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Defense Contractor Can Seek Millions From Iraq

Rose Bouboushian – (Courthouse News) –  April 24, 2013 – Iraq may owe $24 million to a contractor that says it refurbished military vehicles and weapons, and collected scrap metal for the war-torn country, a federal judge ruled.

Wye Oak Technologies filed a federal complaint in 2009, claiming it had been hired five years earlier to work with top U.S. military officials, including then Lt. Gen. David Petraeus, to organize the effort to repair damaged military equipment.

Despite numerous meetings with Iraqi officials who promised payments, however, the three invoices Wye Oak submitted that year were ignored. Wye Oak said Iraq owes it roughly $24 million.

On a December 2004 trip to Baghdad to collect payment on the invoices, Wye Oak’s then president, Dale Stoffel, and another employee were assassinated. Wye Oak’s employees and contractors worked in the country until nonpayment forced them to stop in 2007.

Though both parties agree that the murders remain unsolved, Iraq maintains that the FBI has not linked Stoffel’s death to a known terrorist group or to the contract dispute. After taking over as president for his brother, David Stoffel allegedly received death threats.

On May 20, 2004, Stoffel was granted limited immunity from prosecution by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) in a whistleblower complaint. He gave investigators information regarding U.S. corruption in the Iraqi reconstruction effort that implicated Colonel Ronald W. Hirtle and Colonel Anthony B. Bell and SIGIR opened an investigation of these two officers, among others. In early May 2004, Col. Hirtle had signed a 10 million dollar contract with Lee Dynamics International, a company that raised investigators’ suspicions. Col. Bell was later implicated in the bribery case of Maj. John Cockerham. In his statement, Stoffel described thousands of dollars in payments being delivered to American contracting offices in pizza boxes, pizza delivery-style, and dead drop payoffs in paper sacks dropped off throughout the Green Zone. ~Wikipedia bio of Dale Stoffel

Though Wye Oak attempted mail service on Iraq in October 2009, no signed receipt was ever returned. Wye Oak then commenced service via diplomatic channels in December 2009.

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