The U.S. attorney in San Diego is trying to seize Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham’s California home, asserting in a sealed civil suit that it was purchased with proceeds from a violation of the bribery statute.
The reference to the federal bribery law in a forfeiture claim filed in court and with San Diego County is the first official indication of the direction of a probe of the California Republican’s relationship with a Washington defense contractor.
A federal grand jury has been investigating Cunningham since the San Diego Union-Tribune reported in June that the contractor, Mitchell J. Wade, had purchased the congressman’s home in late 2003 for $1.675 million and resold it several months later at a $700,000 loss. Cunningham soon bought a larger house in Rancho Santa Fe for $2.55 million.
Cunningham also lived rent free while in Washington on Wade’s 42-foot yacht, the Duke-Stir.