Pigging Out On Pork

Molly Ivins

True, Duke Cunningham is merely an obscure Republican from San Diego (Crow Eaten Here: In a recent column, I said Cunningham was in charge of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, whereas actually he is only a member thereof... apologies. He is also on the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.) On the other hand, the whole tale is so... so prototypical, so archetypal, so (even though I keep promising not to use the word) paradigmatic.

Cunningham was a decorated pilot in Vietnam who has oft campaigned on the claim that he is the original model for Top Gun. In 2003, he sold his house in Del Mar, a very upscale town north of San Diego. The buyer was Mitchell Wade, a defense contractor, who paid $1.675 million. Wade later resold the house at a $700,000 loss.

Now, either this makes Wade the only person in recent history to lose money on a San Diego real estate deal, or the guy paid way too much for the house.The deal is now under investigation by a grand jury. Cunningham in turn used the money he made from the Del Mar deal to buy a $2.55 million home in Rancho Santa Fe.