Book 2 Chapter 74

Tuesday morning Lorrie put a couple of her real-estate people looking for something we could rent near the Brownsville to Mexico bridge. I didn’t have high hopes of them finding anything large enough for our needs anywhere near the bridge. But I didn’t have time to dwell on it.

The crews had cleaned the furniture out of the second floor of the Horsey House yesterday. Today Bob’s Construction was touching up the rooms on the first floor where they had expanded the offices for Andy and the rest of his anticipated group.

All one hundred rooms were going to be offices or records storage. We had the Black Bear office problem solved and it was a good thing. Baltimore Office Supply was delivering the cubicles today with installers to assemble them.

The contractor we used to install phone lines was working with them today. That shouldn’t be much trouble; every room already had phone and internet outlets. Plus, the building was loaded with routers for wireless service.

Lorrie and Marcy had negotiated with the Philadelphia real estate group for the old mall at the narrows for future permanent offices. They gave a price, Lorrie counter offered and they accepted. Everything was good, or so it seemed.

Then came the first group of paperwork. It was filled with costs associated with purchasing leased commercial property that was still in active leases. The fees amounted to 500 thousand dollars. Lorrie dug in her heels; we weren’t paying that. The building was empty and had been for decades.

The second round of paper – the fees were still there with copies of the original long term leases of the mall operator. But the fees had been reduced to three hundred thousand.

That operator had filed bankruptcy a decade ago. The bankruptcy court incorrectly had added a clause that if the mall buildings were ever leased, the new leaser had to pay one year lease back to the plaintiffs in the original suit with no time limit. That was why the buildings had been empty for two decades. Lorrie not so politely told them where to put their shopping mall, that we were no longer interested.

This morning they counter offered by substantially reducing the price, this time lower than the original offer to compensate for the lease issues. By now the Horsey House offices were in full swing and we did not need the property. Lorrie made that clear in the communication with them and they still would not give up. They sent two more proposals, each one reducing the price. Lorrie responded to neither.

I called Fort Polo for Ray Underhill and had to leave a message; he was in the field with the Air Force people doing a preliminary inspection. The questions I had for him would have to wait.

Then the call I was expecting came in. I transferred it to the command center so I could have the ultimate privacy. I asked Vicky, Jenny, Marcy, Lorrie and Ching Lee to sit in on the call and discussions.

President Martinez – with his cabinet – were on the VCATS system we had left there so we could easily communicate. The truth was I liked to read facial expressions and body language.

The video meeting lasted two hours. They were not happy with my extra request. But after repeated points, counter points and explanations we arrived at a mutual agreement. They understood my reasoning and arguments, even if they did not like it.

They did not want cartel members and gang members disappearing into the cities with their trade to wreak havoc and I did not want them moving their operations into the states, especially since there were lawyers and politicians that would welcome them with open arms.

The amendment to the agreement I wanted was to be called ‘Part D’ here-after, was agree upon with conditions. The contracts with Mexpo would be evaluated in three parts. JBG had to successfully compete phase one for part D to go into full force. Success was determined by eliminating the illegal tapping on the phase one pipeline.

Phase one was securing the pipeline from Corpus Christi Texas to Mexpo’s Tampico refinery. Phase two was to secure the pipeline from Tampico to Puerto Vallarta while maintaining security on phase one.

Phase three was a new contract not discussed with the legal departments or my mates yet. JBG was to supply security for an additional pipeline from Tampico to Mexico’s National Oil Reserves tank farm east of Mexico City and then east to Veracruz. That pipeline was a joint ownership venture between Mexpo and Ocean Petroleum. Ocean Petroleum was a minor partner. All terms and conditions outlined in the contracts faxed yesterday would remain unchanged.

I was happy but unhappy if that is possible. I figured that it would take a month just to eliminate the tapping and several months to convince the parties that we weren’t going away or giving up. They would have to find some other source of fuel and income on phase one and I hoped it was not kidnapping our employees.

The changes made these contracts even more complex; adding the last contract and Part D and the distances were going to be rough.

I was just getting ready to go upstairs when Andy called with updates. He had found a contractor that was willing to start immediately on the access road.

The FBI had returned two of the speed boats that had been stolen. Two of the eighty foot patrol craft that had been used for deep water vessel commando, seizure and control training operations had been found.

Andy found about them from one of the employees. They were at a dry dock in Port Arthur getting upgrades in radar, sandblasted, hull painting and re-manufactured engines.

I did not know there were any eighty foot patrol craft. They were not on any inventory list we had been given. How do you miss ten million dollars worth of boats on an inventory? Only one explanation, the clandestine operations division of the CIA. So who really owned them – JBG or the CIA?

After much research they were buried deep on the asset list and not labeled as boats or as the missing assets that Marcy’s group and the FBI were trying find.

”Andy, send someone to Port Arthur. I want complete pictures and copies of all contracts and who authorized the work when you get time. Also find out a completion date with us giving the boats a shakedown cruise,” Marcy said.
”We need to see some specs if you can find out the builder,” I said, one more thing to ask one of the B & B boys about. Better yet, just keep quiet and assume ownership.

I wondered how many other unknowns were going to pop up that we needed to pay for from this deal. As far as I was concerned this was not part of the asset list and we were not to give Black and Bear any money for them. I would bet the cost of the refit was as much as they were worth, possibly more.

”Andy, we are going to pick you up at 0830 tomorrow morning to go back to Mexico City with us,” I said.
“OK, that’s no problem. I have some ideas about logistics for Mexico I want to talk to you about If everything is signed as you expect, ” Andy said.

”I have been thinking about things as well, what you don’t know is they have added one more pipeline to the contract and I have added a piece to it as well. So we do have a lot to talk about,” I said.

One issue was sleeping arrangements for the men. Rural Mexico was not friendly, not only because of the cartels and gangs but rattle snakes, copperheads and poisonous scorpions were only the beginning. Spending the night in a foxhole and you could have an unwanted occupant in there with you. Not something you wanted to wake up to.

Even in Texas during hurricane restoration, during the early days of the disaster, visiting utility workers often slept in their trucks until huge tent complexes could be assembled. They were told to start the trucks and wait a few minutes for the snakes to disperse before stepping out to take care of nature during the night.

The snakes were attracted to the heat from the trucks until they cooled after being shut off. Starting the trucks caused them to scurry off.

I needed a place for men to sleep and not on the ground in a hole, nor in a tent that could be riddles with bullets.
I expected opposition – not at first other than a few drive-bys. But as time went on, it would grow more organized, sophisticated and aggressive. There were plenty of experienced rebels in lower Central America and northern South America that would come for the money.

Ray Underhill returned my call, ”I need an update on the security situation, specifically what is the aviation unit finding and how much are they being utilized?” I asked.

The conversation was encouraging enough that I called Adriyel Dorin to place another order. The same as before with four additions. The next C5 flight to Polokwane and back was in two weeks. The C5 that was dropping off men to help with the freighter would bring the order back.

On Thursday I was flying to the island with no name to talk with the bank president. It took some doing but he finally agreed to meet me. My promise to invest in his bank set the stage.

The last thing I was going to do today was meet my new security team. With Andy firmly getting into his position and him choosing several of the bodyguards to fill positions in his team, it was time for me to do the same. He had selected six that he thought would fill the spots satisfactorily.

Paul Drake was to be my right hand replacing Andy. Paul had been with us almost as long as Andy and on several of my black ops missions. He knew how I played things, hard to the nails, no fear- he was not afraid to cut throats and didn’t run from the gunfire. He came out of the Navy Seals as a Captain with a chest full of medals. We were kindred – hard headed and two of a kind.

The others were Larry Thor, Vinnie Dean and Ken Lutts. Ziva, Farah and Abra were staying with me even though Andy wanted to promote them into his team. They reached an agreement that when I was working on the home turf they would work in his office if I didn’t need them. But on any travel two of the three would be by my side always.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.

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