Suicide of Tom Pappas

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Tom Pappas was the chief of staff to former Congressman Roy Dyson. He jumped to his death after allegations from staff members emerged that led to implications that he was in a homosexual relationship with Congressman Dyson. Following the suicide the office of Roy Dyson was linked to illegal contributions and bribes for the Defense subcontractor, Unisys, to receive favorable appropriations contracts through Roy Dyson's position on the Defense Appropriations Committee. The Federal Bureau of Investigation's Operation Ill Wind resulted in the conviction of key Department of the Navy Political Appointee convictions who had close ties to Tom Pappas and Roy Dyson.


Tom Pappas was the chief of staff and campaign coordinator to former congressman Roy Dyson. Mr. Pappas was investigated by the FEC for allegations that he had campaign contribution checks written to staff members which they then cashed and returned directly to Mr. Pappas.[1] In light of the allegations that could implicate Dyson and other members in the office, several staff members, including the Press Secretary, Scott Ourth, accused Mr. Pappas in a Washington Post article of unorthodox management practices.[2] The allegations against Mr. Pappas and congressman Dyson by staff members led to accusations that the two were in a homosexual relationship. The congressman denied the homosexual allegations and claimed that the accusations were made in malice.[3] The day the Washington Post published the article with the homosexual hazing practices, Mr. Pappas jumped to his death from his hotel room during a New York trip to a Unisys factory. The office of congressman Dyson was later linked to improper contributions and connections to an illegal procurement of Navy Contracts in Operation Ill Wind.[4]

The day of his suicide, Tom Pappas was with the congressman on a trip sponsored by Unisys. The defense contractor was later implicated in a scheme of providing campaign contributions and bribes to key individuals for favorable treatment receiving contracts despite protests against the program from the Navy. The company provided Roy Dyson with $17,000 in campaign contributions.[5] In a federal investigation it was revealed that Dyson and his staff received trips and compensation for providing favorable appropriations to Unisys.[6]


Charles Gardner, a former Unisys officer with close contact to the Congressman, was convicted and sentenced in the scheme.[7] Also convicted in the scheme were Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Melvyn Paisley, Deputy Assistant of the Navy, James E. Gaines and Deputy Assistant of the Air Force Victor D. Cohen. Despite the link to the convicted Unisys lobbyist and the search warrants executed against the Congressman's office, neither Dyson or members of is staff were indicted in the scandal. Dyson did return campaign contributions to Unisys and paid a fee for to the FEC for the improper campaign collections from his staff.[8]

The scandal led the United States Congress to pass the 1988 Procurement Integrity Act,[9] which regulates the pay that procurement officials can get from contractors during the first year after they leave government, and forbids them to provide bid and proposal information to their new employers.[10]


  1. ^ Associated Press (26 September 1989). "Ex-Aide Took Campaign Funds, Dyson Says". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 7 March 2014. 
  2. ^ ]].Quigley, Eileen (2 May 1988). "Congressman's Top Aide Apparently Leaps to Death". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 7 March 2014. 
  3. ^ Drummond, Ayers (5 May 1988). "Rep. Dyson Says Smear Drove an Aide to Suicide". New York Times. Retrieved 7 March 2014. 
  4. ^ Bowman, Tom (13 October 1990). "Dyson linked to lobbyists in affidavit Unisys consultants quoted discussing fund-raising events". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 7 March 2014. 
  5. ^ Borders, Rebecca (1 January 1995). Beyond the Hill: A Directory of Congress from 1984 to 1993 : where Have All the Members Gone?. (University Press of America). Retrieved 7 March 2014. 
  6. ^ "Mutual Ties Often Bind Legislators To Defense Firms". New York Times. 19 August 1988. Retrieved 7 March 2014. 
  7. ^ Rosenthal, Andrew (16 September 1989). "Jail Term for Ex-Officer of Unisys". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 March 2014. 
  8. ^ "Ex-Aide Took Campaign Funds, Dyson Says". The Associated Press. September 26, 1989. Retrieved 7 March 2014. 
  9. ^ 48 CFR 3.104-1 - 11, U.S. Government Printing Office via GPO Access, retrieved 2008-11-12 
  10. ^ George Cahlink (July 15, 2004), Closing Doors,, retrieved 2008-11-12 

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