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Ex-Air Force Official Gets Prison Time

Boeing fired Druyun and its chief financial officer, Michael M. Sears, in November for illegally negotiating Druyun's employment with the company while she was overseeing several Boeing contracts. Sears was scheduled to plead guilty last month, but the hearing was postponed while investigators untangled Druyun's conflicting statements, a law enforcement source said.

Druyun oversaw thousands of contracts in her Air Force tenure, but the most controversial was the deal to lease then buy the 100 refueling aircraft from Boeing. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a chief critic of the deal, has complained that the Air Force acted as a advocate for Boeing and not taxpayers.

Boeing fired Darleen A. Druyun in November.

_____Essential Background_____
Report Examines Defense Hiring (The Washington Post, Jun 29, 2004)
Boeing Deal Skipped Protocol, Report Says (The Washington Post, May 19, 2004)
Ex-Pentagon Official Admits Job Deal (The Washington Post, Apr 21, 2004)
Boeing Lax on Hiring By Rules, Review Finds (The Washington Post, Mar 10, 2004)
SEC Probes Dismissal of 2 Boeing Executives (The Washington Post, Mar 6, 2004)
Federal Prosecutors Probing 2 Ex-Employees of Boeing (The Washington Post, Dec 13, 2003)
Boeing Fires 2 Top Officials In Hiring Probe (The Washington Post, Nov 25, 2003)
Air Force-Boeing Negotiator Criticized (The Washington Post, Oct 27, 2003)
New Questions Raised About Boeing Deal (The Washington Post, Oct 8, 2003)
U.S. Probes Actions Of Boeing Executive (The Washington Post, Sep 4, 2003)
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During the negotiations, Druyun contacted an unidentified senior Boeing official involved in the talks to discuss her daughter's job in the company's St. Louis office. Her daughter, Heather McKee, feared being fired over performance issues, according to court documents. After Druyun intervened, McKee was transferred to another position and the senior official continued to update Druyun on her daughter's performance, including informing her about a pay raise, the documents said.

McKee left Boeing voluntarily more than a month ago, but Druyun's son-in-law is still employed at the company, a Boeing spokesman said.

Druyun's misdeeds dated back to 2000, when she was seeking employment for her future son-in-law, according to court documents. At the time, Druyun was negotiating a price adjustment on Boeing's C-17 aircraft contract, which would reflect changes in labor or material costs. Druyun awarded Boeing a $412 million payment. She told prosecutors her decision was influenced by Boeing's assistance to her son-in-law.

Druyun's admissions will force Boeing to seek again to regain trust within the Pentagon and industry. A suspension of Boeing's space unit for unrelated misdeeds was expected to be lifted soon, but that is now unlikely, analysts said. "It's not like that company wasn't already under microscope; now it's an electro-microscope," said John A. Howell, a government contracts expert.

Boeing's 767 line, which would be boosted by the tanker deal, is back in jeopardy. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld was expected to make a decision on the tanker lease after the election, but an advisory group Rumsfeld asked to study the issue, the Defense Science Board, agreed during a March meeting that tanker modernization could be postponed for up to 10 years, according to documents read to The Washington Post by sources familiar with the matter.

Investigations continue into the 100-aircraft deal. The Department of Defense inspector general is withholding from the Senate Armed Services Committee more than 100 e-mails from Marvin R. Sambur, the Air Force's acquisition chief, because they are "law enforcement sensitive" and have been referred to the U.S. attorney's office, sources said. A Defense Department spokesman could not be reached late yesterday for comment.

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