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Jared the Paramedic III ~ Redemption
Copyright © 2018-2019 Snowblind. All Rights Reserved.
Chapter 31: Investigation's End
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Right after lunch, Jack and Cliff were sitting together in the President's office, waiting for Vice President Carey White to show up for the meeting which had been called. The two men had been chatting for a few moments before Mr. White had knocked at the door to the office. Before acknowledging the knock, Jack leaned over the table to activate the Polycom recording system. When he was done, Jack called out, "Come in."
Carey White strutted into the office, but his face showed surprise when he realized Cliff was already in the room with Jack. "I'm sorry Jack, I thought it was just senior management for the meeting."
Without missing a beat Jack turned to Cliff, "Under the new organization structure, you don't mind a VP at our meeting do you?"
Cliff smiled, "No, we need him here for this one."
Carey's facial expression changed to one of confusion. "New organizational structure?" Carey's phone began to vibrate with a series of messages coming in. Carey ignored them.
Jack smiled at Carey, "Thank you for bringing that up, Carey. Have a seat and we'll fill you in. By the way, minutes are being kept of this meeting electronically. Once the recording is summarized by the admin person, we'll see to it you get a copy."
Carey didn't even hesitate as he responded, "I saw the recording light on the system activated as soon as I came in. Do we need to record the meeting or can we just summarize a few points in writing?"
"I personally record every meeting I have with people, allowing a trained admin person to review them as if they had been here taking notes. Its been very effective, and I thought we had directed everyone to be doing the same thing over here? I seem to remember sending that memo out after it had been discussed at a senior management meeting."
In his best executive tone, "I really don't recall either that meeting or the memo. Perhaps you could send it out again?"
"Let's just carry on," replied Jack. "Please, have a seat."
Carey sat down, opened his day planner, retrieved a pen and said, "I'm not aware of any organizational changes."
Jack was quickly taking a dislike to this person. "You are here today to be informed of the changes and some other significant changes to your department."
"I wasn't consulted for this."
Jack smiled while staring at the man, "No, you weren't. You are being told today about the changes."
"I think we should discuss this privately Jack..."
"The first thing you need to understand is that Cliff reports to me and the owner of the company directly, not you. There seems to have been a misunderstanding in that regards so I want it crystal clear to you. In his position, you answer to him when he needs you."
"Jack, this is a big company that's not the way things are done. VP's don't answer to Safety Managers."
"And there lies part of the problem. You've have misunderstood what his role is within the corporation. To fix that misunderstanding, Jesse McCoy-McAdam has appointed Cliff as Chief of Corporate Operations. That places everything operational under him along with anything else not operational which affects the operations, including finance."
"Jack, Cliff is a great guy but he's not qualified for that role." Carey's phone was still vibrating from incoming messages.
"I'm sorry, the decision has been made. You have been informed of it. Just to be clear, he has the authority to not only act on behalf and with the authority of the owner of the company but he may give direction to any person in this company."
"Well, I have concerns..."
"This topic is concluded now, Carey. I will now turn this over to Cliff to continue the meeting."
Cliff nodded to Jack, "Thanks, Jack." He looked directly to Carey, "The client at the mine site has filed a complaint in regards to the work being done. It's substandard."
"Well Cliff, I've been personally following up..."
Cliff smiled at Carey but cut him off. "I'm not done yet, but as you have now stated that you are personally following up on the project, that moves the discussion along nicely. Your role is Corporate VP, not a project manager. As of this morning, I have resumed the position of Project Superintendent of that location."
Carey turned to Jack, "I really don't think that's a good idea. Cliff really isn't qualified..."
Jack cut him off. "Every project Cliff has been involved with at McAdam Construction has come in under budget, on time, and resulted in additional work for the company with the client. Also, you do realize he's a ring tapper don't you?"
Carey looked confused. "A ring tapper?"
Cliff raised his right hand to show a stainless steel ring on his baby finger. "In the construction field, lots of people call it a ring tapper because some of the more arrogant people tap their ring on tabletops during meetings to show they're an engineer, and everyone else isn't. It's a very common term for the construction field experienced people."
"You're an engineer?" asked Carey with obvious surprise.
"Civil engineer, and a degree in Occupational Health and Safety."
The cool, calm, and in control Carey was only able to say "oh" in response to the new information.
Jack continued, "Since you've taken over the project Carey, we've got cost overruns, unacceptable delay days, safety shutdowns, overmanning, and a 60% quality assurance failure of the work being done by the contractors you hired. The client has made it very clear to us what they expect."
"I disagree with those numbers Jack although I did identify some problems. That was why I took over after I learned about the problems."
Cliff leaned forward, "How many actual construction projects have you been the on-site superintendent for?"
Carey ignored the question, "I've got good people in place now..."
Jack didn't miss Carey ignoring Cliff's question. "Cliff, I'm beginning to clearly understand the problem here." He turned to Carey, "You not only ignored a question from a more senior member of management but you disrespected him as well." Jack leaned forward, "Answer the question. Now."
"I really don't like the tone of this meeting," stated Carey feigning indignity.
Jack sat back in the chair and looked at Cliff. Before Carey could say anything more, his phone beeped with more messages. Jack looked at the man, smirking for a brief second.
Jack turned to Cliff, "Do you mind going out and asking our guests to join us for the rest of the meeting?"
"Would you ask Mary for the letter and ensure it's completed please."
Jack turned his attention to Carey, watching his reactions to messages and his pounding replies quickly back to them. He was so occupied on the phone he hadn't noticed Cliff getting up to go into the hallway.
In a very professional voice, Jack asked Carey, "Are there problems? You're getting a lot of messages." Carey was very focused on his phone, missing Jack's question. Jack raised his voice to ask the questions again, "Considering the number of messages you are getting, is there a problem?"
This time he heard Jack, in a voice which reflected uncertainty he replied, "No. No, problems which can't be handled." He looked up from his phone towards Jack, "Just a couple of minor things which will take no time to sort out. Are we done here?"
"No, we are not."
"I need to get back to my department to sort out a few..."
"Well Carey, I anticipate being done here shortly."
"Although they are minor issues, they do need attention from me so that my team may act effectively. I hope this meeting doesn't go on much longer. I'm also very sure you have better things to be doing at your law firm."
"This firm is my responsibility as well. I've scheduled myself all week to be here to help sort things out with Cliff, especially with the team reorganization." Jack paused a moment before asking, "Carey, were you aware Cliff was a personal friend and confidant of Marc McAdam up to the day he was killed? He was being groomed by Marc for the position he was just appointed into."
Carey was focusing on his phone again, but looked up when Jack had said 'confident of Marc McAdam'. "I didn't realize that," was all Carey said before focusing on his phone again.
"Yes, Cliff and Marc worked well together. Cliff was also given a wide range of duties and abilities not normally associated with a front-line manager. Marc trusted Cliff."
Carey looked up for a moment, "Special abilities?"
"Yes. One of the jobs Cliff has is what we would call Asset Protection. He monitors and investigates anything which may affect property, assets, corporate brand, and the people of course. Would you be surprised if I was to tell you that Cliff even had special access to the corporate computer system? An untraceable identity within the system which could access every message, account and transaction in the system."
Carey stopped texting for a moment to consider the information. "I didn't realize the company had someone like that."
Jack continued, "Someone in that position would also be able to access all the corporate phones. I'm also sure he would be able to access things I have no understanding of." Carey was beginning to fidget in his chair; something which didn't go unnoticed by Jack.
The door to the office opened and Cliff led four people into the room, closing the door after them. Three of the people were dressed in business type attire which Carey thought they must've bought at some discount house. The fourth person was dressed in jeans, work boots, a Saskatchewan Roughrider's jersey and hadn't shaved that morning. The clothing he wore was clean but appeared well used. Although it is now a style, the man's right knee was showing through the jeans.
Jack reconvened the meeting, "Thank you for joining us here today. Just so everyone knows who everyone is, let's do a quick self-introduction. Starting with me." Jack stated his name, position and role in the company. Cliff followed Jack and did the same. Jack then pointed to Carey to introduce himself, which he did in a long-winded explanation.
Next was one of the newcomers. "Hi, I'm Sgt. Carter Gordon, a computer forensic specialist in the informatics division assisting the commercial crime division." Carey's face was emotionless.
"Hi, I'm Sgt. Leona Goodman, a forensic accountant investigator with the Commercial Crime Division."
Right after Leona finished, the next man started. "I'm Staff Sgt. Gabe Williams and the Senior Investigator as well as the Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of the Commercial Crime Division."
Carey was not liking the direction this meeting was going. Before he could say anything, there was a knock at the door. Everyone watched as the man in jeans went to the door, opened it and stepped outside for a few seconds. Upon his return, he closed the door gently and quietly returned to his seat. Carey did notice a slight nod from the man to Jack. The huge TV on the wall began to project a copy of someone's desktop. It was then Carey noticed the man who identified himself as the computer specialist was logging into the system.
"Carter, it never ceases to amaze me how fast you can get into our system," Jack commented with a chuckle.
"It's a good system Jack, but as I said before, someone had made some changes to the operating system which left huge holes in the integrity and security. Really amateurish of whoever it was."
"Do you know who was doing it?" asked Jack.
"Well, I've identified two computers who did most of it. I could throw a bunch of initials and acronyms at you but suffice to say, I have clearly identified two computers. They both had some encryption and things like that but it only slowed me down for a moment or two."
The young man in jeans asked, "How much information can you pull from the computers you've identified?"
Carey, in an attempt to divert the conversation, said: "Ok, let's hold on for a moment. Who would you be?"
"Me?" asked the man.
"Yes, you. You never introduced yourself to the rest of us."
"My apologies. Should I stand up?"
Carey was getting perturbed, "No, just do it."
"I believe Q on Star Trek the Next Generation said it best. 'Temper, temper, mon Capitaine.'"
Carey turned to Jack, "I've had enough of this meeting and that young man."
The young man stood, "Hi, my name is Jesse and I'm an alcoholic."
Cliff chuckled, "That's Tuesday's Jesse. Wrong meeting."
"Sorry, Cliff." He took a deep breath. As he did it, the man's demeanour totally changed. Gone was the relaxed surfer type body language, replaced by someone who was very much in control of everything around him. He had the perfect poker face as he stared at Carey with his penetrating eyes. "As I said, my name is Jesse. I'm a widower after my husband was killed at a construction project when a crane collapsed onto the trailer was working in. Cliff would've been killed as well but he was out doing something else at the time. I'm a lawyer by training and a member of McCoy and Associates law firm. Up until recently, I was working as a lawyer at the LGBT centre, providing advice and support to those who needed it."
Carey raised his hand, "How is this relevant to the meeting today?"
Jesse smiled, "You obviously weren't listening to the story. But, I'll make it simpler for you. My husband was Marc McAdam, the owner of McAdam Construction which he received after his and my parents were killed in a plane crash together while on vacation. As I said before, I'm a widower after my husband was killed at a construction project when a crane collapsed onto the trailer he was working in. I received this company after Marc's death, so that would make me the owner of everything in this room including the chair you are sitting in. You work for me. Any other questions?"
Carey had never met Jesse and had no clue he was so young. This meeting was not going well.
Carter interrupted by exclaiming, "It's done, Jesse. I just turned them off after downloading everything."
Jesse sat down, "Good job, Carter. Anything interesting that caught your eye?"
Carter put a few messages up on the screen.
"Carey, they just arrested Jed."
"Hey, there are police in your office Carey."
"What the hell is going on? The office is full of police?"
"Carey, there are cops looking for Pine Tree."
"Call from the bank. Freeze on business accounts. Something about a search warrant."
"They got the backup drives before we zapped them."
"Work has stopped at the mine and all of our workers have been moved into the empty rail shipping building."
"There are cops at the site office and they are getting an ID off every person who is working. What the fuck?"
"Carey, this is Bridgette. Why won't my debit or visa card work? I have to pay for my manicure and everything is denied."
"It is my understanding, Carter, that both Pine Tree and ADG Welding were actually the same office, which was basically a storefront."
"That's right, Jack. They both had more office space at the mine site than they had in their respective head offices. There were three people working there though."
Carey finally exploded, "What the hell is going on? My phone has gone dead."
"I did that," stated Carter. "It's a business phone owned by the company so I downloaded everything, then turned it off so it can't be used or altered in any way."
Jack smiled, "Carey, the police have been doing an investigation into the company's books for fraud, theft, and a bunch of other crimes."
"It's bull shit. I didn't know anything about this, I should've been told."
Jesse spoke, "I gave them total access to the Company. No warrant needed. They could look into every file, office, book, computer, and phone they wanted to determine what was going on."
Jack carried on the discussion, "Those messages on the screen came from your phone, Carey."
"That's illegal and violation of my privacy."
Jesse smiled, "Jack, he just confirmed they are his messages, and didn't deny the content."
"I have no clue what you are talking about," Carey added to Jesse's statement.
Jesse stood, moved to the door and opened it. Carey was shocked when two uniformed police officers brought a handcuffed Jed Douglas-White into the room.
Gabe looked over at Carey, "Your son has already provided an enlightening statement to us, would you care to provide one as well?"
Carey looked at his son, "What did you tell them? Keep your mouth shut."
"Well Carey, your son's computer also had some pictures on it which we've turned over to INTERPOL and a few other jurisdictions who investigate child porn."
Carey almost exploded, "There was what on his computer? Jesus fucking Christ, Jed!"
The young man looked at his feet, "Sorry Dad. It got control of me again."
"Just shut the fuck up, say nothing more."
Gabe turned to Leona, "Would you formally arrest Carey?"
"My pleasure, Gabe." She turned to two uniformed members, "Would you take Jed to the detachment for processing, please? Lodge him in the protective custody section of the cells. Kiddie diddlers don't survive long in general population."
As the cuffs were being placed on Carey, he yelled at his son, "Don't you say a fucking thing to anyone about anything. Not a fucking thing."
Jack turned to Cliff, "Do you have that letter?" Cliff reached under his jacket and pulled it out of the inner pocket. He handed it to Jack. Jack turned to Carey, and stuck the letter into his suit pocket, "This is your immediate termination from the company. Have a great day."
"Fuck you, this is all bullshit!" replied Carey.
Jack chuckled, "You seem to have lost your cockiness and feelings of being in control."
Carey didn't like the last comment and reacted. "You think this is done? Seriously? I'd be careful now, by doing this you will be pissing off some powerful people."
Gabe stood in front of Carey, "And who might those people be? Please, do tell us."
"You'll find out soon enough."
Jesse moved close enough to Carey to allow his cougar senses to pick up anything they could. The two men locked eyes, trying to out-stare each other. Jesse sensed Carey's breathing, heart rate, sweat smells, and body language. He squinted his eyes in concentration as he looked into Carey's hate-filled eyes. His gift allowed him to know when people were telling the truth, concealing it, or outright lying. It took a moment, but Jesse now knew the answer. He sniffed the air a couple of times, taking in the man's scent. Carey body was in overdrive with the fight or flight response, but he was also trying to take back some control in the situation by this bluff. Finally, Jesse spoke, "I see in your eyes that you are not telling the truth."
Without breaking eye contact, Carey replied, "If you say so."
"Carey, it is you who has no clue who you have challenged. There are things in reality beyond your wildest imagination." Jesse's eyes turned bright white for a couple of seconds, then returned to normal. "If you choose to come after any of us, be aware that we do not play. We engage until it ends."
"What the fuck is with your eyes? Did anyone else see that? His eyes went white for a second. Is that a threat? I'll have you charged. You will be afraid of me."
Gabe started to move Carey to the door, "Let's go, watch where you are walking."
Carey took one look over his shoulder at Jesse before he left the room. What he saw was a man standing there confidently, and with a look on his face which sent a chill up Carey's entire spine. Jesse raised his right hand to wiggle his fingers at the man in handcuffs, mocking him with the goodbye gesture.
After everyone else had left, Jesse, Cliff, and Jack were still seated at the table. Finally, Jesse said, "What's next, Jack?"
"Housecleaning," replied the older man. "Jesse, I'm sorry it got this bad."
"Not your fault, Jack."
"It is. I'm responsible for this operation."
"Jack, we both rely on having honest people who are team players to run both organizations. One thing that will be happening with Cliff in his new role will be helping to identify problems. Secondly, Marc was always out mixing with the employees and contractors so he had an idea of what was happening. I can't do it to the same level as Marc because I'm not a construction man but I will be doing it from now on. I want people like Dirk and Austin to be telling us what's going on out there and reporting directly to Cliff and/or me. I think the first thing we should do is get the rest of the senior leadership team in here and bring them up to speed on what's happened."
Cliff jumped up and he headed to the door he called over his shoulder, "I'll get them in here, Jess."
After he had left, Jesse looked at Jack and said, "This will all work out. We've got the right guy running the operations."
"I'm sure of it as well."
The senior leadership team offices were all located on the same floor as the boardroom. As the executives began to wander into the room, Jesse called for lunch and refreshments. Jack was greeting them, as well as introducing them to Jesse if they didn't already know him. Jesse smiled at them as they obviously weren't impressed by his clothing. They would find out he was really a cougar dressed in sheep's clothing.
End of Chapter Thirty-One
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