U.S. Mercenaries Stole Material They Were Hired to Protect, Builder Says
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (CN) - In a "military-styled invasion," the prime contractor in charge of expanding Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan sent "a team of paramilitaries equipped with assault weapons" to the very place the mercenaries were supposed to be protecting, and they stole 90 modular homes, loaded them on flatbed trucks and drove them away, the building subcontractor says. MAKS General Trading & Contracting Co. claims EODT Technology mercenaries stole the houses at gunpoint and took the to Bagram Air Field, "where they are now being used by U.S. service personnel."
In its federal complaint, MAKS General Trading & Contracting says EODT hired it as a subcontractor to build temporary homes for U.S. troops in a construction compound in Kabul. MAKS says it was halfway through its job when EODT "deployed a team of paramilitaries equipped with assault weapons" to steal 90 homes.
MAKS employees were held at gunpoint and in some cases locked in rooms while the facility was attacked, MAKS says.
EODT Technology is a Tennessee-based defense contractor that provides security services to public and private companies in Afghanistan, according to the complaint. EODT's president Matt Kaye and project manager Mark Anderson are also named as defendants, accused of ordering and, in Anderson's case, supervising the attack.
The complaint states: "On October 23, 2009, at approximately 5:30 a.m., in a stunning display of raw force, EODT arrived at the MAKS construction compound in Kabul, Afghanistan (the very same MAKS compound that EODT Security was being paid by MAKS to safeguard MAK's personnel and property) with approximately fifteen flat-bed trucks. [Parentheses in complaint.]
"When EODT arrived at MAKS compound, it deployed a team of paramilitaries equipped with assault weapons. These paramilitaries entered the MAKS compound without authorization.
"The EODT security personnel who were already stationed at the MAKS compound pursuant to the Security Contract abandoned their perimeter defense obligations and entered the MAKS compound to menace MAKS personnel.
"Holding the MAKS personnel at gunpoint, and ignoring the pleas of MAKS managers to cease and desist from their use of lethal force against unarmed MAKS employees, EODT personnel loaded the undelivered modules onto the flat-bed trucks that EODT, against MAKS strenuous objections, had brought under armed escort onto the MAKS compound.
"The EODT Security personnel, on site pursuant to the Security Contract, not only did not halt this theft (as required by contract), they actively participated in it by keeping MAKS personnel at bay with their automatic weapons and threat of lethal force. Several MAKS employees, including Assault Victim Plaintiffs were told that if they did not comply with all of the EODT gunmen's demands, they would be shot.
"EODT absconded from the MAKS compound with the contracted-for modules without paying for them and delivered these modules, as if fully paid for, to the BAF [Bagram Air Field] where they are now being used by U.S. service personnel.
"To date, EODT has refused to fully pay for the modules that were voluntarily delivered to BAF or pay for the modules EDOT stole, under force of arms, from MAKS compound and from MAKS personnel, and has refused to negotiate in good faith for the payments of stolen WA02 modules, or the full payment of the WA01 modules."
Two citizens of India, plaintiffs who were working for MAKS during the attack, say EODT employees threatened to shoot them. Three John Doe plaintiff-employees, natives of Afghanistan who wish to remain anonymous "to shield them and their families against possible retaliation by the Taliban or Al-Qaeda," say they were locked in a room for 6 hours while gunmen guarded the doors.
MAKS says it agreed to build temporary homes for EODT in February 2009 and EODT agreed to provide security in June 2009.
MAKS claims EODT fell short in a number of ways: EODT was not familiar with Afghanistan, lacked professional relationships with the military and failed to relay critical information, among other things.
MAKS adds that EODT owes it more than $2 million for its work.
MAKS demands an additional $3 million in damages for EODT's sneak attack.
MAKS seeks damages for assault, false imprisonment, trespass, breach of contract, conversion, negligence, tortious interference with contract, and negligent hiring.MAKS and its employees are represented by Douglas Pierce with King & Ballow of Nashville, and Joseph Hennessey with Beins, Goldberg & Hennessey of Chevy Chase, Md.