We be wheelin-n-dealin in ex-US Navy EC-130's!
 
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Article # 1.
I find this interesting for a couple of reasons. One being the words C-130 and US Navy. The name U.S. Attorney Claire Lefkowitz comes up in addition to the Naval Museum in Pensacola.
 
Article #2.
Again with the Naval Museum and P-3's. I sense a pattern. Trading C-130's for junk aircraft. Hold that thought. Declaring that C-130 aircraft are worth $20,000. That's a number to remember.
 
Article # 3.
"Aviation museum under fire..."  Uh-Oh! Sound familiar? Claire Leftkowitz...Read that name somewhere before? $20,000 for C-130's. Is that all a junked C-130 is worth? Seems that it was found to be a "good number" before...
 
More if it happens.
 

 

 
 
ARTICLE NUMBER ONE FROM THE PORTLAND FREE PRESS: 

 

 
This is for all purposes a dead link as radio4all no longer hosts the Portland Free Press.
However, this link is still active.
Here is the entire article.
 
 

Who's Who in the C-130 Scandal

(an Update)

by John Titus
(from March/April 1997 issue)

[Editor's note: Consult flow chart for connections of components in this labyrinth of fraud.]

The Aircraft

An estimated 42 former military planes, both Air Force C-130's and Navy P-3 Orions, were diverted into a long train of covert operations under cover of firefighting. Early attempts to obtain A-10 "Wart Hog" jet fighters were shut down by the Department of Agriculture's Office of Inspector General (OIG), but broker Roy Reagan did manage to obtain six Bell UH-1E "Huey" helicopters from a Naval museum.

In fact, all these military aircraft were exchanged for obsolete planes nominally destined for museums.

Roy Reagan

After leaving the Air Force, Reagan used a network of contacts to successfully broker former military aircraft on the open market. One C-130 obtained by Reagan in 1986 was sold to Detrich Reinhardt and Peter Turkelson, both of whom have been identified as CIA operatives by Congressman Curt Weldon (R-PA). Weldon investigated the affair following the crash of this C-130 in Angola while on a CIA mission. Robert Weldon, the congressman's nephew, died in the crash. Reinhardt had previously owned St. Lucia Airlines, which was used by Oliver North to smuggle missiles to Iran during the embargo.

As his payoff, Reagan received in excess of $1 million, including several C-130's which he later resold.

Reagan and Forest Service official Fred Fuchs have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Tucson, Arizona, for conspiracy and theft of government property.

Reagan has hired attorney Stuart Gerson to represent him. It was Gerson, as acting attorney general in the late Bush and early Clinton administrations, who ordered the tanks into the tragic siege of the Branch Davidian ranch in Waco, Texas.

Fred Fuchs

As former director of the Forest Service aviation program, Fuchs (and Reagan, according to the indictment) met with and misled Department of Defense and General Services Administration officials as to who would ultimately retain title to the aircraft in question. Government officials believed that the planes would remain under Forest Service control, and that they would only be used for forest and rangeland fire management. As his payoff, Fuchs received flight-time upgrades to his pilot's license from the very contractors he negotiated on behalf of. He also received a vintage "Steerman" bi-plane aircraft.

James P. Ross

Ross, a business partner of Reagan's, is named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the case by the U.S. Attorney in Arizona. Ross delivered C-130 aircraft to one of the firefighting contractors, Hemet Valley Aviation of Hemet, California, and is identified in a 1983 Federal Aviation Administration document as the inspector of the C-123 cargo plane that was later shot down on a supply mission to CIA-backed Contra rebels in Nicaragua. (Eugene Hasenfus survived this crash and named the CIA agents he worked for, thus destroying the government lies that they did not run the Contras.) The same C-123 had also been used by CIA pilot Barry Seal in his cocaine-running operations.

Jack Chisum

Jack Chisum was a vice president of T&G Aviation of Chandler, Arizona. He is believed by an investigator to have been set up and turned in to authorities by Evergreen Aviation and Southern Air Transport for "muscling in on the [Middle East] C-130 action." It was Jack who provided the investigator with the outline of the C-130 mission to Kuwait, in which T&G Forest Service contracted C-130's went on missions in Kuwait at the close of the Gulf War. T&G was allegedly hauling oil-field equipment for Bechtel Corporation, but Evergreen and Southern Air claimed the company was illegally hauling whiskey into the Arab nations.

Whatever their cargo was, T&G was contracting for Bechtel through a company called MARTECH. The aircraft on the Kuwait mission were ordered to return to the U.S., and were flown to Evergreen's air complex at Marana, Arizona.

Jack Chisum was a long-time friend of Gary Eitel. Their association dated back to a time when they both flew for the Forest Service in the 1970s. It was Chisum who explained the details of rogue CIA missions involving the ex-military workhorses. And, sadly, many secrets have died with Chisum, who was struck and killed by a vehicle while walking down an Arizona highway. Gary Eitel has never been satisfied with the results of the accident investigation, and believes that Chisum may have been targeted, hit and silenced.

Gary Eitel

Eitel has spearheaded the investigation into the illegal uses of the former military aircraft. After military service, Eitel flew for the Forest Service, the Department of Defense, and private companies in Alaska. He is a decorated Vietnam combat pilot, and became a law enforcement officer and later an attorney in Texas.

In 1976, he was recruited to fly CIA missions in Angola, and other missions involving Lear Jets that were operated out of southern Oregon.

As early as 1989, while Eitel was employed at Evergreen Aviation, he observed that card-carrying CIA personnel were on Evergreen property acting as Evergreen employees.

According to documents filed in Federal Court, it was Eitel who tipped government officials off to both the corruption in the Forest Service aircraft exchange program, and another scandal charging that Evergreen Aviation defrauded the U.S. Postal Service by over-billing that agency an estimated $52.6 million on a two-year contract. Court filings state "Evergreen exploited its CIA contracts by offering the CIA [services] over and beyond the primary CIA contract and, allegedly, on no charge to the CIA on the pretense Evergreen would be able to over-bill the Forest Service, Air Force, and United States Postal Services contract." In 1993, Gary Eitel testified before Congress concerning his knowledge of the C-130 scandal. (See July/August '94, "The Sky Pirates: Aerial Heavy Hauling," p. 1; January/February '95, "Cloak, Dagger and Cockpit -- An Evergreen Update," p. 17; July/August '95, "CIA Airlines Never Die," p. 4; and July-October '96, "Steal a C-130 -- Go to Jail" [an update], p. 7.)

Eitel has federal prosecutor status on behalf of the government in both of these cases. Until December 1996, the government held back and let him pursue the C-130 case alone. It was only after the recent indictments of Reagan and Fuchs by a U.S. Attorney in Arizona, that the Department of Justice entered the lawsuit to save face, and possibly manipulate it.

As the result of his investigation and lawsuits, Eitel has received a number of threats, and, considering the mysterious deaths of Jack Chisum and another Evergreen Aviation pilot, Dean Moss (see March/April '94 issue, "Evergreen Pilot Murdered on Weapons Flight," p. 1; May/June '95, "Air Force Investigates Evergreen," p. 4 [and sidebar, p. 5]; and update, May/June '96, p. 3), these threats are taken seriously.

Joseph Russoniello

In the 1980s, Joseph P. Russoniello was a U.S. Attorney in California. Presumably, a U.S. Attorney is a tough prosecutor who represents the best interests of the public; but Russoniello went soft when it came to a drug case involving the CIA.

Between 1981 and 1984, the DEA had compiled sufficient evidence to crack the biggest cocaine ring in California at that time. Police had nabbed several "frogmen" swimming onto a beachhead carrying at least four-hundred pounds of cocaine. Ultimately, 35 people were arrested, along with guns, drugs, catalogs for automatic weapons and silencers, and $36,800 in cash. Federal prosecutors declared that the money was evidence from the drug operation, and would be used for the trail. While this appeared to be a clean bust, the authorities were about to have a rug pulled out from under them.

The drug ring's alleged leader, Julio Zavala, claimed that the cash was not drug money, but was money earmarked to purchase weapons for the CIA's illegal Contra war in Nicaragua. Zavala requested that the money seized by the cops be returned to the Contras. According to Gary Webb of the San Jose Mercury News, Russoniello decided not to keep the cash as evidence, and did not want it forfeited to the government, which is the standard procedure in drug cases. The drug money was then returned to the Contras. In a 1996 Senate hearing, Senator Arlen Spector and investigator Jack Blum openly discussed Russoniello's capitulation to Contra drug-runners. Blum stated that Russoniello had angrily shouted at investigators and Senator John Kerry, who was chairing the committee investigating intelligence-community links to the drug trade. Russoniello accused them of being "subversive for wanting to go into it."

Some may say that Joseph Russoniello (now an attorney for companies that allegedly obtained government aircraft illegally) went from prosecuting criminals to representing criminals. Others may say that from the "frogman" cocaine case to the current aircraft scandal, Joseph P. Russoniello has always represented the best interests of the CIA.

It should be noted that documents filed in federal court indicate that Russoniello believed he had an agreement with the Justice Department that his clients would not be the target of any grand jury indictment, and that the government would not intervene in Gary Eitel's whistle-blower case. Has Rusoniello cut another deal with the devil?

Evergreen International Airlines

Originally based in McMinnville, Oregon, Evergreen expanded from a small helicopter company in the 1960s to a major international airline with secretive government contracts.

In 1975, after a series of revealing hearings led by Senator Frank Church, the CIA was pressured to sell off its lucrative business front companies. The result of this program was the privatization of those former government assets into corporate hands. It was Evergreen that was chosen to take over the CIA's airbase at Marana, Arizona, which led to decades of privileged treatment regarding Evergreen's government contracts. Top CIA aviation officers, including the legendary George Doole, worked for Evergreen. Prior to working for Evergreen, Doole had managed all of the CIA's proprietary airlines.

In the last few years, Evergreen has faced industry criticism and hard financial times. In 1994, the company defaulted on $125 million in junk bonds and found its books open to public scrutiny, not a comfortable situation for a CIA contract airline.

In late December 1996, Evergreen announced that an unnamed financial institution would help Evergreen buy back all $125 million of the defaulted junk bonds. The company, which is saddled with a tremendous amount of debt, is considered the recipient of a back-door government bailout.

Pacific Harbor Capital / PacifiCorp

To understand the complexity of this aircraft-laundering operation, consider this exchange:
- (1990) The Forest Service gives two planes to TBM, Inc. TBM gave those two planes to Roy Reagan as part of his kickback.
- Reagan sold those two planes to Woody Grantham of T&G Aviation.
- Grantham sold them to Pacific Harbor Capital.
- Pacific Harbor Capital sold them back to T&G.
- Finally, in 1993, T&G sold the same two planes back to Pacific Harbor Capital. Both companies claim this final sale was a repossession, but Federal Aviation Administration documents show it was a sale.

This operation was obviously intended to "wash away" Forest Service ownership and to help "sheep-dip" sophisticated military aircraft, some of which were equipped with electronic surveillance gear. [Sheep-dip is spook-speak for concealing the source, purpose or nature of something so that it can be used in ways that would otherwise be impossible.]

PacifiCorp, a Northwest financial giant, is the parent company of Pacific Harbor Capital, and according to the 25 October 1993 issue of the Seattle Post Intelligencer, PacifiCorp is also linked to the CIA. And not surprisingly, the 1975 Senate hearings led by Frank Church identified the holding company for all the CIA airlines as "The Pacific Corporation."

Independent Firefighting Contractors

Aero Union

This company appears to be a major hub of the conspiracy to obtain government aircraft. Roy Reagan maintained an office at Aero Union and his associate, John Ford, is a key attorney is handling aircraft sales for him. Joseph Russoniello is the corporation's top legal talent.

Hemet Valley Aviation

C-130 aircraft were delivered to Hemet Valley Aviation by James P. Ross, who inspected and certified aircraft linked to Oliver North's and Barry Seals' gun- and drug-running operation for the Contras.

Hemet Valley sold two C-130s to Michael Zincka Leasing in 1989. The registration numbers of these aircraft identify them as "C-130-A Modified versions" that were equipped with sophisticated electronic reconnaissance gear.

Zincka Leasing put them to work for French Securite' Civile, the French CIA, for two years.

T&G Aviation

Reagan, Fuchs, and the other companies cited in this article are attempting to dump on T&G Aviation. While Woody Grantham and Jack Chisum contracted out for the missions in Kuwait, they had State Department approval for that work.

However, the Forest Service mandate for the use of the aircraft stated that they could only be used stateside for fire-suppression use.

T&G's Jack Chisum had related much of this information to Eitel before his death; Eitel is pitted against the former acting Attorney General of the United States Stuart (Waco) Gerson and former California U.S. Attorney Joseph Russoniello (who returned CIA drug money to the Contras.)
T&G is represented by John P. Frank of the law firm Lewis & Rocca. Lewis & Rocca represented the CIA's Intermountain Aviation and later facilitated the sale of the CIA airbase at Marana, Arizona, to CIA contractor, Evergreen.

Hawkins and Powers

This company leased one of the Forest Service C-130's to British Aerospace Corporation, and another to Multitrade International, a company linked to a previous C-130 sale.

In the late 1970s, a number of military C-130's were flown in from the Australian Air Force, destined for use by private American air contractors. The company that brought them over was Southern Cross (owned by Multitrade). Most of the planes were brought under the control of the law firm Ford & Vlahos. Mr. Ford in this case is John Ford, a powerful attorney who is listed as an assistant secretary for T&G Aviation, as well as attorney for Pacific Gas & Electric (a California energy corporation), and attorney for Pacific Harbor Capital (a subsidiary of PacifiCorp, another financial giant that is linked to the CIA). At least one of these former Australian C-130's was involved in the Mena, Arkansas, CIA gun-and-drug operation. Another, tail number N69-P, was being operated on Roy Reagan's certificate (a sort of operating license), on contract for the U.S. military's Nuclear Defense Agency. This same aircraft was later busted by the DEA in Miami, Florida, on a cocaine smuggling mission.

The plane was then sold to a U.S. Customs agent and flown to T&G Aviation to be refitted, and then went on to work in Africa.

TBM, Inc.

TBM, of Tulare, California, was one of the first companies to deal with Roy Reagan. They gave two of their Forest Service C-130's to Reagan in a complex series of aircraft sales. TBM owns about 70% of Butler Aviation of Redmond, Oregon.

In 1994, after the tragic deaths of 14 firefighters in a Colorado wildfire, the owner of Butler Aviation, Cal Butler, wrote the governor of Colorado a revealing and disturbing letter.

Butler, who pioneered early techniques using aircraft to fight forest fires, told Governor Roy Romer that the loss of lives could have been avoided had airtankers been available to drop fire-retardant material. This was at a time when Forest Service aircraft were being used, illegally, in Europe and Latin America.

Butler, the only apparent co-conspirator with a conscience, maintains the skeletonized hulk of one Forest Service C-130, stripped of its electronics and running gear, at his facility at Redmond, Oregon.

Summary

This criminal conspiracy is evolving on a day-by-day basis, and parallel court cases are being pursued in both Oregon and Arizona. Here is the short list of what we do know:

- According to private and congressional investigators, the CIA has been using some of the Forest Service aircraft.
- Many of the Forest Service planes have been parted out, like sports cars in a chop-shop, to service other planes operating on missions not pertaining to firefighting operations.
- As evidence of a criminal conspiracy, the principals involved may not have reported income from the profitable use of these aircraft or capital gains from sales to the Internal Revenue Service.
- The C-130 scandal is but the tip of an iceberg, with dozens of companies and individuals operating beyond the oversight of the Department of Agriculture (Forest Service), Congress and the Justice Department.
- In a 6 December 1989 internal Forest Service document, Assistant General Counsel Kenneth Cohen raised concerns that one of the C-130's had ended up in the hands of drug runners, and that the Department of Defense wanted the Forest Service to act as an intermediary in the C-130 program, so that "if any future aircraft are used in drug smuggling, the Forest Service and not DOD will suffer adverse publicity." (See document.)
- As this paper goes to press, we have just learned that the federal conspiracy case against Reagan and Fuchs in Tucson, which was set to go to trial in April, has been postponed, perhaps indefinitely.

Sources close to the case have told the Free Press that a veil of national security has been wrapped around the trial, and that U.S. Attorney Claire Lefkowitz, who has been very candid with reporters in the past, will provide no further comments!  

 
ARTICLE NUMBER TWO, From The Wilderness Newsletter, December 1998.
(Excerpts)
 
<snip>
 The scheme was simple. All around the country the U.S. Forest Service had relied for years on the services of private contractors who owned, operated and maintained air tankers used to drop water and retardant on forest fires. The problem was that by 1987 most of the Korean War and WW II vintage aircraft then in use were wearing out. They were not capable of carrying the loads necessary and spare parts were hard to find. If Reagan and Fuchs got their way, which they did, the Forest Service would obtain surplus C-130s, Navy P-3 Orion anti-sub planes and even jet powered A-10 Warthogs, used as tank killers during desert Storm, and "trade" them to private contractors on a one-for-one basis and place the aging aircraft in museums. The government would then hire the planes as needed to fight fires and the title to the aircraft would pass into private hands.
<snip>
<snip>
 The Law
From The Wilderness has obtained a copy of a Dec. 1989 memorandum to Forest Service Associate Chief George Leonard from Assistant General Counsel Kenneth Cohen, which seems to show that the Forest Service knew it was having problems with the scheme all along. Listing requirements from the Federal Property Management Regulations Cohen laid out three specific requirements which had to be met before the transfer could be deemed legal. First the transfer had to result in a greater return for the government. That could hardly be the case if a C-130 valued at $3.5 million were traded for a junk aircraft valued as low as $19,000 which was inoperable. Second, aircraft and airframe structural components were specifically prohibited from transfer. Third, the items to be exchanged could not have been acquired for the purpose of transfer and they had to have been used by the Forest Service for a period of one year before being transferred out of Forest Service inventory.
<snip>
<snip> 
 On December 2, 1998 Hooper gave an interview to the Associated Press. Whereas Hooper had, in previous audits, declared the C-130s to be worth as little as $10,000 to $20,000 dollars apiece, he now acknowledged their value at $2-3 million each. The AP story indicated that Hooper and the Forest Service were moving swiftly to secure the immediate return of all 11 outstanding operable aircraft and that this "confiscation" would not impair the nation's fire fighting capabilities. This was true even though the Forest Service, according to Hooper, didn't need and couldn't operate the planes.<snip>
 
 
ARTICLE NUMBER THREE FROM THE PROPERTY INFORMATION NETWORK

An unofficial newsletter for Property Professionals

Volume #6 January 14, 2000 Issue #00-02

http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Aegean/5146/pin00/pin00-02.html

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THERE ARE NO PROPERTY ADMINISTRATORS OR PLANT CLEARANCE OFFICERS? (Continued) Here's an article Bob Kenna sent us as another example of what can go wrong in the world of Government property.

Aviation museum under fire. Justice Department revives probe into aircraft parts sales.

By Larry Wheeler, News Journal Washington Bureau

Recurring problem -- The Navy has been through a series of investigations and audits in-to how the museum and foundation work together to trade and sell surplus military, hardware, including helicopters and airplanes. Concern over the legality of these transactions generated so much criticism that last year the Navy issued a new policy on future museum aircraft exchanges. The Navy added steps to ensure that surplus government equipment was properly valued and bids were solicited openly and fairly before being sold to private buyers.

The new Navy policy emerged following an investigation by the NCIS into the 1995 sale of 11 EC-130Q and TC-130Q aircraft to Maurice Skinazi, president of Airplane Sales International, a small California business that, specializes in buying and selling used airplanes. Navy agents concluded there was no evidence to support allegations that the sale was illegal, and a federal prosecutor in Arizona who had been pursuing the case was forced to drop it.

Vested Interest -- However, Assistant U.S. Attorney Claire Leftkowitz wrote a sharply, worded letter faulting Navy officials for reversing themselves in the middle of the investigation and challenged the credibility of the probe. The quality of the NCIS investigation was further called into question when it was, revealed that Navy agents based part of their conclusions on opinions expressed, by a Miami businessman with limited experience in surplus military aircraft and a vested interest in the outcome of the case.

Dan Wirth, president of Interworld Maritime Corp., told Navy investigators he thought the $200,000 price paid for the 11 airplanes was reasonable. A central focus of the, investigation was whether museum director Rasmussen erred when he valued the airplanes based only on their worth if cut up for scrap, metal. The craft could not be flown. Some were missing wings, nose sections, landing gear or engines.

Wirth later acknowledged he was working privately with museum deputy director Robert Macon to undercut a competitor and win a contract to salvage a rare World War II era torpedo plane sitting on the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean off the South Florida coast. Wirth was to, be paid by the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation with proceeds from the $200,000 sale of the 11 C-130-class aircraft. Fetterman noted that Wirth was only one of several people to, value the airplanes. 'The NCIS investigation went in-to a long litany pages and pages as to the value, of these hulks', he said.

Roy Stafford, owner of Black Shadow Aviation Inc, in Fernandina Beach, acknowledged' that he received a subpoena but had, no further information. 'I have no idea! It caught us by surprise.' Stafford has a lawsuit pending in which he claims the foundation and the museum violated federal law by submitting what amounted to false claims to the government when the 11 C-130s, were sold to Skinazi for $200,000. Stafford at one time was one of the museum's prime contractors for restoring historic warplanes. He alleged that the three 130s were newer model aircraft with upgraded features, that made them extremely valuable if sold as parts.

Stafford further alleged the foundation and museum were involved in a conspiracy to circumvent the federal law that enables military museum 'to' barter, but not sell,' surplus military equipment 'to obtain items of historical significance' for their collections. Skinazi also has a lawsuit pending against the foundation and museum, claiming he is owed an estimated $7 million worth, of parts that were not on the aircraft when he had them removed from an Arizona desert bone yard.

 

And the usual rumor mill at the "Headquarters...."
- Aussie C130E off to a new owner
It has been reported, that six out of the seven, ex RAAF C130E aircraft, are to be sold to Pakistan.
The deal worth US$75M, (I wonder if the money will ever change hands), includes the upgraded wings, and "engine upgrades", and also includes some spares and personell training.
Regards -
 
- Are these not the airframes that are supplying the wings for the ex RAAF E models.
Have you ever noticed, how everyone is an expert, until the poo hits the fan, then they disappear.
Regards -
 
- Lemme see------ Eleven C-130Q's (Super E's for you AF types) for 200,000. Wonder how much the gov't paid him to get their wings and engines back so they could update the ex-Aussie E's for the Paki's? After the jail time awarded the government crooks for giving away P3s's in a similar scheme you'd think they'd know better. If someone doesn't get hard time for this rape of the taxpayer, there is no justice.
Regards-