San Diego Defense Firm Link to Mysterious 5.5 Ton Cocaine Bust in Mexico
The MadCowMorningNews has uncovered evidence implicating a San Diego defense contractor, The Titan Corporation, in fraud involving the shadowy St. Petersburg FL company involved in last month’s mysterious 5.5 ton cocaine seizure in Mexico.
Titan is already embroiled in major scandals which include the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison and conviction and a $28 million fine for fixing a Presidential election in the African state of Benin. The company is also receiving attention for its role as the biggest campaign contributor of disgraced former Congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham.
A MadCowMorningNews investigation of Titan Corp. also revealed that the firm has a curious and so-far unexplained connection to Mister X, a mysterious Lebanese man who provided assistance to Mohamed Atta and other terrorist hijackers in Venice Florida before the 9.11 attack.
Mister X, who owned a convenience store in Venice, befriended and assisted the terrorist hijackers before disappearing after the 9.11 attack, leaving behind a thriving Kwik-Check mini-market which has since stood abandoned in the heart of the Venice business district.
Evidence in SEC filings recently brought to our attention reveal what happened to Mister X: he went to work for Titan. According to documents filed by the company, Mister X was a contractor working for Titan Corp in Saudi Arabia as recently as last year.
FAA motto in connected dope busts: Don't Ask Don't Tell?
Even more bizarre is the discovery of the embattled San Diego defense contractor’s inexplicable involvement with SkyWay Aircraft of St Petersburg, FL., a company recently in the spotlight of unwanted attention as the last clear user and owner of “Cocaine One,” the DC9 recently caught carrying 5.5 tons of cocaine.
The burning question: Who owned the DC9 airliner busted in Mexico?
The current answer: Nobody knows.
Almost a month ago The MadCowMorningNews requested complete records from the FAA on both DC9’s which had once been controlled by SkyWay and partner Royal Sons LLC. Although we check the mailbox every day, with varying feelings of hopefulness, to date they have not responded.
Perhaps it's a simple matter of not being cleared for that information.
Nor is anyone else, apparently, which is small consolation, but then small consolation is better than none in a nation where current auto registrations are at the fingertips of every traffic patrolman in America, while major ticket items like airliners clearly are not.
What business did Titan Corp. have with SkyWay Aircraft?
We still don't know. As we will see, Titan put out a press release fraudulently plumping the prospects of the soon-to-be-completely-insolvent SkyWay, a company which had no products and no prospects.
SkyWay did however possess two DC9’s sitting around tricked out to look like Dept of Homeland Security aircraft. Were individuals in Titan's executive management aircraft enthusiasts?
Apparently, yes. The individual at Titan with a yen for SkyWay's wild blue yonder has ties to another subject of current scandal: Brent Wilkes.
Welcome to The Official Dusty Foggo Memorial SkyBox
In May of 2004 Titan Corp. announced in a press release a major purchase from SkyWay, a penny stock fraud company about to go bankrupt amid accusations by investors of fraud after they discovered the firm had nothing but non-existent products to show for its two year cash burn of almost $40 million.
Somebody's doing damage control, because on Titan's page of press releases on its website, this release, curiously enough, is the only one missing.
Try clicking the link.
In a scenario reminiscent of the Tom DeLay scandal, who company President Brent Kovar boasted had appointed him to a national Republican Business Council, the money was spent on an array of executive perks which included a half-dozen identical black Hummers equipped with police lights on their roofs, as well as to pay for a skybox at a Tampa stadium housing baseball’s Devil Rays.
Titan officials did not return phone calls seeking comment on why a billion dollar defense contractor with sensitive government defense and intelligence contracts had loaned its name and prestige to a soon-to-be-bankrupt firm whose owners were at that moment said to be stripping it of everything not nailed down.
One thing the two firms did have in common was that both were major contributors to the Republican Party. In addition to padding the Duke-ster’s pockets for those late-night poker cum hooker-fests at the Watergate Hotel, Titan was a major contributor to House Armed Services Committee Chairman Duncan Hunter, who returned the favor in a mock-heroic defense of Titan’s employees accused of torture and rape at Abu Ghraib prison.
A cursory look at SkyWay cash which found its way into Republican pockets includes major contributions to Florida Republicans like U.S. Senator Mel Martinez, who visited the firm during Homeland Security Week, and pronounced the firm’s “vaporware” technology "awesome."
A new business strategy with a twist that's getting old
SkyWay Chairman Glenn Kovar gave $5000 to the DEFEND AMERICA PAC, $5000 to SENATE VICTORY FUND PAC, and more than $6000 to the REPUBLICAN CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEE.
Perhaps it for this reason that SkyWay’s investors and shareholders we spoke to who were fleeced in the deal hold out little hope that any of the guilty parties will be criminally charged, or even lose their jet-black Hummers.
A May 13, 2004 press release headlined, “ SkyWay Communications Holdings Corp. Announces New Business Strategy as the Result of Agreement with Major US Defense Contractor,” Titan promised as much as half a billion dollars worth of business to the grateful company…
"We are excited about the possibilities Sky Way Aircraft System technology offers," said Titan's David Stinson.”
It was standard boilerplate, until we discovered this incestuous nugget: before signing on with Titan Stinson was the executive vice president of an Annapolis Maryland firm, Intergraph, whose Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) deal with Brent Wilke’s ADCS Inc. opened the money spigot now being investigated by the FBI.
Teaching the boy to play the game
It was originally German software from a company called VPMAX which became a fountain of spendable cash. John Karpovich was VPMAX’s U.S. distributor.
“John Karpovich, who helped run the document conversion program at the Defense Department before his retirement, said Wilkes infuriated Pentagon staff by claiming that the document conversion money belonged to him,” reported the Washington Post.
"Brent came in and said, 'That's our money,"' Karpovich recalled. "He said, 'The congressmen put the money in there for us."'
Karpovich was reluctant to talk with us, but conceded he’d watched the deal being put together by Bent Wilkes, House Armed Services Chairman Duncan Hunter, and the just-deposed No. 3 man at the CIA, Dusty Foggo.
“Brent called me said he heard the product was great, and asked me to meet him in Washington. He had a suite at the Watergate. We met there and went to dinner with Dusty Foggo. He seemed like a sharp guy, at least he knew the inside of the government pretty well. We went to dinner with Dusty, and he and Brent talked about old times.”
Karpovich had been castigated by Hunter, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, he told us, for trying to sell the software to the Pentagon too cheaply.
Someone really needs to fry for this. Really
“In the meeting Duncan Hunter pointed to me and said to Wilkes, 'Your boy doesn’t know how to play the game,'" said Karpovich.
“They took a $6000 product, gave it another name, and sold it to the defense department for $32000 a pop. Later on we began to get calls from military bases around the country," Karpovich stated. "They were saying, hey, we just got this expensive software. What are we supposed to do with it?"
The deal now worked for everyone… except maybe U.S. taxpayers, and dead U.S. servicemen in Iraq whose Humvee’s didn’t get armor plating until it was too late because there wasn’t enough money for it in the Pentagon budget.
Titan Corp, recently purchased by an entity called the L3 Corporation, bills itself as “a leading provider of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance systems to the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, selected U.S. Government intelligence agencies and aerospace prime contractors.”
The allegations of corporate lawlessness being leveled against Titan Corp. are unprecedented for a mid-sized defense contractor, on a scale not seen since the Lockheed bribery scandals of the 1970’s.
Ironically, Lockheed aborted a $2 billion buy-out of Titan a year ago, after the magnitude of the firm’s exposure to sanction caused the company to have second thoughts.