April 12, 2011
Following the earthquake in Haiti, Lewis Lucke became the United States’ Special Coordinator for Relief and Reconstruction in Haiti. But less than a year after the earthquake he was in court suing the Haiti Recovery Group and its two partners, Ashbritt Inc. and the GB Group, for nearly $500,000. According to the AP, about two months after Lucke “finished” his work as US Special Coordinator, he began working with Ashbritt, a company we’ve written about numerous times before. The AP continues:
Lucke claims he “played an integral role” in securing two $10 million contracts — the one from the Haitian government and a second from the World Bank — along with a third with CHF International worth $366,000. He said he fulfilled his obligations under the contract by performing such services as “providing an understanding of the recovery efforts, making key introductions, and identifying sources of funding for HRG projects.”
The incentives under the contract provided he would be paid a bonus if the HRG earned contracts worth more than $6 million. Lucke says he is owed about $492,483 as well as attorney’s fees for the breach of contract.
Before the lawsuit was settled, however, Lucke was back at it. In December 2010, Lucke became a board member of MC Endeavor Inc. and its subsidiary, CENTIUUM Holdings Inc. The company describes itself as an “international Smart-Home Builder and Sustainable Community Developer utilizing green technologies”. In a press release announcing Lucke’s decision to join the board, the company touts Lucke’s work in Haiti:
Ambassador Lucke most recently served as U.S. Response Coordinator for the Haiti earthquake, leading the United States’ $1.0 billion to date relief and recovery program. The reconstruction phase is next and is expected to take about $10 Billion to build interim and permanent housing for over 1 million homeless earthquake victims.
Today, another press release notes that Lucke will be traveling to Haiti “to survey the reconstruction programs after last week’s announcement that musician Michel Martelly had won the Presidential Election.” The release notes that, “Martelly will have to work closely with private local and international donors to ensure prompt delivery and effective use of $10 billion in foreign aid.”
The press release also notes another position Lucke previously held: USAID Mission Director for Iraq. In 2003, immediately after the beginning of the Iraq War, Lucke became the first USAID Iraq Mission Director. Under that capacity he was responsible for Iraq’s reconstruction in the Office for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance, the predecessor to the Coalition Provisional Authority. Forbes reported in 2003:
And now he’s [Lucke] supervising Bechtel Group as it starts to dredge Umm Qasr, Iraq’s only seaport, to ready it for matériel to rebuild the country. Lucke is the coordinator for reconstruction, managing a $2.5 billion project that some expect will inevitably balloon to $30 billion, if not $100 billion. As the ranking man on the ground for the U.S. Agency for International Development (AID), his hands are also closest to the purse strings, since his State Department branch is funding and contracting out much of the work.
Of course the rapid proliferation of U.S. government contracts to private companies in Iraq as well as Afghanistan has led to billions of dollars in waste, fraud and abuse. As the man whose hands were “closest to the purse strings” in Iraq, it is somewhat revealing that he would be tapped for a similar role in Haiti after the earthquake.