ago by the Native village corporation of
The dispute lies in whether
Tanadgusix Corp. bought the surplus Navy dry dock with the promise that it
would move the dock to
The General Services Administration said Tanadgusix officials deceived the agency and the
planned all along to keep it in
"It's just a big scam," said Bill Clifford, chief executive of Honolulu-based Pacific Shipyards
International, which competes with the dry dock and which filed a lawsuit last year alleging
that Tanadgusix and Marisco Ltd., a Hawaii-based ship repair company, conspired to make false
to obtain the dry dock. "They knew it had to be used in the state of
The GSA has proposed to bar a Tanadgusix subsidiary from federal contracting work because of
the alleged fraud.
Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, inserted language in the House version of a national highway bill
that calls for terminating all lawsuits related to the dry dock.
On the Senate side, Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, says he is trying to find a compromise that
the dry dock to
This month, a conference committee of House and Senate members will begin writing a final
version of the bill. The committee will decide whether Young's language stays or goes.
Tom Schlosser, attorney for Tanadgusix, said the GSA debarment is misguided and would destroy the company. Tanadgusix earns about 50 percent of its revenue from government contracts to clean up oil spills and military bombing ranges.
shareholders are the Native residents of
The Native company is the main
economic enterprise on
remote island, it has invested elsewhere to create revenue and jobs. The company acquired the
The floating dock, the length of almost two football fields, was built in 1944 and required
significant cleanup and repairs.
Tanadgusix Chief Executive Ron Philemonoff signed a "transfer document" that promised the
corporation would not "sell, trade, lease, lend, bail, cannibalize, encumber or otherwise
dispose of the property, or remove it permanently for use outside the state."
He also wrote a letter of intent to
behalf of GSA, saying the company planned to put the dry dock to use immediately.
He attached a letter from Marisco that Philemonoff said would rehabilitate the dry dock so it
could be "safely transported any long distances."
Neither the transfer agreement nor the letter mentions anything about moving the dry dock to
Schlosser said that's because Tanadgusix never planned to do so and never tried to dupe anyone
into thinking otherwise.
"It was perfectly clear to GSA's
officers," Schlosser said. "
the shipping lanes."
The reference in the letter to safely transporting the dry dock over a long distance did not
mean it was
to be moved from
"I drafted the phrase 'transported long distances' ... with the intent of keeping TDX's future
options for using the (dry dock)," Kennedy said.
U.S. District Judge Ralph Beistline of
Tanadgusix had violated its transfer agreement with the federal government by keeping the dry
Tanadgusix appealed the decision and a three-judge panel heard arguments in the case last week
In a separate case, the Justice Department is seeking $15 million in damages from Tanadgusix
under the False Claims Act. The department alleges that Tanadgusix signed an agreement with
Marisco several months before obtaining the dry dock from the GSA, a violation of the transfer
Philemonoff said Tanadgusix was never convinced GSA's policy would require the dry dock to be moved.
Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, wrote to the Senate chairman of the highway bill conference
committee in late April objecting to Young's proposed solution.
"Aside from undermining and interfering with ongoing legal proceedings, (the House language)
establishes bad legislative precedent that undermines the respect for the rule of law in our
legislative and legal system," Inouye said.