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We’re Back and other news

Not-Quite-Lost Shipping Containers May Cost Feds
Lorraine Bailey – (Courthouse News) – May 17, 2013 – A fourth company will join the fight to prove that the government lied about losing 1,000 leased shipping containers so it could keep using them without paying, a federal judge ruled.

Three container companies, CAI International, Cronos Containers and Textainer Equipment Management, had leased shipping containers to TOPtainer, which in turn leased the containers to the U.S. Army for equipment shipments to Afghanistan and Iraq.

On Wednesday, Judge Nancy Firestone with the Court of Federal Claims joined

Capital Lease to the case because it had been Textainer’s supplier.

They claim that the government told TOPtainer that it lost 1,000 when its lease was up, and paid TOPtainer for the loss, but TOPtainer never remitted that money to its suppliers and is now defunct.

The container companies say that the government took the title to their property without paying just compensation.

Capital also “presented undisputed evidence to the court to show that 125 containers that had been owned by Capital and were now the subject of plaintiff Textainer’s claim were never ‘lost,’ but were instead sent to Okinawa, Japan and thus appeared to have been ‘taken’ outside the terms of the master lease,” Judge Firestone wrote. (Click HERE for article) (Click HERE for Judge’s Order)

Soldier Given Second Shot at Suing Gun Maker
Rose Bouboushian – (Courthouse News) – April 3, 2013 – A soldier who was injured when his M2 machine gun exploded and a shell casing pierced his leg will get a chance to hone his federal lawsuit against the gun’s manufacturer.

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Inspectors Slam Army, Contractor for Shoddy Afghan Base

DynCorp was paid $73 million for base plagued with issues, contractor says problems started after it completed work

Paul D. Shinkman – (US News) – December 13, 2012 – The government office tasked with monitoring U.S. efforts to rebuild Afghanistan claims the U.S. Army lost tens of millions of dollars supposed to be used to re-construct an Afghan Army base that remains in disrepair.

The Office of the Special Inspector for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) has opened an investigation into the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and its $73 million contract with DynCorp International to build an Afghan National Army base at Camp Pamir in the northern Kunduz Province.

DynCorp was paid in full and released from the contract, SIGAR says, though the base is plagued with structural failures and a crumbling foundation. This investigation stems from an October report outlining the issues.

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KBR November Litigation Round-Up

NEIL GORDON – (POGO) – November 26, 2012 – November has been a very bad month for defense contractor KBR.

KBR is the federal government’s primary logistics support contractor in Iraq, receiving tens of billions of dollars in business from the Department of Defense over the last decade, much of that under the U.S. Army’s monopolistic Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP) III contract.

In early November, an Oregon federal jury returned an $85.2 million verdict against KBR for exposing military personnel to toxic chemicals at an Iraqi water treatment facility in 2003. The jury found that KBR had “acted with reckless and outrageous indifference to a highly unreasonable risk of harm and conscious indifference to the health, safety, and welfare” of the plaintiffs. A case raising similar claims is pending in KBR’s hometown of Houston, Texas, and will soon go to trial.

KBR sues US Army after losing case to Oregon National Guardsmen

The US Army resists KBR’s attempt to “gobble” up more taxpayer dollars as KBR cries “fowl” and sues the US Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) after they refuse to indemnify the “turkey’s” [KBR's] legal fees from exposure of Oregon National Guard troops and others to sodium dichromate at Qarmat Ali, Iraq. If I were the Army, I would be saying “Stick a fork in ‘em [KBR], they’re DONE!” (OK….that’s all the Thanksgiving cliche’s for now.)

On November 2, 2012, an Oregon federal jury ruled that KBR must pay $85 million to 12 Oregon National Guard members who allegedly suffered emotional distress after the company exposed them to sodium dichromate at Qarmat Ali.

Each guardsman was awarded $6.25 million in punitive damages after the jury determined that KBR “acted with reckless and outrageous indifference to a highly unreasonable risk of harm and conscious indifference to the health, safety and welfare of others,” as well as $850,000 in non-economic damages. Read the remainder of this entry »

McCaskill, Collins Demand Answers on $70 Million Settlement with Contractor DynCorp

Severe soil settling has caused this guardhouse to lean and its surrounding walls to crack. SIGAR has recently identified significant soil stability issues at the construction site of the Kunduz ANA garrison. (SIGAR photo)

Senators see ‘harm to taxpayers’ in government’s decision to pay contractor for inadequate and incomplete work on construction contracts in Afghanistan

(Office of Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) – WASHINGTON – November 20, 2012 -In a bipartisan effort to protect taxpayer dollars, U.S. Senators Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) today sought answers from the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) concerning its decision to approve a $70.8 million dollar settlement with the contractor DynCorp International for faulty construction of an Afghan Army garrison. According to a report by the Special IG for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) that questioned the settlement, some of the structures built by the contractor had completely “failed” and were either “unsafe, uninhabitable, or unusable.”

In a letter to Lieutenant General Thomas Bostick, Commanding General and Chief of Engineers for the Army Corps, McCaskill and Collins address multiple reports of waste and mismanagement associated with the contract, asking General Bostick to provide them with information that would justify the $70.8 million settlement.

“It looks like we paid $70 million for a contract that delivered next to nothing-any reasonable person is going to ask why,” said McCaskill, who chairs the Senate Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight. “Every taxpayer dollar spent in Afghanistan is a dollar that wasn’t spent to build a school or repair a road right here at home, and I think it’s critical that we really scrutinize what we’re getting for the money we’re spending on projects halfway around the world.”

“Many questions are raised by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers decision to let Dyncorp off the hook for poor performance in a settlement agreement made in connection with contracts to construct a garrison for the Afghan National Army,” said Collins, the ranking Republican on the Senate Homeland Security Committee. “The Corps of Engineers has been unable to provide a justification, despite repeated requests from Congress and the Special IG for Afghanistan Reconstruction. The IG audit on the construction of this garrison documented a number of failures. Such failures undermine our national security objective in Afghanistan to train and support the Afghan National Army. This settlement agreement appears to be yet another inexcusable failure of oversight that undermines the overall mission in Afghanistan and wastes taxpayer dollars.”

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