Oil lobbyist, former U.S. officials combat rumors of unethical real-estate deal

We would never engage in idle speculation about the allegedly unethical relationship between a ConocoPhillips oil lobbyist, a former U.S. Interior top dog, and the Justice Department’s freshly resigned lead eco-prosecutor. But the big boys would, and we consider it our duty to share. The big boys are wondering why these three bought a $980,000 beach house together, just a few months before the prosecutor signed decrees giving the oil company more time to pay clean-up fees and to meet pollution requirements at some of its refineries. “What exactly is wrong with three close personal friends sharing a vacation/rental home?” huffed the attorney for former Interior deputy J. Steven Griles, who — did we mention? — is also a target in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal. And is now an oil lobbyist himself. And lives with the eco-prosecutor, Sue Ellen Wooldridge. Juicy! Both Conoco and the Justice Department said the parties got ethics clearance before buying the house. Nothing to see here, folks.