by David Phinney
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Just Business: Buying a US Embassy Contractor

by David Phinney

Oct. 25, 2007 — An Update: Apparently, the sale of the Baghdad embassy contractor’s US partner is a done deal — or nearly a done deal. (Sorry about the earlier typos… I was typing in the dark in an SUV in the back country.)

According to documents: Robert Farah, Paul Jureidini and Robert K. Kelley are the key players to taking control of Grunley Walsh International (according to documents), which recently won over $200 million in new State Department contracts for embassy and consulate construction in Saudi Arabia, Gabon and Indonesia. The Baghdad embassy contractor, First Kuwaiti General Trading and Contracting is the prime subcontractor to the three new contracts.

First Kuwaiti is being bombarded these days by allegations of shoddy construction, horrid labor abuse, worker smuggling, sloppy security and bribery.

Farah of Alexandria, Va., Jureidini of Mechanicsville, Va., and Kelley of Chevy Chase, Md., have apparently formed a Delaware corporation called FJK Holdings, according to documents provided to me that appear to be prepared by the Washington law firm, Morrison & Foerster. (The firm is a big reader of this silly blog. Say hello to my site meter guys!)

Robert Farah: Is the former Washington representative to First Kuwaiti. He has represented the controversial Kuwait-based, Lebanese-run contractor at State Department meetings. Lebanese by birth, Farah is also a former information officer and secretary-general for political affairs of the Lebanese Forces political party from 1986 until at least 2001. His first recorded political contribution to a US national election was in June 2006 when he gave $25,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee. Farah began making moves around September 2006 to purchase Grunley Walsh’s newly-formed Grunley Walsh International soon after Grunley landed its first embassy work with First Kuwaiti as its prime subcontractor.

Paul Jureidini: Appears to be an associate of Armitage and Associates for many years, an organization run by the former Deputy Secretary of State from 2001 to 2005, Richard Armitage. Armitage was a campaign foreign policy adviser to George W. Bush in 2000 and part of a group led by Condoleezza Rice that called itself The Vulcans.

Robert K Kelley: Is a vice president of the public relations firm Audreac and Associates and serves an adviser to Bell Pottinger USA in Washington, DC., according to one document, which claims that Pottinger presently has classified contracts with the Multinational Corps Iraq at Camp Victory, Iraq. First Kuwaiti has a large logistics presence at Camp Victory, as well. Pottinger’s mother ship owner is UK-based and ran public relations efforts for the Coalition Provisional Authority in 2004.

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One Response to “Just Business: Buying a US Embassy Contractor”

  1. Wayne Wickizer says:

    David,
    Is it a coincidence that the name Zapata is inextricably intertwined with the Bush family? Zapata Oil is rather widely known as a CIA/Bush mechanism.
    Wayne

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