, hinde site is always 20/20. Beleive me, the party has yet to get started!

    How I know is because I was in a family for more than 26 years who was directly involved in laundering the “Gun Running and Drug money” straight into property using high level administrators in big Banks for hiding ownership. This is by far a massive criminal system of the likes no one has ever seen in history. And to think that this part of it is only one part of many others is astounding.

    Marty Didier
    Northbrook, IL

Comments are closed.