While New Century Consulting may not be a household name, we know the company as The Whiner of the Week. The British firm was awarded a $50 million defense contract by the U.S. and a new government audit suggests some of the money was not well spent.
New Century Consulting was paid to train forces in places like Afghanistan. Originally, it was a subcontractor for another company, called Imperitas, but later took over the entire contract.
According to the audit, under Imperitas, New Century Consulting billed the government for Porsches, Alfa Romeos, a Bentley, an Aston Martin, and a Land Rover. Apparently, the luxury vehicles were deemed “company cars.” However, they were apparently used only by the CEO, the COO, the CFO, and the significant others of the CEO and the CFO.
On the topic of significant others, those of senior staff were paid an average of $420,000 as executive assistants. According to the audit, the assistants worked from home. It may not be appropriate to use the word, “work,” as the company has been unable to provide any evidence of any work being performed.
A government watchdog group has also learned that neither Imperitas or New Century Consulting retained complete training records. So it’s hard to know just what the companies achieved in Afghanistan.
We do know the consultants were paid and often at a higher rate than allowed. An investigation found that while on leave, consultants were paid their full salaries, when they should have only received 60% that amount.
The CEO of New Century Consulting, Michael Grunberg has said it’s not appropriate for him to comment on the ongoing matter. He earlier told the Associated Press that he questions the vehicle allegations and said the findings about the executive assistants, “is most unfair and is significantly inaccurate.”
The Department of Defense has not issued a statement about the company.
Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee member, Senator Claire McCaskill, has asked the Department of Defense to answer questions, by the end of August, about oversight of the Imperitas/New Century Consulting contract.
While I have no illusions that any contact may include a certain amount of fat or waste, it seems New Century Consulting had no fear of repercussions for either questionable spending or poor records.
Surely, there are better provider options and a process to review how taxpayer money is spent. The watchdog can’t be asleep.