Sunday, September 11, 2005

Because Private Corporations can do things so much better than Government

CHICAGO - James McNerney, Boeing Co.'s new chief executive, is working hard to put behind him the defense-related scandals that bedeviled his two predecessors.

The Chicago-based aerospace manufacturer is hammering out a comprehensive settlement with the Justice Department, according to a person familiar with the matter. Under the agreement currently being discussed, Boeing would not face criminal charges, something companies have been keen to avoid since an obstruction of justice conviction led to the demise of accounting giant Arthur Andersen. The Supreme Court reversed Andersen's conviction earlier this year.

Boeing may end up paying a fine as large as $500 million, according to a report in Friday's Wall Street Journal. That would make it one of the biggest penalties levied on a U.S. company for misconduct.

Boeing's legal troubles date back to 2003, when the company was suspended from launching military rockets because it had thousands of proprietary documents from rival Lockheed Martin Corp. in its possession when bidding on the launch contracts.

The suspension was expected to be temporary, but it stretched to almost two years as Boeing became involved in a second defense-related scandal related to a $24 billion Air Force contract for aerial refueling tankers.

That contract was thrown out by Congress last year after a former Air Force procurement official, Darleen Druyun, admitted she had increased the price as a "parting gift" to Boeing, where she went to work after retiring.

In late 2003, Michael Sears, Boeing's chief financial officer, was fired after the company uncovered e-mails showing he had been wooing Druyun while she was still handling billions in Boeing contracts.

Federal prosecutors in Virginia charged Sears and Druyun with criminal conduct and both pleaded guilty.

Article here.


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