We previously blogged about USCG Jeddah (see 2005 Jeddah ARB Recommended “Remote Safe Areas” for Embassies – Upgrades Coming … Or Maybe Not and New US Consulate in Jeddah – Under Construction Since 2007?)
There was a December 6, 2004 terrorist attack on USCG Jeddah where gunmen killed four locally employed staff members and injured nine others working outside the consulate building. At least six months before that, a $319,197 contract was awarded for the Jeddah facility upgrade.
On May 12, 2006, there was another attack on USCG Jeddah. A number of shots were fired at the consulate compound but no casualties were reported. Sixteen months after this attack and almost three years after the deadly 2004 attack, a $122,292,510 contract was awarded to Grunley Walsh for the design/build project in Jeddah.
Ten months later, a $390,000 contract was also awarded to Grunley Walsh for the design/build project in Jeddah. The reason for the modification was for “funding only action” whatever that means.
On February 11, 2009, the $122,205,676 contract with the Grunley Walsh Limited Liability Company was again modified. The reason indicated for modification was “change order.” USASpending data indicates that the current contract value at the time of modification was $19,000 with $122,205,676 obligated.
Grunley-Walsh was renamed Aurora-LLC after it was sold. At least, by April 29, 2010, Grunley-Walsh had become Aurora-LLC because according to McClatchy News, Aurora-LLC lawyers at that time were then dealing with the State Department’s Bureau of Overseas Building Operations on its subcontractor issue with First Kuwaiti.
On May 10, 2010, Aurora was terminated from the Jeddah contract according to McClatchy News citing a State Department official, “after 90 percent of the contract period had expired, with only 54 percent of the work done.”
On November 18, 2010, Aurora LLC was mentioned in a letter from the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) to the White House questioning the independence of the State Department’s Inspector General.
As an aside — the website grunley-walsh.com is currently an online parking lot. Aurora-LLC is now a “page not found” although you can still find the cache version of the website here. Findthecompany.com has an online snapshot of Aurora-LLC here showing $240 million in revenue in 2011.
The planned USCG Jeddah (image from state.gov/obo)
We are unable to locate information on what happened to this project after the contract was reportedly terminated on May 10, 2010. We presumed incorrectly that there was another contractor after the contract was terminated in 2010; there does not appear to be one. But two years and four months after that May 10, 2010 termination, there is a new contract and a new contractor.
On September 27, 2012, a $100,543,000 contract was awarded to American International Contractors, Inc. While the USASpending page only states that this is for the construction of a New Consulate Compound in Saudi Arabia, the publicly available document on FDCD 2012 Fiscal Year OBO Capital Project Awards does indicate that SAQMMA-12-C-0221 for $100,543,000 is for the Jeddah NCC with an expected completion date of 24 months.
So excluding the facility upgrade in 2004, it looks like the Jeddah NCC which has been on the planning/construction/hold/construction/delivery phase since 2007 now amounts to $233,225,510. We’re terrible at math, but it looks like this project is now years delayed and almost double the original contract.
In addition, this project has now spanned the tenures of three secretaries of state – Rice, Clinton, and Kerry. Neither the State Department’s Inspector General Office nor the oversight people in Congress appears terribly bothered by the delay or the expanded cost of this project.
If anyone has the stories beyond the paper trail, we’d like to hear about it.
Meanwhile, a trip down memory lane —
In 2005, then Secretary Condoleeza Rice said this:
[W]e will also make sure that the tremendous charge that we have to lead the diplomatic effort, to support those diplomatic efforts, to train people well, to make sure that people are safe and secure in the embassies, to make sure that our nationals abroad have access to us so that they can be secure in dangerous times, that those will be very high priorities. I know they are very high priorities for me. They are high priorities for the President, as well. We will do everything we can to make sure that we’ve got the resources that we need.
Then there’s Secretary Hillary Clinton who said this:
[P]lease know that nothing is more important to us than your safety, and making sure you have secure places to live and work is our top priority.
Current Secretary of State John Kerry said this not too long ago:
I guarantee you that, beginning this morning when I report for duty upstairs, everything I do will be focused on the security and safety of our people.
Somebody please put Jeddah on his agenda. Of course, we can’t expect the secretary of state to be hammering nails at wherever place, but all that talk and years on this … it’s sad to see that USCG Jeddah is still missing a new secure building and no one seems to be upset about it.
Correction: USASpending.gov not/not USASpending.com