It has been well over a week since The BRAD BLOG first released our original exclusive article on the "WHISTLEBLOWER AFFIDAVIT" of Clint Curtis.
In his affidavit, Curtis accused U.S. Rep. Tom Feeney (R-FL) of asking him to create a "vote-rigging software prototype" program while Curtis worked for Yang Enterprises Inc. (YEI) in a meeting at YEI in October of 2000.
Curtis also accused YEI of employing Hai Lin Nee (a/k/a Henry Nee), who Curtis described as "an illegal-alien" who had placed "wiretapping modules" into software created by YEI for NASA, the Florida Dept. of Transportion (FDOT) and others with whom YEI had contracts.
Yesterday we released court documents showing that Nee plead guilty, in October of 2004, to one of the charges related to attempted shipments of Hellfire Anti-Tank missile parts to China for which he was indicted last March after a four-year sting operation by the U.S. Immigration & Customs Encorcement (ICE) agency. Nee was allowed to go free with 3 years probation and a $100 fine.
Back in 2000, the time of Curtis' "vote-rigging software prototype" claims, Feeney was a corporate attorney and a registered lobbyist for YEI, an engineering firm in Feeney's hometown of Oveido, FL.
While serving as counsel and lobbyist for YEI, Feeney was also a Florida state Legislator who would shortly thereafter become Speaker of the Florida House. In 1994, Feeney was Jeb Bush's running-mate in his original failed bid for Florida Governor.
Feeney's lawfirm at the time, where he was a partner, was "Fowler, Barice, Feeney, & O'Quinn P. A." which is now known as "Fowler & O'Quinn, P. A." since Feeney has left to serve in the U.S. House where he sits on the House Judiciary Committee.
As "outside general counsel" for YEI, Michael A. O'Quinn, Esquire (a campaign donor to Feeney, along with company owners Dr. and Mrs. Yang) issued a short statement on Saturday on behalf of YEI suggesting that Curtis was "a disgruntled employee".
We discussed and answered in detail to O'Quinn's charge in this BRAD BLOG article, reporting that we have yet to find any evidence to suggest that Curtis was "a disgruntled employee". We pointed out that Curtis resigned from YEI in December of 2000 and stayed, at Mrs. Yang's request, for another six weeks until they were able to find a suitable replacement for him. We posted other evidentiary details to that effect in the article, and discussed the "farewall party" that YEI reportedly threw for Curtis at the time.
YEI posted a brief statement on their website at the end of last week, announcing that "An official statement will be forthcoming", that "all" of Curtis' allegations were "100% FALSE!!" and instructing "God" to "Bless America." The BRAD BLOG discussed that statement originally here, and then again in more detail here.
And yesterday, YEI's "official statement" was finally posted on their website.
We will respond to that below, with evidence that seems to demonstrate that, at least part of their statement, is patently untrue. But by way of reminder, since our original story was posted at the beginning of last week, Curtis, who claims to have been "a long-time Republican" has since that time...
- Met with and been interviewed by Democratic staffers on the U.S. House Judiciary Committee in D.C. (where Feeney is also a member)
- Met with and been interviewed by members of the office of U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) who is a member of the Senate's Science, Technology and Space sub-committee which oversees NASA on Capitol Hill
- Has been extensively interviewed by --- and is now being aided by --- Citizens for Ethics & Responsibility in Washington (CREW), the watchdog organization who helped prepare the recent ethics charges against Republican majority leader Sen. Tom Delay
- Has told his story via interviews on a number of radio outlets including Air America Radio and The Thom Harmann program and will today be on the Ed Schultz radio program at 5:05pm ET
- And on Monday of this week, gave startling sworn "jaw-dropping", public testimony to U.S. Judiciary Committee members in in a public hearing held on Voting Irregularities in Columbus, Ohio.
At this time, The BRAD BLOG is unaware of any claim that Curtis has made either publicly, in any of his official interviews, media interviews, in his sworn affidavit, or in the extensive interviews that we have done with him that has yet been proven to be untrue in any way.
In fact, quite a few articles by various media outlets over the past week have confirmed a fair number of the charges that Curtis has made, and there is an extensive paper trail of newspaper articles and public records documenting and corroborating many of his claims going back at least as far as a three full years.
While it's still The BRAD BLOG's official position that Clint Curtis may either have his facts wrong or may not be telling the truth about some portions of his story, we have as yet been unable to unearth any evidence to suggest either of those possibilities is the case. Indeed, all our checking so far into public records and extensive interviews with individuals who have known Curtis for some time and/or are familiar with his case for a number of years all seem to corroborate the veracity of Curtis. As at least three different people who know him, but who were not present for and therefore cannot confirm the specific "vote-rigging software prototype" story, have told The BRAD BLOG, "Clint doesn't lie."
We have found nothing to contradict that sentiment so far.
That said, let's take a look at the unsigned and unattributed statement released by YEI yesterday on their website, and at some of the documentary hard evidence which would seem to dispute or disprove at least a portion of their official statement...
Conspiciously absent from the official YEI statement, by the way, are the charges of "disgruntled employee" that YEI "outside general counsel" and Feeney's old law partner/contributor Michael A. O'Quinn, Esquire floated without evidence over the weekend.
The YEI website "full statement" was text only and did not include any additional evidence beyond the complete text that we will post --- and answer to point-by-point --- below.
The statement, is being posted here in full, interrupted after each point with a BRAD BLOG response explaining what we know about each of the YEI claims and presenting any evidence we are aware of that may either contradict or support them.
Their response begins this way...
Re: Clinton Curtis
Thank you for the many e-mail messages and telephone calls showing support for YEI during the past weeks. Your interest in and support of YEI is greatly appreciated!
The following statements reflect the position of YEI regarding Mr. Curtis and the allegations made by him against the corporation. Although it is YEI's position that the malicious allegations made by Mr. Curtis against private citizens have no basis in fact, those allegations are not addressed in this response.
1. The allegations made in Mr. Curtis's "affidavit" and elsewhere regarding YEI are categorically untrue and fail the most basic "smell" and logic tests.
As no evidence is presented with YEI's response, we must presume the "catagorically untrue" portions of Curtis' affidavit which "fail the most basic 'smell' and logic tests" are presented in the rest of their reply. We welcome any documentary evidence that YEI may wish to present to back up this particular as-of-yet unsubstantiated claim.
employer, other than YEI, implicating Mr. Curtis in a corrupt and dishonest scheme.
The only "employer" in Curtis' background prior to his work at YEI with whom we understand there to be any sort of "sworn allegations" would be a copyright infringement suit filed in 1997 or 1998, according to Curtis, by Richard Jaffarian of "Electrical Resources" in Orlando.
Curtis had explained the "corrupt and dishonest scheme", as YEI describes it, to The BRAD BLOG in interviews prior to our original story. He has told us that Jaffarian had filed suit against Curtis, Curtis filed a counter-suit, and both parties eventually agreed to settle out of court and pay their own attorneys fees in the matter.
We have not been able to read the case files on the matter at this time and are currently attempting to receive a copy of them for review. It is our understanding that the cases are available via public records, and we welcome anybody who is able to retreive them and send them to us before such time as we are able to retrieve them on our own to forward them to us. We will report here should we find anything different than what's been described so far.
We must assume that YEI refers here to the pending Qui Tam suit, or "QUITAM" as mentioned in Curtis' affidavit.
The BRAD BLOG has not yet reviewed the case still pending against YEI --- which may be filed by a non-state employee when they discover some form of fraud committed against the state --- though several sources familiar with the case have described that case as Curtis did, as still-pending litigation. The description of the suit as "unsuccessful" would seem to have no basis at this time.
The case was reportedly submitted to the state Attorney General's office, who apparently has the right to join the suit or not, and --- after a year delay --- apparently has passed on joining as a co-plaintiff.
After passing on the suit, it became officially "unsealed". The suit continues in the meantime and we are unaware that it has been judged as either "unsuccessful" "spurious" or containing "wild accusations" by any legal entity.
We welcome any further information or evidence that YEI may wish to offer to the contrary. They offered only the above-quoted wildly spurious accusation, but were unsuccessful in presenting supporting evidence.
Whoops! YEI may have made a not-insignificant blunder with this particular statement! As it's been said by some who are skeptical of Curtis' claim, "if one element of his story is proven wrong, it debunks all the rest."
We agree to an extent, and if it applies to Curtis, then we would assume the same principle should be applied to YEI as it applies to their "full statement" on these charges.
Since The BRAD BLOG can offer a great deal of evidence, including copies of email and weekly time reports signed by Nee and submitted by YEI to FDOT which seem to wholly contradict YEI's claims here and show that Mr. Nee did --- in fact --- work for YEI, we will discuss this point at the end of this article after answering the final three points in the YEI statement. We will include documentary evidence in that reply, so be sure to read through, you may enjoy it!
As has been noted in several articles on this point, including this one from Wired Magazine, the principal at work in the "software prototype" that Curtis claims to have created could have been used in counting machines (tabulators) for both punch-card and optical-scan ballots. Both types of voting technology were in use in Florida during the 2000 elections as described in this chapter from the U.S. Civil Rights Commission report on "Voting Irregularities in Florida during the 2000 Election".
As well, RAW STORY noted in one their articles based on interviews with Curtis, that "the program was not written for any specific touchscreen hardware, but instead designed to work with a Windows database." The optical-scan counting machines in use in Florida in 2000 were apparently built using a Windows Access database.
Furthermore, according to About.com's article on the "The History of Voting Machines": "In 1996, 7.7% of the registered voters in the United States used some type of direct recording electronic voting system" which would include the "touch screen voting" that YEI refers to. That technology was well on it's way into Florida and other parts of the country by the time of the alleged October 2000 meeting.
Nevertheless, as Curtis has pointed out many times, he has no evidence to demonstrate that software based on his prototype was used in the 2000 election and has not claimed in his affidavit or elsewhere that it was.
As mentioned in Curtis' affidavit, (and in previous BRAD BLOG articles) after contacting several law enforcement authorities with his information, including the Florida Department of Law Enforcment (FDLE), Curtis received the following Email on Nov. 22nd 2004, from a "Tom Yowell", who identifies himself as "a Special Agent assigned to the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force in Orlando, Florida".
Yowell's email refers to an earlier email from Curtis about the YEI information he provided, though Yowell is unspecific about which "matter referred to" he claims to be "under investigation". We have both notes in the matter...
Here is the email from Yowell [Email addresses obscured for privacy, though we will make them available to any media organizations or law-enforcement authorities who wish to contact us on this matter.]:
From: "Yowell, Tom"
Date: Mon, November 22, 2004 11:22 am
I am a Special Agent assigned to the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force in Orlando, Florida.
The matter referred to in your email dated 11/17/2004 is under investigation by another Division of the FBI. If you could provide me with your telephone number and address, I will pass it to the office responsible for the investigation, so they may contact you directly.
SA Thomas Yowell
...And here is the email dated 11/17/2004 to which Yowell would seem to be referring to:
Date: Wed, November 17, 2004 10:04 pm
I am a past employee of Yang Enterprises in Oveido Florida. I believe that this company is spying for China. There were several odd occurances and in fact one of their illegal employees was recently arrested for attempting to send missile guidance chips to China. I have reported this before but the company still maintains a high security clearance as well as access to NASA and other governmental installations. They are also still on the limited list of the approved vendors for state government.
And finally, the last section from the YEI "statement" (before we hit the Hai Lin Nee claim from item #4 in detail)...
We are confident that Mr. Curtis will ultimately be exposed as a fraud. Until then and always, thank you for your support.
Though Curtis explained to The BRAD BLOG in regard to this comment that "Open competition is a question of how you describe open. When you have Feeney telling you how to write the contracts and on what basis they will be chosen, often before the public bidding for the contract is even announced, it certainly gives you a leg up in winning those contracts. He told them [YEI] how to write those contracts. That's what he often discussed in meetings at Yang. It's why they kept Feeney on as their corporate attorney and why they stayed so close to him."
Indeed we have demonstrated that the Dr. and Mrs. Yang's have been contributors of Feeney's for some time in addition to employing his counsel and lobbyist. As well, we have uncovered additional evidence of the "closeness" between the Yang's and Feeney that we will be reporting on in the future.
Beyond that, we have no reason to believe that YEI's contracts were not awarded through "open competition" as they describe in their response.
We discussed earlier in this piece the possibility of Curtis "ultimately" being "exposed as a fraud" as YEI suggests here, and that we've as yet found no evidence for his claims being "fraud[ulent]" so far. To that end, however, we welcome any information, evidence, or documentation that YEI may wish to offer to back up their suggestion and help to "expose" him as such. The same is true, of course, in regards to information that Congressman Tom Feeney may wish to offer, or his old law partners and current YEI "outside general counsel" Fowler & O'Quinn, P.A. Our phonelines and email addresses are always open to you.
And now lastly, as promised, to the claim by YEI in item #4 that "Mr. Nee has never been an employee of YEI."
The BRAD BLOG has reviewed a number of items and documents which seem to render YEI's claim completely untrue. We will leave it to you, the reader, to determine if one disproven claim discounts the rest of their claims. And as well, we remind you again that the previous statement of their "outside general counsel" over the weekend claiming that Curtis was "a disgruntled employee" was nowhere to be found in the "full statement" from YEI since we apparently debunked that unsupported suggestion over the weekend. Make of that what you will.
We have now reviewed at least 9 different "Weekly Time Reports" submitted by YEI to the Florida Dept. of Transportation (FDOT) for a contract that YEI had with FDOT. They all list "Henry Nee" as "Consultant" to YEI for the "EDMS Custom Code development" project.
The copies of the time reports we've reviewed, all with the YEI logo, were received via Public Records Requests from FDOT. The "Electronic Document Management System (EDMS)" project referred to is: FDOT Purchase Order S5501029232, RFP # JA0698D1 (EDMS)
Each of the "Weekly Time Reports" are signed by "Henry Nee". In the graphic below we match the signature of Nee on those Time Reports to the signatures and initials on his Plea Agreement from July 2004 that he filed in his indictment concerning attempts to ship Hellfire Anti-Tank "missile components to China" as we discussed in this previous BRAD BLOG article. (Nee plead guilty to one count, and was sentenced, according to the sentencing papers received from the courthouse --- as released exclusively by The BRAD BLOG in yesterday's article --- from the U.S. Circuit Court in Orlando, to 3 years probation and a $100 fine.)
Finally, we have also reviewed several email correspondence sent to Clint Curtis shortly after he finally left YEI from various employees of the company, including Nee, that would seem to verify Nee's work at YEI. It should also be noted that Curtis has told us he had reason to believe that Nee was being paid "under the table" for his work at the company. [Once again, email addresses are obscured for privacy, but we will make them available to media or law-enforcement agencies who wish to contact us on this matter. Only relevant passages of the emails are posted below. Emphasis added.]
From Bill Dean to Clint Curtis:
Date: Fri, 6 Apr 2001 20:01:40 -0400
We did a "quick" change for Fernando today.. added a couple of date boxes to one screen... took 2 hours! I don't know how long I can put up with this snail's pace; really frustrating. Because Fernando needed, I stood over Henry's shoulder and talked him through the changes. I wanted to grab the mouse and do it myself. Damn, he's slow!
From YEI executive secretary, Mike Cohen to Clint Curtis [the misspellings are Cohen's]:
Date: Sat, 14 Apr 2001 15:47:46 -0400
Henri is ever still tryhing to become a non-illegal alien; you know, he dodn't probably have to pay tazes, and I do. I don't like that.
And lastly from Hai Lin "Henry" Nee himself to Clint Curtis:
Date: Sun, 15 Apr 2001 22:50:33 EDT
Subject: (no subject)
Long time no talk, how are you doing? How is the weather treating you?
Any progress on your job search?
Fernado keeps adding boxes to the alrerady very crowded PE screen, it is really killing us, may be you should come back and save us, ha ha ha.
The ball seems to be back in your court, Mrs. Yang and Mr. Feeney.
We'll happily report on anything you wish to share on these matters with The BRAD BLOG.
UPDATE 12/20/04: Yang Vice-President Lowell Weaver goes on record concerning some of these charges! And Special Agent Tom Yowell of the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force in Orlando confirms his email, but adds a fresh twist! Click here for the full update!
Comments left by readers on the original article can be read at the above link.]