RANCHO DOMINGUEZ, Calif. – The silver-plated candelabras went for $2,000. An armoire with beveled mirrors pulled in $4,000. And a marble-topped night stand sold for $1,250.
Piece by piece, the furniture, rugs and other high-end home furnishings that former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham accepted as bribes were auctioned off by the government Thursday, bringing in $94,625.
Cunningham, a Republican, was sentenced earlier this month to more than eight years in federal prison for tax evasion and conspiracy, the longest term meted out to a congressman in decades. Prosecutors said he collected $2.4 million in bribes from defense contractors in exchange for steering government contracts and other favors their way.
An elaborately patterned, Oriental-style rug from Cunningham's former mansion sold for the highest price, $10,000. A second one was purchased for $9,000. A French Provincial walnut armoire, with carved feet, fetched $7,100.
But some furnishing came cheaper. A wash stand was sold for $400. A leaded-glass lamp went for $850.
Cunningham was also ordered to pay $1.8 million in restitution for back taxes and to forfeit an additional $1.85 million for cash bribes he received, plus hundreds of thousands from sale of the mansion.
The former congressman sold a Rolls-Royce — one of the bribes — before he was indicted. He also transferred ownership of a yacht, another illegal gift from contractors.