Archive for October, 2012

Mary L. Wade, A Toast

Posted on October 13, 2012. Filed under: KBR | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

21st in the series The Great Cluster Fu…   A treatise on questionable journalism and pre-litigation practices

Your words for the day (definitions by TheDean01):

  • agreement = a mutual understanding based on a defined set of conditions
  • amendment = a mutually approved change or addition to a previously accepted agreement
  • performance = the act of accomplishing a contracted task

We must go back to the Raiznor version of the “deposition,”  in which he characterized the contract change order as an “indemnity” designed to make KBR immune from having to pay for KBR’s alleged disregard for humans.

  • Raiznor asked Ms. Wade:  “This indemnity…   it was to keep KBR from having to do…   what?”
  • Mary paused; then, shunning his obvious attempt to lead the answer, replied:  “NO!  It was about performance”  (of the contract).  (See change orders are the rule in the article Contracts set boundaries.)

As previously noted, contracts have conditions built into them based on certain assumptions.  If the base assumptions change, then contract performance can be affected.  Therefore, when new conditions threaten one party’s ability to perform within contracted parameters, that party will request changes to the contract, particularly if the originating party (the Client) has precipitated the new conditions.  If the client (like the US of A) should contract under peacetime conditions with a prime contractor, and then drops a war into the middle of the prime contractors accepted conditions, the prime contractor will want the client (the US of A) to pay for ALL the unexpected and unpredictable costs resulting from that war.  That is the ONLY way the contractor can perform the contract as originally agreed.  Change orders are both common sense and common business practice.

But, Raiznor keeps implying that the sole purpose of the change order to the LOGCAP was to keep from having to pay the costs resulting from hazards to humans.  A legal type from KBR read out that clause in Raiznor’s “deposition;” it was a blanket phrase covering EVERYTHING.  Super Dan then asked, “Does that include US civilians…   foreign national civilians…   US military…   British military…   ”  and a few others.  The legal type replied “yes” to each, and added that the clause did not “carve out any exceptions.”  Raiznor could have recited a 1,000-page compilation of “who’s who” names and the answer “yes” would have been given for each.  There is just something about that word EVERYTHING that makes itemizations sort of pointless.  But Raiznor is trying to instill — hopefully to a pre-conditioned anti-KBR crowd — that it is only human cost that KBR disregards.  And humans make up the prospective jury.  Raiznor doesn’t need a rational verdict; a sympathetic one will do just as well.

This little ditty is the cherry on top of my ice cream and cake dessert.  Super Dan, in the edited deposition, made a super obvious observation about an (alleged) issue, and asked, “Is that correct?”  Ms. Wade answered in the affirmative, and, all we got was silence from the Big Man.  Ms. Wade then restated her answer.  It was several viewings later before I realized what had taken place:

  • Ms. Wade had answered with a very indecorous “Yep” to the super obvious question.  Maybe I’m just hoping, but, I hear just a hint of snippishness in that “yep.”  Like Young Lee, maybe she is tiring of all the really stupid questions and assertions.
  • Ms. Wade continues to look off camera into the silence.
  • Then, without raising her eyebrows, her eyes widen…   In my mind, the possibility is raised that she is witnessing a brand new shade of color as Super Dan pulls off a spontaneous impersonation of an agitated cuttlefish
  • …and she restated her answer as a decorous “Yes.”  Mollified, Super Dan continues.  What I wouldn’t give to have seen his reaction to such impertinence toward his elevated status in the legal game…   profession…   legal profession.

Mary Wade, thank you.

  • First, for maintaining your composure amid Doyle’s attempts to hijack your testimony,
  • Second, for standing firm and rebutting his misstatements of conditions, and
  • Third, (oh, be still, my beating heart)…   for just reaching out with that “yep” and tugging on SuperDan’s cape.*

Calls for another toast.  For this one, I am uncorking a new bottle of wine from the Republic of Georgia.

  • To Mary.  Composure is you.  Thanks heaps for the show.

*Ashamed, I should be — but not, I am.  I dubbed ol’ Doyle Super Dan just so I could use this line about Superman’s cape.

Next up:  Rebuttal witnesses; shouldn’t they actually know something?

Series references:  KBR, Mary L. Wade, Qarmat Ali, Doyle Raiznor, Ms. Sparky, sued, deposition, litigator, cluster

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Mary L. Wade, Fence Rider

Posted on October 12, 2012. Filed under: KBR | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

20th in the series The Great Cluster Fu...   A treatise on questionable journalism and pre-litigation practices

Your words for the day (definitions courtesy of TheDean01)

  • fence = a structure that defines an area; a barrier designed to keep things inside
  • fence rider = one charged with maintaining the integrity of a fence

Shockingly casual and quick — that is how Raiznor characterizes the offering and acceptance of major government-funded contracts, implying back room maneuvering for greatest personal or corporate profit.  But, Raiznor is very carefully omitting a very prominent fact:  for Ms. Wade and the other parties to be able to go over the terms and conditions of a contract, there must first be…   well…   a physical contract to go over.  This means a printed document containing terms and conditions detailing the services to be rendered, the manner in which those services are to be rendered, and payment for said rendering.  But, wait!  That’s just the simplified version of what producing that contract would entail.  There’s more:

  • Conditions and terms must include compliance with all applicable references to Federal, International, and local laws which, in turn…
  • will refer to applicable published standards for engineering, construction, worker safety, environmental concerns, which,  in turn…
  • will itemize qualification requirements for engineers, technicians, welders, chemists who, in turn…
  • will submit those documents to the contractor employing those services.

In his drive to pre-condition potential jurors in his favor, Raiznor would have jurors believe that Ms. Wade and her KBR party arrived one morning at a 9:00 a.m. meeting site, selected a random sub-contractor from a line outside on the sidewalk, dragged him inside and asked, “Would you like to receive a billion dollar contract?”  That sub-contractor said, “YES!  You betcha.”  KBR said, “Great.  All you need do is to  hire 500 people in 24 different fields, test them and get their certifications and personal information, get them to agree to do their work while under the threat of being blown up by less-than-happy locals, confirm that under every law known to man you can do all this legally, and get that back to us within 1 hour and 48 minutes after you said ‘You betcha.’  That will leave us 12 minutes to get all that you have submitted confirmed through our engineering, health-safety-environment, procurement, and legal departments AND get this 10 pound contract all typed up and printed so Ms. Wade can go over the terms and conditions with you before we scatter for lunch.”

Yeeaah…   that c-o-u-l-d happen…   IN ANOTHER UNIVERSE.

So, what does Ms. Wade do as Senior Contracts Manager?  I don’t really know, but, from what I have read on-line and heard from her testimony, and from my own industrial experiences, I think I can take a reasonable stab at an outline (if I’m off the mark, ignorance is always my fallback position):

  • She must be knowledgeable of what the client (in this case, the US of A) wants (terms, conditions, overall objectives), and, what KBR will do to perform that contract (task order).  Much of what the LOGCAP entails is standard across the board, but individual task orders will carry variations on performance expectations.
  • She DOES NOT create the terms and scope of contracts.  That task originates with the client and is fleshed out by the various disciplines within KBR (legal, procurement, health-safety-environmental, engineering, cost estimating, construction, logistics, etc.).  Her duty is to understand the completed contract and point out omissions or errors in complying with the client’s contract protocols, as well as KBR’s internal requirements.
  • She explains the terms, conditions, and scope of contracts that KBR subs down to other contractors, making certain they know performance expectations and billing protocols.
  • She raises the red flag on actions that can be interpreted as outside the client’s or KBR’s stated administrative protocols.  (That “invoicing for private security” thing is a prime example.  She cautioned — in an email bearing her correct job title — that such action was probably NOT in compliance with the LOGCAP protocol, since the military was the one to provide physical security.  She could not forbid the invoicing, only warn of its probable irregularity.)

Contracts set boundaries.  Call those boundaries fences.  All parties to that contract must operate within the fenced confines in order to claim the benefit declared in the contract.  Ever cognizant of the buzzards (litigators) and rail-birds (somebody-owes-me-something plaintiffs) trying to roost on their contract fences, corporations like KBR make it a point to toe the legal line.  That is why, like cattle ranchers, they employ fence riders such as Mary Wade (and legal experts in several fields, environmental specialists, etc.) to keep all parties in tune with the client’s wishes and all mandated legal standards.  That does not mean they will never misstep, but, that diligence removes the element of reckless disregard from their operations.

Mary Wade in western wear boots, chaps, hat, saddle, horse…   That’s a far better picture than Doyle Raiznor in blue Superman tights and red boxers.  (I apologize, Mary, for taking that liberty.  I just couldn’t resist.)

Next up:  Another toast

Series references:  KBR, Mary L. Wade, Qarmat Ali, Doyle Raiznor, Ms. Sparky, litigator, sued, cluster, deposition

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Mary L. Wade, Lady of the Contracts

Posted on October 8, 2012. Filed under: KBR | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

19th in the series The Great Cluster Fu…   A treatise on questionable journalism and pre-litigation practices.

Your words for the day:

  • avarice = an unreasonably strong desire to obtain and keep M-O-N-E-Y
  • surreal = bizarre, distorted, weirdly dreamlike

Ms. Wade seems to be the focus of Raiznor’s push to his objective, which would be Litigators’ Nirvana — the mother lode promised by a massively successful class-action lawsuit against a giant corporation.  It is a no-holds-barred campaign of avarice to get something for nothing in keeping with the mantra of the Litigation Nation…   drum-beat and lyrics supplied (oh, surprise of surprises) by litigators.

As noted in the two previous posts, ol’ Doyle used Tseng to hint at “cover-up” and “obstruction,” while trying to paint Lee as the personification of a corporate “culture of indifference” toward human safety, if that safety interfered with getting just one more dollar from that government contract.

But, KBR’s Lady of the Contracts has been cast in a different sort of role for this litigator’s rewrite of reality, one that seems to be the pivot point of his twisted path through a surreal dream-scape.  (Her image is the header on the un-ethical video displayed on Sparky’s website.  By default, she becomes the image of a greedy corporation.)

In keeping with his theme of negligent business behavior, Super Dan and Ms. Sparky have re-titled her as “senior contract negotiator” and “chief contract negotiator,” respectively, to insinuate a wide ranging latitude in dispensing taxpayers’ money.  As noted in previous posts, the correct title is Senior Contracts Manager, which carries the inference of tight control over terms and performance of contracts.  That would not be good for Raiznor’s pipe dream;  thus, the instant makeover.   You can bet that Raiznor knows Ms. Wade’s correct title; he had to have it right when he subpoenaed witnesses and documents from KBR.

That word “negotiator” has several meanings.  Super Dan used it in questions to Ms. Wade, and Ms. Wade responded in a manner that seemed to agree with his use —

  • How long did this negotiation take?  Long enough.
  • A few hours, a day?  One morning.
  • So, you are saying this whole deal was negotiated in just one morning?  Yes.   …No, we went over the terms and conditions of the contract in the morning.

It is not evident what set-up questions Raiznor employed to get Ms. Wade to think they were using her understanding of the word “negotiate” since he carefully left those on the cutting room floor.  But, when it hit her what he was driving at, she spelled out what she meant by “negotiated” —  going over the terms and conditions of the contract.  Since this was obviously the closing of a contract, signatures of all now-satisfied parties would then have been affixed to the contract.

“Closing a contract” is one of the definitions of negotiate.

“Meeting and wrangling over the how and what” of a deal is another one.  Raiznor wants you to see Mary Wade (and, by extension, KBR) as an unconscionable bargainer, hammering out quickie, lucrative deals for KBR regardless of human cost.

Raiznor, again under the spell of hot buttons, generalizes in one of his insertions, “This deal between KBR and our government was put together in a shockingly casual way in a short time...”  It must have galled him that Ms. Wade clarified what was done at that morning meeting, but he made the best of it with that spliced-in, nebulous monologue implying reckless haste in pursuit of LOGCAP money.

Next up:  Shockingly casual — only in another universe.

Series references:  KBR, Mary L. Wade, Qarmat Ali, Ms. Sparky, Doyle Raiznor, litigator, lawsuit, contract

 

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