DynCorp saga inspired 2010 movie “The Whistleblower”

Posted Wednesday, Jul. 24, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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DynCorp? Oh, that DynCorp.

The government contractor that wants Fort Worth tax breaks to move at least 100 headquarters workers to its Alliance offices got more than a few bad headlines in 2002. That’s when two its contract employees in Bosnia tried to blow the whistle, independently, on co-workers who were buying and selling teenage sex slaves to each other.

Aircraft mechanic Ben Johnson and U.N. police trainer Kathryn Bolkovac were both fired by DynCorp, as were some of the sex slave owners, although none of the latter were ever prosecuted.

We know about it because Johnson and Bolkovac went public and filed court cases. Later, Bolkovac wrote a book that inspired what a film distributor officially calls a “fictionalized” account, The Whistleblower, which starred Rachel Weisz and got a thumbs up from the late movie critic Roger Ebert in 2010. In the film, the govenment contractor is called Democra.

In a 2007 interview with the Star-Telegram, DynCorp’s then-CEO Herb Lanese played down the whole scandal as something akin to an inconvenient kerfluffle.

“It takes two goofy guys doing something wrong to damage our reputation,” Lanese complained. “I can say that it’s only one incident out of 2 million, but that’s irrelevant. We can’t afford one bad incident. We just stress the living hell out of that.”

Then the CEO insisted, “We really make the world a better, safer place.”

Unless the goofy ones Lanese was talking about were the whistle-blowers, it was a lot more than two. Johnson said in a deposition under oath that nine DynCorp employees were involved; Bolkovac gave a similar number.

Although DynCorp denied the allegations, both whistle-blowers were vindicated: Bolkovac by a law tribunal in Britain, and Johnson in a settlement with Dyncorp before the lawsuit came to trial in Texas.

American takes delivery of its 1st Airbus

American Airlines’ first Airbus aircraft landed at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport at 3:38 p.m. Wednesday.

The Airbus A319 will enter service in September, flying out of DFW to Charlotte, N.C.; Cleveland; Memphis; and Wichita, Kan. The Fort Worth-based carrier is using the A319s to replace its aging MD-80 fleet.

“Everything about the new A319 aircraft has been designed with the customer at the center,” American’s chief commercial officer, Virasb Vahidi, said in a statement Tuesday when the carrier accepted the plane from Airbus at the factory in Hamburg, Germany.

The new plane has leather seats, Wi-Fi and in-seat entertainment. American said there are individual power outlets and USB jacks at every seat. According to SeatGuru.com, the A319 will have 128 seats, including eight in first class and 18 extra seats in the main cabin.

The aircraft arrived from Bangor, Maine, where stopped for fuel after leaving Germany.

Sandra Baker, 817-390-7727 sabaker@star-telegram.com Jim Fuquay, 817-390-7552 jfuquay@star-telegram.com Barry Shlachter, 817-390-7718 barry@star-telegram.com

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