TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE: The Outlandish Story of Wedtech by James Traub

TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE: The Outlandish Story of Wedtech

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Whether the sorry tale of Wedtech Corp., the misbegotten Pentagon supplier once hailed as a paragon of minority enterprise, could be related as a modern morality play remains an open question. At any rate, free-lance journalist Traub, who claims to see the story as a latter-day allegory of human folly, tells it in a smart-alecky way that trivializes rather than dramatizes the lessons to be learned. Taking a comparatively conventional rise-and-fall approach, the author starts his narrative on the mean streets of N.Y.C.'s South Bronx. In this unpromising venue, John Mariotta cast his lot with Fred Neuberger; the partners in crime soon became favorites of the Reagan Administration. Unbeknownst to their ideological sponsors, however, the principals were paying off crooked accountants, attorneys, bureaucrats, pols, and power brokers who helped Wedtech to become a going, if barely solvent, concern. While the good times rolled, the company was able to go public, greatly enriching insiders and their greedy retainers. Eventually, the founders fell out, and the long-lived conspiracy came apart. The cost of the collapse, which has yet to be reckoned in full, was dear, and over 20 parties to the scheme, including two Congressmen, pled guilty to or were convicted on a variety of fraud charges. A marginal, largely undocumented entry in the Wedtech sweepstakes, which compares unfavorably with both Marilyn W. Thompson's Feeding the Beast (reviewed above) and Feeding Frenzy (1989) by William Sternberg and Matthew C. Harrison, Jr.

Pub Date: July 20th, 1990
Publisher: Doubleday