Apr 3, 2009 | 1
NASA inspector general Robert "Moose" Cobb submitted a letter of resignation yesterday, giving up his post effective April 11. President Barack Obama has accepted Cobb's resignation, according to the space agency, ending his nearly seven-year run as NASA's top watchdog.
Cobb had endured criticism of his performance for years. In 2007 a panel created by the President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency, investigating dozens of complaints over the preceding years, concluded that Cobb had abused his authority, creating a hostile workplace peppered with aggressive outbursts and profanity. (The committee report, available here as a pdf, makes for great reading—one witness cited in the document said that Cobb was fond of referring to his staff as "f—sticks.") The panel also found that Cobb had grown too close to the agency personnel he was supposed to be auditing for waste and fraud. For instance, the inspector general lunched often with NASA brass, golfed with the agency's then chief Sean O'Keefe twice, and once tipped O'Keefe off that search warrants in "a significant criminal investigation" were about to be issued.
Feb 26, 2009 | 3
A University of Florida (UF) professor and his family are under investigation for allegedly falsifying information and funneling hundreds of thousands of dollars from contracts for NASA and other federal agencies into their personal accounts.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) yesterday searched the office of Samim Anghaie, 59, who directs UF's Innovative Nuclear Space Power and Propulsion Institute in Gainesville, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Stinson in Tallahassee planned to seize several of the Anghaie family's vehicles, bank accounts and real-estate properties, the Orlando Sentinel reports.
The federal probe, which also includes NASA's Office of Inspector General, centers on a company called New Era Technology, Inc. (NETECH), where Prof. Anghaie's wife Sousan, 54, serves as president. (Prof. Anghaie has reportedly also held top posts at NETECH.) According to an affidavit filed last week, NETECH has received $3.4 million from the federal government, including about $2.5 million from NASA, since 1999, including a recent contract to develop uranium fuels, the Sentinel notes. Investigators allege that the Anghaies falsified contract proposals and invoices to maximize payouts from federal agencies, and then transferred the illicit monies into personal accounts for themselves and their two sons, ages 28 and 31.
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