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Sunday August 15, 1999

Bell Helicopter
Among The World's Most Admired Companies
It Was Caught Cheating on Government Contracts!

By Amy Williams, Associate Editor

     FRESNO - Government contractors provide an essential service that the government cannot provide for itself. The government doesn't make things. Government contractors do. Things like helicopters, for example, are needed by the U.S. military. When the government needs more of them where do they get them? That's where Bell Helicopter of Fort Worth Texas, provides a valuable public service. But at what price?
     The Office Federal Procurement places an order with Bell. Bell then makes the helicopters and delivers them.
     To supervise this process, the Office of Management and Budget has exclusive statutory authority to make, promulgate, amend cost accounting standards among government contractors.
     Recently, the General Accounting Office was requested to convene a panel of experts to study, analyze, and assess the accounting irregularities coming to light in a growing plurality of whistleblower law suits brought to court by the employees of major defense contractors like Fort Worth's Bell Helicopter.
     Publicity of such litigation has rarely been reported in the local Fort Worth newspaper or anywhere in the State of Texas, for that matter. No Wonder. Bell Helicopter employs nearly 80% of the entire workforce in the Fort Worth region.
     Bell is one of the world's most admired companies. It is in the forefront of corporations with workforces and corporate cultures that reflect the diversity of the markets in which they operate.
     Bell's long-term business strategies have enabled the corporation to weather the global economic crisis. It is thought of as an all-star company which is believed to have achieved the right management focus by selecting senior executives from diverse backgrounds.
     One challenge that Bell Helicopter has more than excelled in is the practice of creative book-keeping, according to a federal jury verdict in a whistleblower law suit filed against the firm by G.S. Robertson, one of its Senior contract managers.
     What makes a great American defense contractor cheat on his contracts? Mr. Robertson, underlines what he thinks is the reason. He told Bulldog reporters this week, "...its a common practice."
     Every year, thousands of Americans witness wrongdoing taking place at their government job. Some speak out. Their actions may ultimately save lives and billions of dollars. But rather than receive praise for their integrity, these brave whistleblowers are often targeted for harassment, intimidation, demotion, and dismissal.

     [Editor's Note: George S. Robertson has posted his own Web Page. It is a heroic saga of one American's lengthy efforts to put a stop to the needless waste to American taxpayers from Bell's accounting practrices that made creative time cards a common practice.]

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