Corrupt congressman’s loot sold for nearly $95,000 at auction
RANCHO DOMINGUEZ, Calif. – The silver-plated candelabras went for $2,000. An armoire with beveled mirrors pulled in $4,000. And a marble-topped night stand sold for $1,250.Piece by piece, the furniture, rugs and other high-end home furnishings that former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham accepted as bribes were auctioned off by the government Thursday, bringing in $94,625.Cunningham, a Republican, was sentenced earlier this month to more than eight years in federal prison for tax evasion and conspiracy, the longest term meted out to a congressman in decades. Prosecutors said he collected $2.4 million in bribes from defense contractors in exchange for steering government contracts and other favors their way.The auction took place in a cavernous warehouse near Los Angeles. The money will be split by the Internal Revenue Service and the FBI.An elaborately patterned, Oriental-style rug from Cunningham’s former mansion sold for the highest price, $10,000. A second one was purchased for $9,000. A French Provincial walnut armoire, with carved feet, fetched $7,100.But some furnishing came cheaper. A wash stand was sold for $400. A leaded-glass lamp went for $850.Cunningham was also ordered to pay $1.8 million in restitution for back taxes and to forfeit an additional $1.85 million for cash bribes he received, plus hundreds of thousands from sale of the mansion.The former congressman sold a Rolls-Royce – one of the bribes – before he was indicted. He also transferred ownership of a yacht, another illegal gift from contractors.
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