Posts Tagged ‘SAIC’

Las Vegas Newspaper Editorial Highlights James Hoyer Whistleblower Case

Tim_Head Shot

Lt. Col Timothy Ferner

An editorial in the Las Vegas Review-Journal shined the spotlight on waste and abuse exposed by military whistleblower and James Hoyer client Lt Col Timothy Ferner.  Lt Col Ferner’s case against defense contractor SAIC exposed systemic problems with how Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas secured contractors and spent taxpayer money.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal editorial pointed to this case as an example of a bigger problem of government waste which continues to plague the country.  Here is an excerpt:

The Coalition and Irregular Warfare Center was launched at Nellis Air Force Base in 2006 with the charge of finding ways to counteract the improvised explosive devices and roadside bombs that were killing and maiming American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Unfortunately, as is the case with far too many government entities these days, the warfare center’s primary mission became plowing through piles of taxpayer money.

As reported Oct. 13 by the Review-Journal’s Keith Rogers, in a 54-month period, $42 million was funneled through the CIWC and its partner in the project, the 505th Command and Control Wing. It was unclear how much of that money supported the improvement of irregular warfare capabilities, but there was plenty of off-point spending, including $427,000 for an effort to develop passwords for monitoring finances of an Army warfare group.

According to retired Lt. Col. Tim Werner, whose whistle-blower complaint got him fired in 2009 but ultimately uncovered the large-scale contract abuse, there were also unauthorized money transfers between the 505th Command and CIWC contractors, and misappropriation of funds for items such as “switchblades, high-intensity laser lights, body armor, retractable batons, handcuffs and other illegally purchased equipment, tens of thousands of dollars of equipment, some of which went missing.”

Click here to continue reading the Las Vegas Review-Journal Editorial.



Las Vegas Paper Profiles Case of James Hoyer Military Whistleblower

The Las Vegas Review-Journal did an in-depth profile on the case Lt Col Timothy Ferner, the military officer who came forward to blow the whistle on fraud, waste and abuse he witnessed at Nellis Air Force Base.  Information exposed by Ferner, a James Hoyer client, led to a nearly $6 million settlement with giant defense contractor SAIC.

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Middleman Settles in Defense Contractor Whistleblower Case

The U.S. government has announced a settlement with the middleman at the center of a wide-ranging scheme to obtain defense contracts by circumventing the bidding process.  Steven Stallings acted as a broker agent inappropriately securing government contracts for major defense contractor SAIC without going through required contract procedures.  Stallings, who worked for the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology at the time, but was based in Valrico, Florida, has agreed to pay the government $105,000 for his role in the fraud.  Stallings settlement comes on the heels of a larger settlement for nearly $6 million with SAIC.

Stallings has also agreed to cooperate fully with investigations currently pending by the United States into other entities, including another contract broker located in Crane, Indiana, Lawrence Solliday.  Solliday was director of the Naval Surface Warfare Center and also worked for SAIC.  The settlement does not preclude any possible criminal charges against Stallings that could result from the investigation.

The case was brought to light by whistleblower Timothy Ferner, who is a client of the James Hoyer Law Firm.  Ferner is a retired Lieutenant Colonel with the Air Force and was stationed at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, Nevada, where many of the inappropriate contract orders were executed.

“This is the second settlement in this case, which resulted from the brave actions of our whistleblower coming forward and putting his career on the line,” said James Hoyer Partner Elaine Stromgren. “It’s very important, because it shows that the government is not only holding the company, SAIC, accountable but also the individual who played such a significant role in executing this impropriety.”

Stallings was the key contact between SAIC and military personnel at multiple Department of Defense entities, including Nellis Air Force Base and MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida. Stallings claimed to be a high ranking government official who had authority to bypass the bidding process, which was not true.  As a result, the settlement agreement says “Stallings caused SAIC to submit to GSA (General Services Agency) over 360 invoices for work on various Task Orders under the BPA (Blanket Purchase Agreement).”  Stallings actions led to SAIC being awarded millions of dollars in improper government funding.

Lt Col Ferner became suspicious that normal contract procedures were bypassed and repeatedly reported his concerns to his supervisor.  He was alarmed that his superiors condoned and wanted to cover up the violation.  When no action was taken, he felt compelled to report his concerns to the Office of Investigative Services.  That led to retaliation against him for going over his supervisor’s head.  Lt Col Ferner was ultimately fired from his position and transferred to a job with little responsibility.  He felt filing a whistleblower lawsuit was the only way to expose the wrongdoing and recover the taxpayer dollars inappropriately obtained by SAIC.

“Lt Col Ferner is a testament to courage in the face of institutional pressure to keep quiet and go along. Thanks to his perseverance, the American taxpayers have not only recovered some of the money wasted, but also can rest assured that there will be increased scrutiny on these types of blanket contracts moving forward,” said Stromgren.

As provided under the qui tam provision of the False Claims Act, Ferner will receive a portion of the settlement as a reward for bringing the fraud to light.



Media Coverage of James Hoyer’s Defense Contractor Whistleblower Settlement

wtsp-elaine-ferner1Media outlets across the country reported the news of James Hoyer’s nearly $6 million settlement against defense contractor Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC). James Hoyer Partner Elaine Stromgren is pictured here being interviewed by Tampa CBS affiliate WTSP.

This is a rare case of an active duty military officer blowing the whistle on an improper deal condoned by his superiors. Whistleblower Lieutenant Colonel Timothy Ferner bucked the chain of command putting his career on the line to expose the fraud, waste and abuse.

WTSP Investigative Reporter Mike Deeson talked to Lt Col Ferner, who now lives on an alpaca farm in News Zealand, via Skype.  Watch his report below or click here to read the online version of WTSP’s story.

More coverage:

The Las Vegas Review Journal’s story is here.

The Las Vegas Review Journal did an in-depth follow-up report taking a look at Ferner’s case. Click here to Keith Rogers’s story “Coalition and Irregular Warfare Center shows little for $42 million effort.”

The Tampa Bay Times story on the SAIC settlement can be read here.

Click here for a report in the Federal Times.

Lt Col Ferner’s hometown newspaper, the Wilkes Barre Times Leader,  filed this report in which his father calls him “a real hero.”

Here’s the story from the Washington Post.

Click here for the story from Alabama Media Group Newspapers– The Huntsville Times, The Birmingham News & Mobile Press-Register.



James Hoyer Announces Settlement of Qui Tam Case Involving Military Relator

First Lady Laura Bush & Air Force Lt Col Timothy Ferner

First Lady Laura Bush & Air Force Lt Col Timothy Ferner

James, Hoyer, Newcomer & Smiljanich, P.A. is proud to announce the $5.75 million settlement of a qui tam case against Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), a government defense contractor.  James Hoyer had the privilege of representing Air Force Lt. Col. Timothy Ferner in this whistleblower case, which was filed in 2010.

Click here to read the James Hoyer press release for complete information about the settlement and Lt. Col. Ferner’s role in the case.

Military relators can be whistleblowers, but may face unique challenges in bringing their cases.  To learn more about members of the military acting as relators in qui tam cases,  click here for a blog post by lead attorney and James Hoyer partner Elaine Stromgren.