war in iraq

 

Virginia company denies lawsuit

Virginia based financial services company denies allegations

July 2006

Virginia-based financial services company Windmill International, Ltd. responded today to the allegations and misinformation contained in an Associated Press story. The story claims the firm is being named in a sealed whistleblower suit for their interaction with Custer Battles, a company formerly banned by the government from doing business in Iraq.

Associated Press journalist Deborah Hastings indicated she had obtained a copy of the sealed suit.

Windmill founder Douglas Combs responded to the story by saying, "Any allegation of wrongdoing on the part of Windmill or its principals in this civil suit is baseless and absolutely untrue. We're confident that after reviewing the evidence we are willing to provide, any third party would confirm and understand there was no acquisition of Custer Battles, or Danubia Global, or a conspiracy to circumvent a government suspension. I'm disappointed the AP chose to publish a sensational story based on allegations rather than fact."

In response to the apparent leak of the sealed suit to the press, Windmill General Counsel Chris Johnson said, "We have not been notified of any suit. The only information we have is the claim Ms. Hastings made in her story. We are particularly disappointed to note that such supposedly sealed documents have been given this type of publicity with the effect of unfairly discrediting our company and principals."

Windmill confirmed that Custer Battles shared a mutual interest in providing a low-cost alternative service supporting US government operations by utilizing talented well-trained Eastern European (NATO) personnel. Custer Battles and later Danubia Global when it purchased Custer Battles were among several companies Windmill considered, but did not acquire, when pursuing this business strategy.

Windmill approached Air Force Deputy General Counsel Steven Shaw as part of its consideration to better understand the ramifications of the suspension against Custer Battles and its principals in a potential collaboration with Windmill. After reviewing the commercial aspects of the deal and following the single meeting with Mr. Shaw, Mr. Combs personally informed Mr. Shaw via email that Windmill would not pursue any interest in Custer Battles or its principals.

Unfortunately, in June of 2005 while still in preliminary discussions with Danubia Global, Windmill prematurely released from its Bucharest office a press notice focused on a project in Eastern Europe where it was incorrectly mentioned that Windmill purchased a share in Danubia Global - the information was wrong and an employee was terminated for disseminating the flawed release without authorization. Danubia Global has since issued its own statement denying Windmill's ownership of Danubia Global.

Board meeting minutes, personal interviews and e-mails given to The Wall Street Journal all confirm that Windmill had never acquired either Custer Battles or Danubia Global and certainly did not create any avenues for them to bypass the government-imposed restriction on contracting in Iraq.

Windmill International is confident it will be found innocent of all allegations and stands ready to provide documentation to support any potential investigators in their inquiry

Mr. Combs added, "I understand the desire to root out those defrauding the government - the problem here is they have the wrong company. As a former enlisted infantry Marine, I want the guys in Iraq to get the best of all we have to give. That's what makes this allegation so distasteful to me. I look forward to working in partnership with the government to ensure there was no wrongdoing by Windmill or its principals, to get this mischaracterization behind us."

Windmill International, Ltd. is an offshoot of Windmill International Singapore, established in 1972, conducting business globally, where Mr. Combs was partner for more than 9 years. As founder of Windmill International, Ltd. in the US, Mr. Combs has led the company in providing high-quality financial and government services focused in Central and Eastern Europe.

 

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