Virgil Goode and MZM: There’s a story here.

Josh Marshall has an excellent post on Talking Points Memo that’s all about one Mitchell Wade and the defense contracting firm that he owns, MZM, Inc. It seems that Mr. Wade purchased (through a shell corporation) the home of Rep. Randy Cunningham, a Republican member of the House Appropriations Committee’s defense appropriations subcommittee, for $1.7M, which was way over the market value. The San Diego Examiner discovered that the house sat on the market for 261 days before it finally sold for $975k. Poor Mr. Wade. Lucky Mr. Cunningham.

But, wait, there’s more. Mr. Wade had been unable to procure any new Pentagon contracts for a long while. Coincidentally, he had a sudden reversal of fortunes — he got tens of millions of dollars of new defense and intelligence contracts. Lucky Mr. Wade!

The name “MZM” is familiar to some Democrats in the 5th Congressional District of Virginia. Mitchell Wade gave $36,000 to Republicans in the 2004 election cycle, giving the maximum of $4,000 to a few lucky candidates: Rick Renzi, Katherine Harris, Randy Cunningham (our lucky former homeowner) and, who’s this? Why, it’s the Fifth District’s own Virgil H. Goode!

Yes, in April of 2003, Virgil Goode became the very second federal candidate to benefit from Mr. Wade’s largesse. But he did much better than that in total. MZM employees, apparently having taken a shine to Rep. Goode, were really quite good to Rep. Goode. Let’s take a look at his top ten contributors:

  1. MZM Inc: $48,551
  2. McDermott International: $12,750
  3. Northrop Grumman: $11,000
  4. National Auto Dealers Assn: $10,000
  5. National Beer Wholesalers Assn: $7,500
  6. National Rural Electric Cooperative Assn: $7,000
  7. McGuire, Woods et al: $5,664
  8. American Hospital Assn: $5,500
  9. American Bankers Assn: $5,000
  10. American Medical Assn: $5,000

My Lord! MZM has been very generous to Rep. Goode. Why, even Rep. Cunningham only received $13,000 from MZM, a fraction of what Rep. Goode received. Why, MZM only gave out $143k in all of 2004, meaning that Rep. Goode received a stunning 33.8% of all of the donations given by the company’s employees in all of 2003-04! Clearly, Rep. Goode is MZM’s top man in Congress.

Did I mention that Virgil Goode is on the House Appropriations Committee?

I’m left with a whole lot of questions. I wonder if Rep. Goode is as grateful to MZM as is Rep. Cunningham, and I wonder how that has affected his votes? I wonder if Rep. Goode aided Rep. Cunningham in providing Mitchell Wade with his tens of millions of dollars in new defense contracts? I wonder if it concerns Rep. Goode that he’s taken such a tremendous amount of money (considerably more than the amount that the average family in the Fifth District makes in a year, if my memory of the districts demographics serve me) from a man embroiled in a pay-to-play scandal? I wonder if it concerns Rep. Goode that a corporation with whom he’s proud to say that he has a close working relationship (in the past two months it’s been reported that Goode “was instrumental in MZM’s decision to locate an office in Martinsville,” from the Roanoke Times and that he arranged their purchase of a the old Technicolor building in Greene County, from the Daily Progress) is embroiled in this scandal? I wonder if Rep. Goode has, like Rep. Cunningham, taken any additional money from MZM, its employees, or shell corporations owned, established or substantially invested in by MZM’s employees or representatives?

I wonder if any Virginia journalist has the huevos budget to look into this?

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

10 replies on “Virgil Goode and MZM: There’s a story here.”

  1. A yellow journalist will no doubt pick it up & run with it. Until somebody gives them a clue, that is.

  2. I’d ask on what information that you base your conclusion, but all of your comments are based on nothing, so there’s clearly no point.

    Do us all a favor and start your own blog, so that we can not read it.

  3. Here’s the problem that you are apparently too obtuse to recognize:

    You’re laughably overreaching on this. Let this obvious scandal be exactly what it is —
    a serious problem for Duke Cunningham and MZM. But, good God… leave Virgil out of it.

    So, Virgil helped bring an MZM facility to Martinsville that will employ over 150 people.
    That’s good for that job-hungry part of the state (FYI, there ARE other places in the
    Commonwealth besides Cville).

    Attempting to villify Goode because Mitch Wade donated to him is like calling Shaq a
    rapist because he played with Kobe. But you were almost right… some yellow
    will undoubtedly decide that this would make for a great “Let’s Smear
    Virgil” campaign.

    Leftist politics as usual.

  4. From Daily Progress:

    Company to benefit work force, charities
    By Kate Andrews / Daily Progress staff writer
    May 23, 2005

    Techni-Pak currently rents out space in the former Technicolor building in Ruckersville. MZM is expected to move in next summer. The Daily Progress/ Rachel Zahumensky

    RUCKERSVILLE – For a company that has to keep its business largely to itself, MZM Inc. is quite public-minded.

    The Washington-based firm that will soon set up shop in Greene County handles security and intelligence contracts from the federal government, requiring many employees to have security clearances.

    “We can’t say too much about what we do,” MZM spokeswoman Karen Theobald said, “but we can talk about our employees.”

    Community involvement is a part of the company’s philosophy, carried out through charitable causes, social events and political donations. The firm prides itself on being “patriotic,” Theobald said.

    MZM’s political action committee has donated money to many Republican political campaigns, including $10,000 to U.S. Rep. Virgil H. Goode Jr., R-Rocky Mount, in 2003.

    The congressman, whose district includes Greene County, was instrumental in bringing the company to Ruckersville.

    MZM also has given $5,000 to governor candidate Jerry Kilgore, $10,000 to Florida’s U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris and $1,000 to Del. Rob Bell, R-Albemarle.

    The company’s Albemarle County office has sponsored the $12,000 purse for Foxfield’s feature race for the past three years and invites employees and clients to watch the horse races from the tent it sponsors.

    “They’re wonderful,” said Anne Brown, marketing director for Foxfield Races. “They’ve supported all kinds of things.”

    In the Washington area, the company has given time and money to the Washington Tennis and Education Foundation, the Duke Ellington School of the Arts and the Sure Foundation, which assists children in war-torn countries.

    Closer to home, MZM is working to find jobs within the company for disabled veterans from the Iraq war, Theobald said. Many are amputees who are recuperating at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington.

    Some may come to work in the former Technicolor building in Ruckersville, which MZM will close on June 1. Move-in is set to begin that day, although the company’s sensitive governmental tasks require a checklist of security measures that may delay the beginning of operations.

    Theobald declined to disclose the amount MZM paid for the 117,000-square-foot building and 23.8 acres of land.

    The company aims to have 200 to 300 employees there by next summer, Theobald said. “We are making a commitment to hire locals.”

    MZM as a whole has grown 50 percent over the past three years, when demand for security and intelligence work has grown exponentially. It expects to increase its number of employees from 400 to 1,000 within the next year, including a doubling of the 100 workers in Albemarle.

    The company generated $66.1 million in revenue last year and just opened an office in Baltimore. Theobald said MZM is targeting growing communities and has worked closely with Gov. Mark R. Warner, establishing a presence in Martinsville as well as in Albemarle.

    Currently the Ruckersville building houses Techni-Pak, a packaging service that has 100 full-time and seasonal employees. MZM plans to honor its contract.

    Although the county has appreciated Techni-Pak’s tenancy, it is thrilled to have a new purchaser, said Supervisor Jeri Allen, who represents Ruckersville.

    “It was all so devastating,” she said of Technicolor’s departure in 2002, which caused the loss of 750 full-time jobs and about $650,000 in annual taxes. “We’re still feeling the pinch financially from the loss of Technicolor.”

    Waynesboro Holdings LLC, a firm connected with developer Coran Capshaw, purchased the building in 2004, but Allen said expectations were low that a business tenant could be found because the building was constructed specifically for Technicolor’s manufacturing needs.

    “We’re certainly tickled to death,” said Steve Catalano, chairman of the Board of Supervisors. “Maybe even some of the displaced workers from Technicolor can take advantage.”

    Although Allen would not speculate if MZM will have the same level of economic impact on Greene as Technicolor did, she is pleased that most of the logistics and intelligence positions are highly skilled posts. “The jobs are good jobs.”!news

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