Executive Says No One Indicated Consultant Was Paying Bribes
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) _ A business executive charged in the Pentagon fraud case testified today that no one at his company ever indicated that one of the firm’s consultants was paying illegal bribes to a Navy official.
Dale Schnittjer, a former vice president at Teledyne Electronics in Newbury Park, Calif., was the third of three defendants to take the stand in his defense in the trial in U.S. District Court.
On Thursday, Schnittjer’s associates at Teledyne, George Kaub and Eugene Sullivan, also denied they knew about illegal activities carried out by William Parkin, a private consultant Teledyne had hired in 1985. The three defendants are charged with bribery, conspiracy, wire fraud and making false statements.
Schnittjer’s testimony came at the tail end of the defense’s case. Before U.S. District Judge Richard Williams sent the jury home for the weekend, Thomas Keenan, Schnittjer’s former boss at Teledyne Continental Motors in Muskegon, Mich., testified the defendant is a man whose ″honesty and integrity were impeccable.″
Williams said he would ask attorneys to make their closing arguments on Monday before letting the jury deliberate.
Schnittjer, Sullivan’s successor, said he arrived at Teledyne Electronics in the summer of 1987 nearly two years after Parkin was hired for $10,000. Parkin’s 1985 contract called for him to receive $150,000 for future work should Teledyne be awarded a $24 million contact to build hand-held radar equipment. The Pentagon selected Teledyne for that job in July, 1987.
At a meeting of Teledyne executives after the awarding of the contract, Schnittjer said ″there was a general feeling that Teledyne Electronics had an obligation″ to honor the deal with Parkin ″because the (radar) contract had been awarded,″ Schnittjer said.
At the meeting, Schnittjer said no one indicated Parkin had done anything illegal to help secure the contract. Parkin, who has pleaded guilty in the case and is cooperating with the government, testified he bribed a Navy official for inside information about the radar contract.
In a related matter, Joseph E. Hill, 76, of Mineola, N.Y., was sentenced to one year unsupervised probation and fined $20,000 for making illegal campaign contributions to congressional campaigns. Hill, a private consultant, pleaded guilty to the four misdemeanor counts earlier this year.
He acknowledged that he channeled corporate contributions to the campaigns of unwitting congressional candidates as part of a scheme organized by several former executives of Unisys Corp. Hill is one of about a dozen people who have pleaded guilty in the wide-ranging government investigation of Pentagon procurement known as ″Operation Ill Wind.″
The only people to be tried in the case so far are Schnittjer, Sullivan and Kaub.
In testimony Thursday, Sullivan and Kaub said they never looked into what type of business Parkin operated because the man had a stellar reputation in defense circles.
On the witness stand, Sullivan and Kaub vehemently denied they knew anything about Parkin’s illegal activities.
They said he was hired for $10,000 in November 1985 to help the firm reverse a decision to give the contract to a minority business firm.
After Teledyne was awarded the job, Parkin repeatedly called the Teledyne executives seeking the $150,000 he said was due from the firm because he helped the defense contractor win the bid.
During the trial, the government played tape-recorded conservations of wiretaps they had placed on the telephones of the defendants and Parkin. Kaub said most of the conversations he had were Parkin ″ranting and raving and I didn’t pay any attention to it.″
Sullivan, who occasionally used salty language, was asked his reaction to hearing the tapes. ″I may change my ways,″ he said.
But both men said they had full confidence in Parkin’s capabilities because he had been a respected official with the Navy, ending his government career in 1983 as the director of acquistions for the Joint Cruise Missile Project.
Noting that Parkin worked as a private consultant for a number of big companies such at Boeing, Kaub said, ″you have to make an assumption that he is in fact doing legitimate work.″
Sullivan said he knew that Parkin employed associates in his business, but he never inquired about their identities.
Parkin said he had partners who were working in private industry.″They didn’t want their names revealed,″ he said.