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James Sauer and Peter Martino are suing London-based ArmorGroup International and its U.S. arm, ArmorGroup North America, for unlawful dismissal. The pair alleges they were fired from their positions as managers after blowing the whistle on the firm’s capability to protect a U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan. The complaint, filed April 24 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, says they were fired after telling the U.S. State Department that the firm was unable to satisfy a $187 million government contract to provide security to the embassy. They seek $66 million in damages. Debra Katz and Lisa Banks of Katz, Marshall & Banks and Richard Condit of the Government Accountability Project filed the suit on behalf of the men. The complaint says the company deliberately understaffed and underpaid workers at the embassy despite documented reports from the two men. The complaint also claims the firm misrepresented itself when seeking the contract, saying ArmorGroup knew it wouldn’t be able to fulfill the agreement. Senior Vice President James Schmitt of ArmorGroup North America, which is based in McLean, Va., refuted the claims in a statement, saying that the men were dismissed because they could not perform the essential functions of their positions. He also says they “embarked on a smear campaign to achieve an undeserved multimillion-dollar settlement from ArmorGroup by making wild allegations.” Katz confirms that her clients approached the firm about a settlement. She says Sauer and Martino, both U.S. Marines for about 30 years, have since been “blackballed” from the private security industry and are now unemployed.
W.J. Hennigan can be contacted at [email protected].

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