You may remember Barry Halley, the former contract worker in Iraq who testified before Congress last April about rampant abuses he’d seen while working for several contractors in the Gulf. Well, according to a lawsuit filed earlier this week in Houston, this brave fellow is making his voice heard again.
During his Congressional testimony, Halley said that he saw widespread fraud, inflated billings, and the operation of a prostitution ring.
At one point, he said, the site manager for a defense contractor was involved in bringing prostitutes into hotels operated by the contractor, and that a co-worker who was not involved in the sex ring was shot and killed while riding in an unsecured vehicle. He said if his co-worker had been in an armored car, he may have been saved, but it was being used instead by a manager who was driving hookers from Kuwait to Baghdad.
Soon after, Halley signed on in July 2004 with a Dallas-based company called Cape Environmental Management that was in Iraq securing reconstruction contracts. It is this company that is the target of Halley’s recent lawsuit.
Halley testified to Congress that after voicing complaints to Cape management about billing and other issues, he was held captive in a room by armed security guards for several days before being ordered to return to the United States.
Halley claims Cape provided an escort to help him leave the country safely, but “When Mr. Halley attempted to comply with the directions of Cape Environmental Management Inc. he was shot and beat up by the very people who were supposed to protect him,” it is stated in the lawsuit.
Halley told Congress he suffered medical problems as a result of the beating and has more than $100,000 in outstanding medical bills. He is suing Cape for allegedly breaching his contract by not providing him safe passage back to the United States and for firing him without cause.
Halley’s Houston attorney, Philip Orth, declined to comment but did say Cape had not yet been served with the lawsuit.
-- Chris Vogel
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.