Wednesday, July 8, 2009
All five defendants in the alleged bribery case involving San Diego defense contracts pleaded not guilty in federal court.
Two Federal employees and two defense subcontractors lined up in white jump suits while their attorneys negotiated bail with the Judge. Gary and Kelly Alexander are employees of SPAWAR, the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command based on Pacific Highway. Their defense attorney explained that they have already faced bankruptcy four times and the bank has foreclosed on their San Diego home.
Federal prosecutors allege the Alexanders accepted over $300,000 in cash, a gold Rolex and a Palm Springs vacation from Elizabeth Ramos and Louis Williams, owners of a National City company, Technical Logistics Corporation (TLC). In return, the Alexanders allegedly steered almost $5 million in federal defense subcontracts to TLC. The company, which has about 30 employees, is still doing business with the federal government, pending the outcome of the case.
The sub contract is small -- a drop in the bucket compared to the multi-million-dollar contracts awarded every year by SPAWAR. A so-called “small business” award to a San Diego company last year was worth more than $200 million.
But this case has embarrassed the giant defense department agency, which has an annual budget of $9.8 Billion. An official statement says, “The alleged actions of these two employees are not representative of the thousands of SPAWAR employees and contractors who continually demonstrate their commitment to excellence and maintain the highest standards of conduct each day”
The accused face maximum prison terms of several decades if found guilty on all charges of wire fraud, bribery, conflict of interest and false tax returns.
The court hearings begin in two weeks.