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sabra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 09:46 AM
Original message
U.S. paid $32M for Iraqi base that wasn't built
Source: USA Today

WASHINGTON The U.S. military paid a Florida company nearly $32 million to build barracks and offices for Iraqi army units even though nothing was ever built, Pentagon investigators reported.

The project had to be abandoned because the Iraqi Defense Ministry couldn't obtain rights to the land where the headquarters were to be built, according to a report released this month by the Defense Department's Office of Inspector General. Contracting records show the buildings would have housed one brigade and three battalions of the Iraqi military in Ramadi, a hotbed of the Sunni Muslim insurgency and capital of Anbar province.

Still, the Air Force agency overseeing the project paid contractor Ellis Environmental Group $31.9 million of the $34.2 million obligated for the project, the report said.

An Air Force spokesman, Michael Hawkins, said in an e-mail that Air Force auditors are reviewing the contract. Although the inspector general's report says the Air Force was considering suing the contractor, Hawkins said any talk of a lawsuit was premature until the Air Force audit is complete.

Read more:
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DrDan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 10:29 AM
Response to Original message
1. 32 mil here, 32 mil there . . . . pocket change . . .
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Solar_Power Donating Member (422 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 10:35 PM
Response to Reply #1
29. Where is the GAO?
The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is known as "the investigative arm of Congress" and "the congressional watchdog." GAO supports the Congress in meeting its constitutional responsibilities and helps improve the performance and ensure the accountability of the federal government for the benefit of the American people. GAO's work includes oversight of federal programs; insight into ways to make government more efficient, effective, ethical and equitable; and foresight of long-term trends and challenges.
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Bitwit1234 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 10:30 AM
Response to Original message
2. Bush is making sure his buddies get the moolah isn't he.
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ladywnch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 10:59 AM
Response to Original message
3. they'll dutifully investigate and then conclude there's nothing they can do
to recoup the costs and that the contractor can keep the money.
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donkeyotay Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 12:04 PM
Response to Original message
4. They must have gotten in a lot of trouble because in 2006 they only got $142.6M WOT has been really good for all these small businesses. In 2000 they were only getting a lousy $6.5M.
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tabasco Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 12:15 PM
Response to Original message
5. No money for kids' health but billions for the money pit.
Bush should be prosecuted and punished for his crimes against the American People.
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Blaze Diem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 02:00 PM
Response to Original message
6. Meet the Ellis clan. Isn't Barbra Bush's family name 'Ellis".? They
Edited on Fri Dec-14-07 02:07 PM by Blaze Diem
seem legit enough, except I read that only one member has any military experience. Though they appear qualified, I have to wonder what connection they have to Bush/Cheney to be given $32 mill for buildings that were never completed, and as the Bush/Cneney operations go, contractors, family, friends, etc. have all made out like the bandits they are, because of some association to the reich.
I gotta wonder how many others like Ellis will never found out.
Agree that nothing will probably come of the money-for-nothing as is in this case.

What's the cronyism between Bush/Cheney & the Ellis group?

Mark Ellis's mission statement sounds like he really really really is 'just serving the people', after all. I see also they consider themselves to be 'less expensive' also. hmmm. /

OK these buggers are cronyied up with Bush/Cheney somehow.

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TomInTib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 03:10 PM
Response to Reply #6
12. Damn, that's a pretty tight bunch.
And they are almost all from Utah - schools and all.

You just know they are mobbed up with BFEE.
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gaijinlaw Donating Member (140 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 03:29 PM
Response to Reply #6
14. I don't think that's the same outfit...
The company whose website you posted is based in Utah. The company walking off with our $32M is in Newberry, Florida.

The CEO is a fellow by the name of Rusi Charna and the president is Jeff Bleke. Seems they've got a lot more business with the military, so if they don't want to kill their golden goose, they might think about settling this business quickly.

And lo, behold! Imagine what a search of the FEC's contribution disclosure database turns up!


11/01/2004 500.00 24991340097

Total Contributions: 500.00

Company Contact info is:
Ellis Environmental Group, LC Jeffrey Bleke(352) 332-3888
(Not suggesting anything. Nope, nothing at all.)
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Blaze Diem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 04:14 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. Thanks. Of course the Bush/Cheney mofia is driving that ship too.
They have taken billions from this country. And I believe they will never be held accountable for their theft.
We have foxes guarding the henhouse.
What is our recourse??
TheVisionGroup from Utah is still creepy though. But I appreciate the correction.
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pinniped Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 08:43 PM
Response to Reply #14
28. I wish I could turn $500.00 into $32,000,000.00....
Edited on Fri Dec-14-07 08:45 PM by pinniped
and for doing nothing!
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lpbk2713 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 02:15 PM
Response to Original message
7. Follow the money trail.

It will probably lead back to simian sibling Jebbie.

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Blaze Diem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 02:20 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. Oh ya, Jeb.
If Ellis is an environmental oriented business, then why are they in bed with the Bush's? Something's effed up with this. Maybe their association is with Mitt Romney since they seem to have a close assoc. with Utah.
Jebs got a role in this, you are right about that.

I thought cronyism was a prosecutable offense? geez its enough to make your head fuckin explode.
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robinlynne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 02:29 PM
Response to Original message
9. sue the contractor? Put the man who paid them in jail immediately. let him our when
he spits every detail of why the money was paid. cancel the payment, return every penny to the public plus interest, then put the corrupt company CEo in jail.
then civil.
give them less time if the money is returned within 48 hours.
oh yeah, we have mukasey, I forgot. thank you Dianne F!
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electprogdems Donating Member (271 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 02:32 PM
Response to Original message
10. and yet the repubs snarl and hiss
whenever we want money for schools and transportation in the usa.
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Blaze Diem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 03:09 PM
Response to Original message
11. TheVisionGroup,Ellis's parent co. quotes proverb in their missionstatement /
Starting to creep me out. Based in Utah, TheVisionGroup's quoting of a hebrew proverb and now haveing this connection of a $32mill gift from the us taxpayers ala Bush/Cheney, is just asking for more snooping into the crony-connection.

On the outside they all seem so innocent. They no doubt are also concerned for the 'people' /
Run you cursor across the visiongroups two businesses, Ellis Environ, and Intellisolve, opens a brief description of the two, although I cannot figure out the cronyconnection just YET.

Lets take a look at just who sits on the board of TheVisionGroup..

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allisonthegreat Donating Member (586 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 03:11 PM
Response to Original message
13. there's no telling where that money went.n/t
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rooboy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 04:26 PM
Response to Original message
16. Such corruption - I offered not to build it for only $25 mill. n/t
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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 06:22 PM
Response to Original message
17. Interesting how I glanced past this headline and didn't open it up, thinking,
'what else is new?' Another corp stealing tens of millions from the public coffer. Ho-hum.

But I came back, didn't I? Yup. I thought it over, and DECIDED not to be brainwashed, not to let the corruption go by one more time, without expressing my COMPLETE OUTRAGE at this Junta and at their Democratic Party enablers.

Now I'm going to look up "Intellisolve," cuz there's something buzzing around in the back of my brain about it.

Has anyone cleared up whether it's Utah or Florida (or both)?
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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 06:29 PM
Response to Reply #17
20. Ohio connection to Intellisolve...

IntelliSolve, Inc. has been serving valued clients throughout Northeastern Ohio, in both the private and public sectors, over the past six years. In an effort to expand our ability to better serve our valued clients, we have recently moved our primary corporate office into a larger facility located on the City of Medinas historic Public Square. We have also opened a satellite office in mid-town Cleveland.

To celebrate our successful expansion, we are offering all new clients a complimentary, high-level assessment by our professional consultants to identify any potential opportunities for IntelliSolve, Inc. to assist you and your organization in achieving your organizational goals for 2008. /


" both the private and public sectors, over the past six years." --tenure of Bush, just about, and of his very corrupt operative, Kenneth Blackwell, Sec of State in Ohio in 2004. Were they involved in the Ohio election? Looking...
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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 06:51 PM
Response to Reply #20
22. Here are their "services." Sounds like a lot of bullshit to me.
Edited on Fri Dec-14-07 06:51 PM by Peace Patriot
Professional Consulting

Organizational Wellness Is your organization meeting its full potential? Are your employees meeting their full potential? How is employee morale throughout your organization? Do your managers need to enhance their people or performance management skills?

Business Analysis How satisfied are you with your organizations results? How efficient is your organization? How productive are your employees? How does your organizations performance compare to its peers?

Research / Evaluation What are your company benchmarks? How does your organization compare to the industry leaders in your field? Are you passing the leadership accountability test? How effective are your current programs?

Mediation / Group Facilitation Why litigate when you can mediate? Nearly all court cases end up being settled...Why not save time and money with a proven process for resolving disputes?

Additional Services

Training Seminar Series Need help dealing with difficult people? Want to manage time and stress? Need help running an effective meeting?

Strategic Planning Sessions Is your mission statement a little stale? Does your vision still match your current activities? Has your 5 year plan been around for a decade or more?


Here is their client list--a number of banks and big corps (Ohio State & other public agencies marked with X)...

Baker and Hostetler
Bath and Body Works
Business Womens Network
Chase Manhattan
X Columbus Public Schools
Deloite and Touche
Keep Columbus Beautiful, Inc. (?)
X Kent State University
Lane Bryant
The Limited
Lucent Technology
Nationwide Insurance
National City Bank
New Albany Schools
North Carolina State University
Owens Corning
X Ohio Department of Education
X Ohio Department of Health
X Ohio Farm Bureau Federation
Ohio Families and Children First (?)
Ohio Hunger Task Force (?)
X Ohio Library Association
X The Ohio State University
X Ohio State University Medical Centers
XXX Ohio Supreme Court!!**
Penn State University
Temple University
Texas A&M
University of Arkansas
University of Illinois
US Army Corps of Engineers
US Department of Agriculture
Victorias Secret (!)


**The Ohio Supreme Court was a big player in killing election fraud lawsuits in Ohio '04. The Ohio Sec of State's office was not a client, apparently. But all these other Ohio agencies, and the big banks/big corps, contracting with this firm for soft services, like beefing up "mission statements" is highly suspicious.


Sounds like they're involved in downsizing, cutting work forces, possibly anti-union--providing PR for big clients in "selling" greedy practices to employees and local communities. Based in Medina, Ohio.

"Jacqueline Kirby Wilkins, PhD, CFLE has provided over two hundred workshops and training sessions for businesses and organizations in Ohio and nationwide. She has worked repeatedly with companies experiencing change related to downsizing, merging, and organizational restructuring. Her areas of special emphasis include managing change in the workplace, stress and time management, employer/employee relationships, and work/life issues. Dr. Kirby Wilkins has assisted employers with recruitment and retainment, workplace transitions, increasing morale and productivity, group facilitation and mediation. She has spent over fifteen years providing companies, government and local agencies, non-profit organizations, community groups, families and individuals with the skills to develop goals for and meet the challenges of working in an ever-changing society."

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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 07:04 PM
Response to Reply #22
23. There is a DIFFERENT "Intellisolve" company...
The one in Ohio does NOT seem to be connected to the Ellis in Utah. This one makes telecom and other tech products...

IntelliSolve--a division of the VisionGroup...

About Us
At IntelliSolve, we are dedicated to researching and developing the products that customers want or need, while striving to improve the quality of life with what we produce. Do you have a special idea or product that you are looking for that has not been developed or even invented? Just tell us what you need, and we will provide a solution. We are problem solvers. Our repertoire includes everything from products that make life more convenient for seniors to innovative new technology that helps keep the environment safe.

Our Chief Technical Officer: Son Le
Son Le has excelled in Product Development and Research and Development for over 19 years. Prior to the CTO position at IntelliSolve, Son had 17 years in R&D and Product Development for Motorola, Inc. as a Senior Resource Manager. Previous to IntelliSolve Son joined Radioshack as Senior Director for Product Development and Quality, responsible for developing products for all of their retail stores. He holds over 45 (and growing) US /International patents.


Please take a moment to visit our affiliate sites:


CORRECTION: The Intellisolve company in Ohio does NOT seem to be connected to Ellis and VisionGroup in Utah.


I'll now take a look at the Ellis corp in Florida.
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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 07:21 PM
Response to Reply #23
24. The Ellis Environmental Group (Florda) web site is DOWN!
Here's the top site that Google brings up for "Ellis Environmental Group Florida":
Ellis Environmental Group - 4:10pm

Go there, and you get the word "test" in the upper left hand corner, and nothing else on the page. They've down. Are they gone?

Other hits from Google reveal a major military construction corporation, based in Florida. But since I can't get to their site, I can't research affiliates, board of directors, etc. I'll try to some alternative sites.


Here's another site:

Gov't contracts to Ellis Environmental...multi-millions!

2006 $58,226,329
2005 $63,200,009
2004 $8,417,015
2003 $16,538,593
2002 $18,800,952
2001 $16,021,141
2000 $5,863,536
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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 07:28 PM
Response to Reply #24
25. Big lawsuit filed 11/07 against Ellis, asking $300 million in damages!

Case Number: 3:2007cv00496
Filed: November 16, 2007

Court: Florida Northern District Court
Office: Pensacola Office < Court Info >
County: Escambia

Nature of Suit: Contract - Miller Act
Cause: 40:270 Miller Act
Jurisdiction: Federal Question
Jury Demanded By: None
Amount Demanded: $292,277,000.00


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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 08:05 PM
Response to Reply #25
26. The dockets.justia links on this lawsuit are not as good as I thought.
Edited on Fri Dec-14-07 08:59 PM by Peace Patriot
Some are restricted. Others yield no info. And Ellis' own web site seems to be gone from the web.

One problem seems to be that Justia listed Ellis Environmental Group as LC rather than LLC, but LLC doesn't seem to get better results. If you click on these links, change the search to just "Ellis Environmental Group"--no LC or LLC. This lawsuit, filed in Nov., is in the Florida courts, so this is likely the corp that did $32 million looting of the US military. I'm currently trying to find out something about the Lexon Insurance Co.


A search for the EEG turned up two co. names:

Wiley John & Sons, Inc.
Crane Co.

Relationship to EEG? Don't know yet. (LATER: NO RELATIONSHIP! ACCIDENT OF GOOGLE!)


EEG's sharp practice in a no-bid Navy contract?

Found an interesting Appeals Court case (Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals), in which EEG tries to recover an amount of Mississippi state taxes that it failed to include in a U.S. navy contract. Evidently, the Bushites permit contractors to make we, the people, pay the state taxes due on such work. It is normally included in the contract bid. But EEF forgot to include it. Mississippi required payment. EEG sued the Feds to get compensated. The court rules against EEG--in its effort to make the Fed gov't pay the state taxes. Imagine having high priced lawyers to file frivolous efforts to cover your own "senior moments." What a game!

And there's a twist--which looks to me like sharp practice by EEG. In order to get a no-bid contract, the total amount had to come in under $3.3 million. EEG came in just under that, failing to include the Mississippi 3.5% tax in the contract total bid. And then, later...they take it to court and try to get more money from the Feds. While the court doesn't accuse them of fraud--probably because everybody's covering everybody else's assess in these situations, and it couldn't be proven--the court does deny EEG the money.



Repiglican Roast has some good stuff on EEG, and its prez Jeff Bleke, including a PHOTO of Bleke and his wife on their fancy boat. Scroll down the page past the long interview (Amy Goodman) about New Orleans: /

Repig Roast apparently got info from EEG's web site before it was taken down. Here's a gem on Bleke--who was apparently the engineer for those US Navy bombing sites in Puerto Rico...

From EEG's web site: "(Bleke) is one of the most experienced professional engineers in the ordnance field and has served as professional engineer in charge for more than 20 Formerly Used Defense Sites (FUDS) in continental U.S. and Puerto Rico .<...>"

And Repig Roast found this at the Gainesvilled Sun--this is enough to make you tear your hair out! $75-$100 MILLION TO ELLIS ENVIRO. GROUP! -

Published on: 1/27/2003 Last Visited: 1/27/2003
Ellis Environmental Group, LC CEO Rusi Charna and President Jeff Bleke were recently awarded two major defense contracts. The architectural and engineering firm in Newberry is working on a three-year, $30 million deal with the U.S. Navy to design and build construction projects at various Naval ports, airplane hangars and barracks facilities around the Southeast, and they also were awarded between $75 million to $100 million from the U.S. Air Force to perform engineering services at a number of Air Force facilities.
The Navy has been Ellis' biggest client, Bleke said, and on a separate project some of the company's workers are installing an airfield lighting system for the Navy in Pensacola.

About two months after winning the Navy deal, Ellis received what Bleke called "the best news we've had yet." The company learned it would be responsible for between $75 million and $100 million worth of work on a $1.1 billion contract from the U.S. Air Force.

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SoCalDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 06:25 PM
Response to Original message
18. They are a lot like Arbusto getting that juicy oil contract when Poppy was in office
Ellis?? another chunk of bark from the family tree??
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Mountainman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 06:26 PM
Response to Original message
19. Let's see how to audit that contract. There is supposed to be a building there.
We go there, there is no building there. The contractor was paid for a building. Let's pay him anyway.

Audit complete.
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Lisa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 06:34 PM
Response to Original message
21. meanwhile, I can't even get a measly $10k to drill a well for a SCHOOL in Afghanistan
Our project co-ordinator has been trying to get the occupying powers (the US and now Canada) to do this since 2002. No luck. The military activities have to take priority, don't you know. Meanwhile there are 8-year-olds walking a mile and back to the nearest stream, carrying buckets.
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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 08:35 PM
Response to Original message
27.  Ellis $31.9million for nothing . . . any relationship to the Bushes????
Edited on Fri Dec-14-07 08:35 PM by defendandprotect
Ellis Environmental Group spokesman Steve Brownstein said the work was reassigned to Ellis World Alliance Corp., a related company. Bob Smith, of Ellis World Alliance headquarters in Gainesville, Fla., said contracting rules barred any official comment. UNQUOTE
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Lost4words Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 10:36 PM
Response to Original message
30. I could have built nothing for half the price!
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