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IRAQ: Private Security Guard Sues after Reporting Claims of 'Unprofessional Conduct'

The lawsuit alleges a bungled cover-up, in which MVM guards fabricated a horrific shootout with roadside snipers and later bragged about killing three enemy soldiers.

by By John AccolaRocky Mountain News
December 15th, 2005

A Westminster man ousted from his $300,000-a-year job as a bodyguard in Baghdad has brought a wrongful termination suit against a U.S. contractor providing top-tier security services for Iraq's reconstruction.

 

David A. Boone, 50, says Virginia- based MVM Inc. pulled his employment contract after he reported unprofessional conduct among fellow workers and the use of illegal weapons during top-secret assignments.

Boone's month-old federal lawsuit, initially filed in Adams County Court, was transferred to Denver federal court last week.

MVM, whose private security forces are used in war-torn countries by U.S. government agencies and corporations, declined comment Wednesday. But the company has rebuffed the breach of contract charges in recently filed court documents and denies retaliating against Boone for whistle-blowing activities.

Boone's lawsuit includes allegations of a bungled November 2004 cover-up, in which he says MVM guards fabricated a horrific shootout with roadside snipers and later bragged about killing three enemy soldiers.

The made-up firefight with 20 to 30 enemy shooters near Baghdad's airport was a "fraudulent and false report" and a violation of MVM's government contract, the complaint said.

It alleges that Boone's colleagues filed the false report after they were ambushed by a car bomb that damaged two of their armored vehicles. Although no one was seriously injured in the blast, a security guard retaliated by firing indiscriminately into Iraqi civilians' homes, the complaint said.

The complaint said the guard's actions were illegal because there was no incoming bullet fire to indicate further threat.

Privatized security forces assigned to protect contractors and Defense Department personnel in war zones are subject to the U.S. military's "rules of engagement" before firing their weapons, the complaint said.

Boone, a former U.S. Army Special Forces soldier, said his employment agreement with MVM required him to "conform to the highest recognized and accepted professional standards and ethics."

Typically, he earned about $75,000 for each 90-day rotation to Iraq, the lawsuit said.

The complaint identifies an MVM employee in Palmer Lake - Perry Cloutier - as "a key potential witness in this case."

Boone's lawsuit includes a copy of MVM's "Standards of Conduct," which states that employees are subject to immediate dismissal for failing to notify management of fraudulent reports and on-the-job dishonesty.

MVM's January 2005 termination notice two days before Boone's return assignment to Baghdad was "without good cause, was intentional, malicious, willful and wanton and retaliatory," the complaint said.

The complaint said Boone was recruited by MVM in February 2004 to provide "protective services detail" to high-level personnel and visitors for an unnamed MVM client in Baghdad.

According to MVM's Web site, the privately held company was founded 24 years ago by three Secret Service agents and employs more than 3,500 workers worldwide for security contracts with more than a half-dozen U.S. government agencies.

In 2004, revenues exceeded $190 million, up from $30 million in 1997.





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