Suit alleges disaster recovery company used funds to influence officials to get work contracts

Kelly Holleran May 7, 2012, 10:50am


A former manager has filed suit against his brother's disaster recovery service company, alleging hundreds of thousands of dollars owed to him was used to bribe officials who could grant no-bid work contracts.

Albert J. Isakson filed suit against DRC Inc. and DRC Emergency Services LLP on April 17 in Jefferson County District Court.

According to the complaint, the plaintiff was employed with DRC for several years, first from 1989 to 1991 and again from 1995 to 2001. He was hired as a foreman, project manager, senior vice president of operations and eventually senior operations manager. He was paid on a percentage of revenues generated from projects as they were funded.

During the course of this employment, DRC received a major contract to provide services for disaster recovery in Guam after a typhoon. Plaintiff was sent to Guam to assist in this contract. He was to receive a portion of the project, in excess of $1 million.

However, DRC did not receive the promised funds for the project and could not fully compensate Isakson for his work, the suit states. Instead, Isakson accepted a payment of $725,000, the complaint says.

Several years later, Isakson claims he learned that DRC did receive the full money for the project.

"Plaintiff had essentially been made to believe that this particular project would likely never fund and he had no real expectation of ever being compensated for his significant contribution to that disaster recovery project," the suit states.

"Plaintiff was understandably upset that Robert Isakson, the Plaintiff's brother, and Managing Director of DRC, had failed to notify him of this payment and believes the intent was to specifically avoid payment to Plaintiff."

After learning of the money DRC received, Albert Isakson sent DRC an invoice for $1,731,275 -- the principal he says he was owed, plus interest, according to the complaint.

Although Albert Isakson's request was not denied, he still has not received the payment he has requested, the suit states.

The plaintiff alleges that DRC has been spending tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars owed to employees on political advancements, the complaint says. Albert Isakson alleges that DRC has attempted to procure disaster relief projects by bribing politicians with money, the suit claims.

"Plaintiff maintains that the proceeds he was due and wrongfully denied were subsequently rerouted and utilized for the payment of large parties, expensive steak and lobster dinners and other treats to sheriffs, congressional representatives and other elected officials who could assist in procuring disaster work and obtain no-bid contracts with local government agencies," the complaint says.

"This appears to include loaning large sums of money out to politically connected individuals for 'start-up companies' and various other activities, which are also now the source of various state and federal investigations and has resulted in the resignation of at least on sheriff in Louisiana and a recent plea of guilty to federal corruption charges."

In his complaint, Albert Isakson alleges breach of contract, fraud and misappropriation against the defendants.

He is seeking a reimbursement for all monies owed to him, plus exemplary and punitive damages and other relief the court deems just.

Brent W. Coon and Eric W. Newell of Brent Coon and Associates in Beaumont will be representing him.

The case has been assigned to Judge Bob Wortham, 58th District Court.

Case No. A192-314

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