View Full Version : Cunningham Said To Be Uncooperative

05-10-2006, 02:06 PM
Cunningham said to be uncooperative


By: MARK WALKER - Staff Writer

Randy Cunningham has not been helping federal authorities as they continue to probe the former North County congressman's web of corruption, a top Pentagon investigator said Tuesday.

Rick Gwin, special agent in charge of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service's western regional office, said he is troubled by the lack of assistance, particularly in light of Cunningham's plea agreement that calls for him to tell all that he knows.

"In my opinion, he has not been cooperative and I have not gotten any information from him to further develop other targets," Gwin said in a telephone interview from his office in Mission Viejo. "I was hoping that from a jail cell, he might become more cooperative, but we just don't have the cooperation that I think we should have."

Cunningham pleaded guilty in November to bribery and tax evasion, admitting he took more than $2.4 million in bribes from defense contractors.

K. Lee Blalack, Cunningham's attorney in Washington, declined comment Tuesday when asked about the former Republican's lawmaker's level of cooperation in the weeks since he was sentenced to a little more than eight years in prison.

Immediately after the March 3 sentencing, Blalack said he hoped Cunningham's continuing assistance would ultimately lead to a reduction in his prison time.

Blalack said he talked with Cunningham on the telephone on Tuesday.

"He is doing as well as he can under the circumstances," Blalack said. "He is simply trying to serve his time and take his punishment like a man."

Cunningham remains at a federal correctional center in North Carolina undergoing medical and physical evaluations.

Gwin said the continuing investigation into three unindicted Cunningham co-conspirators and others who may have assisted them in the awarding of defense contracts is a widespread probe with many different avenues.

"This is much bigger and wider than just Randy 'Duke' Cunningham," he said. "All that has just not come out yet, but it won't be much longer and then you will know just how widespread this is."

The fallout from Cunningham's more than five years of taking bribes from defense contractors continues to reverberate from coast to coast.

In Washington on Monday, the No. 3 official at the CIA, Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, announced he is retiring in the wake of last week's resignation by Porter Goss as the spy agency's director.

Foggo's resignation may have more to do with his relationship to Cunningham and Poway defense contractor Brent Wilkes than with Goss' decision to step down.

Reports in The Washington Post and elsewhere Tuesday from unnamed sources said that the FBI had confirmed it is investigating whether Foggo improperly intervened in the awarding of defense contracts to Wilkes' firm, ADCS.

The CIA issued a statement on Foggo's behalf denying he had done anything improper.

The CIA's inspector general also is investigating Foggo's relationship to Wilkes and how ADCS was able to win CIA contracts to provide the agency with bottled water, first-aid kits and other unspecified services in Iraq.

Wilkes is one of three co-conspirators in the Cunningham case who remains under scrutiny by the U.S attorney's office in San Diego, which refuses to comment on the status of its work.

Last month, The Wall Street Journal, citing an unnamed source, reported that Wilkes also provided prostitutes for Cunningham at poker games he sponsored at Washington's Watergate Hotel, a claim that Wilkes' attorney Nancy Luque vehemently contested Tuesday.

"Not only is it absolutely false that Brent Wilkes provided those kinds of services to anyone at any time, it is irresponsible for any news organization to report that something happened just because the FBI is reportedly investigating something," Luque said.

"There is no evidence of any person having said that it happened."

While ADCS remains in business, the building that Wilkes constructed to house the company is for sale and numerous staffers have been laid off, Luque said.

Luque also said there are no ongoing discussions to resolve the case against her client.

"Mr. Wilkes does not believe he has done anything wrong and therefore there is no reason to discuss any kind of resolution with the government," she said.

The status of the investigation into two other unindicted co-conspirators, New York developer Thomas Kontogiannis and his son-in-law, John T. Michael, is unclear. Like their San Diego counterparts, officials at the New York U.S. attorney's office declined comment Tuesday.

Back in San Diego, the government and Cunningham's estranged wife are said to be nearing a deal on her claim to a portion of the sale proceeds from the couple's former Rancho Santa Fe mansion.

Her San Diego attorney, Douglas C. Brown, said he believes the case that Nancy Cunningham is contesting could be settled within a month.

"It has not reached its conclusion, but we are hoping to have some movement in the next four or five weeks to wrap it up," Brown said.

The gated mansion sold in December for $2.6 million, $500,000 more than the couple paid for it in early 2004.

Randy Cunningham forfeited his interest in the sale proceeds when he pleaded guilty.

But Nancy Cunningham has continued to fight the government's claim that it is entitled to all the sale proceeds because the home was bought with her husband's ill-gotten gains.

She contends she is entitled to a portion of the money because part of the funds used to buy the home came from the sale of the couple's former home in Del Mar Heights.

The assistant U.S. attorney handling the home sale case was out of town Tuesday and could not be reached for comment.

The late 2003 sale was the transaction that tipped federal authorities to Randy Cunningham's bribery. Washington defense contractor Mitchell Wade paid the Cunninghams $700,000 more for the home than he would sell it for less than a year later.

Wade pleaded guilty in February to providing more than $1 million in bribes to Cunningham and faces up to 11 years in prison.

Wade's attorneys say he continues to cooperate with authorities, a factor they will undoubtedly argue when Wade is sentenced. He is scheduled to appear in a Washington courtroom on Aug. 26 for a presentence hearing.