Jared the Paramedic III ~ Redemption
Copyright © 2018-2019 Snowblind. All Rights Reserved.
Chapter 13: Corruption
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Jesse was surprised when Cliff walked into the LGBTQ2 building. He moved quickly towards the man with his hand extended in friendship. Cliff grasped it with both of his hands; after letting it go he embraced Jesse tightly.
"Cliff, it's so good to see you. How you been?"
"I've been great, Jesse. You know something, you look good. The best I've seen you in a long time." The man reached and poked Jesse in the stomach lightly, "This looks good on you too. You've given up that skin and bones thing you were doing,"
"You're right. This the best I've felt in a long time since the parents dying and then Marc. I've come to terms with it, and moving forward."
"So, not that I'm not happy to see you but what brought you down here? I heard you're working on an industrial site right now."
"Yes, it's a 2 billion dollar upgrade for a mine."
Jesse looked at him strangely before asking, "You're actually underground?"
"Not a fucking chance," Cliff replied quickly.
"I've never met anyone who would climb around on the top of a 40 story building but was a pussy for going underground."
"I can control what happens when I'm climbing around up there... even if I fall there is a harness system. If you're underground and the ground moves, you're squished like a worm under a car tire."
Jesse smiled, "It doesn't happen much anymore."
"Much? Is that like sorta pregnant?"
Jesse laughed, "Point taken. Let's get a coffee and sit in the staff room."
Zane had seen Cliff with Jesse and just finished making a new pot of coffee for them. He embraced Cliff warmly. "Cliff, its been too long since we've seen you last."
"You mean the joke emails I send you aren't enough?"
Both Jesse and Zane laughed, "Keep those coming but drop in more as well."
Cliff cut to the chase, "I need your help, Jesse."
Cliff took a drink of his coffee before continuing. "We've got 300 guys on this site I'm at. Lots of Ironworkers, welders, millwrights, electricians and carpenters. The sub trades are under about 5 different companies of which I worked with 3 previously."
"Who hired the other two?"
"Tender process and they won. Jesse, we have a new head office accountant and VP who oversees the process with his staff... without input from the field. He's choosing the lowest bidders."
Both Jesse and Zane were leaning forward in their chairs with interest.
"I've had to triple the quality control department just to check everything these two new companies are doing. Approximately 60% of it is failing Quality Control.
Jesse was surprised by this information, "60%? You got to be kidding. Why are they still on site?"
"There have been some changes in the processes within our company. Apparently, the VP of Financial Services has implemented a lot of new policy on how projects are managed and by who. His department is needed but he's overruling the project management on issues."
"You can call Jack at any time you want, Cliff."
"I did a couple of times, but I was told after that it is not acceptable for me to use my friendship with Jack for personal advantage."
Jesse was getting upset, "By Jack?"
"No, the VP of Financial Services."
"Cliff, I thought we set you up in a position where you were calling the shots. I mean, you were in a position which reported to me directly. I don't recall authorizing any change of that."
"Since the new VP took over, there's been a lot of rerouting of work processes to his control."
Jesse summarized, "So he's getting involved in quality control, safety, and final awarding of contracts. That sounds like something a VP might be aware of or possibly be involved with on the periphery, but not to the point of micromanaging."
"He's directing day to day operations at the project as well."
"What's his angle, Cliff?"
"Not too sure, but I was going to punt the two underperformers and he intervened and told me to leave them alone."
"What do you know about the two companies?" asked Zane.
"Not much," replied Cliff. "One is called ADG Welding Services and the other one is called Pine Tree Builders. Never heard of either one of them before, but there are so many companies out there now and I seem to know either the good ones or the bad. Not the ones in the middle."
Jesse opened his cell phone and dialled a number. A moment later, "Hi Julie..." He hung his head for a moment, "Yes Julie, I'll bring Zane up for coffee too." Zane smiled at him while using one hand to slap the back of his other hand. Jesse stuck his tongue out causing Cliff to laugh. Finally, Jesse gave Julie the names of the two companies and asked her to run everything she could on their names. He ended the phone call with, "I promise Julie; we'll come for coffee soon."
Jesse disconnected and looked at Zane. "This is your fault."
"My fault? My fault? How can this be my fault?"
"You are supposed to remind me of important stuff like having coffee with Julie."
Cliff was trying not to laugh.
"Me? You're the one with all the education and degrees, not me."
"You have more spare time than I do." Jesse leaned his head back while bringing his right hand up. He placed the back of the hand on his forehead and said with his best drama queen voice, "It's so lonely at the top and being the best."
"Oh, whatever drama boy," Zane said as he topped off everyone's coffee.
"Cliff, you see the shit and abuse I get from everywhere? I get no respect."
"So, in other words, Jesse, nothings changed," Cliff said with a smirk. "You're still a drama queen with too much time on his hands." Jesse sat there with his mouth wide open at Cliff's words. Meanwhile, Cliff and Zane were knuckle-bumping and congratulating each other.
Jesse stuck his tongue out at the two men, but they got back to discussing the problems at the project site. Cliff had been the construction Superintendent for the project for the past nine months. The new VP came on board three months ago and things began to change quickly for Cliff. For the next twenty minutes, Cliff explained the construction management world to Jesse and Zane. What really concerned Cliff was that previous to the changes brought about by the new VP, the client had very positive relations with McAdam Construction. That has changed significantly, and Cliff has been cut off from dealing with the client directly.
Julie called Jesse back with the information he had requested. Both companies were new, they had only in the past 2 years registered their names, PST and GST, with the government finance departments. Julie could not find any Worker's Compensation accounts anywhere in Canada under those names. It was the ownership structure of the companies which interested Jesse. Forty-nine percent of both companies were owned by someone named Jed Douglas-White, and fifty-one percent were owned by Carey White. Carey was also the declared President of both companies. Jesse promised to come for coffee soon with Julie, thanked her and hung up.
"This is just a shot in the dark, but what's the name of the new VP?" Jesse asked Cliff.
"Ok, no surprise there so far" Jesse replied. "He owns 51% of both companies, Cliff. Have you ever heard of someone with the last name of Douglas?"
"There is a Jed Douglas on site. He's the young guy White hired to supervise the iron."
Jesse looked confused, "Iron?"
"Sorry, Jesse. We have our own language in construction. Supervise the iron means to run the erection crews, ironworkers, welding and such to build the structure and piping system."
"Well Cliff, he owns the other 49% of the two companies."
Cliff shook his head in disbelief. "Incredible. I know the construction world is very different from the rest of the business world but I thought the stuff like this wasn't around much anymore. McAdam Construction stood out from all the others because of its honesty, integrity, and work ethic. Marc was absolutely uncompromising in that belief."
Jesse thought for a moment, "Who was White with before he came over?"
"The welcoming email they sent out said he had been a VP at Merde Worldwide Construction and Grosse Bite Group of Companies as an executive in their sales department."
"The Grosse Bite company sounds familiar," Jesse said pensively.
"They are based out of Quebec, and they have been implicated in bribery, payouts, and kickbacks with some of their projects. They were linked to cash payouts to a middle eastern dictator before he died," replied Cliff. "They are currently under investigation in Quebec and five US states for the same thing. In fact, they were just in the news when the Revenue Service and Federal Police did a search on their headquarters, seizing truckloads of documents. As to Merde Construction, I thought they were a pretty decent company. We've done work with them previously."
"I wonder how long he was there, and who hired him in our company?" asked Jesse.
"Jess, its hard to really explain the construction business to you," Cliff said carefully.
"What? I'm not smart enough?"
"No, you're too naive and honest. The construction world is very, very different than you would know."
Zane jumped in with, "I worked as a labourer during my summers in high school at construction projects. I just assumed everyone there was organized crime of some type, except the workers, that is."
"It really is a different world, Jesse."
Jesse thought for a moment before speaking. "I think I need to have someone who is not only familiar with the law and construction but proper investigation techniques. I mean suitable for court if that is what is warranted."
Zane was staring at his boyfriend. "What are you thinking?"
"Look, I think its time to get the police involved. They can investigate the possibility of fraud, contract manipulation, falsification of documents etc. I'm wondering if John would be able to assist me in this. Marc built that company on honour, hard work and integrity; and I'll be dammed if it's going to be lost."
"What can I do to help?" asked Cliff.
Jesse thought for no more than a few seconds before replying, "As the new Chief of Corporate Operations, pay raise included of course, and authority second only to Jack. You need to sit with both John and Jack to coordinate what's going to happen. We'll also decide when the announcement of your title is done. But, we have some planning to do."
End of Chapter Thirteen
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