Thursday, June 08, 2006

Tom Casey, Jerry Lewis, Bill Lowery, Audre

Hang on to your hats. (I haven't got my head around the implications of this story yet - as you'll be able to tell)

via TPM
More bad news for Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA). Tonight, Tom Casey, former CEO of now-defunct software company Audre Inc., told NBC News that in 1993 Lewis asked for stock and favors for his friend, lobbyist Bill Lowery, in exchange for a multi-million-dollar earmark:
Casey tells NBC News that after he made campaign contributions to House members of both parties, Lewis informed him the Pentagon would get $14 million for the testing, and that Casey even could write the language.

Lisa Myers: You were allowed to write language for an appropriations bill yourself?

Casey: Yes, I did. That was Congressman Lewis' suggestion.

Casey says Lewis repeatedly urged him to hire a lobbyist, former U.S. Rep. Bill Lowery, Lewis' close friend, and when that didn't happen, pressed for another favor.

Casey: Congressman Lewis asked me to set up stock options for Bill Lowery in our company.

Casey says Lewis suggested he issue the stock options in Canada — in someone else's name.
A curious detail: Tom Casey hired Brent Wilkes (who is accused of bribing Duke Cunningham, throwing hooker parties at the Watergate, etc.) as a consultant in 1992. Wilkes reportedly pushed Casey to aggressively pursue earmarks. Wilkes is also known to have had close ties with Bill Lowery as far back as the early 1980s. It seems like Wilkes' name should be a part of Casey's story to NBC -- but somehow he isn't mentioned.

"We'll be bringing you more details about this shortly. But Lowery is the lobbyist who brings together Wilkes, Cunningham, Lewis and many others all into one nexus of bad acts.

The kettle might be coming to a boil on this one."

For those of you paying really close attention - this is the same company that Richard Carden has claimed is at the center of a whole bunch of shenanigans. I wrote about it a couple of months ago.

From Laura, (in March):
"Wade learned his tricks of the trade from Wilkes, and Wilkes learned some of his tricks, the suit alleges, from Steve Caira, the owner of a San Diego-based document conversion company called TomaHawk II. [Tomahawk II is the supposedly Native American-owned spin-off of a document conversion firm Wilkes consulted for in the 1990s called Audre Recognition Systems -- before Wilkes ripped off the idea and started ADCS that directly competed with it]. And while Cunnigham was first Wilkes' and then Wade's benefactor, according to this lawsuit, Caira's benefactor was Rep. Duncan Hunter. What's also incredible if true is the lawsuit's allegation that Caira gave 15,000 stock shares in his company to the DoD official who awarded Caira's company, TomaHawk II, a Pentagon contract (facilitated by Hunter on the Appropriations committee)."

Hopsicker (Dec05):
"“Tomahawk II” had colorful ties to Brent Wilkes and also to the Mafia’s Gambino Family...

Just as Abramoff’s schemes targeted weak spots in federal law enforcement, such as Indian gaming, Tomahawk II, founded by a Harvard graduate of no discernible Native American ethnicity, appears to have been used to exploit federal laws designed to help Indians gain a foothold in the lucrative defense industry.
Among the (Audre) founders was one Dennis R. Di Ricco of Portola Valley, a former attorney who resigned from the bar in 1989 because charges were pending against him. He was convicted later on tax and obstruction of justice charges.
Di Ricco testified he helped launder hundreds of thousands of dollars and supplied large quantites of cash for use as payola, in the largest record industry payola case in U.S. history, that of Robert Isgro, a record promoter indicted after he was seen meeting with members of the Gambino Mafia family in New York in 1986."
Laura also (somehow?) finds a link to Tommy Kontogiannis. Kontogiannis is the guy who bribed Duke Cunningham and took him to Saudi Arabia, twice, for some indeterminate purpose. Kontogiannis' niece also worked in the Duke's congressional offices.

Back to Carden's lawsuit:
During the Dot Com era Mr. Carden had invented and perfected a process that revolutionized data migration and archiving. As a result of Mr. Cardens’ involvement in this business he had specific knowledge of various schemes to defraud the Government. When the stories of the Congressional fraud began to break, Mr.Carden became aware that the Government was attempting to discover what had happened. After conferencing with the DOJ, Mr. Carden filed his Qui Tam (whistleblower) lawsuit. It should be pointed out that Mr. Carden was not involved in any of the schemes to defraud the Government. He was aware of them as attempts to lure him and his companies into the conspiracy had been offered previously.
and for extra spice, the case apparently also involves Dusty Foggo, and ex-FBI (and ex-CIA director) William H. Webster.

more later as i try to put together a useful narrative

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