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Ex-Colonel Awarded $10,000 for Resisting C-17 Payments

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Pentagon has awarded retired Col. Kenneth Toleffson $10,000 for resisting pressure by senior Air Force officials to make excessive payments to McDonnell Douglas on the C-17 cargo jet program in 1990.

Derek Vander Schaaf, acting Pentagon inspector general, presented Toleffson with the award at a private ceremony Monday in suburban Washington to recognize the “key role” Toleffson played in stopping an improper increase in payments on the C-17 program in Long Beach.

Toleffson, who commanded the Pentagon’s office at the McDonnell plant in Long Beach, retired last year after the bruising battle with the Air Force ruined his career. He now works as a contract administrator in San Diego County.

“The good guys sometimes do well,” Vander Schaaf said.

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Vander Schaaf said the payments that Toleffson stopped would have violated federal regulations and were not supported by C-17 cost estimates at the time. In earlier congressional hearings, Toleffson testified that Brig. Gen. Michael Butchko, among others, pressured him to arrange the payments.

Butchko was forced to resign earlier this year after Defense Secretary Les Aspin said he “hasn’t demonstrated the judgment necessary for senior leadership positions.” Three other senior Air Force officials were also disciplined.

Toleffson’s award is part of a program by the inspector general’s office to recognize individuals who have acted to prevent waste and mismanagement. The inspector general has made cash awards totaling $131,000 to 66 people.


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