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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An Inconvenient Truth

Posted on June 23, 2012. Filed under: KBR | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

6th in the series The Great Cluster Fu…   A treatise on questionable journalism and pre-litigation practices

Your word for the day:

  • inconvenient = not suited to one’s comfort, purpose, or needs

Danny Boy’s (presumed) eventual client had gotten that plum assignment of away-from-the-action civilian escort.  Much less chance of becoming a combat casualty, said client being a member of a National Guard unit.  As regular army types refer to them, week-end warriors:  got the uniform, got the extra income of attending meetings (sort of a night out with the boys) and an annual summer camp outing,  while still enjoying the perks of civilian life and a job.  Bummer:  Got called up to active status.  Terrible inconvenience having to perform his part of the military reserve contract.  Worse, the only time reserves get called up is in a crises.  He got sent to a war.  Like a shooting war.  Now, that’s a bucket of ice water dumped on your week-end-warrior sense of fairness.  A guy could get hurt playing real soldier.

About the plum-ness of that assignment.  Still had the risk of hostile targeting, and, Saddam had left his house in a pretty mess.  Some nasty chemicals lying around the plant grounds.  No HAZMAT (hazardous materials) notices.  No carefully maintained MSDS (material safety data sheets).  Sort of a pot-luck mine field.  No chance for interlopers to know this right up front, whether giant, global contractor or combat grunt.  You had to tramp around a bit and look under rocks, so to speak, to identify and isolate problems.  Complicated job if you don’t know exactly what you are looking for — while looking over your shoulder for persons of ill-intent.  Did I mention that this was in a shooting-war zone where — armed or not everyone like it or notis a combatant?

And, some ugly stuff was found lurking on the plant grounds, thereby raising the possibility that personal contamination with the stuff had taken place.  It made the news.  Everything from over there made the news.  Embedded journalists, you know.  Looking for Pulitzers and career enhancements at the expense of the soldiers protecting them.  But, I digress.  Apparently, Danny Boy’s future client became ill, the cause (maybe) attributable to the ugly lurking on the grounds at Qarmat Ali. 

A gray area of knowledge here — some might call it a smoke screen.  Did the ill soldier contact Danny Boy, or did Danny Boy check the internet for casualty lists (virtual ambulance-chasing and drumming up business) and run across the ill combatant and noted the connection to the cleanup at Saddam’s toxic dump?  If so, did he leap up from his milking stool executive chair and shout, “Eureka!!!!” and rush to the unfortunate soldier and excitedly announce, “YOU MAY  BE ENTITLED TO MONEY!  Don’t know HOW yet, but, sign here, and we’ll figure it all out.”  Those smoke screens are hard to see through.

“An inconvenient truth” (sorry, Al) for Danny Boy.  He now has a client, but, he also has a problem.  The client is (or was at the time of the alleged indignity to his person), an employee of the US of A Army, which will provide medical care for his injuries.  Can’t sue the government for pain and suffering (that’s where the serious   M-O-N-E-Y  is) just because the client suffers the effects of hazardous duty while fulfilling a hazardous duty contract that he voluntarily signed.  What to do?  What to do?  Hmmmm.  How about…   oh, yea, that old qualifier:  Just find someone within 500 feet of where the soldier had been, and SUE THE BASTARDS.  Details unimportant; any litigator worth his salt can work those out later

And Danny Boy seems to be one salty litigator.

Next up:  The taming of the truth

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

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No Safety in Numbers: It’s War

Posted on June 20, 2012. Filed under: KBR | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

4th in the series The Great Cluster Fu…   A treatise on questionable journalism and pre-litigation practices.

Your word for the day:   

  • ignore = refuse to notice.

It was while perusing the internet recentlyWait!  That should be “surfin’ the net,” shouldn’t it?  — I ran across one such super litigator who seems to have found himself a big one — a Cape Buffalo — and was angling to bring it home for proper milking.  As his luck would have it, it was standing between some bad publicity brush and a huge government contract tree.  It was trying to shake some unwanted partisan politics off one hoof while batting away the politically inspired bad press buzzing like flies around it.  The litigator must have been stunned silly, and became frantic to climb that money tree and get his.  Big downer, though:  the only way to the money tree was through that Cape Buffalo, which was very healthy, alert, and roaming free in a temporary game preserve.  In that environment, it was a legally protected species.  He knew it was gonna take a lotta work to get that baby to stand still for a little milking.  (Oh, ick!!  See the litigator salivate?)

In deference to his apparent self-image, lets call this dandy litigator Super Dan, an advocate for any reason (even if one has to be made up), but, most especially, for the  M – O – N – E – Y  (that may sound a little like unbridled greed, so let’s call it attorneys’ fees).

Okay, lets peek behind the bovine metaphor.  The cash cow that Super Dan has his eyes on is that global, multi-billion dollar contractor formerly known as Kellogg Brown and RootKBR these days.  He has taken on a client who is not an employee of KBR.  He be a  soldier.  An employee of the US of A.  Who had signed a contract of military service for the US of A.  Who sent the soldier to a war.  The same war in which the US of A contracted the assistance of KBR in refurbishing a defunct water purification plant.  As well as a host of other engineering jobs in that war zone.  Jobs that, to all intents and purposes, made KBR a valuable and functioning part of the US of A war machine.  The preserve that protected KBR from pecuniary liability was the combat theater designated by the US of A.

The  water purification plant at Qarmat Ali belonged (formerly) to one Saddam Hussein, head of state, State of Iraq.  Which Head objected fiercely to having his State invaded for any reason.  Brought out his fighting side.  And all his fighting forces.  But, for all that, he was a bad poker player, and lost the plant in a high stakes game with the US of A.  He wasn’t any better at domestic house-keeping, either, as it turns out, and had left the place in a mess.  He saw no reason to take the time to clean it up for the new owner.

The US of A decided it needed that water plant in operation and plunked hundreds, if not thousands, of civilian support personnel into a hot combat theater.  Forbade them from carrying weapons to defend themselves, but, thoughtfully enough, furnished its armed combat personnel to escort and watch over the unarmed civilian work force while they were outside designated “safe” zones.  Like our salivating litigator above, lets gloss over the fact that a lone mortar shell (or RPG) exploding nearby will take out both the unarmed civilian and the armed, combat-ready soldier.

In a combat zone, everyone is a combatant.  NO ONE is safe.  That is something our drooling litigator has chosen to ignore while looking for a nice “safe” place to set up his milking operation.

Next up:  The truth hurts.

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

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