TAMPA (CN) - Retired Col. Thomas Spellissy claims the U.S. Special Operations Command is refusing to release documents to impede his "investigation into war profiteering by general officers". In his federal FOIA complaint, Spellissy claims he was charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and bribery as retribution for his role as a whistleblower while he was a high-ranking procurement officer for the Special Operations Command.
Spellissy says he and his company, Strategic Defense International, cannot defend themselves or tell the true story without the documents about USSOCOM's investigation of him.
Spellissy also claims the Pentagon retired him as a lieutenant colonel, rather than as a full colonel, as retribution for his whistle-blowing.
Among the allegations in Spellissy's 21-page complaint are that "On or about February 2002 plaintiff was asked by senior leadership at USSOCOM to hide $20M[illion] in classified aviation accounts from the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Plaintiff 'flatly refused.'"
Spellissy says this funding shenanigan became "known to the public as 'MacDill Gate.'"
He claims, "The senior leadership at USSOCOM coordinated with program managers who were hiding the money to give false briefings to Congress," and that "this $20 million was hid in unclassified programs in the Office's of Program Executive Office, Maritime and Rotary Wing and the Program Executive Office, Fixed Wing. Three companies who benefited from the hidden funds were Sikorsky, Lockheed Martin and Boeing. Our investigation now reveals that money originates from these same three defense companies to donate funding to Congressman C.W. Bill Young's campaign finances."
Spellissy alleges he found other "misappropriation of congressional funds," and claims that one reason he was investigated is because a defense consultant, a competitor of Pellissy's company, made unsubstantiated allegations against him.
He claims that before he was indicted in November 2005, U.S. Rep. Bill Young, R-Fla., held a "secret meeting" about him with the U.S. Attorney in Tampa, and that Young then leaked information from the meeting to St. Petersburg Times reporter Paul De La Garza.
The complaint continues: "In September 2006, Paul De La Garza was working on a story regarding Congressman Young's and Senator Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, involvement in the hiding of $20 million at the United States Special Operations Command. De La Garza was specifically investigating why Doug Gregory, Congressman Young's Professional Staffer, Lesley Kalen, Senator Stevens' Professional Staffer and Elaine Kingston, General [Bryan 'Doug'] Brown's Comptroller refused to cooperate with the Defense Criminal Investigative Services in the investigation. ... In October 2006 plaintiff was assisting De La Garza with his story and on the weekend before he was going to publish the story, he died. The story was never printed. Plaintiff was listed as a witness in 'MacDill Gate,' however, he was never interviewed by investigators."
Spellissy claims the Army retired him, unfairly, as a lieutenant colonel rather than a colonel. His complaint states: "The reason given to plaintiff for the reduction is that he was found of conspiracy [sic] to commit mail fraud and bribery on July 6, 2006, in the Middle District of Florida while he was on active duty. ... However, plaintiff was not charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and the trial judge, Honorable James Whittemore stated, 'It is undisputed that defendant Spellissy had retired from active duty when he committed the offenses of conviction.'"
Spellissy demands specific documents on USSOCOM's investigation of him. He is represented by John McGuire of Clearwater, Fla.
A raft of documents about the imbroglio is available at www.fight4spellissy.com.
Read the Top 8
Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.