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Officials Confirm Investigation Underway At Helicopter Firm With AM-Defense Contractors

May 16, 1985

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) _ The U.S. Attorney’s office is conducting an investigation into possible overcharges on government contracts by Bell Helicopter Textron, officials confirmed Wednesday.

″I can tell you an investigation is going on, but I can’t comment about anything else,″ said Army Col. J.E. Hyers, the ranking Department of Defense observer at Bell’s Fort Worth plant.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Wednesday that the alleged overcharges could amount to $15 million.

Carl Harris, Bell’s chief spokesman, said the company believed it would be cleared.

″Bell Helicopter Textron is aware of an investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Fort Worth,″ said Harris. ″There are many such investigations for alleged overcharging of the government currently under way around the country.″ Harris declined to say what charges are being investigated or what period the probe covers. But he said Bell is cooperating fully with federal investigators.

″We are confident there has been no overcharging by Bell and that this is what the investigation will find,″ Harris said.

Deputy U.S. Attorney Ron Eddins declined to comment on the investigation.

Meanwhile, a report released Wednesday by the House Armed Services Committee in Washington said auditors challenged $2.7 million that Bell billed the government in 1981, but higher-ups disallowed only $579,059 of the questioned charges.

The two investigations are separate, officials said.

The questioned charges amounted to 1.4 percent of Bell’s $187.9 million bill to the government that year, and were for advertising, travel, meals and parties, and use of company aircraft.

Bell is part of Textron’s Aerospace and Electronics Group. Textron had sales of $3.4 billion in 1981, of which Bell accounted for about $865 million.

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