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Custer Battles

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Custer Battles, LLC is a security company based in McLean, Virginia, that promotes its services as including "security services", "litigation support", "global risk consulting", "training" and "business intelligence".

Background

The company's founders are Scott Custer, a former US Army officer and defense consultant, and former CIA officer Michael Battles, who ran for Congress in Rhode Island in 2002 and was defeated in the Republican primary. Battles is a Fox News Channel commentator. [1] Both Custer and Battles are often described in the media as "former US Army Rangers." In fact, they are both mere graduates of the US Army Ranger course[2], a nine week US Army leadership school, and not former members of the US Army Ranger Regiment[3]. The distinction may seem obscure, but it is an important one for US Army veterans, particularly veterans of the Ranger Regiment, which is one of the US Army's most elite formations.

Custer Battles was a newly formed company with no experience in the security industry when it landed one of the first contracts issued in Iraq in the spring of 2003 to secure the airport. The no-bid contract was worth $16 million when it was awarded in the chaos after the fall of Saddam Hussein. [4]

On July 1, 2003, the company announced that it would "bring its security training expertise to the State of Maine." [5]

On April 9, 2004, BBC News reported that a Custer Battles employee and former British soldier, Michael Bloss, "was killed while guarding electrical workers near the town of Hit, west of Baghdad." [6]

A litany of complaints against Custer Battles can be found in the Forum section of ALI Capital Partners.[7]

Custer Battles is currently banned from further Department of Defense contracting.[8] A qui tam lawsuit has been filed against it by several parties seeking recovery, on behalf of the US, of allegedly fraudulent claims by Custer Battles. A copy of the complaint can be downloaded from here.

Allegations of Unrestrained Force

"These aren't insurgents that we're brutalizing," says Craun. "It was local civilians on their way to work. It's wrong." Capt. Bill Craun is one of four former Custer Battles employees in an NBC report that allege civilian contractors used such unrestrained force in Iraq, they had to quit soon after because of disgust. "What we saw, I know the American population wouldn't stand for," Craun said referring to subcontracted local youth shooting the place up.

Former executives keep working

Business Week reported on June 12, 2005 that former operations chief for Custer Battles, Rob Roy Trumble, has formed new companies to bid on contracts in Iraq. Two of Trumbles new companies, Emergent Business Services and Tarheel Training LLC are housed in the fromer office of Custer Battles at Suite 100 on Hammerlund Way in Middletown Rhode Island.

Interestingly enough, Rob Roy Trumble is a bona fide former member of the Ranger Regiment. Mr. Trumble served as a platoon leader in the 3d Ranger Battalion, and participated in Operation Just Cause, the invasion of Panamá.

Both companies are affiliated with the Romanian company, Danubia Global Inc. which is owned by Security Ventures International Ltd., a British Virgin Islands firm.

Said former CPA official, Franklin Willis, about Trumble's new companies, "They're like mushrooms, they just keep sprouting up."

In addition, former chief financial officer Joseph Morris, who had submitted fake invoices to the government which resulted in a suspension forbidding him from receiving "new public contracts in Iraq and elsewhere", has been working on reconstruction projects for Sallyport Global Holdings. Upon seeing Morris' name on the suspension list, Sallyport has said they will not renew his contract. Morris had claimed he has been exonerated for acting as a federal witness.

Morris, like Trumble, was a West Point classmate of both Custer and Battles, as were many other managers within the firm.

Guilty

On March 9th, 2006, a federal jury in Virginia found Scott Custer, Michael Battles and Joseph Morris "guilty of defrauding the United States by filing grossly inflated invoices for work in the chaotic year after the Iraqi invasion."

The trial dealt with only one of several CusterBattles' contracts and the jury found that the entire $3 million in the contract had been "gained by fraud". The defendants will have to "repay the government triple damages and also pay fines for 37 fraudulent acts" in what will amount to over $10 million. [9]


Contact Information

Custer Battles head office
55 Hammarlund Way
Suite 100
Middletown, RI 02842, USA
Telephone: (401) 848-7500
Fax:(401) 848-7505


Custer Battles Washington
8201 Greensboro Drive
Suite 214
McLean, VA 22102
Email: info AT custerbattles.com

Web: http://www.custerbattles.com

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