Last November, Lockheed Corp. hoped to defuse the controversy over the $640 toilet cover it built for Navy planes with the announcement that it had tried to find a less costly product by inviting 30 small plastics firms to bid on the job. Lockheed reported that all 30 firms declined the offer, proving, according to a company spokesman, that "we were offering a very fair price."
Now it turns out that Lockheed overstated the case. Company spokesman Rich Stadler acknowledged that only 14 companies received invitations to produce the controversial toilet cover, and only 10 of them had the "specific capability" for the job. Lockheed conceded an "error" after the Project on Military Procurement released a company memo this week indicating that the number of invitees was inflated.
Stadler insists there was no intent to deceive, while acknowledging, "Our credibility suffers."
Not a Moment Too Soon . . . "Are you missing out on SDI opportunities?" So asks Pasha Publications in inaugurating a newsletter on the Strategic Defense Initiative, more commonly known as SDI or Star Wars. The SDI Monitor will be the latest entry to serve the miniature version of the military-industrial complex -- the Starplex, as it were -- that has quickly formed to take advantage of the multibillion dollar Star Wars missile defense program.
Pasha, which already publishes Military Space newsletter, warns arms makers that "opportunities to play an active part in the Strategic Defense Initiative will not fall out of the sky . . . . Your company may miss out on the best contracts." But "a very exclusive list of defense executives and managers" won't miss out, a letter from Pasha states, because they will be receiving SDI Monitor.
Price: only $587 ($602 abroad) for 12 issues.
Choice Property . . . Chief Justice Warren Burger has his expansive eye on a choice piece of property on Capitol Hill. With elements of the Judiciary spread through eight separate buildings around town, Burger has come up with the idea of consolidating them in a new, marble edifice that would be constructed along the right side of Union Station, as seen from the Capitol.
To pursue this Burger notion, the administration is seeking a $2 million supplemental fund for a study to see if some private developer would take on such a project.
Homing Instinct . . . Assistant Interior Secretary Robert N. Broadbent, who came to Washington in 1981 as James G. Watt's reclamation commissioner and later took charge of all the department's water and science programs, is leaving the administration to return to Nevada.
As assistant secretary, Broadbent dwelt in a thicket of controversies ranging from legal skirmishes over subsidized water to toxic agricultural drainage, but Interior officials said the resignation did not reflect any disenchantment with the job. "He was homesick," said one.