The outburst by the HLS and FBI men and the fact they both stood up startled Duke.
“Let me introduce myself. I am Eric Roberson HLS, this is Marty Coeburn FBI and Frank Love CIA. You had someone tampering with your aviation fuel deliveries and failed to notify HLS and the FBI as required in National Security Alert Bulletin 1-13-12.
NSAB 1-13 requires any unusual occurrences with fuels, electric or water to be reported to HLS immediately. It was based on intercepted chatter from terrorist groups that plan to begin disruption of utilities and supplies,” he said.
“Is there no one in your organization that reads HLS bulletins? If I remember correctly QA County Island Airport is designated as an emergency standby facility and received one of the HLS grants for upgrades to the fuel farm and lighting after 9-11,” he said. “And there has been an annual grant since then.”
Jason – who had been alerted by one of the staff and was now standing in the door behind all the commissioners – responded, “Yes, the county did receive a 10 million grant from HLS. I was the outgoing commissioner when the funding was received. The funds were put in a special account connected to the contracts for the improvements. I heard a couple of years later the contracts had been cancelled and the money transferred to other feel-good projects of the new commissioners.”
Eric asked, “Where have the annual grants been going?”
“I have no idea, my term ended in 2001. Duke and several others hold those positions now,” Jason replied.
Duke and Clarence both looked like they had seen a ghost. They both exited almost in a run after, “We will have the Sherriff’s office send you everything they have so far.”
“They can run but they are not going to be able to run far enough to get away from what is going to come their way. Back to our original discussion, we need eyes and ears on Rochester campus and you can supply the perfect cover in more ways than one,” Eric said. “Can we work together on this?”
“You know I have served our country. I know that the fight is coming here. If JBG can help slow them down, we are all in. You have two months to work however many people you want into our system. I do insist that they go through our training to fit in with our people,” I said.
Jason came back in after they left, “You know our airport troubles are most likely just beginning after today. Homeland is going to come after the county with a vengeance over the funding diversion and falsifying the certification, and the county is going to spread it around.”
The rest of the day was filled with meetings with Cindy and Mark. Then I had a meeting with the Rochester employees. I needed to know what their plans were; get some scheduling started and also how long Courtney and her three would need to be there.
There were ten employees who were going to work eight days straight, take four off and commute back. There were eight that were going to stay and only come back once a month; they were the four couples. They flat out said that if they could find suitable housing they were going to move and take full time positions.
That left two employees who were going to work five and come back every weekend. Luckily, the four couples were not part of the full timers I had hired for KCC; they were on the list for part time and it would be easy changes to remove them.
I wanted to feel them out to see who was going to be the take-charge leader. I needed a supervisor for this group and then I needed a director for when the staffing was filled out.
Mark, Cindy and Jason had been finalizing the applications from Warrington. Dan and Ellie Mays had made the cut without any influence from me. They were in the first group to be interviewed. Jason, Cindy, Ching Lee and I would be flying down to do both groups of interviews.
The finalist would be flown here for training. Hopefully we would have the big plane by then to bring all of them at one time. Holiday East was giving us rooms with two beds for 50 bucks a night, including taxes. It was one heck of a corporate rate. They would be 2 to a room, like it or not. The hotel would be used for the spill-over from the horsey house.
The final meeting of the day was with the six of us girls. I filled them in on the Homeland request and my offer. I explained that in the end we had little choice. Homeland would most likely infiltrate at some point on the hiring, hack our systems and cause us all kinds of grief if I had flat out said no.
On the up side their offer of assistance may come in handy later with the county. I was sure the county was going to come after us with claws. They had already shown their hand with the noise complaint and fuel problem.
I asked Eric before he left if I could get a complete report of the investigation on the fuel problem and be kept in the loop; I wanted to know if the county was yanking our chain.
“Absolutely,” he replied. “You work with us and we will work with you, the line will be at classified things. I will see that you get on the alert bulletin list.”
Friday was spent loading the rental truck with office and computer equipment. Everything was checked and double checked. The 20 Rochester employees were sent home at noon to allow them to pack and get personal things in order.
Shortly after noon Eric called, “The airport problems are going to hit the news in a little while. I just wanted to prepare you for the media blitz that is going to happen. By the way, Kathryn and Ty will pay Rochester a visit to see how their trainees are doing mid week. I understand that you have housing accommodations they can use for a couple days.”
I sort of laughed, “If you are going to send them back to the basic dorm rooms, it is. Do you want to have them fitted for JBG uniforms?”
“No, they are looking the place over, putting together a plan just like you did. I hope they do not find trouble like you did,” he replied.
At 3 the news crew was out front. Marley Kendall came inside and asked for several interviews. She was a regular in the gym from the beginning and knew all of us personally. She wanted Lorrie, Jenny, Jason and me. Apparently the feds had gone for broke with the press release against the county.
It was misting rain outside. I let Marley, the camera man and the sound tech come up to the office to do the interview in front of all the big screen monitors with the continually changing data. It would be good for PR, I thought.
Marley started with Lorrie after she gave a brief overview of our flight operations from the FAA, the airport website and ours, “How is the airport not having fuel for a week going to affect your business?”
Lorrie Explained the extra flight time and cost.
Marley said “JBG is the largest commercial operation at Island Airport; how much fuel do you use?”
“Ten thousand gallons a week, sometimes more,” Lorrie replied.
“If my information is correct from the earlier interview with the county, the county makes about fifteen thousand a week off that fuel sale. Is that correct?” Marley asked.
“Yes” Lorrie replied.
“So they not only hurt your business, they hurt the county taxpayer – with no profit and that is a lot of profit – yet the expenses go on?” Marley asked.
“That is the way it works at my business,” Lorrie replied.
Marley turned to Jenny, “Ms. Coles, you are listed as Vice President heading the legal department of JBG and you are Chairperson of the Governors Criminal Taskforce; is there going to be a conflict of interest in this case?”
“No, this is a federal case not a state case. I am one of the owners of JBG hence the title. We have a corporate legal team that handles the day to day legal matters,” Jenny replied.
Marley turned to Jason, “Mr. Coles, you were the out-going commissioner when the federal funding was received. What happened to the funding?”
“When I left office the funding was in a special account. The contracts for the work had not been finalized. It was up to the new commissioners to approve the contracts and authorize the work and make payments at various mile stones in the construction phase,” Jason replied.
“What do you think happened to the funding?” Marley asked. Then she added “You were on the inside track until then so you should be able to make an educated guess.”
“I am not going to comment on speculation. I am sure that a federal audit will disclose all the facts,” Jason replied.
“BJ, where do you think this will end up and how much damage is going to be done to JBG?” Marley asked.
“It is not going to have any long term affect on business, just a major inconvenience. The real damage has been done to the taxpayers of the county. The funding is going to be paid back to HLS, plus interest. There will be heavy fines and jail time. That’s what would happen to me if I falsified the reports for ten years and cheated the government out of 20 million dollars,” I replied.
“From inside the JBG command center this is Marley Kendall with an exclusive report on the QA County Airport investigation and possible terrorist attack.” “Thanks guys for letting us do this inside and dry”
Edit by Alfmeister