FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 17, 2012
CONTACTS: Scott Sobel: (202) 449-9801
Kipp Lanham: (202) 449-9807
Kate Connors: (202) 449-9804
Whistleblower Lawsuit Accuses U.S. Defense Contractor of Defrauding American Taxpayers
Jorge Scientific executives and staff are charged with allegedly jeopardizing the U.S. mission and lives
Washington, D.C. – Two former employees of Jorge Scientific, an intelligence and defense company and long-term contractor to the federal government, have filed a qui tam lawsuit against Jorge for the scandalous actions they witnessed, during their tenure at the company’s Legacy Contract project in Kabul, Afghanistan. Video recordings documented the egregious actions. The False Claims Act allows plaintiffs, also known as relators; to bring qui tam suits against wrongdoers on behalf of the United States Government on the grounds of fraudulent activities involving federal contracts. ABC News is reporting, “Questions posed by ABC News to the Pentagon have sparked a criminal investigation by the U.S. Army, a spokesman says.”
The relators are suing for damages and lost wages, with the hope being that their suit will send a message to all contractors and the US government that irresponsible behavior can jeopardize American lives and cost taxpayers incredible sums of money. The relators contend that Jorge is not meeting its government contract responsibilities and engaged in irresponsible behavior concerning taxpayers’ money.
The Legacy contract was awarded as part of the U.S. Department of Defense’s efforts to help local governments in Kabul and Qandahar provide self-reliant security in the region. Jorge Scientific is a billion dollar government contractor.
The complaint filed by The Employment Law Group® law firm on behalf of the relators Kenneth Smith (a decorated former North Carolina police officer) and John Melson (a decorated former U.S. Marine and current Army National Guardsman) alleges that Chris Sullivan, executive vice president of Jorge Scientific, modeled and encouraged gross misconduct at the Kabul “Villa” where Jorge executives stationed the team, causing the relators to resign from their $250,000 a year jobs as security principal analysts and close protection specialists. The relators charge Jorge executives’ actions grossly compromised the U.S. mission and endangered the lives of Jorge employees, U.S. government and coalition personnel.
The relators say their case against Jorge is another telling example of circumstances, which ignite so-called “Green on Blue” violence in Afghanistan. This label, so visible in the news today, describes Afghanis attacking their American instructors, and soldiers who are seen as “Ugly Americans” flaunting local laws and customs.
The suit reports that Jorge executives routinely violated the company’s rule of conduct. For example, they indiscriminately fired weapons and possessed grenades (legally prohibited for government contractors), and drunken Jorge supervisors tossed live ammunition into house party bonfires causing the bullets to explode and destroy property. In one case, an errant bullet struck a Jorge employee near his eye and exploding bullets regularly found their way into the nearby civilian community causing Afghani civilian and military neighbors to complain – Jorge ignored those complaints. Jorge endangered the lives of the relators by failing to appreciate how such actions could make the Villa and the surrounding community a potential target for Al Qaeda, the Taliban and other anti-U.S. extremist groups.
Sullivan, along with other Jorge executives, allegedly used taxpayer money to fund the parties and other mischievous actions at the Villa and then tried to cover up when caught.
The relators routinely witnessed Sullivan and other Jorge employees in horseplay sessions. One relator recorded multiple videos of drunken men wrestling and obviously completely incapacitated during work hours.
According to court documents alcohol abuse at the Villa was so prevalent, that in an inebriated and oxycodone induced state, Sullivan once placed a loaded gun in the mouth of an Islamic Jorge employee and called him “my nigga.” Another documented incident shows a Jorge executive drunk with a firearm snagged in his waist belt and disparaging “f…ing Arabs.” In another incident, two Jorge employees driving home drunk from a bar ended up in a ditch, clearly violating local customs and Islamic codes which prohibit alcohol consumption and driving under the influence.
Jorge management often ordered both relators to use official time and equipment for unofficial purposes, including transporting female U.S. military officers for “casual encounters” to and from the Villa, according to the complaint.
In yet another incident captured on video, Jorge’s security manager for the entire country of Afghanistan was so intoxicated he was choking on his own vomit. When one of the relators tried to retrieve the medic from his bedroom to provide treatment, the relator found the medic himself intoxicated and drugged on ketamine to the point of incoherence, unresponsive with a syringe and a bag of horse tranquilizer on the floor and blood trickling from the medic’s arm.
However, for refusing to partake in these activities, Jorge retaliated against the relators, isolating them, slinging homophobic and racist names, demanding that the relators consume alcohol and drugs and threatening the relators physically during drunken brawls which the relators avoided. Ultimately, fed up with the extreme behavior, Jorge forced the relators’ constructive discharge from their Jorge Scientific jobs in early 2012.
“This case represents one of the most egregious violations of the trust the U.S. government has placed in a defense contractor to look out for and protect American interests in a war zone such as Afghanistan,” said David Scher, a principal at The Employment Law Group law firm and co-counsel representing the relators. “This case is especially important now, in the face of ongoing Green on Blue violence. It is imperative that our government contractors present the highest ethical and moral standards in support of our military. I think the company’s conduct far exceeds that of a mere drunken brawl, and drunken activities and instead sheds light on a very severe security risk in Afghanistan when that is the last thing that America needs.”
“The recorded video shows, without a doubt, the irresponsible and dangerous actions on the part of the Jorge Corporation and supports the relator’s charges. We hope this legal action results in changed behavior by Jorge, the US military and other contractors representing American interests,” Scher added.
To speak with the relators or their attorneys at The Employment Law Group® law firm, or obtain copies of the referenced video and photos, please contact:
Scott Sobel: (202) 449-9801 or David Scher: (202) 261-2802
About The Employment Law Group
The Employment Law Group® law firm is one of the premier employment law firms representing individuals from all over the United States and around the world in EEOC, Sarbanes-Oxley and other whistleblower cases against the government and publicly held U.S. corporations. The firm’s attorneys have more than 70 years of experience litigating on behalf of individuals against employers who disregard federal and state whistleblower and employment laws.