Jared the Paramedic III ~ Redemption
Copyright © 2018-2019 Snowblind. All Rights Reserved.
Chapter 19: Inquiry
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Jesse put the phone down after issuing instructions to show their guests in and looked over at Jack in the law firm conference room. Cliff was seated at the table as well. A moment later, an administrative assistant opened the door and motioned for Chief Superintendent John to enter followed by three other men. The three men in the room stood, moving to great the guests.
"John, it's good to see you," Jesse said as he extended his hand.
"Jesse, it's always a pleasure to see you," replied John as they shook hands. "Jesse McCoy, I would like to introduce you to Staff Sergeant Gabe Williams, Sergeant Carter Gordon and Sergeant Leona Goodman." Jesse shook the hands of each of them.
"Pleasure to meet you all. This is Jack who for all intents and purposes is the Chairman of the Board for McAdam Construction as well as McCoy and Associates. This is Cliff who is the Chief of Corporate Operations for McAdam Construction. He has been a long-term employee for McAdam Construction and worked closely with Marc McAdam as his Health and Safety Manager. He is now the Chief of Corporate Operations." Sergeant Gordon and Cliff looked awkwardly at each other for a moment but continued the greeting to shake the police members hands.
Carter looked at Jesse, "So to understand this, you're Jesse McCoy? How are you connected to McAdam Construction and even this law group?"
Jesse motioned to the table, "Please be seated, everyone. There will be refreshments and pastries arriving any moment. I'll answer that question after we get comfortable."
John gave Carter a dirty look as everyone got seated. A cart was brought into the boardroom, with coffee, tea and water placed on the table along with pastries. After everyone had a refreshment and got settled, Jesse said to John, "I'll answer that question now."
"Before you do Jesse, I would like to apologize. Staff Sergeant Williams and Sergeant Goodman of the Commercial Crime Division have been fully briefed on the situation. Sergeant Gordon was recommended by the Inspector in charge of the Informatics Division as a computer specialist. He thought someone with his computer knowledge would be an asset."
"No apology is necessary John, I appreciate everything that is being done," replied Jesse. "To answer your question Sergeant, I am Jesse McCoy as I said. I'm a lawyer with McCoy and Associates, who are working at the Canaan Breck LGBTQ2 Outreach Centre. Now, I'll soon be sitting as a Provincial Court Judge." That surprised the three police officers who looked to John for confirmation. He simply nodded his agreement. "My full legal name is Jesse McCoy-McAdam. Simply put, whatever you wish to call me, I own McCoy and Associates. My deceased husband Marc McAdam owned McAdam Construction fully and upon his accidental death I also became the owner of that company."
That got Sergeant Gordon's attention. "Husband?"
Before John could say anything Jesse quickly replied in a very challenging, monotone voice without any political correctness said, "Yes, Husband. This entire business block is named after him. The settlement for the accident which killed my husband paid for the construction of the LGBTQ2 part of the building so his death could do good for others. You got a problem with that?" Jesse glanced around the room before he said, "Do any of you have a problem with that?" Jesse looked at all the people around the table, waiting for an answer.
There was silence for a long moment before Sergeant Gordon, "I've obviously started this off badly. No, I don't have a problem with it in any way shape or form."
"Jess, if I may answer that question," Cliff said carefully. It did not go unnoticed by John that Cliff used a nickname on his boss.
Jesse raised his eyebrows in both surprise and interest, "Go on, Cliff."
"I'll vouch that Carter has no problem with it," replied Cliff.
Jesse stared at Cliff. Using his cougar senses he knew Cliff was telling the absolute truth. He had spoken the truth, but the lawyer knew there was more to it than that. "I accept that Cliff. Let's move on." He looked at the other two police members, sniffing their bodily reactions to the situation. "Your answers?"
The Staff Sergeant was next, "I have no problem with it." Jesse watched him closely, then accepted his answer as well.
Jesse looked at Sergeant Leona Goodman for her answer. She stared right back at Jesse as she said, "If I did, my wife would bitch slap me so bad." She then gave Jesse a beautiful smile which lit up here entire face.
Jesse's senses knew she was telling the truth. He then also realized she was a sensitive. "You're a sensitive..." Jesse stated more abruptly than he should've. "I apologize for that abruptness."
Both Gabe and Carter were alternating looks between Leona and Jesse, not understanding. It was John who answered first, "That explains a lot, Sergeant."
Leona smiled at the Chief Superintendent, then to Jesse. "You aren't all that you seem to be either, Mr. McCoy; much, much deeper than what your 'public appearance' is."
Jesse was beginning to feel more relaxed with the group. "Yes, I am." Cliff and Carter were making little hand and facial gestures back and forth but stopped when they realized Jesse was watching. Finally, Carter said, "Cliff, you told me that you were a red sealed carpenter and worked in construction."
Cliff turned red as he looked down at the table. When he looked up, Cliff replied, "Technically, I am a red sealed carpenter in construction. I didn't lie to you." Cliff hesitated before he added with a smile, "And you're a computer repairman?"
"I repair computers and I do have my own company," replied Carter quickly. The two men looked at each other and then to Jesse who had a smile on his face. John and Leona were also smiling although Gabe appeared to be confused.
"Is this going to compromise the investigation?" asked Jesse. Both answered no very quickly. "Good, I'll turn this meeting over to Jack."
Jack was smiling at Cliff, but he was nervously trying look at the papers in front of him as a distraction. Jack started off with an explanation of the company, including assets over 21 billion dollars, 5,000 employees and approximately 30,000 sub-trade contractors at present at projects in North America, South America, Europe and Russia. He also explained the contractor employment numbers depend upon the type and amount of construction projects they have on the go.
Jesse was stunned by those figures, "21 billion Jack? Where did the 2 billion number we were talking about go?"
Jack's face never changed in expression as he said, "That's for the one project Cliff is working on for us."
"I'm confused Jack," replied Jesse.
"Jess, can we discuss this later but suffice to say that our assets are 21 billion dollars, we have numerous projects on the go and our cash flow is a few billion dollars plus or minus a few million."
Jesse was staring into space, then mumbled, "Fuck me..." Quickly Jesse turned red, looked around at everyone. "I'm sorry, that just slipped out."
Leona shook her head, "No problem." Then looking at Jack she said, "I'm sorry sir but you're saying plus or minus a few million like I say a few cents."
"Please, its Jack to all of you" he replied. "The economics of what we are talking about can be intimidating to people, but I've got people hand-picked to work with you during this to help. The numbers are the same, they just have a few more zeros and I promise you do get used to that after a while."
"When Cliff was explaining it to me, it was like a construction 101 class with the terminology and processes," Jesse commented.
"That's very true, it does have its own terminology. Ok, so here is the situation. There is a reasonably new VP of Financial Services who has implemented a lot of new policy on how projects are managed. There now appears to be a lot of micromanaging by that executive, interfering with project management. The current project Cliff is managing is valued at approximately 2 billion dollars, encompasses both above ground and underground facilities. Above ground is a new refinery for the mineral and product storage as well as a shipping terminal for rail cars. Underground it is rehabbing some older travel-ways, installation of new conveyor belting systems which total 30 miles, new equipment, new underground storage areas, rehabbing the service shaft for a new skip for 60 tons per trip, 10 million tons per year. This is the 4th project like this McAdam Construction has run and the third for Cliff to be involved in."
Carter was looking at Cliff and mouthing 'carpenter'. Cliff just shrugged his shoulders and smiled. John, Jesse and Jack did not miss the gestures between the two men.
"Cliff is having a problem with quality control, and the executive level is interfering in it. Two specific companies have a failure of 60% of their welding. All welding of high-pressure pipes, stainless steel, vessels and highline racking systems are all subject to x-rays for final acceptance. 60% fail. Both companies are new, and they had only registered their names, PST and GST, with the government finance departments in the past two years. We could find no record of worker's compensation accounts for these companies. Cliff and I will be going out to the site after this meeting for them to produce proof of both worker's compensation accounts and proof of insurance to us, or they will be removed from the site."
"Forty-nine percent of both companies are owned by Jed Douglas-White, and fifty-one percent are owned by Carey White. White is also the declared President of both companies. In our world, White is the VP of financial services and Douglas-White is his son who is running the trades on McAdam Construction's behalf."
Gabe motioned with a wave of his hand to get Jack's attention. "I'm beginning to see what's possibly going on here, but is there something which really caught your eye?"
"Let me shed a little light on a possible fraud with invoices. Company A buys a box of air nails at $100.00 per case. They are working under another contractor so they upcharge it to that company at $120.00 per box. It's a pretty standard 10-20% upcharge. That company gets the invoice, and upcharges it to the Prime Contractor or McAdam Construction at $134.00 per case. We invoice the client $150.00 per case, depending upon the contract rate. Ten percent used to be typical but that's been changing. So, the client is paying $150.00 for a $100.00 box of nails. But, that also includes all the employee time ordering it, receiving it, deploying and dealing with the paperwork associated with it. Problem is, Company A should be invoicing us directly, not Company B. In this example, Company A is owned in partnership by Person XX and ZZ. Company B is owned in partnership by persons XX and ZZ. A tender and bid are put out for a project, so Persons XX and ZZ work for the Prime Contractor which makes the awarding of the contract easy. A scam could be Company A bills Company B who bills the Prime Contractor. They are billing themselves to boost the cash flow in the invoicing."
"We're really going to need a lot of help understanding the construction world," said Gabe shaking his head slightly.
"I've talked to our client for this project, and they are on board with an investigation. There has been a lot of invoicing for materials and equipment which is now catching the eyes of their audit team. This is a cost-plus contract which in simple terms means if we need 25 complete Dewalt power tool sets, we bill for it after purchase. The project has an estimate of this type of cost and apparently it's shot over the top. All equipment is billed, amounting to millions of dollars. But, where is the equipment?"
"I'm beginning to catch on here," said Leona. "This could be huge dollar values."
Cliff took over the narrative to the group. "White had been a VP at Merde Worldwide Construction and Grosse Bite Group of Companies as an executive in their sales department. Grosse Bite Group 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. 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."
The discussion went on for another hour before Jesse called for a break to get up, check emails, stretch, bathroom or cigarette if necessary.
Before Cliff and Carter could get away, Jesse said, "Show Carter where my office is on this floor. I'll be there in a moment."
"But I need..."
Jesse stared at Cliff for a moment before he said, "Cliff, do it."
Cliff nodded and said, "Yes sir." He walked over to Carter and said, "I'll show you where the bosses office is located." Carter just nodded and followed him out the door, past the Chief Superintendent coming back into the boardroom.
John stood inside the door and watched the two of them disappear around a corner in the hallway. He turned to Jesse, "So, did we walk into something between those two?"
Jesse chuckled, "That would be my guess, John. We're just going to have a chat about it."
"I have no clue if Carter is out, or he's just been outed."
"That's my biggest concern. I want to know what I need to do to support him. Marc and I knew Cliff was gay, but I have no clue if he's out either. John, this is the most frustrating part of it. Why do people have to come out like it's a sweet social introduction sixteen party from the 1900's."
"I hope that's a rhetorical question because we could be here a long time discussing it. On another topic, there is something else you should be aware of Jesse."
"Let's see, what else could there be after all this," Jesse said sarcastically while tapping the side of his with his index finger. "Gus is getting a sex change?"
John burst out laughing at that one but said, "No Jesse, Gus is safe as is. It's about Adam. When he graduates, he's being posted to the east coast."
"Oh shit, does he know yet?"
"No, not for another week. There are a couple of options I'm looking at which may make a difference but I'm waiting to see how it all rolls out."
"Thanks for the heads up. I don't even know how that would go over with him or Patrick."
"I would like you to be the second person to know this as well. I'm being transferred on paper, but not moving. Just a new role with a promotion."
Jesse extended his hand, "Congratulations John. What are you going to be doing now?"
"Assistant Commissioner, in charge of the Division. But, it's not public yet. What I'm hoping to do is keep Adam in the area to help out as a liaison with the indigenous persons. I submitted my recommendation based on his connections here, status as healer along with medicine man, it would be of our benefit to keep him here."
"That does make sense."
Jack and the two other police officers entered the room, Jesse excused himself from John to head to his office. When he walked in, Cliff and Carter were both sitting in chairs in front of his desk reminding him of kids at the principal's office. Jesse closed the door behind him.
As he sat behind his desk, both men's eyes were on him.
"So, you two are an item?" Jesse asked bluntly.
Carter looked at Cliff, "You said he was blunt..." He then turned back to Jesse. "Yes sir, we sort of are."
"Sort of? Like sort of pregnant?"
Cliff spoke, "Jesse, we met just after I moved here. He lives in the same condo complex I do so we saw each other a lot in the workout room. We've been getting to know each other slowly... and really just enjoying each other's company."
"You didn't know he was a police officer, and he didn't know that you are an executive with a multinational construction company."
"I am a carpenter by trade Jess, that wasn't a lie."
Jesse held his hand up, "I'm not judging, but I am concerned about you two."
Carter had been quiet, "Concerned?"
"Cliff, I've known you a while. Marc and I knew you were gay, but I honestly have no clue if you're out or just out with us." Jesse turned to Carter, "The same applies to you. If you're not out, please say so and we will control the damage with the people at the meeting."
Carter looked relieved upon hearing Jesse's comments. "I've been out with my parents since I was young and they are very supportive. My friends and acquaintances outside of work all know. There are a few people at work who do know, but it's hard to be openly gay in the police force. But thank you for being concerned. I'm out, but just to those who need to know. I don't think anyone has the right to know someone's sexuality as if they were talking about the weather forecast. It just wasn't a priority in my life so I never did the gay thing like being a slut in heat at a bar or party."
Jesse chuckled, "I didn't do the bar thing either Cliff; not all of us are like that. So, what do you two want me to do about the meeting?"
Cliff started slowly, "I don't care about me, but I don't know what will happen to Carter."
Jesse smiled at the two men, "Carter, there's me, John, Leona besides the two of you who are gay at the table. Jack for all intents and purposes is the man who stepped up to love me like a son when my parents were killed; he's no problem. The only one left is the Staff Sergeant."
"He won't be a problem," said Carter quickly. "He's really supportive of a lot of things like human rights, LGBT people and things like that."
"Good to hear," replied Jesse. "Now, I want to make a couple of things clear to you two. Carter, if you need my help, just ask. I am part of a very special family and very resourceful people. If I can't help, one of them will be able to. I'm very serious about this Carter, if you need help, just ask me."
"Thank you, I will."
Jesse took a card out of the desk drawer and handed it to Carter, "This has my private cell phone number for your use, 24 hrs per day."
Carter took the card, holding it both hands he read it. "Thank you, Jesse. I truly appreciate it."
"The second thing is you two better be playing it safe, I don't want any unplanned pregnancies to deal with."
Cliff rolled his eyes and started laughing.
Carter looked at Cliff, then started to laugh as well. "He is everything you told me he is."
"Just wait until you get to know him better."
"If you're hanging around with Cliff, just wait until you meet my brothers and the family. But, we have a meeting to finish. That story will have to be told another day. Anything else you two?"
Both said, "No sir."
"Lunch should be here by now so let's get back before its all gone," said Jesse as he stood behind his desk.
The lunch was from Gus's, and he delivered it himself. Jesse laughed as Gus looked after John to make sure he had enough to eat, and that he didn't slop anything on his uniform. After the meal, the discussion continued and the police were beginning to formulate a plan. Jesse had tied into the corporate computer for Carter and had him set him up as an administrator with unlimited access which only he could modify. It didn't take long before Carter was staring at the scene looking through numerous files. The young man had no clue Jesse had tied the computer into the boardroom projection system and that everyone was watching speechless as he moved through files quickly. The computer and Carter seemed to become one as he opened windows all over the screen, typed commands and watched as the answers came back. He was totally oblivious to everything around him as he was working. He didn't notice the projection or even hear the group talking about what they were watching. After about 20 minutes, Carter looked up.
"I'm sorry, sirs. I just got in and something caught my eye" Carter explained.
John held his hand up for Carter to stop talking, "I can now understand why the Inspector sent you over. You are incredible on that machine. How do you read everything so fast?"
Carter shrugged his shoulders, "I honestly don't know. This may sound ridiculous, but whatever is on the screen is instantly in my mind, and when I think of something the reverse happens too. I think of it as my mind travels to merge with the computer." Carter blushed as he says "I can't explain it, and that sounds dumb."
It was Jack who spoke first, "Carter, however it works it doesn't matter. It works for you and that's all that's important. Besides that, I've learned over the past year things many people think are imaginary are actually real."
John leaned forward, "What was it that caught your attention?"
"I have a lot of reports being sent to my yahoo email address so it's not identified as police. What I saw when I was looking around was someone had put a watcher program into the corporate computer."
Cliff was concerned, "Watcher?"
"It was set up so that any system requests, accesses, additions, modifications or even search related to finances was immediately reported to Mr. White's email."
"So what did you do about that?" asked John.
Carter gave him a devious smile, then quickly returned to a professional expression. "I altered the programming through a back door. Pretty sloppy whoever did it, the back door was big enough to fly a 747 through. What I did was alter the codes so that if any of the triggers were activated, Mr. White will get emails from gay porn sites, Greenpeace, and the American Family Association."
The room began to snicker, but John asked the obvious question. "Won't someone know you were in?"
"They will know but have no clue who. I've entered a couple of new algorithms which make it impossible for anyone to track Jack, Jesse, Cliff or my account. Cliff was being heavily monitored."
"You did all that in 20 minutes?" asked Jesse.
"I was a little slow today," said Carter with a smirk. "Not used to an audience when I go Borg."
Leona laughed as she asked, "Go Borg like in Star Trek?"
Carter chuckled as well. "Absolutely. That's what I call it when I go into the zone where I become the computer."
"So you will review the reports and translate them into English to read," asked Gabe with a big smile. "I mean you doing that computer stuff is so far over my head..."
"Mine too, Staff Sergeant," added John. "I think we've got a good team here and we know the direction we need to go. Unless there is anything else from anyone, let's call it a day."
No one had anything else to add, so Jesse added, "Thank you, everyone, for the work you're doing. This company was started by my husband's parents based on integrity, honesty and high standards of conduct. I will see that restored. If there is anything any of you need, please do not hesitate to contact Jack, Cliff, or myself. Meeting adjourned."
End of Chapter Nineteen
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