As McClatchy first reported back in 2007, First Kuwaiti General Trading & Contracting Co., whose construction of the mammoth U.S. Embassy in Baghdad became the topic of congressional and Justice Department probes, won U.S. government work to build three other overseas diplomatic facilities
Those three were an Embassy in Libreville, Gabon; a consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; and a consulate in Surabaya, Indonesia.
First Kuwaiti got the work by partnering with a U.S. construction firm known as Grunley Walsh International, even though an internal agreement between the two firms (we have a copy or two of this document) makes clear that First Kuwaiti is the real power in the deal. Grunley-Walsh International was subsequently sold under controversial circumstances to three partners, one of whom was a former First Kuwaiti officer, and renamed Aurora LLC.
Here's what's happened with those other three contracts.
_ Aurora/First Kuwaiti were booted off the job in Libreville, which had gone disastrously awry. It has since been re-bid to another firm.
_ This past May, the pair were "terminated for default" from the contract for the $122 million Jeddah consulate, which was supposed to be done in July, but was only 54 percent complete.
_ Finally, on Thursday, the State Department sent what is known in the trade as a "cure notice" to Aurora giving it 10 days to fix its performance in building the $47 million consulate in Surabaya or risk being thrown off that job, too.
"Aurora has to address their deficient performance within 10 days, or the government can take steps to terminate the contract for default," said Jonathan Blyth, a spokesman for the State Department's office of Overseas Building Operations.
Blyth said the Surabaya facility is 80 percent complete, but that government overseers have determined that, under current circumstances, Aurora and First Kuwaiti are not going to be able to complete the job.
So, to sum up: three jobs, three failures, with likely additional costs to the taxpayers and future legal wrangling/court challenges as well.
To be fair to Aurora, e-mails we obtained and numerous interviews we've conducted indicate that, on the Jeddah project if not the other two, most of the problems seemed to stem from First Kuwaiti and its actions.
The whole First Kuwaiti-Aurora-Grunley-Walsh saga is all the more mysterious given OBO's generally good record of building embassies over the last near-decade, under a multi-billion dollar to replace aging facilities worldwide with safe and secure buildings. Blyth said the department recently broke ground on its 105th project, in Dakar, Senegal.