February 23, 2016 / 12:03 AM / 4 years ago

UPDATE 1-U.S. official never disclosed wife's Northrop account -documents

(Adds Boeing did not file supplemental protest, paragraphs 6-7)

By Andrea Shalal

WASHINGTON, Feb 22 (Reuters) - A U.S. Air Force arms buyer under investigation for violating financial disclosure rules never reported his wife’s retirement account with Northrop Grumman Corp after their marriage in 2008, public disclosure forms seen by Reuters showed.

Air Force Secretary Deborah James removed Richard Lombardi as the Air Force’s acting acquisition chief on Feb. 4 in an incident that could trigger additional legal challenges by Boeing Co against an $80 billion-plus bomber contract won by Northrop in October.

The financial forms provided the first detailed information about the matter, which was disclosed by the Air Force last week and is now being investigated by the Pentagon’s inspector general.

Reuters also confirmed for the first time that Lombardi’s wife resigned from Northrop shortly after the couple married.

Air Force officials insist Lombardi was not involved in the bomber selection process, but Boeing will likely include the incident if it files a lawsuit to block the bomber deal, people familiar with the company’s thinking have said.

Boeing, whose initial challenge to the Northrop award was rejected last week, skipped filing a separate protest about the disclosure issue with federal auditors on Monday.

The company’s board discussed its next steps during a meeting in California on Sunday and Monday, and a decision was expected soon, a source familiar with the company said.

Lombardi, a former Air Force officer, took over as the Air Force’s acting top weapons buyer and senior acquisition executive on Dec. 1, when the political appointee in the job, William LaPlante, resigned to take a job in the private sector.

Marianne Lombardi told Reuters in a faxed statement that she married Lombardi in August 2008 and resigned from Northrop in October of that year. “I have not been employed since that date,” she said. Richard Lombardi has declined comment.

Office of Government Ethics (OGE) Form 278, which senior U.S. government officials must fill out annually, requires the reporting individual to disclose assets and non-government income earned for themselves, as well as assets and income above $1,000 earned by their spouse and dependent children.

Lombardi’s forms dating back to 2008, the year of his marriage, show an array of assets at different financial institutions, including Andrews Federal Credit Union, as well as dividends and other investment income.

None of the forms contain any reference to a retirement account from Northrop Grumman. Air Force officials said the form for 2015 was not yet due, and had not been filed.

Northrop has declined comment. (Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Paul Simao, Bernard Orr)

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