Monday, February 25, 2008

Huge Govt Bribery Case unfolding in Hunstville


BIRMINGHAM - A former deputy director at Redstone Arsenal pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday in a bribes-for-government-contracts scheme, and talk in the courtroom suggested more arrests may come.

Douglas Harry Ennis, 48, worked for the Joint Center for Technology Integration at the Army Space and Missile Defense Command when he reportedly received $75,000 from an unnamed subcontractor, who was then given favorable treatment for government contracts. Ennis didn't report the bribes as income, and he was indicted on two charges of making false statements on financial disclosure forms to the Army.


Assistant U.S. Attorney Bud Henry said he couldn't comment on how many other people are being investigated.

One clue mentioned in court was that the U.S. Attorney's office in Maine participated in Ennis' plea negotiations and a small, minority-owned business in Huntsville was involved.

Henry also said that "Person A," the president of a company that did business with the Space and Missile Defense Command, lobbied Congress for additional funding to go toward projects, and then bribed former JCTI Director Michael L. Cantrell III of Huntsville and Ennis to award him the contracts for.

Ennis, who lives in Athens, initially pleaded not guilty to the three charges but later opted to pursue a plea agreement.

Cantrell pleaded guilty late last year to accepting $1.6 million in bribes from subcontractors over the past six years and to filing an inaccurate federal tax return. He could be sentenced up to 15 years for each of his two bribery pleas and fines of up to three times the amount he accepted in bribes.