Affidavit Alleges Consultant, Contractors Paid Off Pentagon Official
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Government investigators probing fraud in Pentagon contracting alleged in documents unsealed Tuesday that a top Air Force official received ″payments and other gratuities″ in exchange for his help for a defense consultant and contractors, a published report said Wednesday.
Victor D. Cohen, deputy assistant Air Force secretary in charge of buying tactical command, control, communications and computer systems, ″used his official position″ to help consultant William Galvin and his clients, including Unisys Corp., Loral Electronic Systems Division and Cubic Corp., The Washington Post reported.
″Cohen’s participation has ranged from providing Galvin’s clients with proprietary information to structuring procurements in a manner that eliminates competition,″ said the affidavit, which was filed in court last June. It was released by a federal magistrate in Hyattsville, Md., on Tuesday in response to a lawsuit by the Post.
″Cohen’s assistance to Galvin’s clients can clearly be traced to illegal payments and gratuities provided to him by Galvin or the clients,″ said the affidavit, which was filed to support a search of Cohen’s house in Potomac, Md. The affidavit apparently gave no total, but mentions that an earlier investigation of Cohen revealed a $2,500 check from Galvin to Cohen in January 1982.
Cohen’s attorney, Seymour Glanzer, did not answer a telephone call to his home late Tuesday night. The Post said Galvin’s attorney also was not available for comment.
Prosecutors have said they have evidence that consultants - including some former high-level Reagan administration officials and former high-ranking military men who work for the nation’s largest defense contractors - bribed Pentagon officials for information vital to winning contracts worth billions of dollars.
There have been no indictments in the case, which was revealed in June when FBI agents raided more than 40 locations. Those locations included Cohen’s home and office, as well as the offices of Galvin and his stepson, Kenneth F. Brooke. Cohen, whose phone was tapped, has been relieved of contracting responsibilities, as have four other Pentagon employees who have been subjects of the more than two-year investigation.
The Cohen affidavit indicates that Cubic President Colvin Wellborn had complained to Galvin that Cohen had ″stalled for six months″ on providing an acquisition plan.
″Cohen’s willingness to assist Cubic in obtaining government contracts can be traced to what is believed to be the receipt of a payment from Cubic,″ the affidavit said.
Two other affidavits also were released Tuesday in Hyattsville.
One alleged that ″investigation of Unisys activities demonstrates that (former Unisys vice president and later company consultant Charles) Gardner and others have sought to corruptly influence congressional legislation on defense programs through payment of monies and gratuities to selected congressmen.″
That affidavit concerned the search of the home of Richard Seelmeyer, a former aide to the late Rep. Joseph A. Addabbo, D-N.Y. Seelmeyer, of Berwyn Heights, Md., operated an airplane Unisys used to provide flights for members of Congress.
Charles F.C. Ruff, a Unisys lawyer, told the Post he had ″absolutely no knowledge of or any comment about any attempt to corruptly influence or the payment of gratuities to any congressmen.″
The affidavit refers to wire-tapped conversations in which ″Gardner has made references on several occasions that if Seelmeyer was to talk, he could do a lot of damage, in particular in reference to Congressman (Roy) Dyson’s trip to New York in May 1988, in which Seelmeyer apparently had a role in planning.″
″I didn’t have any role in making that trip,″ Seelmeyer told the Post. ″I knew they were going up there but that was it.″
Dyson, D-Md., has denied that there was any impropriety in his trip to New York, during which he visited a Unisys facility.
Dyson and several other congressmen were mentioned early in the case, prompting a visit to Capitol Hill by U.S. Attorney Henry E. Hudson, who is running the wideranging investigation.
Members of Congress who attended the closed meeting said later that no congressman was a target of the investigation. But Hudson said in October that he ″never made such a statement.″ He said he only told them that ″no member of Congress had been the subject of electronic surveillance, had received a subpoena to testify in front of the grand jury at that time or had been the subject of a search warrant.″
The third affidavit unsealed Tuesday, the Post said, supported the search of the Rockville, Md., home and office of consultant Bill Sanda, who allegedly worked with consultant William Parkin to provide inside information to Unisys and other defense contractors. Parkin also has been the subject of searches.
A source said in November that Parkin would be among the first people charged in the Pentagon bribery case ″unless he comes in and cuts a deal, which he is not going to do.″
Parkin has told reporters that he believes he broke no laws in running his Alexandria, Va., consulting business.