OKLAHOMA CITY — The founder and president of an Oklahoma defense contractor faces six federal charges in connection with the sale of a paint remover to Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City and Corpus Christi Army Depot in Texas, according to an indictment released Thursday.
Christopher Houston Hensley is charged with bribery, conspiracy to commit bribery and making false statements to the federal government. Defense attorney Mack Martin said Hensley denies the allegations.
"We've reviewed them, we're familiar with them, we intend to plead not guilty and will vigorously defend them," Martin said.
The indictment said Hensley is founder and president of Oklahoma City-based Aerochem Inc., which manufactured paint remover products used by military bases on aircraft and aircraft parts.
It alleges that Hensley and an employee, identified only by the initials S.B., bribed the Depaint Section Chief for the 566th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Tinker, who oversaw the removal of paint from aircraft, and a supervisor of a division at CCAD that stripped paint from engines and helicopter parts used by the U.S. military.
The two military employees also are only identified by their initials — S.T. at Tinker and R.B. at CCAD.
The bribes allegedly included money, meals, alcohol, trips to gentlemen's clubs, cruise tickets and a boat.
Hensley also faces a charge of falsely stating that the paint remover, Aerostrip 5182, had met all military performance specifications.
Tinker and CCAD said base officials will be watching the case closely.
"Misconduct by employees or contractors will not be tolerated," Tinker said in a statement. "The former Tinker employee cited in today's federal indictment was the subject of an investigation by the Air Force Office of Investigation and is currently awaiting sentencing in the federal courts."
"Obviously, this is a matter between the Department of Justice and that contractor," CCAD spokesman Jose Rodriguez said. "If anything comes out of it, such as overbilling, we will find out about it after the investigation and any legal action afterward.
"We would be interested in the outcome, just as anybody in the Army would be," Rodriguez added.
If convicted, Hensley would face up to 15 years in prison on each of three counts of bribery, up to five years on each of two counts of making a false statement and up to five years on one count of conspiracy to pay a bribe.
Arraignment is scheduled for Dec. 29.