Just Your Head, Jack

Posted on November 6, 2012. Filed under: KBR | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

23rd in the series The Great Cluster Fu…   A treatise on questionable journalism and pre-litigation practices.

Your words for the day (redux):

  • witness = (verb) to see first hand; (noun) one who saw first hand
  • first-hand = one is on the scene to witness an occurrence
  • weasel = be evasive or try to mislead

And what about Weasel #2, ol’ head of security Jack Alvarez?  He showed up for this KBR roast as directed by the subpoena.  Doyle  turned on the camera, shoved a “document” into his hands, asked him to read it, and then asked Jack to speculate on what he just read.  Now, we don’t know what the paper had on it.  Doyle keeps secrets; we obviously are to assume  it is some hush-hush communique from within KBR.  In response to those questions from Doyle, Jack cautiously said “this looks like KBR might have  known before hand about the bad chemicals.”  Doyle also asked, “IF KBR knew, what reason would it have to delay reporting the problem to the Army.”  Jack offered, “Well, they might lose incentive  money for finishing before a certain date, and clean-up operations could cause them to shut down the work until it was done.”  (I paraphrased that stuff.)

Be it noted that Jack acts very tentative about what he is saying.  Why?  Because he doesn’t know anything about the water plant task order.

Here we go again with the flim-flam.  Doyle is trying to whiz two things right past our ears:

  • KBR is working on a COST-PLUS basis.  The more things they can find to do in fulfilling the army’s requirements, the more they get paid.  The deadlines they are working toward are the Army’s operational time lines.  Dragging their feet on HAZMAT would be counter-productive and gain them nothing.
  • The reason someone from “security” is being questioned on contract fulfillment.  It is not established that Jack was at the water plant or exactly what kind of security he was the “head” of:  Document security?  Gate Security?  Motor pool security?  Office supplies security?  Yeah, I know.  He shows up in this video only because he was the Head of Something at KBR, and Doyle thought he could pass him off as an authority by shading what he answered in a negative tint toward KBR.

The KBR personnel testified straightforwardly without a hint of uncertainty, confident of their actions and knowledge.  Doyle attempts to refute them with dialogue cards, his own monologue, and a slovenly looking former “manager” (whom he tried to pass off as the head of a corporate department) who could only repeat speculation and rumor.   Poor ol’ Jack was maneuvered into analyzing a document he had never seen before and putting it in the context of a matter about which he had no first-hand knowledge.

Yeah, ol’ Super Dan has some big salt shakers…   but, I think this litigious entrée he has carefully served up is just a bit too salty to ingest.  One can only hope the eventual jury panel at trial is carefully watching its intake of salt.

Next up:  What price martyrdom?  (Honest, folks!  Just 2 more of these things)

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

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Contracts Set Boundaries

Posted on August 24, 2012. Filed under: KBR, Piss Ants | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

15th in the series The Great Cluster Fu…   A treatise on questionable journalism and pre-litigation practices

Your words for the day (definitions according to Dean)

  • deal = an arrangement, often informal and unwritten, sometimes illegal, between two parties for mutual benefit.
  • contract = a formal, legally binding agreement between two parties for mutual benefit.  In business, due to the complexity of applicable laws (local, federal, international) and mandated engineering and environmental standards, these agreements are always set down in an extensive written form.

You would think that an attorney understands the basics of contracts.  Ol’ Raiznor sounds like a legal school dropout in his characterization of the LOGCAP III Water Plant Task Order from The Government to KBR.  But, then, he is not giving a lecture to first-year law students; it is more like a refresher course in Fast Talking Con Artistry 101.  You will note that Super Dan avoids the word “contract” as though it might bite him.  Instead, he employs the word “deal,” carefully enunciating it with a calculated hint of distaste.

Everybody knows what a contract is.  You buy a house, you sign a contract.  You buy a car, you sign a contract.  You rent a residence, you sign a contract.  You enlist in the military, you sign a contract.  You borrow money, you sign a contract.  Is anyone in doubt about what a contract is? 

Everybody knows what a deal is.  The phrase “it’s a deal” is a conditional expression of enthusiasm uttered when it looks like a mutual arrangement has been achieved; continuity of that enthusiasm (except to the most naive among us) is dependent upon a written version of the “deal” with all the whereas‘s and wherefore‘s carefully in place.  A deal without a written contract can be as disagreeable  as a glass of pure lemon juice taken straight up.

Contracts define the boundaries of benefits and obligations.  In business, contracts usually involve the transfer of hard goods or services for money.  One party provides or performs (the contractor), and the other party sets the conditions of that performance and pays (the client).  There is an element of good faith inherent in the agreement:  the product or services are to be provided at the designated level of quality and timely completion, and the money is to be paid in the agreed amount at the agreed time.

Change orders are the rule, not the exception, in every major construction project, whether highway or building.  There can be dozens of these for every project and they may originate from either party, but — since they involve changing the original agreementboth parties must agree to the new conditions.  These changes may be precipitated by weather conditions, availability of supplies, unforseen site conditions, changes in design of the project or of a component…   just about anything.  It is simply the way business is conducted.

An independent arbiter may be sought by either party when there is an impasse over the meaning of terms set forth in the contract.  In litigator terms, one party sues the other in civil court.  Such actions are common in business, and, thousands of these take place every year without a running commentary from Ms. Sparky or every news outlet in the country.  These actions are strictly the business of the contract parties and no one else.  Social and political views have absolutely nothing to do with the interpretation of contractual terms.

Next up:  About that “no-bid” comment by Raiznor

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

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