A Not-So-Happy Fourth

by TChris

It wasn't a happy Independence Day for U.S. Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, who missed the pancake breakfast he usually attends rather than face reporters.

The pancake breakfast was to have been Cunningham's first public event since last month's disclosure that congressman sold his previous home to a defense contractor for what may have been an overinflated price. Mitchell Wade, founder of the defense firm MZM Inc., bought Cunningham's house for $1.675 million in 2003 and sold it nearly a year later for a $975,000 - a $700,000 loss in one of the nation's hottest housing markets.

Cunningham likes to have his picture taken with flag wavers, but the timing was off this year.

On Friday, the FBI searched Cunningham's $2.55 million mansion in the exclusive community of Rancho Santa Fe as well as the 42-foot yacht, the "Duke Stir," owned by Wade, where Cunningham has resided in Washington. Federal agents also raided MZM's Washington, D.C. offices.

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