Chapter 355

I followed my normal routine again on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday; I worked at KCC all three days.

On Monday, Andy and his team – with Vicky as official company representative – took the old county bus to do a walk-through of the convention center.

We had leased the convention center – with JBG as the leaser – for a period of Monday to Sunday. That way it gave us direct control of the property for the five days prior to the debate, instead of being in the middle of a one or two day lease.

There was a Saturday night rock concert in the convention center the weekend before the debate, narrowing the time we had to set up all the necessary security. I was concerned that the concert would be used as a cover for protesters to do considerable damage to the building.

That was one more reason I wanted bomb sniffing and drug dogs to go over the building just to make sure no one left or planted anything. The groups were determined they were going to shut down the debate.

On Monday Andy joined our afternoon meeting and for two hours we discussed all the possibilities with the convention center and the protest groups.

All of my ideas were put on the table and we discussed every one of them. Then we discussed Andy’s and put together the plan. Andy was going to take over all the logistics and operational control for the convention center setup for the debate. It was his responsibility to keep the site secure along with all the external security for the site and prep work. That included arranging for the tent, wrecker, and positioning of the Jersey barriers.

Jake was going to supply the two big forklifts through a short term heavy equipment rental company he used. The construction site he had bought in Virginia had hundreds of the Jersey barriers stacked up. They came with the property. The bank holding the deed was not going to pay to haul them away. Because of the way the auction for the previous owner was held, there was no bid on them.

The same was true with the giant rock crusher that was left on the site. The bank gambled that it would add more value to the property than trying to scrap it. Jake said the thing weighed 200,000 pounds and when we flew to the site in the chopper, you could see it and the quarry that supplied rock for it miles away, almost like a beacon to the site. If the crusher had been up and running when we built the road for the compound, it could have supplied the crush & run material.

J&J flat bed trucks were going to haul the Jersey barriers from VA to the convention center and set them in place with a crane truck. We had received permission to pre-stage them at the back of the parking lot.

This was the last major project that Jake would be able to work with me on. In thirty more days the construction business would be gearing up and Jake’s time would be spent there along with one week a month at the Japan nuke plant cleanup site.

The new J&J site in Centreville, Virginia would be the first to get active because of its more southerly location. It would be going a full month before the Pennsylvania location would be able to start.

Midwest Bank was now financing all of J&J’s construction needs. Jeanna tweaked the numbers until the deal was just too good for Jake to turn down.

Marcy – with the help of Robert Alderman, the former IRS tax specialist that Frank recommended that we hire – convinced Jake to lease all the new equipment versus buying it and taking depreciation. When Robert showed Jake on paper how much of a reduction in owed taxes, it was a no brainer.

Marcy was doing the leasing for all the equipment for the new site and replacement equipment for the PA site. Marcy was falling in love with big equipment.

“It takes five car leases to equal one dump truck lease, with one fifth of the paperwork! Plus, you put the cars in the rental fleet and hope for 75% monthly ratio. With utility and construction equipment it’s rented 365 days a year,“ she said at our meeting.

We were no longer buying cars and light trucks from dealers; Marcy was now buying direct from GM, Ford, Nissan along with International and Peterbilt trucks through their commercial sales divisions. Those were two truck lines that the three utilities we were leasing to liked to use.

Marcy had 100 tandem-axle with an air tag axle (making them triple axle dump trucks) coming in the next thirty days for J&J. That was only the start; front end loaders, pavers, cranes, rollers, graders, pickups, flat bed trucks, box trucks and other equipment were on the list. Jake was dividing the new and old equipment between both sites for improved day to day reliability.

JBG was helping Jake on several other fronts; HR was going to do the employee manuals, job requirements, job postings, background checks and our doctors were going to do the physicals and DOT physicals at the Virginia site.

Tony, Jake and a couple of J&J foremen from the PA branch were going to be on hand those days to check out the equipment knowledge.

A man who claimed he knew how to drive a dump truck needed to prove he could work a 13 speed Spicer without making hamburger out of the gears. He also needed to prove he was proficient in doing the required DOT daily inspection and log books.

The next 30 days would get the VA site completed and operational and all the equipment swapped around. The crusher would be the first project. As soon as it was operational, different size materials could be stockpiled for the summer construction season.

Jake need the crusher, concrete plant and the wash plant to separate sand from stone to make concrete to be the first items completed.

On Sunday after the Saturday rock concert, JBG was going to have several 24/7 guards at the center. The groups had planned to do some site assessments on their own from what Robert and Burt were getting from the intercepts. The presence of guards might deter them from getting too good a look to do any planning.

Our Wednesday night meeting was devoted to the 4 homeless girls. Jenny had found out everything there was to find out about them.

Joni Athens was 28 and had a criminal record from the state of Virginia. Two counts of shoplifting; one count was waived and she served 30 days in juvenile detention for the second; she was 17 at the time. Her parents and an older brother and sister were still alive.

Since that time she had been living as a runway and homeless person. There were 7 municipalities that had searched her records over the last 10 years. Somehow, she had managed to finish high school with a GED diploma.

The next older one in the group was Paula Craft. Paula had just turned 19 and had graduated high school with honors. Why she was living as a homeless person was a mystery, and so far there was nothing to explain it. Paula was from North Carolina. Jenny had found out from the NC DMV that she had a valid NC drivers license.

Paula’s family was dead; both her mother and father had been killed in the same auto accident two years ago. She was an only child – maybe the deaths were just too much for her to handle. Maybe there were other problems at home before they died. Jenny looked at their estate to see if there were any answers there. There were.

Paula’s father and mother had no wills so the state had become executor of the estate and appointed her father’s brother as her legal guardian. NC law is strange when it comes to orphaned children, estates and their rights. The laws gave Paula’s uncle an immense amount of power over her without any financial oversight.

The family house was sold and the proceeds disappeared; her parent’s life insurance money disappeared. Paula’s college fund was drained. There were no bank accounts with Paula’s name anywhere.

With further research Jenny found that two new cars were bought; both were Jaguars. The uncle’s house was remodeled. A new 40 foot pleasure craft boat was bought and a short time later was transferred to a casino in Georgia. It was another case where the state failed in it responsibilities.

Paula’s uncle found a special place in my heart; I wondered how Andy felt about breaking arms and legs.

Paula was a beauty and well spoken in any crowd for her age. She had a sense of humor. She was well liked in the gym with a personality that would take her anywhere she wanted to go.

Lorrie needed flight attendants. We were going to offer Joni and Paula the chance if they wanted it; a couple of test flights at first to see how it would work out and if they liked that kind of life. Then there would be the normal training, first aid, CPR, and then the self defense course.

Alica Sevens was another thing all by herself. Alica was 14; the youngest of the group and a ward of the state of Ohio. Alica’s mother was a drug abuser and had died of an overdose when she was 10. Her father had turned to booze to drown his pain. He had been arrested several times for bar fights and once for hitting Alica, leaving her with severe bruises.

The state had placed her in a foster home that was one of those kid warehouses for money when she was 12. Jenny found out that there were 6 other kids there, all older than Alica, some of them waiting for juvenile court dates. The foster home parents were busted for running a prostitution ring last year. I could only image what happened there. Alica had been a runaway for a year and a half.

To send her back to Ohio would only continue the cycle and have the same or worse results. The horror stories of some foster homes and kid warehouses were more than enough to avoid that ending if at all possible.

Amanda Black was 16; old enough to technically be on her own in this state. She too was from Virginia; the Shenandoah area. All indications were that she had a normal family life and above average school grades. Amanda had left home after the school year ended completing the 10th grade. What transpired to make her become a runway? One could only wonder.

At least we had some idea where to start. Alica and Amanda both needed to go back to school and would if they stayed with us. There was no need to force that issue now. February had become March and now April.

The school year was effectively done; the schools were in a review mode for exams. To throw them into class now would be a waste of time; they would fail anyhow and that would not be a confidence booster.

The problem was Alica. As soon as you started requesting school and other records, somebody from Ohio Juvenile Services was going to show up to take her back under the state’s jurisdiction.

More things to think about; we would hash it out later and make a decision and set things in motion at tomorrow’s meeting.

Edit by Alfmeister

Proof read by Bob W.

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