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GSA Report Notes Criminal Prosecutions, Omits Doan

POSTED: 04:05 PM ET, 06/20/2008 by Derek Kravitz

"Washington Watchdogs," a periodic feature of the Post's Investigations blog, looks at the findings of the federal government's official investigators.

The watchdog for the General Services Administration, the government's premier contracting agency, had an eventful year in catching government employees with their hands in the proverbial cookie jar.

The agency's semi-annual report, which covers October through March, indicated that the inspector general's office recorded 47 criminal indictments and referrals (32 of which were successfully prosecuted) and $292 million in civil and court-ordered settlements.

The report was also notable in one glaring omission: any reference to the stormy tenure of Lurita Alexis Doan, the former agency chief who was accused of trying to award work to a friend and misusing her authority for political ends.

Among the report's highlights:

-- A joint investigation by eight federal agencies resulted in settlements with two firms that sold the government defective soft body armor, known as bulletproof vests, made of a Japanese material called Zylon. The firms, Hexcel Corp. and Gator Hawk Armor, Inc., agreed to pay more than $15 million to settle the lawsuit.

-- Michael B. Holiday, the 50-year-old former owner of Holiday International Security Inc., admitted to submitting false certifications to federal agencies in order to secure government contracts and Dessie Ruth Nelson, a 65-year-old former General Services Administration contracting officer, was found to have accepted $100,000 in bribes and a Caribbean cruise for steering a contract to the company. Holiday and Nelson both pleaded guilty and U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein called the investigation the largest public corruption case ever prosecuted in Maryland.

-- Employees and contractors of the U.S. Army Medical Command were found to have steered $10 million worth of technology contracts to companies they controlled and owned. The contracts, including one task order for the Madigan Army Medical Center in Fort Lewis, Wash., benefited Communications Technology Inc. and eight shell companies, which laundered the money. The companies gave back $1 milllion to one contractor and agreed to hire the son of another Army contractor without requiring him to actually work. Six men were indicted as part of the bribery scheme.

By Derek Kravitz |  June 20, 2008; 4:05 PM ET Washington Watchdogs
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