Tom Crum, Middle East chief for Halliburton’s Kellogg, Brown & Root (KBR) subsidiary, demanded that Kuwaiti Hilton staff get his wife a diamond-encrusted Cartier watch in the middle of the night, according allegations reported by internal United States embassy memos.
Meanwhile his senior managers, who have made the seaside villas at the hotel their headquarters for almost two years, were openly soliciting bribes from anyone who wanted to get a share of the multi-billion dollar contracts that the company oversees for the military occupation force in Iraq, the accusations claim.
At the very least, KBR staff are portrayed as arrogant and heavy-handed by the allegations, which largely date from December 2003 and the early months of 2004. At worst, the accusations paint a picture of illegal behavior.
The internal embassy communications also portray Richard Jones, the U.S. ambassador to Kuwait, as anxiously pushing the Texas-based company to buy overpriced fuel from a specific company, Altanmia Commercial Marketing Company. Altanmia officials counter that KBR staff were deliberately undermining their bids.
The collection of documents, including e-mails, memos and reports were released to the media by California Representative Henry Waxman, to top ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Government Reform. They are only a small part of over 400 internal documents delivered to the committee, which wields oversight of U.S. contracts relating to Iraq.
“Get off your f&^%ing ass, put my wife in a car, and go get her a watch,” Crum is alleged to have told Camille Geha, the sales manager at Khalifa Hilton resort in Kuwait, in early 2004. Aware that the company was spending up to $1.5 million a month at the hotel, Geha is said to have told an unnamed embassy staffer that he had a jewelry store at the Marina Mall opened in the middle of the night to get a new watch.