The new companies (there are at least three) are all headed by Rob Roy Trumble, who previously was operations chief for Custer Battles, according to state records.
The fledgling firms have different names but all are housed in the same office as Custer Battles — Suite 100 on Hammerlund Way in Middletown, R.I., 3,000 square feet on the ground floor of a squat building in an industrial park...
The actions of Morris, their chief financial officer, were among the worst, according to the military's suspension order and the federal lawsuit. The order cites "serious improper conduct" by Morris which required immediate suspension, so he could not be "awarded new public contracts in Iraq and elsewhere."
But Morris has worked on subsequent reconstruction contracts, for an American firm called Sallyport Global Holdings. Executive John DeBlasio said Morris worked as a contracts consultant "off and on," for the past six months. "We employed him for that, for his expertise," DeBlasio said. "He's got a lot of knowledge about Iraq."
He didn't know Morris had been suspended, DeBlasio said.
DeBlasio is a former adviser to the Coalition Provisional Authority, which ran Iraq and awarded reconstruction contracts for 13 months following the country's invasion. Custer Battles was one of the first CPA contractors.
The suspension order, and the ongoing criminal investigation, have been reported for months in the national and international media. The government maintains a Web site that lists all parties banned from contracting work...
But a subcontractor now working in Iraq said Morris was a project manager for Sallyport from May until October, when word got out about his military suspension, and that Morris was involved with new contracts after his suspension.
"I asked him about it because I saw his name on the (government) Web site," said Nate Hill, a former Custer Battles midlevel manager who says he quit more than a year ago after becoming exasperated with management practices. "He told me he was a federal witness and had been exonerated."
According to federal regulations, individuals suspended by the military are banned from acting as principals on subsequent government contracts. Principals are defined as "officers, directors, owners, partners, and persons having primary management or supervisory responsibilities." Whether Morris' position was equivalent to those descriptions would have to be determined by military investigators. ...
It is not a simple thing to track the ownership of two of his businesses, Emergent Business Services and Tarheel Training LLC.
They are affiliated with a Romanian company called Danubia Global Inc. Danubia, in turn, is owned by Security Ventures International Ltd., a British Virgin Islands firm, according to Bucharest incorporation records. Trumble cut short an interview with the AP, after saying he had "no idea" who owned Danubia. The web sites of his new companies are linked to Danubia's. Emergent's site says it is Danubia's employment recruiter and lists several contracting jobs open in Iraq.