Probe into DeLay’s activities expands

A Texas prosecutor has issued subpoenas for bank records and other information of a defense contractor involved in the bribery case of a California congressman as part of the investigation of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.

District Attorney Ronnie Earle issued subpoenas late Monday afternoon for California businessmen Brent Wilkes and Max Gelwix, records of Perfect Wave Technologies LLC, Wilkes Corp. and ADCS Inc. in connection with a contribution to a fundraising committee at the center of the investigation that led to DeLay’s indictment on money laundering charges.

Perfect Wave contributed $15,000 in September 20, 2002 to Texans for a Republican Majority, a fundraising committee founded by DeLay, R-Texas.

Former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham resigned in late November after pleading guilty to taking $2.4 million in bribes to steer defense contracts to companies.

On Tuesday, Earle subpoenaed written testimony DeLay and two others gave in a 1994 lawsuit brought by DeLay’s former pest control business partner. Ex-partner Robert Blankenship alleged in the suit that he was unjustly cut out of the business by DeLay and another man. The lawsuit ended in a confidential settlement in 1995.

DeLay gave differing stories about whether he was an officer of Albo Pest Control Co. during his deposition and when he filed a financial disclosure document with the House.

“He can subpoena all he wants, there’s nothing there,” said DeLay attorney Dick DeGuerin. “I think he’s trying to dig himself out of a hole. We’re not concerned about it.”

The subpoenas also seek correspondence and internal accounting records.

Wilkes, head of Wilkes Corp., is one of four unnamed coconspirators listed in Cunningham’s plea agreement, Wilkes’ attorney, Michael Lipman of San Diego, has said. Lipman did not immediately return calls for comment.

Defense contractor ADCS and Perfect Wave Technologies are subsidiaries of Wilkes Corp.

Gelwix was listed in federal campaign records last year as president and CEO of Perfect Wave Technologies. A message left at his office was not immediately returned.

Wilkes’ company also hired Alexander Strategies, a consulting firm that employed DeLay’s wife Christine. His private jet company, Group W Transportation, provided flights to DeLay three times. DeLay reimbursed Group W as required, records show.

DeLay was forced to step aside as majority leader in late November after he was indicted on state charges of conspiracy to violate Texas election laws. A second grand jury indicted him on charges of conspiracy to launder money and money laundering charges.

The initial charges have been dismissed, but a judge has let stand the latter charges and DeLay faces possible trial on them.

Earle alleges that DeLay and two coconspirators funneled $190,000 in corporate contributions through the Texas political committee and an arm of the National Republican Committee to seven GOP state legislative candidates.

Earle alleges DeLay and his two associates were trying to circumvent Texas’ law prohibiting spending corporate money on campaigns, except for administrative expenses.

DeLay, who denies wrongdoing, has been pressing for a quick resolution to his case so he can regain his majority leader job before his colleagues call for new leadership elections.

But Earle on Monday asked a judge to halt DeLay’s trial while he appeals the dismissal of the conspiracy charge. The judge in the case has said he is unlikely to move forward with the case while the district attorney appeals, but set a pretrial hearing for Dec. 27.


Associated Press writer Erica Werner contributed to this report.

© 2005 The Associated Press