Privatization Leads to Fraud, Mismanagement, and Employee Abuse at Wackenhut

The three words that best describe the private security business these days are “racism”, “corruption”, and “profits”. Wackenhut, the largest private security provider to the Federal govt and the military outside of Iraq, would appear to be awash in all three.

Wackenhut, which has ties to the GOP and the Bush Administration that go almost as deep as Halliburton’s, is currently under investigation:

  • in Alaska by the GAO for “inadequate training and incomplete background checks that led to employment of officers with criminal records”, “poor” record-keeping that included falsified training records, and a near-total lack of any kind of monitoring or oversight on the program, as well as for illegally obtaining security contracts that were supposed to go to minority businesses;
  • in Miami (scroll to bottom) by Dade County for fraud – overbilling, billing for services not provided, falsifying records of guards’ hours, and violations of labor laws for working guards in some cases 20 hrs/day, 7 days/week;
  • by the Homeland Security Committee for “problems at Wackenhut-guarded facilities nationwide that lead to high employee turnover, low morale and ineffective security” at US nuclear sites;
  • by the House Govt Reform Committee “to examine charges of racism, discrimination and poor performance;
  • at a Tennessee Army ammunition plant where inspectors found holes in the perimeter fences, and where “two teenage runaways were found wandering around the 6,000-acre property after getting dangerously close to explosives” after the number of guards had been cut “in response to higher gas prices”;
  • by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for security violations “at Wackenhut-guarded Three Mile Island, Seabrook Station, St. Lucie, and Turkey Point nuclear power plants”;
  • and by the Dept of Energy for “shorting the protective force on combat training; excessive overtime; caught cheating during one security drill and involved in a near-friendly fire incident in another” at its Y-12 (Oak Ridge) nuclear weapons plant.

And that’s only a partial list of domestic investigations.

In Britain, Wackenhut’s parent company, Group 4 Securicor, is the subject of an undercover BBC investigation into its handling of a contract to monitor sex offenders “revealing rapists, killers, and pedophiles left unmonitored as a result of faulty equipment and poor work practices.” In South Africa, Wackenhut – the largest employer on the continent with 65,000 employees – “has been investigated and sued for things like reserving ‘white only’ toilets; advising employees to consider lesser positions because of pregnancy; perpetuating hostile work environments, and overall poor pay and working conditions.”

None of this has kept either the Bush DOE or the Army from handing new contracts to Wackenhut and G4S, most of which are no-bid give-aways. As when Halliburton is involved, Wackenhut’s long history of human rights violations, violations of labor laws, incompetence, graft, fraud, and witness/whistleblower intimidation means nothing because it has ties to Bush.

The SEIU is trying to help guards form a union to protect them from the corporation’s misuse and abuse of its employees and to bring minimum standards of accountability to a company that hasn’t yet had to learn the meaning of the word. According to SEIU’s Kawana Lloyd (via email), despite all this skullduggery, Wackenhut is still guarding Army bases, nuclear weapons facilities, and nuclear plants.

Last year, the Army re-solicited contracts to provide security at several U.S. Army bases after the U.S. Government Accountability Office reported numerous problems plaguing the contracts, including inadequate training and incomplete background checks that led to employment of officers with criminal records.

­One phase of the Army’s contract competition was open only to minority and small businesses, known as “8(a)” companies. Three contracts, worth more than $150 million over their potential 5 year life, were awarded to an 8(a) company, TW & Co of Lanham, Maryland and two Alaska Native Corporations, Chenega Security and Protection and Doyon Limited. Unlike other 8(a) companies, ANCs are exempted from dollar limitations on sole-sourcing, can own unlimited subsidiaries and are not even required to be headed by Alaska Natives.

In turn, TW is subcontracting to Chenega, while on their contracts Chenega and Doyon are subcontracting to Wackenhut Services, Inc. and to Coastal International Security, respectively, neither of which is an 8(a) firm.

Chenega, Wackenhut, and Coastal were incumbents on the old Army contracts which were the subject of the GAO’s critical investigation, raising doubts on whether the Army’s acquisition authorities paid proper attention to the bidders’ past performance at Army bases. Despite the GAO’s findings, the Army rated Chenega’s and – in a separate, full and open competition for a portion of the Army base work – Wackenhut’s performance records very highly.

It’s all part of the Bush Administration’s privatization initiative.

The controversy began in 2003, when the United States Congress authorized the Department of Defense to hire private security officers to replace Military Police and other uniformed personnel at more than 40 U.S. Army installations to compensate for the manpower demands of the Afghan and Iraq wars. The first round of these contracts—worth nearly $200 million per year—was awarded on a “sole-source” (no-bid) basis to two Alaska Native Corporations (ANCs), Alutiiq Security and Technology and Chenega, both with limited previous security experience. Alutiiq subcontracted work to Wackenhut, for which Wackenhut was eligible to receive an estimated $47 million per year.(emphasis added)

It’s a standard corporate shell-game undermining the laws requiring minority participation in Federal contracts by using dummy fronts and subsidiaries masquerading as the “prime” contractors.

This sort of corruption is precisely what we’ve come to expect from Bush’s privatization mania as corporations use their political influence in place of merit to rip off the taxpayers, abuse employees, violate labor laws and human rights laws with impunity, and rake in massive unearned profits as its reward for cheating, stealing, and law-breaking. You will note that with the single exception of the GAO, NONE of the many investigations are emanating from the DOE, Labor, the Army or Homeland Security, all of which continue to hand out contracts to Wackenhut without bidding, oversight, or accountability. What Halliburton and KBR and Parsons are doing in Iraq, Wackenhut is doing right here under our very noses, and yet so far the mainstream press has taken little or no notice of them because there hasn’t been an Abramoff-type central figure to hang it all on.

The guards angry at shitty working conditions, low pay, inadequate training, substandard equipment, and lax, management-ordered security policies are the only ones trying to put a stop to Wackenhut’s executives’ criminal mismanagement and outright theft.

Figures. The top is stealing us blind while the Bush Administration aids and abets them. The impetus for accountability nowadays comes from the bottom up.

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12 Responses

  1. […] ask. Why does such largesse – over $1 BILLION$$$ in 4 years – bless the likes of Blackwater when Wackenhut has been around a good deal longer, sports a far more extensive resume, and has just as many […]

  2. I am reporting abuse by the Taco Bell on University and Dean Road- I have been poisoned by this company and no one will help me….Please read on… I need a good-highly recommended attorney.

    I was employed by Taco Bell on Nov. 2008. I appreciated my employment with Yum Brands and worked so diligently recieving awesome reviews from the customers each day. My GM was always adamant about cleanliness, which is good, but around the last week of February 2009, she began to ask me to clean with bleach as well as the regular chemicals used in Taco Bell restaurants such as dazzle, sanitizer, window cleaner and various other chemicals. She told me to keep the bleach in my car and use it by taking a cup to my car, pouring the bleach in the cup and bringing it into the store, since Taco Bell does not allow bleach in their stores. One night I didn’t have my car and I had to bring the big gallon bottle of Clorox in the restaurant that Lorraine purchased for me to use- Marvin- the evening manager- saw the big bottle of Clorox and told me “to hide it somewhere.” Everyday Malacia Lorraine (the GM) pushed me to use bleach, although I began to become ill from the fumes. She instructed me to get on my hands and knees and clean bathrooms and tiles with the bleach and other chemicals. I began to experience dizzy spells, migrains, coughing, sore throat, blurred vision and other symptoms condusive with chemical poisoning-she continued to require that I use the bleach. I expressed to My night manager, Marvin that I was becoming ill and he even had to cover for me sometimes and allowed me to go home a little early. I also told Laura, another manger that I could not continue to do this hazardous cleaning due to my health! I told Laura the assistant manager this during the week of March 27th, 2009. Three assistant managers and other employees knew Lorraine (the GM) was asking me to use the bleach because they could smell it. Lorraine told me that she was “not allowed to have bleach in the store, but that she wanted her floors as white as possible and her tiles and bathrooms cleaned with the bleach and other chemicals, she said get on your hands and knees and do it Sheila!” And the (manager Assistant), Laura witnessed and heard her tell me this the week of March 27, 2009; When the GM Lorraine left that day- Laura used her cell phone, called her boyfriend and told him about the abuse- I overheard the conversation and began to speak with Laura about the situation. Lorraine, the GM, really made me feel as though my job was endangered if i did not use this straight clorox bleach along with other chemicals. I often expressed to Marvin, my evening shift manager, that I was so stressed out about Lorraine’s demands, the chemicals were making me ill, but I was afraid of losing my job if I did not do what Lorraine said. Jihan, (one of the evening managers) witnessed me having to clean baby chairs, garbage cans late at night, after the dining room closed outside when it was cold with the bleach. I am praying that all of these employees will be honest and tell the truth! On Friday March 27, I became very ill had a dizzy spell and twisted my ankle. It was during a busy lunch shift, so Stacy the manager on duty did not file an incident report- she pretended she did not have time-so I waited for my daughter to help me home and we called Red Taco to file a report and a complaint. James, Lorrain’s district manager, treated me very rudely but told me to go to the Centra Care in Waterford Lakes on Monday-March 30,2009. The doctor on duty diagnosed me with a severe sprained ankle, possible poisoning from prolonged use of chemical exposure, headaches- instructions-no walking standing etc. Prescribed Tramadol and Ibuprofen, put me on crutches. He referred me to a nuerologist, ASAP! Which I haven’t seen or heard from and It’s now Friday April 3, 2009-Andrea from Gallagher And Bassett, the workman’s comp firm-only spoke with me once after I contacted her early Wednesday morning. April 1, 2009. Andrea was very rude to me- she recorded my statement of events-said she would let me know within a short time if they would pay for anything, after she speaks with Lorraine and the other managers! These people could possibly lie about the abuse! But I have family members who came to the job several times because I was ill from the chemical fumes. It’s friday and I haven’t heard from Andrea or anyone else from Taco Bell at all. I am ill, this has placed my household in a severe crisis situation- I went to Liheap and several other agencies for help with my lights and other bills with no results. My back is against the wall! I have no income at this time- my husband is disabled. And I think my treatment by Taco Bell is deplorable, immoral and unethical.

    Sincerely,
    Mrs. S. K. Williams

    • WE ARE SEEING THESE UNFORTUNATE INCIDENTS, NOT ONLY IN RETAIL, BUT ALSO IN SECURITY GUARD AGENCIES ACROSS THE COUNTRY.I AM REPLYING TO YOUR BLOG ON APRIL 6TH 2010-BUT I DO HAVE YOUR SOLUTION, MRS. WILLIAMS! I SAW ON T.V. THE TOP CEO OF TACO BELL-HE WENT UNDERCOVER IN TACO BELL RESTAURANTS TO LEARN WHAT HIS PROBLEMS WERE FURTHER DOWN THE LINE, SO HE COULD COMMEND GOOD EMPLOYEES AND FIX RECURRING PROBLEMS. IF HE IS THAT GENUINE AND CONCERNED-MY BET IS THAT IF YOU PICK UP THE PHONE, AND CALL HIM-HE WILL GET IT DONE FOR YOU AND LISTEN! IT IS TO HIS ADVANTAGE TO TAKE YOUR ISSUES ON-AS I WOULD-BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT GETTING IT DONE TO YOUR NEEDS AT THE MIDDLE-MANAGEMENT LEVEL! TELL HIM YOU FEEL YOU MUST GET SOME RESPONSE FROM THE TOP LEVEL-AND YOU WILL BE SURPRISED HOW DIFFERENT THE OUTCOME WILL BE! DO IT-I KNOW YOU HAVE APPREHENSION,BUT TRUST ME, THAT IS WHAT A CEO DOES!

  3. You certainly have some agreeable opinions and views. Your blog provides a fresh look at the subject.

  4. THE WORKERS DO STAND READY TO REMOVE THE FINANCIERS AND BANKERS-AND HAND AMERICA BACK TO THE CITIZENS TO REWORK THE GOVERNANCE OF THE PEOPLES. WE MUST TURN BACK THE ENDLESS WARS AND SPUR THE CREATIVITY THAT HUMANS ARE CAPABLE OF-AND DELIGHT IN-SO THAT WE CAN ONCE AGAIN BE PROUD AND HAPPY. THE EVIL-RICH ARE TEETERING ON THEIR FRAUDS BEING EXPOSED-YEH, THEY ARE DANGEROUS.! THEY WILL LIE-BUT IF THEY ARE PUT ASIDE, THEIR OWN FRAUDS WILL STRANGLE THEM, AND PEOPLE CAN RESUME LIVING AGAIN. THERE ARE TO MANY POWER-STRUGGLES-AND NOTHING GOOD EVER COMES FROM LIES DESIGNED TO MANIPULATE THE PEOPLE. WE USED TO WORK W-I-T-H PEOPLE-WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THAT? MADE SENSE, BACK WHEN-STILL DOES! LET THE MONEY FAIL-WE’LL FIGURE SOMETHING ELSE OUT AND GO FROM THERE. IT IS WORKABLE-NOT DOOMSDAY.

  5. Ill love to work for the for Doyon.

  6. BY THE WAY-THESE SECURITY CORPORATIONS HAVE WHORED THEMSELVES OUT AT THE BEHEST OF CORPORATIONS WHO DREAM AT NIGHT OF DESTROYING ALL LABOR RIGHTS AND MAKING PLANET EARTH A TOTAL SLAVE PLANET! THE LIKES OF SHAUN NANNITY, GLEN BECK, RUSH LIMBAUGH,AND THE REPUBLICAN PARTY “EN TOTAL” are mouthpieces for the evil Illuminati wealth-mongers of the world.They all applaud their own minions of poverty-makers and justify it as “A MIDDLE-CLASS CONSPIRICY TO UNDERMIND SMOOTH RUNNING ECONOMICS!” YOU KNOW THIS CANNOT BE TRUE-AND THERE ARE NO FACTS THAT CAN MAKE IT COHERENT OT PLAUSIBLE! THE AMERICAN WORKERS ARE BEING RAILROADED-AND THE SOONER WE TURN OFF THE RADIO WITH THESE SHRILL SHILLS-AND GET REAL PROGRESS UNDERWAY-THE SOONER SANITY AND MONEY CAN RETURN TO THE FOLD.

  7. ALTHOUGH ANGRY AND MIND-PROVOKING-WHAT DID I EVER LIE ABOUT? LOOK WHAT HAS COME TO PASS-THE DOWNFALL OF LABOR IN AMERICA AND AN IDLE JOB MARKET AND WORLD ECONOMIC COLLAPSE! WHAT DID I N-O-T PREDICT-WHAT DID I NOT WARN YOU ABOUT???!

  8. Well….start looking into what G4SGS is doing at Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, to the firefighters and law enforcement (law enforcement is under Chenaga). UNREAL!!!!! NASA won’t even touch them…we wonder why? ALOT of very experienced people are going to leave or forced to leave because of the DRASTIC cuts they are going to do.

  9. Hi to all,. . Need tool for checking content copyright.

  10. Hi, I do agree your ideasyou’ve present on this post. Toilet issues are always nasty but you have to do, also the repair payment is not cheap. Most of time I prefer to do the job by myself. Do you still have any other posts about this title?

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