Intrigue Behind Embassy Security Contract

     FAIRFAX, Va. (CN) – Aegis Defense Service claims in court that a competitor lied about access to its trade secrets with an eye toward a multibillion-dollar State Department contract.
     The July 28 complaint in Fairfax County Circuit court notes that Aegis is one of eight contractors privy to the State Department’s lucrative “Worldwide Protective Services” contract.
     One component of the job tasked Aegis with providing security in Kabul, Afghanistan, at the U.S. Embassy and other U.S. diplomatic facilities there, Aegis says.
     Noting that the WPS contract “has been the primary source of Aegis’s revenue and business for the past five years,” McLean, Va.-based Aegis says the State Department put it up for bidding again this past May.
     Aegis filed its complaint two days before the due date for new contract bids.
     The company says it has reason to believe that Chenega-Patriot Group, a competitor based in Chantilly, Va., has been misleading about its access to confidential Aegis trade secrets.
     At the heart of the controversy, Aegis says, is Chenaga’s brief retention of U.S. Army veteran Gary Pease right after Pease and Aegis parted ways.
     Since Pease had signed a noncompete agreement and played a “central role” in securing the original WPS contract, Aegis says it worried that Chenega-Patriot would use Pease’s “intimate knowledge” to edge out Aegis for the new contract.
     Aegis says it hit the pair with a lawsuit this past June in D.C. Superior Court, and that Chenega-Patriot quickly settled on the basis of its representation that Pease had not transmitted any trade secrets to it and that they “would stop working [together] immediately.”
     In its new complaint, Aegis says it has “learned new and previously undisclosed information that contradicted” Chenega-Patriot’s settlement representations.
     To wit, a forensic examiner has determined that Pease “copied Aegis trade secret information onto multiple thumb drives” before leaving Aegis, after he provided written assurance through a confidentiality agreement that he had not done so.
     On June 10, two days after the parties settled the dispute via a “term sheet,” attorneys for Pease revealed Pease discovered two thumb drives in his backpack, Aegis says.
     Pease has allegedly insisted that he did not use the thumb drives, which Aegis says its forensic examiner determined contain “numerous Aegis documents and also contained documents marked as Chenega-Patriot property.”
     Aegis notes that the documents in question “included numerous detailed pricing, staffing, compensation, and contact documents relating to WPS.”
     “Disturbingly, documents – now marked as ‘Chenega-Patriot’ or ‘CPG’ – contain information that reflects Aegis trade secrets,” the complaint states.
     Aegis says “additional thumb drives remain at large.”
     A comparison of documents on the thumb drives related to Chenega-Patriot strategy and the Aegis WPS strategy documents “reveals that Pease was using the same WPS approaches, data, methods and trade secrets for Chenega-Patiot that he developed while working on WPS projects for Aegis,” the complaint states.
     “The documents also show that Pease had multiple strategy meetings and prepared multiple presentations for Chenega in relation to the WPS 2 contract,” the complaint continues.
     Aegis says this “shocking” revelation “directly contradicted the prior representation in the term sheet that ‘Chenega represents that it has not and will not use Aegis confidential information on WPS projects.'”
     The D.C. court issued a temporary restraining order against Pease on June 11, and “Aegis and Pease settled” thereafter, according to the new complaint.
     Aegis says Chenega-Patriot on the other hand has not cooperated in the effort to assess the breach of its trade secrets.
     Accusing Chenega-Patriot of fraudulent inducement, misappropriation of trade secrets and tortious interference, Aegis wants Chenega-Patriot disqualified from the new contract bid, plus $10 million in damages.
     Chenega-Patriot has not returned a request for comment.
     Aegis is represented by Randall Miller with the Tysons Corner firm Venable.

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