Saturday, September 24, 2005

Duke and Kontogiannis

The San Diego Union Tribune has more on the connection between Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham and shadowy New York and Greek based businessman, Thomas Kontogiannis. It seems that beside grossly overpaying Cunningham for his boat and setting Duke up with an unending line of credit through his daughter's mortgage company, Kontogiannis also held Duke's hand on a trip to Saudi Arabia paid for by wealthy Southern California land developer, Ziyad Abduljawad (who was connected to Duke in June by TPM).

According to the UT:

"In a previously undisclosed link between Cunningham and Kontogiannis, the developer accompanied the congressman to Saudi Arabia last year. A Saudi-American businessman flew Cunningham to Saudi Arabia twice last year aboard a private jet. On the second trip, the jet stopped in Athens to pick up Kontogiannis, a native of Greece with businesses interests in several countries.

Ziyad Abduljawad, founder and chairman of San Diego-based PLC Land Co., paid for Cunningham's two trips to Saudi Arabia, each at a cost of more than $10,000. Cunningham has described Abduljawad as an acquaintance who shares his interest in improving U.S.-Saudi relations.

Kontogiannis "went as a friend of Duke's," said Harmony Allen, Cunningham's chief of staff. "That's the extent of it. Duke asked him to go as a friend. I'm not sure if (Kontogiannis) had a special interest (in visiting) Saudi Arabia or not."

It was unclear who paid for Kontogiannis' trip."

I think what is more unclear right now is what was going on between Duke and Kontogiannis? What kinds of support could Duke lend to this businessman? How much business value did Kontogiannis gain in Saudi through his close relationship to Cunningham?

Why is this crook still pretending to represent me in Congress?