BAGHDAD, Sept. 27 -- A $75 million project to build the largest police academy in Iraq has been so grossly mismanaged that the campus now poses health risks to recruits and might need to be partially demolished, U.S. investigators have found.Parsons Corp
The Baghdad Police College, hailed as crucial to U.S. efforts to prepare Iraqis to take control of the country's security, was so poorly constructed that feces and urine rained from the ceilings in student barracks. Floors heaved inches off the ground and cracked apart. Water dripped so profusely in one room that it was dubbed "the rain forest."
"This is the most essential civil security project in the country -- and it's a failure," said Stuart W. Bowen Jr., the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, an independent office created by Congress. "The Baghdad police academy is a disaster."
Bowen's office plans to release a 21-page report Thursday detailing the most alarming problems with the facility.
Even in a $21 billion reconstruction effort that has been marred by cases of corruption and fraud, failures in training and housing Iraq's security forces are particularly significant because of their effect on what the U.S. military has called its primary mission here: to prepare Iraqi police and soldiers so that Americans can depart.
The report serves as the latest indictment of Parsons Corp., the U.S. construction giant that was awarded about $1 billion for a variety of reconstruction projects across Iraq. After chronicling previous Parsons failures to properly build health clinics, prisons and hospitals, Bowen said he now plans to conduct an audit of every Parsons project.So what is Parsons Corp? It is associated with another infamous trough feeder Bechtel Corp.
"The truth needs to be told about what we didn't get for our dollar from Parsons," Bowen said.
A spokeswoman for Parsons said the company had not seen the inspector general's report.
Parsons is owned by its approximately 9,000 employees. The global design and engineering firm had revenue of more than $2.4 billion in 2002.
Company founder Ralph Parsons, an aeronautical engineer, was one of the founding members of the pioneering engineering company Bechtel-McCone-Parsons Corp. in the 1930s. Parsons sold his shares in that company and started his own engineering firm—the Ralph M. Parsons Co.—in 1944. Partner John McCone later went on to head the CIA.
Chairman and CEO James McNulty served in U.S. Army for 24 years, retiring with the rank of colonel, in 1988 when he joined Parsons' Washington office. While in the Army, McNulty was a program director in the Pentagon's "Star Wars" Strategic Defense Initiative program.After receiving 75 million dollars the police academy will simply have to be torn down.
Adm. R.J. Zlatoper, a director at Parsons, is the former commander-in-chief of the U.S. Navy's Pacific Fleet.
President and COO Frank A. DeMartino was deputy chief of staff for engineering and services at the U.S. Air Force Air Training Command before joining Parsons.
Gen. Earnest Robbins, vice president and manager, Infrastructure and Technology Group, put in 34 years with the Air Force, retiring as a major general before joining Parsons. His most recent assignments with the military included responsibility for all infrastructure, housing, environmental programs, and emergency services as the Command Civil Engineer at Air Combat Command headquarters and Air Force Space Command. In the four years preceding his retirement he was the Air Force Civil Engineer, the senior officer responsible for plans, programs and budgets in support of more than 70,000 military and civilian engineering personnel and contractors worldwide, with an annual budget in excess of $8 billion. He has testified before many congressional hearings in support of Air Force facility and infrastructure issues.
Before joining Parsons in September 2003, Karen Kimball, the business development director for Parsons' Systems, Defense and Security Division, served as chief of staff to U.S. DOE Assistant Secretary David Garman, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Before that she was a staffer at the Energy and Environment Subcommittee of the Committee on Science, U.S. House of Representatives. She had earlier served as staffer for the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.
Chuck Kuzma, director of Major Programs, Parsons' Defense Sector Division, spent 20 years in the Navy before joining Parsons in September 2003. Parsons says while in the Navy Kuzma was "responsible for the supervision of several thousand personnel, as well as the oversight, delivery, and commissioning of multiple, concurrent major acquisition shipbuilding construction programs, each exceeding hundreds of millions of dollars."
Before joining Parsons in September 2003, Willie Clark III, vice president of its Energy Sector for Infrastructure and Technology Unit, put in 21 years at the Energy Department, serving most recently as director of the Office of Project Management and Systems Support for the National Nuclear Security Administration. He was responsible for developing NNSA policy and procedures for project baselines. As a senior executive director in NNSA, he served as the point of contact on project management issues with congressional staff, the Defense Nuclear Facility Safety Board and the National Research Council.
The Parsons contract, which eventually totaled at least $75 million, was terminated May 31 "due to cost overruns, schedule slippage, and sub-standard quality," according to a Sept. 4 internal military memo. But rather than fire the Pasadena, Calif.-based company for cause, the contract was halted for "the government's convenience."Of course Parsons is just one of the many well connected corporations that support Iraq not because it is a front on the GWOT but because it is a giant cookie jar.