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Iraq Contracting Payoffs Include Gifts and Money


Court documents give us an idea of how some reconstruction projects got out of control. Some of those papers describe the case of Robert Stein. He was a Defense Department employee for the Coalition Provisional Authority, and he pleaded guilty earlier this year to bribery, conspiracy and money laundering charges.


Stein admitted that he directed lucrative reconstruction contracts to companies owned by a man name Philip Bloom. In return, he received gifts from Bloom's companies. Here are some of the gifts he received.

INSKEEP: Five motor vehicles, including a Porsche, Lexus and a Coach House RV.

MONTAGNE: Two properties in North Carolina.

INSKEEP: More than a dozen Breitling watches.

MONTAGNE: A six-carat diamond, a diamond tennis bracelet, a pearl necklace, plus baubles of a different kind.

INSKEEP: Four grenade launchers, 20 automatic submachine guns, 12 pistols, and assorted firearms.

MONTAGNE: And an airplane - a 1965 Cessna T210F, to be precise.

INSKEEP: Court papers say that in return for all these gifts, Robert Stein was prepared to be generous with reconstruction money. At one point, he sent an e-mail to the Defense contractor.

MONTAGNE: The e-mail reads: “I got the contract at the police academy. I will give you 200K sometime tomorrow afternoon. I love to give you money. Bob.” Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Renee Montagne, one of the best-known names in public radio, is a special correspondent and host for NPR News.
Steve Inskeep is a host of NPR's Morning Edition, as well as NPR's morning news podcast Up First.