Nov. 16, 2004 – A top Boeing executive admitted in court yesterday that while his company was working out a contract with the Department of Defense, he offered a job to the person representing the Air Force at the negotiation table. The guilty plea today by Boeingâ€™s former chief financial officer, Michael Sears, came after Darleen Druyun, the Air Force official with whom Boeing was negotiating, admitted that she had allowed the company to charge taxpayers excessively for refueling tankers. Druyun had then left the Air Force to take a preferred position at Boeing.
In spite of the scandal, the contract at the center of the controversy has not been voided. Its status is in question, but Boeing is hoping it will still win Congressional approval.
Both Sears and Druyun have agreed to cooperate with the ongoing investigation into Boeingâ€™s contracts. Druyun is currently serving a nine-month sentence for violating federal conflict-of-interest regulations. It is unclear how much jail time, if any, Sears will receive.
Meanwhile, the government is continuing its investigation into the contract negotiations in order to find out if other Boeing officials were involved in criminal conduct. According to the Chicago Tribune, an internal email, discovered by an internal Boeing investigation, shows that Sears told three other top Boeing officers about a meeting in which he offered Druyun a $250,000-a-year job. Boeing has not released the exact contents of that email, reports the Tribune.
In addition to helping Boeing on its refueling tanker contract, Druyun admitted to doing favors for Boeing on other contracts while to company gave jobs to her daughter and future son-in-law. The General Accountability Office has been asked to look into Druyunâ€™s contract negotiations.