Defense Base Act Compensation Blog

The Modern Day DBA Casualty

Posts Tagged ‘Defense Base Act Workmans Compensation’

Leishmaniasis: Fun Facts

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on May 25, 2010

Leishmaniasis is a blood borne parasite in all of it’s forms

It is not known why some forms visceralize and some normally do not

Leishmaniasis can remain dormant in a healthy person for up to twenty years

Leishmaniasis can live in stored blood for up to thirty days

Leishmaniasis is normally transmitted by the bite of an infected female sandfly

Leishmaniasis is also transmittable sexually, congenitally, and by blood transfusion or sharing needles.

There is NO Sterile cure for leishmaniasis

Leishmaniasis has been at epidemic levels in various parts of Afghanistan and Iraq for the duration of the wars

There is a one year ban on blood donations from persons having been to Iraq or Afghanistan

Leishmaniasis is a very variable bug and there is still much we do not know about it

Cutaneous species are showing signs of visceralizing

More on Leishmaniasis here

Posted in Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act Law and Procedure, Department of Labor, Leishmaniasis, Toxic Exposures | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Voice of America in Afghanistan

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on April 6, 2010

Meet the men who help US and NATO troops communicate their aims in Afghanistan — and in doing so risk their lives.

FORWARD OPERATING BASE WILSON, Afghanistan — Hamayon, a 24-year-old Afghan interpreter for the U.S. Army in Afghanistan’s dangerous south, worries less about his own life than his 15-month-old daughter and wife in Kabul.

One of his fellow interpreters was about his age, with a young daughter, when he was killed last year by a suicide bomber. Hamayon says the interpreter’s family only received $8,000 in compensation from the U.S. military contractor who employed him — not much for a family to live on.

Most Afghans use westernized names for security reasons. Like many interpreters working for ISAF in Afghanistan’s south, Tom and James are employed by a U.S. company called Mission Essential Personnel, and are from Kabul. Still, they didn’t want their real names used in this story.

Read the full story here

Foreign Interpreters Hurt in Battle Find U.S. Insurance Benefits Wanting

Posted in ACE, AIG and CNA, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Department of Labor | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

CNA loses USAID Defense Base Act Contract 2010

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on March 30, 2010

CNA has just lost it’s contract with the State Department to poorly provide Defense Base Act Insurance benefits on USAID contracts.  Allied World Assurance, brand new to the DBA Dropping the Ball Game was just awarded this contract.  We’ll have the full story on that as soon as they let go of it.

Allied World’s Kevin Behan to Speak at the IPOA 2010 EuroConference

Another PR Announcement from Offshore

It will be intersting to hear what Kevin Behan has to say about Risk Management in Conflict and Post-Conflict Zones, and examining how companies, military and governments can prepare to manage risk in these environments.

While the Contract Companies continue to have the DBA’s Exclusive Remedy shielding them from negligent safety practices it would encouraging to think that  Mr. Behan will be speaking on reducing safety risks to employees.  We all Know what the term “risk management” means in the insurance industry and it has everything to do with reducing their risk of losing some of their profit.

If we’re wrong, let us know.  We are always open for honest discussions here.

PEMBROKE, Bermuda, March 30 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Allied World Assurance Company Holdings, Ltd (NYSE: AWH) announced today that Kevin Behan, Senior Vice President for General Casualty in the United States, will be
speaking at the IPOA’s 2010 EuroConference. The conference will focus on RiskManagement in Conflict and Post-Conflict Zones, and examine how companies, military and governments can prepare to manage risk in these environments. The event takes place in London on April 8 & 9, 2010.

Mr. Behan joined Allied World in October 2008, as Senior Vice President for General Casualty. He is responsible for Primary Casualty, working with brokers to develop Allied World’s Primary Casualty business capability. Primary Casualty includes Defense Base Act Business, General Liability, Automobile Liability and Physical Damage. Mr. Behan has over 25 years of experience in the insurance industry.

About Allied World Assurance Company

Allied World Assurance Company Holdings, Ltd, through its subsidiaries, isa global provider of innovative property, casualty and specialty insurance and reinsurance solutions, offering superior client service through offices in Bermuda, Europe, Hong Kong, Singapore and the United States. Our insurance and reinsurance subsidiaries are rated A (Excellent) by A.M. Best Company. For further information on Allied World, please visit our website at http://www.awac.com.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

US Troop Deaths Double in Afghanistan

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on March 28, 2010

We’ll get the numbers of DBA claims filed on contractors for the quarter ending this week but expect a rise in Contractor Casualties as well.

KABUL – The number of U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan has roughly doubled in the first three months of 2010 compared to the same period last year as Washington has added tens of thousands of additional soldiers to reverse the Taliban’s momentum.

Those deaths have been accompanied by a dramatic spike in the number of wounded, with injuries more than tripling in the first two months of the year and trending in the same direction based on the latest available data for March.

U.S. officials have warned that casualties are likely to rise even further as the Pentagon completes its deployment of 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan and sets its sights on the Taliban’s home base of Kandahar province, where a major operation is expected in the coming months.

“We must steel ourselves, no matter how successful we are on any given day, for harder days yet to come,” Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at a briefing last month.

In total, 57 U.S. troops were killed here during the first two months of 2010 compared with 28 in January and February of last year, an increase of more than 100 percent, according to Pentagon figures compiled by The Associated Press. At least 20 American service members have been killed so far in March, an average of about 0.8 per day, compared to 13, or 0.4 per day, a year ago.

The steady rise in combat deaths has generated less public reaction in the United States than the spike in casualties last summer and fall, which undermined public support in the U.S. for the 8-year-old American-led mission here. Fighting traditionally tapers off in Afghanistan during winter months, only to peak in the summer  Read the full story here

Posted in Contractor Casualties and Missing | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Welcome to our hell Kenneth Riegler

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on March 25, 2010

ACE Group Appoints Kenneth Riegler to Lead Multinational Client Group in North America and ACE USA’s Foreign Casualty Division

We receive far fewer complaints (per capita) from injured contractors covered by ACE than we do AIG and CNA.

Update:  In less than 24 hours from posting this mild compliment we find out that ACE and their lawyers are just as ruthless and greedy as CNA and AIG.    Kenneth will the “approach” continue to be to grab every dime from the injured contractors?  Or will you lend some compassion to this sordid business?

PHILADELPHIA, Mar 25, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) — The ACE Group of insurance and reinsurance companies (ACE) today announced the appointment of Kenneth Riegler to President, Multinational Client Group for North America and President, ACE USA Foreign Casualty.

In his capacity as head of the North American Multinational Client Group, Mr. Riegler will be responsible for leading the delivery and servicing of the company’s commercial property and casualty insurance capabilities targeted to large multinational clients headquartered in North America. He will work closely with Michael Furgueson, President, Multinational Client Group, ACE Overseas General, to coordinate ACE’s worldwide approach to this market segment.

Based in New York and reporting to John Lupica, Chief Operating Officer, Insurance-North America, Mr. Riegler will work collaboratively with ACE’s U.S. product lines, regional operations team, and the newly- formed Global Client Executive unit to deliver the company’s insurance products and services tailored to the complex needs of multinational companies.

As President, ACE USA Foreign Casualty, Mr. Riegler also will oversee ACE USA’s foreign casualty products for U.S.-based multinational companies, including the International Advantage(R) suite of products, from packaged coverages to enterprise solutions with controlled master programs and risk transfer options, and Defense Base Act (DBA) Insurance. He will have overall strategic responsibility for the group’s underwriting, marketing, and field operations.

Posted in ACE, AIG and CNA | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Martin V. Halliburton

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on March 24, 2010

MARTIN v. HALLIBURTON

KRISTEN MARTIN; DONALD TOLFREE, deceased, Plaintiffs-Appellees,
v.
HALLIBURTON; KBR INC; KELLOGG BROWN & ROOT INC; KELLOGG BROWN & ROOT SERVICES INC; SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL INC., Defendants-Appellants.

No. 09-20441.

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit.

Filed March 23, 2010.

See also  Lawsuit blames KBR in Driver Death at Anaconda

Posted in Contractor Casualties and Missing, KBR | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

P&C Insurers Seek Exemption From Federal Oversight

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on March 22, 2010

ACE, Chubb, CNA, Zurich, all DBA insurers,want exemption from Federal Oversight !!!

WR Berkley is applying to be approved to sell DBA

NU Online News Service, March 19, 2:07 p.m. EDT

P and C National Underwriter

WASHINGTON—Ten large property and casualty insurers today asked leadership of the Senate Banking Committee to exempt the industry from federal oversight in financial services reform legislation that will be marked up starting Monday.

In a letter to the committee, the 10 insurers, calling themselves the Property & Casualty Leaders Coalition, said they oppose “misdirected” provisions of the legislation “that would shift the cost of failures of financial institutions outside of our sector to our customers.”

They are talking about a provision of the legislation proposed Monday by Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., that would make insurers and other large, complex financial services companies subject to oversight by the Federal Reserve Board and a new Financial Stability Oversight Council.

Under the bill proposed by Sen. Dodd, federal oversight, in addition to current state oversight, would be applied to nonbank financial companies—determined by a two-thirds majority vote of the Financial Stability Oversight Council—to be subject to prudential supervision by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. The reason is that “material financial distress” at the company “would pose a threat to the financial stability of the United States.”

The House financial services reform legislation passed last December contains a similar provision. Both bills would also create an Office of National Insurance.

The latest letter was written by the new Coalition to Sen. Dodd and Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., the ranking minority member of the committee.

The companies signing the letter were the Ace Group; Allstate; Chubb; CNA; Liberty Mutual; Nationwide Insurance; State Farm; Travelers; W.R. Berkley Corporation; and Zurich Financial Group.  Full Story here

Posted in AIG and CNA | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

T Christian Miller on Bill Carlisle and Injured War Contractors

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on March 11, 2010

T Miller brings to light yet another Injured War Zone Contractor who is about to become  homeless due to the unwarranted  denial of Defense Base Act insurance benefits by AIG.    Bill Carlisle has worked hard his whole life and was working hard when he was injured.  Thanks to AIG and the fact no one in Congress or the DoL seems to give a damn, Bill’s home is in foreclosure with a sale date within the month.

So what if he eventually gets the payments he is already supposed to be getting?  His credit is ruined and he won’t be able to buy another home.   He’s just another KBR AIG DBA casualty.  AIG and CNA are ruining one life right after another.

Why is the Taxpayer paying for these benefits?

In recent years, the Pentagon has come to increasingly rely on private military contractors to do the work that members of the military used to do. But as the number of civilian contractors has grown, so too has the number of deaths and injuries of those contractors and with it, the cost of paying health care benefits for their injury claims.

T. Christian Miller [1] recently won the Selden Ring Award for Investigative Reporting [2] for his coverage of the numerous obstacles contractors face [3] when they’ve been injured and try to collect benefits. We spoke to him about who is responsible for taking care of injured contractors, the ordeal they have to go through to be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, the role AIG plays in this, contractor suicide rates and how Congress is addressing the problem.

We also hear from one of the people facing the difficulties Miller has documented. Bill Carlisle Jr. was a contractor with defense firm KBR. He sustained both physical and psychological injuries, and is now fighting insurer AIG for the benefits he says they owe him.

Go here to listen to the Podcast

Articles discussed in this podcast:

Injured War Zone Contractors Fight to Get Care From AIG and Other Insurers

The Other Victims of Battlefield Stress; Defense Contractors’ Mental Health Neglected

Injured Abroad, Neglected at Home: Labor Dept. Slow to Help War Zone Contractors

Labor Dept., Congress Plan Improvements to System to Care for Injured War Contractors

Pentagon Study Proposes Overhaul of Defense Base Act to Cover Care for injured Contractors

Download this episode

Posted in AIG and CNA, Interviews with Injured War Zone Contractors, PTSD and TBI, Racketeering, T Christian Miller | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

AIG: Equal Opportunity Thievery?

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on March 8, 2010

We can probably reduce Cassano’s philosophy to a single criteria, but it would not be “merit.” “Greed” is more like it, unadulterated, F-bomb greed

Jon Coppelman at Workers Comp Insider

As the holder of a couple hundred shares of AIG stock (your condolences are accepted), I feel compelled to track the remnants of the former empire, rather like an archeologist who finds fragments of an ancient civilization buried in a forgotten forest. The latest twist involves a lawsuit by two former female staffers in AIG’s Financial Products unit – the unit at the very heart of AIG’s collapse. Susan Potter, 56, and Deonna Taylor, 62, both former VPs, have filed suit alleging that Joe Cassano, the now-fabled head of the operation, favored younger staffers and ran the rogue operation like a “boy’s club.” Now that’s a shock!

Potter and Taylor said that managers misled them about salary caps, paid younger, male employees more for similar work and fired them in retaliation for filing discrimination charges. Cassano’s lawyer is disappointed by the lawsuit, because his client treated staff “fairly.” This will be one fascinating discovery.

Raging Bull Management
Cassano is not actually a defendent in the lawsuit, as his employment ended prior to the firing of both women. But his over-sized personality placed a stamp as clear as a neck tatoo on the entire operation.

To get a flavor for Cassano’s modus operandi, check out the fascinating August 2009 profile by Michael Lewis in Vanity Fair. Here is an example [obscenity alert]:

“One day he got me on the phone and was pissed off about a trade that had lost money,” says a Connecticut trader. “He said, ‘When you lose money it’s my fucking money. Say it.’ I said, ‘What?’ ‘Say “Joe, it’s your fucking money!”‘ So I said, ‘It’s your fucking money, Joe.'”

Here’s another example of micro-management, Cassano style:

According to traders, Cassano was one of those people whose insecurities manifested themselves in a need for obedience and total control. “One day he came in and saw that someone had left the weights on the Smith machine, in the gym,” says a source in Connecticut. “He was literally walking around looking for people who looked buff, trying to find the guy who did it. He was screaming, ‘Who left the fucking weight on the fucking Smith machine? Who left the fucking weight on the fucking Smith machine?'” If that rings a bell it may be because you read The Caine Mutiny and recall Captain Queeg scouring the ship to find out who had stolen the strawberries. Even by the standards of Wall Street villains, whose character flaws wind up being exaggerated to fit the crime, Cassano was a cartoon despot.

Joe Cassano famously stated on an investor conference call: “It is hard for us, without being flippant, to even see a scenario within any kind of realm of reason that would see us losing $1 on any of those transactions.”

Ah, the irony of that line: AIG stock was trading around $55 when Cassano spoke. After all the losses and the $182 billion government bailout, the stock is worth…about a buck.

It appears that Cassano believed his own blustery rhetoric. He was no Bernie Madoff. He was Joe Cassano, True Believer:

“When he said that he could not envision losses, that we wouldn’t lose a dime, I am positive that he believed that,” says one of the traders. The problem with Joe Cassano wasn’t that he knew he was wrong. It was that it was too important to him that he be right. More than anything, Joe Cassano wanted to be one of Wall Street’s big shots. He wound up being its perfect customer.

Serving Justice?
All of which leads me back to Susan Potter and Deonna Taylor. Their complaints are likely true, yet I am having some difficulty summoning up sympathy for them. They were part of a pirate crew. They simply wanted an equal share of ill-gotten bounty. Yes, they were forced to walk the plank (terminated) in 2008 (Potter) and 2009 (Taylor). But the entire operation is scheduled for shut down later this year.

The atmosphere in the financial products operation must have been difficult for middle-aged managers, especially women. Taylor and Potter were probably paid less than their male counterparts. But when you look at the actual work of the unit, which brought the world-wide financial system to its knees, it’s difficult to feel sorry for them. Had they turned whistle blowers, had they been fired for calling attention to the house of cards being built by Joe Cassano and his pirate crew, I might feel different about their plight.

We’ll let Jim Walden, Cassano’s attorney, have the last word: Financial Products “had many capable women at all levels, including in senior management, who thrived under Joe’s supervision, including these plaintiffs. That they would now turn around and accuse Joe of tolerating, let alone encouraging, chauvinism is disappointing indeed. Joe Cassano hired, promoted and supported employees based upon a single criteria: merit.”

We can probably reduce Cassano’s philosophy to a single criteria, but it would not be “merit.” “Greed” is more like it, unadulterated, F-bomb greed

Posted in AIG and CNA | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Dead and Injured Contractors not Included in Pentagons’ Casualty Lists

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on February 22, 2010

Contractors and other regulars here will have already read these stories and reports but this is a nice compilation that deserves another posting

Noel Brinkerhoff at ALLGov

For years following the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the media reported U.S. casualty figures released by the Department of Defense—which regularly excluded thousands of Americans from the publicized totals. Even though they were often engaged in dangerous operations, these individuals were not uniformed members of the U.S. Army or Marines Corps, but instead private contractors who have had their share of deaths and injuries.

A joint investigation by ProPublica, ABC News and the Los Angeles Times has determined that more than 1,700 civilian contractors have died in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001, with another 40,000 injured. Many of these survivors have had to endure struggles getting medical treatment paid for under a taxpayer-financed federal system known as the Defense Base Act.
Even when recognized for their contributions, many contractors have received little attention, accepting their Defense of Freedom medal, the civilian equivalent of the military’s Purple Heart, in quiet, out-of-the-way ceremonies.

War Contractors Receive Defense of Freedom Medal for Injuries, But Attract Little Notice (by T. Christian Miller, ProPublica)

Contractor Casualties (Department of Defense) (pdf)
Defense Base Act Case Summary by Nation (U.S. Department of Labor)
The Other Afghanistan Surge: Contractors (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Posted in AIG and CNA, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Department of Labor, T Christian Miller | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Danny Fitzsimons Trial in Iraq Postponed

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on February 18, 2010

Trial of British Contractor in Iraq postponed

The trial of a British security contractor accused of fatally shooting two colleagues has been postponed for a third time.

Danny Fitzsimons appeared briefly in an Iraqi court Thursday, only to be told to return on April 7.

It’s the third time the court hearings have been pushed back since Fitzsimons first appeared before a judge last November.

His lawyer, Tariq Harb, told The Associated Press that the latest delay was requested by the victims’ attorneys. It was not immediately clear why.

Fitzsimons is accused of shooting two colleagues, a Briton and an Australian, during a fight in Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone last summer.

All three men were working for the British security firm ArmorGroup Iraq.

See also Danny Fitzsimons

Posted in Contractor Casualties and Missing, Exclusive Remedy, Melt Down, PTSD and TBI | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

US Cracks down on “Contractors” as a Tax Dodge

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on February 17, 2010

KBR, Blackwater, CSA, MPRI, Ronco Consulting and possibly the company you work, worked for have misrepresented their employees as Independent Contractors in order to keep from paying Social Security and Medicare Taxes.  As an American citizen you are responsible for paying these whether the company you work for is offshore or not.  That is not to say all these companies were offshore that did this.

Now these same companies while happily not accepting the responsibilities of employing you for tax purposes were happy to lie and claim you were an employee when they got the DBA insurance they were supposed to get in order to be eligible to take that government contract.

What might happen that is while your injured, not working  and financially getting screwed over by the DBA insurance company AIG or CNA the IRS might come asking you about those taxes you didn’t pay while you were working overseas tax free but still must pay medicare and SS, which would have cost you 15,000 but with the part the company didn’t pay and the fines and late fees they force you to come up  with $60,000.  Try not to bleed on it.

For more on how to determine if  you were an employee or not go here  MisClassifying Employees as Independent Contractors

But trust that if the company paid your air fare, told you where and when to go to work and how to do it using their vehicles and equipment, you were an employee according to the IRS.

From the New York Times

Federal and state officials, many facing record budget deficits, are starting to aggressively pursue companies that try to pass off regular employees as independent contractors.

President Obama’s 2010 budget assumes that the federal crackdown will yield at least $7 billion over 10 years. More than two dozen states also have stepped up enforcement, often by enacting stricter penalties for misclassifying workers.

Many workplace experts say a growing number of companies have maneuvered to cut costs by wrongly classifying regular employees as independent contractors, though they often are given desks, phone lines and assignments just like regular employees. Moreover, the experts say, workers have become more reluctant to challenge such practices, given the tough job market.

Companies that pass off employees as independent contractors avoid paying Social Security, Medicare and unemployment insurance taxes for those workers. Companies do not withhold income taxes from contractors’ paychecks, and several studies have indicated that, on average, misclassified independent workers do not report 30 percent of their income.

One federal study concluded that employers illegally passed off 3.4 million regular workers as contractors, while the Labor Department estimates that up to 30 percent of companies misclassify employees. Ohio’s attorney general estimates that his state has 92,500 misclassified workers, which has cost the state up to $35 million a year in unemployment insurance taxes, up to $103 million in workers’ compensation premiums and up to $223 million in income tax revenue.

“It’s a very significant problem,” said the attorney general, Richard Cordray. “Misclassification is bad for business, government and labor. Law-abiding businesses are in many ways the biggest fans of increased enforcement. Misclassifying can mean a 20 or 30 percent cost difference per worker.”

Employers deny misclassifying workers deliberately. The businesses say the lines are unclear between employee and independent contractor.

Workers are generally considered employees when someone else controls how and when they perform their work. In contrast, independent contractors are generally in business for themselves, obtain customers on their own and control how they perform services.

Many businesses are dismayed about the tougher federal and state scrutiny.

“The goal of raising money is not a proper rationale for reclassifying who falls on what side of the line,” said Randel K. Johnson, senior vice president with the United States Chamber of Commerce. “The laws are unclear in this area, and legitimate clarification is one thing. But if it’s just a way to justify enforcing very unclear laws against employers who can have a legitimate disagreement with the Labor Department or I.R.S., then we’re concerned.”

Among the most often misclassified workers are truck drivers, construction workers, home health aides and high-tech engineers.

Portraying regular workers as contractors allows companies to circumvent minimum wage, overtime and antidiscrimination laws. Workers classified as contractors do not receive unemployment insurance if laid off or workers’ compensation if injured, and they rarely receive the health insurance or other fringe benefits regular employees do.

“This denies many workers their basic rights and protections and means less revenues to the Treasury and a competitive advantage for employers who misclassify,” said Jared Bernstein, who as executive director of Vice President Joseph A. Biden’s Middle Class Task Force has helped orchestrate the administration’s campaign against misclassification. “The last thing you want is to give a competitive advantage to employers who are breaking the rules.”

Organized labor, a strong supporter of Mr. Obama, has long complained about the practice. No administration has undertaken as big a crackdown as Mr. Obama’s, although administration and state officials deny they are doing it as a favor to labor.

California’s attorney general, Jerry Brown, is seeking $4.3 million from a construction firm he accused of misclassifying employees. Last April, he won a $13 million judgment when a court ruled that two companies had misclassified 300 janitors, cheated the state out of payroll taxes and not paid minimum wage and overtime.

Last November, the Illinois Department of Labor imposed $328,500 in penalties on a home improvement company for misclassifying 18 workers, saying it had pressed them to incorporate as separate business entities.

The Obama administration plans to expand investigations by hiring 100 more enforcement personnel. The I.R.S. has begun auditing 6,000 companies to see whether they are in compliance with the law.

Posted in AIG and CNA, Blackwater, Taxes | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

North Carolina to get new State Lab. Hope it isn’t a public health hazard.

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on February 17, 2010

Cross Posted from Effect Measure

Congratulations, North Carolina. You are getting brand new $52 million facility for your State Public Health Laboratory and Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, each in separate wings of a 220,000 square foot facility in Raleigh. Sounds great. But if you work there you might want to shower at home and bring bottled water. And better check your benefits. Because the company that got the contract is non other than Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR), until recently a Halliburton subsidiary and notorious Iraq contractor under investigation for shoddy electrical work resulting in the electrocution deaths of 18 US soldiers while showering (the company’s defense? it wasn’t required to follow US electrical codes in Iraq); and exposing workers in a water injection plant to carcinogenic agents. Oh, and the benefits?

Kellogg Brown & Root, the nation’s top Iraq war contractor and until last year a subsidiary of Halliburton Corp., has avoided paying hundreds of millions of dollars in federal Medicare and Social Security taxes by hiring workers through shell companies based in this tropical tax haven.More than 21,000 people working for KBR in Iraq – including about 10,500 Americans – are listed as employees of two companies that exist in a computer file on the fourth floor of a building on a palm-studded boulevard here in the Caribbean. Neither company has an office or phone number in the Cayman Islands.

The Defense Department has known since at least 2004 that KBR was avoiding taxes by declaring its American workers as employees of Cayman Islands shell companies, and officials said the move allowed KBR to perform the work more cheaply, saving Defense dollars. (Farah Stockman, Boston Globe)

It’s not just unemployment benefits:

Danny Langford, a Texas pipe-fitter who was sent to work in a water treatment plant in southern Iraq in July 2003, said he, too, initially believed that he was an employee of KBR.But when he allegedly got ill from chemicals at the plant and was terminated that fall, he said, his application for unemployment compensation was rejected because he worked for a foreign company. (Boston Globe)

This is the company owned by the company formerly headed by then VP Dick Cheney that got a secret 2002 contract to reconstruct Iraq’s oil production after a US invasion that hadn’t yet happened. None of KBR’s competitors uses off-shore shell companies to get a bidding advantage by avoiding taxes, but since the contract was no-bid and secret that may not be relevant. But when the Boston Globe went looking for the address of the KBR subsidiary in the Caymans allegedly employing all those US citizens working in Iraq, what they found was some business offices housing Trident Trust, a registered agent that collects $1000 a year to forward mail as act as KBR’s representative. The Globe estimates the arrangement has cost US taxpayers $500 million in Social Security and Medicare revenues.

So as a foreign company, KBR didn’t have to pay the taxes. Sleezy but apparently within the law, which protects foreign companies. But then there’s this:

But there is one circumstance in which KBR does claim the workers as its own: when it comes to receiving the legal immunity extended to employers working in Iraq.In one previously unreported case, a group of Service Employees International workers accused KBR of knowingly exposing them to cancer-causing chemicals at an Iraqi water treatment plant. Under the Defense Base Act of 1941, a federal workers compensation law, employers working with the military have immunity in most cases from such employee lawsuits.

So congratulations, North Carolina taxpayers. You got yourself one helluva contractor there. Yes, indeed. One hell of a contractor. You might want to check the fine print, though.

The onging saga of the contractor from hell

Posted in Exclusive Remedy, KBR, Toxic Exposures | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

It’s the Friday Fest Question of the week from our readership Who is the Worst ALJ?

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on February 12, 2010

So, Who, in your humble opinions,  is the worst ALJ?

Posted in Department of Labor, Misjudgements | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Dennis Kucinich: Remember who is fighting for YOU

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on February 8, 2010

Whether your views swing left or right remember that Dennis Kucinich is

One of a very few politicians who gives a damn about the Injured Contractor

Go here and vote for Dennis Kucinich for Fire Dog

AND THE WINNERS ARE:

Thanks for casting one of 110,000 votes for the first round of the FDL Fire Dogs contest. And the winners are…

First Place: Dennis Kucinich, 24,967 votes
Second Place: Alan Grayson, 17,296 votes
Third Place: Anthony Weiner, 13,160 votes

Why did these members win?

It’s simple: these members of Congress treat online supporters like others treat lobbyists. Whereas some Representatives call up their bankster donors before taking a vote, Kucinich, Grayson, and Weiner go online and make their case to activists like you.

Posted in AIG and CNA, Department of Labor | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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