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Cheryl Harris vs URS/Washington Group Archive

3 years ago today, 24 year old  entered the shower in his Special Forces living quarters at the Radwaniyah Palace Complex in Baghdad, Iraq and he died. He was electrocuted do to an improperly installed water pump on the roof of his building.

The Army initially reported that Ryan, a decorated Green Beret foolishly took an electrical appliance into the shower and that was the reason for his death.

The Criminal Investigations Command (CID) closed Ryan’s investigation on June 11, 2008 proclaiming Ryan’s manner of death was “accidental”. His mother, refused to accept this as the cause of death for her son. Read the remainder of this entry »

Is this "no award fee" the equivalent of a good old fashioned DoD spanking?

Below is a recent article from Bloomberg Business Week. It’s obvious KBR is trying to spin this pathetic award fee into something positive for their shareholders. The fact of the matter is, of the $123.8M available for award fee for the 7 quarters listed below, including the first quarter of 2008 when SSG Ryan Maseth was killed, KBR actually lost $84.7M in available awards. Of the $123.8M available for those quarters, KBR was awarded $39.1M a mere 32% of what was available. KBR has enjoyed unchallenged award fees in the 90% of total fee available for years. That doesn’t really sound like a job well done to me!

KBR profits are based on award fees. Although the Army just awarded them a $568M contract for LOGCAP IV (for whatever reason), no award fee means NO PROFIT for KBR! ~ Ms Sparky

KBR Loses $24.1 Million Bonus Over Green Beret’s Death in Iraq
June 09, 2010, 10:22 AM EDT

By Tony Capaccio

June 9 (Bloomberg) — KBR Inc., the largest contractor in Iraq, lost all of its potential bonus — $24.1 million — for the first four months of 2008 because it was found partly to blame for the accidental electrocution of a Green Beret.

This is the first time KBR lost its entire performance fee since the company won the contract in 2001 to support U.S. troops, Army Contracting Command spokesman Daniel Carlson said.

Houston-based KBR has received orders from this contract totaling $35.7 billion to date. Its profit comes from a base fee of 1 percent and periodic bonuses based on criteria such as quality of work and its control over cost and schedule.

Staff Sergeant Ryan Maseth of the 5th Special Forces Group was electrocuted while showering on Jan. 2, 2008, in part because the shower’s electrical pump wasn’t properly grounded when installed less than two years before, the Pentagon inspector general reported on July 27, 2009.

The report criticized the Army’s oversight of Maseth’s compound, saying his death “was the catastrophic result of the failure of multiple systems exposing U.S. personnel to unnecessary risk.”

Army commanders, the Army contracting command and KBR were all “responsible for the use and physical condition” of the compound, the report said.

“KBR did not ground equipment during installation or report improperly grounded equipment identified during routine maintenance” at the facility starting in February 2006, thereby “perpetuating electrical hazards,” the report found.

Accidental Death

The death was ruled accidental and KBR wasn’t found criminally negligent. Maseth’s mother, Cheryl A. Harris, in March 2008 filed a wrongful death suit against KBR. A federal judge last year denied a KBR dismissal motion. The case is pending in the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia.

The Army’s decision to deny KBR’s bonus followed a Jan. 7 report from its audit agency, which conducted its own investigation as well as reviewing the Pentagon inspector general’s report and the findings of an Army Criminal Investigation Command probe.

The $24.1 million wasn’t rolled into the subsequent award- fee period so KBR can’t earn it back, Carlson said in an e-mail.

KBR spokeswoman Gabriela Segura said the company was notified Feb. 19 that the fee wouldn’t be paid but hasn’t seen the Army audit “so it would be inappropriate to comment” at this time.

“We requested access to all information used so that we are better able to understand” the decision and “to determine whether there are additional actions that we might take,” she said.

KBR’s performance improved enough in the subsequent bonus periods from May 2008 through August 2009 for the Army to pay it $39.1 million of the $99.7 million available, or about 40 percent, according to the contracting command.

The Army announced May 6 that KBR received a new order worth as much as $568 million to continue to provide services in Iraq such as housing, meals, laundry, showers, water purification and bathroom cleaning. (Click HERE for  original article)

Second company sued in Shaler soldier’s electrocution
By Robin Acton
Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Cheryl Harris and SSG Ryan Maseth

Cheryl Harris and SSG Ryan Maseth

The parents of a Shaler, PA Green Beret electrocuted in his shower in Iraq in 2008 filed a federal lawsuit Monday against a San Francisco firm that once maintained electrical systems in his living quarters.

Douglas Maseth of Allison Park, PA and Cheryl Harris of Cranberry, PA are seeking unspecified damages of more than $75,000 in their wrongful death lawsuit against URS Corp., formerly Washington Group International.

Staff Sgt. Ryan Maseth, 24, died on Jan. 2, 2008, when an improperly grounded electric water pump in his quarters in the Radwaniyah Palace Complex shorted out and sent an electrical current through metal pipes into his shower. Read the remainder of this entry »

I have been listening to and reading the news about this hearing. I know the news media can only print so much, but they are leaving out many important details. So I am posting the testimony of each person that testified. I want to make sure you know the truth about what was said before the rumors start. If you have any questions feel free to email me. When and if a final transcript is available, I will post that as well.

All witnesses were asked to be at the Dirksen Senate Office Building at 9am on Friday. When I got there the hearing room was relatively empty and non threatening, similar to an empty court room. At 9am the witnesses were ushered into a conference room and briefed by DPC staff members.

The witnesses for the Senate Democratic Policy Committee (DPC) Hearing “Contractor Misconduct and the Electrocution Deaths of American Soldiers in Iraq” are: Read the remainder of this entry »

Cheryl Harris is a beautiful, intelligent determined woman. I met her for the first time the evening before the hearings. I had quite a bit of anxiety about meeting the Mother’s of these Solders, but Cheryl quickly put me at ease and was genuinely grateful for my testimony. Her determination and unwavering commitment to get answers and accountability is truly commendable.

Cheryl was the first to testify. Her heartfelt testimony tugged at the heartstrings of even the most hardened in the room. And again, I choked back the tears. Cheryl’s testimony is below.
Read the remainder of this entry »