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Scores of violations cited

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Local,Virginia,Transportation,Liz Essley

A yearlong federal investigation found widespread mismanagement and corruption within the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. Offenses include:

- Staff awarded contracts to favorite vendors, ignoring costs. One vendor won a contract despite a bid that was 234 percent higher than a competitor.

- Contractors began work before agreements were approved, allowing one to charge nearly $600 an hour to sit through the five-hour meeting at which the board discussed whether to give him the contract.

- A former board member received 16 no-bid contracts totalling $262,000 over the last decade.

- No-bid contracts worth $6 million were issued without the required board approval.

- Arl Williams, vice president for human resources, hired a relative who failed a criminal background check and supervised another relative. He announced his retirement Wednesday.

- George Ellis, vice president for information and telecommunications services, and his staff accepted $12,000 in gifts, including Super Bowl tickets, from a major contractor over four years. He was fired in April.

- People who were not students were hired as student interns. One intern who lied about being a student worked for more than two years before being given a permanent job.

- A human resources manager with a criminal record was paid $135,000 a year to handle sensitive personnel information. The background check that would detect a criminal record was never completed, though the employee was later fired.

- Cash bonuses of $2,500 to $5,000 meant to recognize employee achievement and boost morale were given frequently, with no justification, to the same people. One manager got two bonuses in just seven weeks.

- About 21 employees, some of them related to authority executives or board members, were hired and sometimes given higher salaries in violation of the authority's own personnel rules.

- An employee who once worked for an authority board member was hired as a temporary worker with no specific duties. Five months later, the employee was made full-time and given a $15,000 raise.

NOTE: This story has been corrected to reflect that Arl Williams did not add an ineligible person to his health insurance benefits. It was a different manager in his department.

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