Ex-Pentagon procurement executive gets jail time

Darleen Druyun, former No. 2 acquisition executive for the Air Force, was sentenced to nine months in prison on Friday for negotiating a job with Boeing at the same time she was involved in contracts with the company, the nation's second-largest Defense contractor.

Druyun, 56, will serve nine months at a minimum security prison and another seven months at a halfway house or on home detention. She also was fined $5,000 and ordered to perform 150 hours of community service. Sentencing guidelines could have required Druyun to serve up to 16 months in prison.

Federal District Court Judge T.S. Ellis called the "stain of this offense very severe," particularly while the nation was at war. Ellis agreed to allow Druyun to serve her sentence in South Carolina, where she plans to retire with her husband.

As part of the plea agreement, Druyun admitted that she did "favor the Boeing Company in certain negotiations as the result of her employment negotiations and other favors provided by Boeing to the defendant." Previously, Druyun had admitted to negotiating a post-government job with Boeing, but steadfastly maintained that she had never favored them at the negotiating table.

Prosecutors said Druyun admitted to favoring the defense contractor after failing a lie detector test this summer. She also confessed to altering a personal journal to make it appear that there were no conflicts with Boeing.

Druyun's plea agreement outlined four specific contract negotiations where she favored Boeing:

  • Druyun agreed to a higher price than appropriate for a proposed deal to lease 100 tanker planes from Boeing, which she called "a parting gift" to her future employer. She also shared a competitor's proprietary data with Boeing.
  • In 2002, Druyun awarded $100 million to Boeing as part of a restructuring of the NATO Airborne Warning and Control System contract. She said the payment could have been lower, but she favored Boeing because her daughter and son-in-law worked there and she was considering work there as well.
  • In 2001, Druyun oversaw a $4 billion award to Boeing to modernize the avionics on C-130 J aircraft. She admitted she favored Boeing over four competitors because the company had given her son-in-law a job.
  • In 2000, Druyun agreed to pay $412 million to Boeing as a settlement over a clause in a C-17 aircraft contract. She admitted to favoring the payment because her son-in-law was seeking a job with Boeing.
Officials with the watchdog group Project for Government Oversight lauded the conviction.

"The Druyun case is offering an unusual view of just how cozy the Pentagon and defense contractors have become," said POGO Senior Defense Investigator Eric Miller. "Her supplemental plea filed with the federal court on Friday details an even sleazier story than we could have imagined."

"The Pentagon has been saying Ms. Druyun was a tough negotiator," Miller continued. "Ironically, while she was working for the Air Force, as we initially suspected, she was actually negotiating on behalf of Boeing."

The Defense Department and Air Force already are investigating several deals Druyun brokered, including the AWACS settlement, and lawmakers have put the tanker lease deal on hold. Druyun's admission is likely to lead to sweeping reviews of other Boeing contracts she oversaw over about a decade as one of the service's top weapon buyers.

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