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Depositions are under way in a suit pending in Fort Worth, Texas’ 17th District Court that alleges a Lubbock man was fired by an American defense contractor in Bosnia because he blew the whistle on supervisors and co-workers who bought illegal firearms and engaged in buying and selling underage girls as domestic help and sex slaves. Ben Johnston alleges in Johnston v. DynCorp Inc., et al. that his former employer breached his three-year contract when he was fired without cause last June. DynCorp’s lawyer, Irving, Texas, sole practitioner Greg Marks, declines to be interviewed because the corporation has a policy against discussing pending litigation. Marks says he filed a routine answer denying all Johnston’s allegations. Johnston worked as a civilian aircraft mechanic for DynCorp, which has a contract with the U.S. Army to maintain military helicopters on the Comanche Base at Tuzla, Bosnia. He accepted the contract with DynCorp in November 1998 and was earning about $120,000 a year, according to the suit. DynCorp, a Delaware corporation, oversees its international operations from its offices in Fort Worth. The suit filed last August by Lubbock lawyer Kevin Glasheen alleges that DynCorp engaged in racketeering activities in violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act and that Johnston was terminated because he refused to commit an illegal act. If Johnston had not reported his fellow employees’ alleged unlawful activities, he could have been charged under federal law with misprision of a felony, says Glasheen, a shareholder in Fadduol, Glasheen & Valles in Lubbock. Glasheen says the issues addressed in the case involve “leading-edge stuff” in employment law. “This is going to be a case of first impression,” he says. Among the allegations in the suit are that the corporation and its employees engaged in peonage and slavery, sexually exploiting children, dealing in obscene material and procuring fraudulent identification documents. The suit alleges that DynCorp employees purchased the passports of women and girls from Serbian Mafia members who brought them into Bosnia from other Eastern European countries. The corporation’s employees sometimes resold the passports, alleges Richard Hardy, an associate with Fadduol, Glasheen who also represents Johnston. As alleged in the suit, Johnston told his DynCorp supervisor that co-workers were buying women from the Mafia and was told “to mind his own business.” According to the suit, Johnston reported the alleged activities to the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command in March 2000 and his whistle-blowing allegedly led to his termination and forced him and his Bosnian wife, Denisa, to flee the country. Johnston and his wife were forced into protective custody by the CID for fear that they would face retaliation by the Serbian Mafia and DynCorp employees, the suit alleges. A plaintiff who brings a civil RICO conspiracy claim must show that he was injured by an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year in Beck v. Prupis that a plaintiff must prove the overt act that injured him was an “act of racketeering.” “In our situation, we’re claiming tampering with a witness,” Glasheen says. “Mr. Johnston was terminated in order to preserve the status quo of DynCorp in Bosnia, the sanctioned buying and selling of women, minor girls, firearms, forged passports and frequent trips to whorehouses,” the suit alleges. NOVEL QUESTION Glasheen says the suit raises the question of whether the termination of an employee can be considered obstruction of justice under RICO. It also raises the question of whether reporting fellow workers’ alleged illegal activities to law enforcement constitutes refusal to commit an illegal act, he says. Johnston alleges that the corporation’s conduct toward him was willful or malicious, entitling him to recover punitive damages. Jonathan Lyons, a DynCorp supervisor in Bosnia, signed the June 9, 2000, letter of discharge that ended Johnston’s employment with the corporation. The letter said Johnston “brought discredit to the company and the U.S. Army” while working in Bosnia. In a Feb. 21 deposition, Lyons testified that Johnston was fired because of unverifiable statements he made to the Army CID about fellow employees. “That was my understanding,” Lyons testified, according to a transcript of the deposition. Charlene Wheeless, DynCorp’s vice president of communications, says the corporation adheres to the strictest of ethical standards. “The idea that we, DynCorp, would violate any law is incredible,” Wheeless says. A DynCorp internal e-mail memo that the company turned over to Glasheen during discovery alleges that a CID raid in June 2000 uncovered a videotape of the corporation’s acting site manager in Bosnia having sex with two prostitutes. The memo also alleges the raid turned up a machine gun that an employee purchased from a suspected member of the Bosnian mafia. A separate memo turned over during discovery from William S.A. Russ, the CID agent in charge of the investigation, alleges the employee who purchased the gun also admitted that he bought the woman who was living with him. The June 2000 raid was not the first time that DynCorp employees had been investigated for alleged involvement in organized crime, according to another e-mail turned over during discovery. A corporation internal memo details a Bosnian National Police investigation in August 1999 that allegedly linked five DynCorp employees to the purchases of passports of women brought into the country illegally. The corporation fired all five employees, the memo states. Glasheen claims that DynCorp did not conduct an internal investigation of the alleged wrongdoing and did nothing to clean it up. Wheeless did not return a phone call seeking comment on the internal memos. Johnston and his wife have settled in Lubbock, where they operate a janitorial and maid service, Glasheen says.

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