Monday, September 11, 2017

Navy's Probe into the Fat Leonard Fraud Scandal Deepens... This time, they implicated one of the "Good Guys!!"





When it rains, it pours; not in reference to the rampant storms that have unremorsefully devastated the Deep South, leaving millions of victims in its path, to include the Caribbean Islands… and ‘I’m sure the rebuilding cost will be astronomical….

Some faith believers consider the storms to be an act of God, while others have speculated Geo-Engineering (scientific) manipulation of the weather…

Needless to say, after 4 catastrophe ship collision in the Pacific Island, involving billion-dollar Navy warships, the Navy was able to put its best foot forward to assist with the hurricane rescue efforts.  Bravo Zulu!!

Unfortunately, despite its positive initiatives, the Navy remains in a negative spotlight, one shipboard incident after another… one fraud-sex scandal after another, as I reiterate “when it rains it certainly pours!!”

Last month, on August 11, while the Board for Correction of Naval Records (BCNR) was hammering the final nail in the coffin, to seal my fate as a former Navy Supply Corps officer, a dear friend, former mentor and fellow Supply Corps officer’s fate was being determined by the Department of Justice.

I never thought I would see Commander “Bobby” Pitt’s name in the headlines, pleading guilty to a crime, in my belief, he did not commit. 


But I for one can totally relate to the intense pressure of accepting a plea deal, in an attempt to lessen your punishment, for going against the grain.  





I recall the first time I’d faced an inquisition by Navy prosecutors; I was never read my Miranda Rights, and the Chief Staff officer, CDR John Ward and the command’s JAG officer, LCDR Mei-Ling Marshall, in the presence of my supervisor, CDR Matthew Masi, were trying to bully and intimidate me into signing an unlawful charge sheet, based on species allegations of committing adultery; as a single person, I must add…

During their “interrogation process” I made numerous attempts to warn them of their unlawful actions, which were in blatant violation of my Civil Rights, as so protected under the Constitution.  When CDR John Ward stated, “I don’t give a damn about your “Civil Rights,” I knew my fate was being decided at that precise moment, as I became a victim of unlawful threats, permanent removal from my position, and I was later ordered to remain in a temporary duty assignment status for nearly 2 years; a year before and a year after my trial. Eventually, my only job assignment was to call in every morning no later than 0730.  Yet the more I fought against their excessive cruelty and injustices, the more egregious their actions became, thus resulting in irrefutable Human Rights violations; as my health rapidly deteriorated.

For the record, my ongoing fight for justice is simply to expose the corrupted behavior of certain individuals who had abused their rank and authority, as well as their failure to uphold the Constitution, while defrauding the government, and committing Civil and Human Rights violations against a fellow colleague; who had sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution, against all enemies, both foreign and domestic!! 

In one of the articles, relating to Commander Pitt’s situation, it stated that he “sang like a bird,” which was precisely what he told me he was going to do, several years ago when the Fat Leonard scandal first broke. 

As I recall our conversation, Bobby was simply cooperating with the investigators, not assisting Glenn Francis with committing fraud against the government.  Mr. Francis had far more senior officers (active duty and retired) on his payroll to assist him, as federal investigators have so stated,  that his corruption spanned over the course of several decades. And I’m certain Commander Pitts and a number of junior officers were selected to serve as scapegoats.

But when you are fighting against the Navy’s judicial system or the Department of Justice’s judicial system, the deck is always stacked against you and often time “TRUTH” is over shadowed by a higher agenda; which is what I’d experienced when I “cooperated” with a senior DoJ, Anti-Trust prosecutor, Shane Cralle. 

When Mr. Cralle and I last spoke about the Qui Tam claim I’d filed in early June 2009, against my former bosses, engaging in Anti-Trust violations with members of the Washington DC based logistic services company, Logistic Support Inc., he stated that his boss had directed him to “drop the investigation.”   Yet, he felt that my claims had strong merit and told me that he’d passed the evidence on to Special Agent, Walter Brown, Office of DoD IG, to investigate.

When I later spoke with Mr. Brown, he stated that he’d met resistance from the Navy's Officer of Inspector General (IG), that they'd considered my case to be closed!!  Rather than pursue an investigation himself, he’d decided to forward one package of evidence to the DoD IG Military Reprisal Investigation Division, and a separate package to NCIS, Special Agent in Charge, Alma Peterson, to investigate.  Of course, the investigation never took place.   

My claims of reprisal continued to land on deaf ears, when I was contacted by Lisa Hodges, DoD IG, Senior Investigator, Military Reprisal Investigations; and I'd agreed to submit evidence of ongoing retaliation, further violations of my protected communication, ongoing personal actions committed against me, as well as further deterioration of my health, which was substantiated in the Board for Correction of Naval Records (BCNR)  recent response to Judge Rosemary Collyer’s Remand Order, following her adjudication of my Civil Action lawsuit in April 2016. 

Although the BCNR determined that my Civil Rights had in fact been violated, they could not grant my request for clemency and that I should further pursue justice in a federal district court. 

Rather than go for another spin on their injustice merry-go-round, at this juncture, I consider this matter closed and will allow the Universal Laws of Karma, to Right the Wrongs of the Navy’s in-Justice System.  

But I shall leave you will an excerpt from my memoir, 

Broken Silence, A Military Whistleblower’s Fight for Justice…




11


Integrity is the Law

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The Procurement Integrity Act prohibits the release of source selection and contractor bid or proposal information.  Also, a former employee who served in certain positions on a procurement action or contract in excess of $10 million is barred for one year from receiving compensation as an employee or consultant from that contractor.  The law also states:  A present or former employee of, or person acting on behalf of, or advising the U.S. on a procurement, who has or had access to such information shall not disclose it before the award of the contract to which the information relates (48 CFR 3.104-4(a)).  Furthermore, no person shall knowingly obtain such information before the award of the contract to which the information relates. (48 CFR 3.104-4(b))  


In the federal procurement world, integrity is nine-tenths of the law.  The rest is whom you know.  The Navy Expeditionary Combatant Command (NECC) – in its blatant bid rigging, civilian job placement, and revolving door employment practices – was clearly operating well beyond that nine-tenths of the law.  To successfully achieve its new mission, NECC was directed to build a training module to rapidly train and certify its active duty security forces to the same level of proficiency as its reserve units.  The mission required the Navy to reassign hundreds of active duty personnel from traditional sea-going surface warfare billets, to now serve in expeditionary warfare positions. Because certain aspects of the mission had previously been performed by Navy reservists – and active duty “sea going” Sailors were not exactly lining up to execute the Pentagon’s latest experiment – the Navy sought the expertise of retiring officers and civilian defense contractors to train NECC’s active duty forces, and to serve as defense contractor consultant advisors.

            When NECC was first commissioned in early 2006, the personnel staff support within its subordinate commands was comprised of approximately 30% active duty, 50% reserve personnel and 20% civilian contractors.  In less than a year, the number of civilian contractors quickly doubled.
           
            Consequently, civilians ended up performing restricted inherently governmental functions that clearly should have been performed only by government or military personnel.  As the military continued to evolve into a stronger war machine, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) imposed strict guidelines governing functions (duties) that are considered “inherently governmental,” these duties can only be performed by military or federal employees – not defense contractors.  As a result, several commanding officers assigned to NECC’s subordinates units have been fired or forced into early retirement for engaging in illegal hiring practices.

            Working under NECC was a new and strange experience for me because I’d never worked on a military staff that managed its subordinate units in such cavalier violation of federal law.  They’d been operating like renegades for so long and so effectively, it took a trained eye to perceive that they’d thrown the federal rulebooks out the door.  It was also obvious to me that these crooks weren’t prepared to work with a genuine steward of taxpayer’s money.  My own integrity, coupled with the oath of loyalty I’d sworn to the Navy and my unique IG and Supply Corps training, made it impossible for me to sit by and watch while funds virtually poured into the pockets of Navy big-wigs, as they executed their fraudulent budget fixing and illegal hiring practices, not to mention their “Post Government Retirement Plans.”

            The more closely I began to examine the command’s illicit budgeting and hiring practices, the more evidence of ongoing improprieties I uncovered.  Luckily my experience in investigating IG hotline complaints made it easy for me to identify the main sources of the corruption.  I knew from  experience  that proof of illegal activity was  surely buried somewhere deep under mountainous layers of paperwork, along with and bearing witness to such unscrupulous behavior.

            Within months of my arrival, I began to unravel a string of corruption that led to one of the Navy’s highest offices at the Pentagon; the Branch Head for Antiterrorism/Force Protection (OPNAV N3AT).  At the time, Admiral Mike Mullen was serving as the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO).  Mullen, whose career went untarnished by potential links to U.S. Fleet Forces Command and NECC’s corruption, was later appointed to serve as the 17th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

            I’d sworn an oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies, both foreign and “domestic.”  It was my duty and responsibility to resolve the command’s fiscal negligence and further implement and enforce proper protocol.  In my vast attempt to do so, I tried to reach out to senior supply officers on NECC’s staff, to request a copy of the Pentagon’s written guidance on managing the Congressional approved Cost of War (COW) funds.  It took several months of foot dragging for NECC’s budget office to provide me with a copy.

            Meanwhile, the insufficiency of government and military financial experts to manage millions of dollars created a breeding ground for ongoing fraudulent activity.  There were plenty of unscrupulous bystanders waiting for the opportunity to cash in their “Post Government Retirement Plan.”   They did so by secretly colluding together to pull off one of the largest defense contract bid-rigging scams of all time. And they almost got away with it. 
           
In the summer of 2006, the Logistics Support Inc. (LSInc) logistics services contract was funded. I questioned the legitimacy of the contract and at that time, I attempted to request assistance in performing an internal review and audit of the command’s budget programs.  My request for assistance was misconstrued as a demand to have the command investigated, and my request for an audit was denied.  Nevertheless, I continued to gather evidence of corruption on my own.

            Once I began my inquiry into the command’s supply management assessment procedures, I set off an alarm.  For months I tried to ignore the negative reaction to my due diligence because I was simply trying to do my job.  Although NECC’s budget office eventually provided me with written guidance on the proper execution of COW funds, their slow response prompted me to reach out to the local area military resources that were familiar with the command’s fiscal procedures.  I visited their local offices and then I made phone calls to my network of resources back on the East Coast.  As my research progressed, one thing became clear – there was much about the command’s mission that was kept hidden from me, reaching far beyond my own financial management responsibilities and expertise.

            Within a few months of NECC’s commissioning, a slew of military and government financial experts had either quit or requested a transfer from the command.  NECC lacked financial management oversight from its own Immediate Superior in Command (ISIC), U.S. Fleet Forces Command, and the experts most likely feared the impact that the resulting fiscal negligence might have on their careers.  The collective passive attitude of those left at the command was surreal.  It was as if NECC had been granted unlimited access to the military’s defense budget – everyone in charge of executing the budget was operating under the notion to simply ignore all financial rules and regulations and to execute the mission in grand style, “By any means necessary!”

            In retrospect, my life would have been much simpler if I too had abandoned the command, but that was not to be my fate.  I felt an obligation to do the right thing.  Despite the aggression and hostility I encountered, I remained firm in my moral convictions and refused to submit to corruption or coercion.  Ironically, each of my external resources guided me right back to the Federal Acquisition Regulation, often referred to as the FAR, and the Navy’s Supply Procedures Manual, NAVSUP P-485, the Bible of the Navy’s Supply Management community.  Lucky for me, I always kept a personal copy on hand because, not surprisingly, the command’s financial management reference library pretty much didn’t exist.

            NECC’s transition from reserve units to full active duty Naval Coastal Warfare security force squadrons was a slow and arduous process.  Although the Pentagon considered NECC to be a fully operational TYCOM, the fledgling command was faced with critical personnel deficiencies.  Prior to NECC’s commissioning, Navy Captain Tim Sprague was assigned as the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), Anti-Terrorism/Force Protection (AT/FP) branch head program manager.  He had worked for a number of years on the planning and development of NECC’s operational mission requirements, and had previously served as a former Commodore at Naval Coastal Warfare Group Two (NCWG-2) in Portsmouth, Virginia.  He was well qualified for the arduous task of bringing NECC up to speed, but he needed help.

            To facilitate his efforts, he sought the assistance of a well-seasoned fellow Naval Academy alumni, U.S. Naval Reserve retired Captain Isaiah “Ike” Owens.  Ike was a former all-star football player for the Academy and fellow teammate and close friend of my boss, Captain John Sturges, the Commodore.  The fellow “ring knockers” (Naval Academy graduates) were like Mutt and Jeff.  Ike, who closely resembled NFL football legend Jim Brown (in his later years) didn’t exactly exert any effort in preserving his former “jock” physique.  The Commodore, on the other hand, closely resembled Hollywood’s legendary actor Charlton Heston in his prime, and took pride in preserving his athletic appearance by working out and running several miles a day.

            NECC rehired Owens as an expert defense contractor consultant advisor to assist Sturges with the implementation of the command’s new mission.  As an employee of Alion Science and Technology Corporation (a subcompany of Logistics Support Inc.) his resume was submitted with both Alion and LSInc’s bid proposal package.  (There were several defense contracting companies competing to provide logistics support services to NECC’s growing enterprise).  Ike’s resume stated that he was the founder of the “squadron concept” in the Naval Coastal Warfare (NCW) community.  In other words, he helped to develop a community-wide tactical operations memorandum for Naval Coastal Warfare (NCW) units. This document was a key guide in defining the common operating procedures for joint services deployment of NCW units worldwide.  He was appointed to serve as the program developer in charge of building the construct for NECC’s AT/FP expeditionary mission requirement.

            During the crucial period of reaching full operational capacity, NECC lacked adequate military and government staff support for many of its essential areas of operations and its vital Equal Opportunity Advisor (EOA) position remained vacant for over a year.  The office of the Inspector General (IG) was also understaffed, and a single IG investigator handled an enormous volume of IG complaints.

            The absence of an EOA, coupled with a weak IG investigating team made my already precarious position as a minority and a soon-to-be whistleblower untenable, and created a nightmarish perfect storm for me.  I was questioning the practices of a well-oiled corruption machine, and no one had my back.  When the Navy’s wrath descended, I was their sole enemy.
           
The Equal Opportunity Advisor (EOA) is responsible for managing the Navy’s equal opportunity (EO) program, in order to enforce full compliance with federal amended civil rights laws. The Chief of Naval Operations at the time, Admiral Mullen, appeared to not value the landmark initiatives of one of his predecessors, Admiral Zumwalt, whose legendary “Z” Grams helped to reshape the Navy during America’s early 1970s Civil Rights Movement.  Zumwalt took a radical approach towards enforcing equal employment opportunities for minorities and women serving in the Navy – his novel “Z” Grams, which were essentially communication messages and official announcements of his policies, stressed the importance of ensuring a Navy free of racial and sexual discrimination.

            During his tenure, Admiral Zumwalt initiated equality programs to meet the personal needs of different ethnic groups among the families of men and women serving in the Navy.  He insured that Navy base exchanges, commissaries and ships’ stores stocked specific food items, ethnic amenity products, books and magazines; and offered entertainment discounts and other specialized services.  His most daring feat was an attempt to eradicate the notion of condoning racism and sexism in the Navy.  Unfortunately, some of Zumwalt’s initiatives faltered under future leaders, and race and sex discrimination continue to hinder the Navy’s ability to fully evolve into the 21st century, as with the rest of our society.

            For me personally, the shortage of Navy Inspector General investigators at NECC had terrible consequences.  NECC’s lone IG investigator, Dave Brownell, was singlehandedly responsible for investigating all IG complaints of fraud, waste and abuse.  When I filed my first IG complaint in late March 2007, it took months for him to initiate an investigation.  By the time he did, he was a day late and a dollar short.  He’d also failed to provide me whistleblower protection.

            Meanwhile, the key players in the far-reaching NECC fraud were gradually putting their plans in place.  During the planning and development of the Navy’s AT/FP expeditionary mission requirement, Captain Tim Sprague had worked closely with Navy Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Program Management Support Office (PMS 480) to ensure NECC Enterprise could effectively execute its mission.  While doing so, he was secretly securing his own “Post Government Retirement Plan.”  Upon his retirement, Logistics Support Inc. rehired him as a consultant advisor to the Navy. 

            For nearly a year, Ike Owens, although he was a civilian contractor, was tasked to perform “inherently governmental functions.”  During the performance of his duties, Ike was privileged to highly sensitive “inside” information.  He was initially hired under the prime vendor contract with Columbia Research Corporation, who subcontracted specific services to be performed by Alion Science and Technology Corporation.

            As an Alion employee, Ike advised key senior military and civilian officials in developing the overall scope of work for NECC’s expeditionary training requirements.  It was obvious that the information gathered during this process was carried back to his parent company’s upper management because it was included in several bid proposal packages that were later solicited for a possible award of a logistics support services contract.  It was clear that he had also shared the information with a few of his former colleagues from John J. McMullen and Associates (JJMA), which was purchased in 2005 by Alion Science and Technology Corp.

            When the Pentagon first announced its newest expeditionary security force mission in 2005, Columbia Research Corporation (CRC) was not the only company seeking an opportunity to cash in on this lucrative venture.  There were two other companies who’d presented the Navy’s approving officials with its unsolicited bid proposal package: Alpha Solutions, located in Virginia Beach and Logistics Support Inc. (LSInc), located in Arlington, Virginia.

            In its bid proposal package, Alpha Solutions stated: “Alpha Solutions/Northrop Grumman team has ‘first hand’ knowledge of the Naval Coastal Warfare (NCW) strategic program management, mission and organization; as both companies currently have support contractors working within the two Naval Coastal Warfare Groups.”  The proposal package included resumes of 13 of the company’s personnel, most of them were already working on the staff of NECC’s subordinate commands, including Navy Coastal Warfare Groups One and Two.

            Columbia Research Corporation, who served as a “Prime Vendor,” also submitted its bid proposal package.  The proposal included a significant number of resumes, submitted on behalf of one of its subcontractors: Alion Science and Technology Corporation/ JJMA Maritime Sector.  Slightly modified versions of the same Alion employees’ resumes were also included in LSInc’s proposal package, but LSInc’s package was significantly enhanced. 

            As a seasoned auditor, it was obvious that someone “on the inside” had assisted in drafting and preparing the details of the proposal packages.  The incriminating evidence stretched far beyond the enclosed modified resumes, simply added to “beef up” the companies’ deceitful qualifications.  In the case of LSInc, the small veteran-owned company had previously provided procurement logistics support services for a number of Navy operational and expeditionary commands, which included Naval Coastal Warfare. The company’s vice president, Victoria M. Brown (aka Vickie Williamson), was a former colleague of Alion’s employees, Ike Owens and John Erickson.  They had previously worked together at John J. McMullen and Associates (JJMA) prior to its acquisition by Alion.  While employed at JJMA, Vickie had assisted my predecessor with the illegal procurement of multi-million dollars-worth of unauthorized training equipment, miscellaneous materials and commercial lightweight vehicles, which was stated in a memorandum for the record.

            Prior to his retirement, the Pentagon’s AT/FP branch head program manager, Captain Tim Sprague, ensured the final authorization of NECC’s logistics support services contract. Incorporated within LSInc’s bid proposal package was a copy of the captain’s own resume, along with several pages of supporting documentation, identifying his new role in the company.  Within a few weeks of his official retirement date, Sprague went to work for LSInc, serving as the company’s program director, Expeditionary Programs. As a former Pentagon executive manager, his employment contract with LSInc put him in clear violation of the Federal Procurement Integrity Act.

            On July 21, 2006, Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) issued an amendment of solicitation/modification to a pre-existing Logistics Support Inc. contract.  The company’s contract number: N00178-05-D-4431-EH03 was then modified; tasking LSInc to provide expeditionary logistics support services to NECC’s and its subordinate commands – (then) Naval Coastal Warfare (NCW) Groups One and Two and Riverine Integrated Logistics Support (ILS). 

            Judging by the content of each of the three companies’ bid proposal packages; the Pentagon AT/FP branch head, NAVSEA PMS 480, NECC senior military officers and the defense contracting company’s representatives had all colluded together in drafting, preparing and approving the unsolicited, sole-sourced bid proposals.  After the contract was awarded, senior command officials referred to the so-called “new” contract by calling it a “merger.”
            Soon after the merger, veteran contractors were rehired and received lucrative benefits and pay incentives.  The rehiring initiative was also extended to the de-mobilized reservists and active duty officers who were also seeking to cash-in their “Post Government Retirement Plans.”  The illegal revolving door practices became so widespread that anyone who became aware of what was going on wanted to get in on a piece of the action. 

            During the course of a year, NECC continued to violate federal regulations by hiring civilian defense contractors and illegally tasking them to perform such duties as: comptroller, procurement specialist, assistant budget officer, federal purchase card program manager, inventory warehouse manager, training consultant advisor, senior consultant advisor and other jobs that should have remained in the hands of military and federal employees. 

            Although there was an ongoing Navy IG investigation, key military and defense contractor employees were approved by NECC executives to be rehired as federal civil service employees – jumping back from the private sector to government employment.  This illegal practice was essentially a “revolving door within a revolving door practice.” 

            A June 2008, Navy IG investigation report found: Systemic issues involving NECC’s mismanagement of the LSInc defense logistics services contract.  However, all allegations of fraud were never fully investigated and the systemic contract mismanagement issues were never fully resolved.  Meanwhile, LSInc was able to “shell,” or realign specific employees to one of its subcontractor’s contract.  When the employees were rehired to continue to work for NECC, they would advertise their “so-called” new company’s logo either on their clothing or business cards.  Meanwhile, payments for their services were still invoiced to the government under LSInc’s original “modified” contracts. 

            As a result of the contract modification, LSInc reached an enormous multi-million dollar growth.  This allowed the company to monopolize an entire sector of the Navy’s expeditionary logistics support services, potentially violating the RICO Act and the Sherman Anti-Trust Act.


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