Archive for November, 2005

Rate Your Music

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2005

Rate Your Music is an online community of people who love music. Sign Up to catalog your music collection, rate and review music, receive recommendations, create and share lists, and meet people with the same taste in music as you. A great way to browse album covers and rekindle memories.

Constancy of Purpose

Thursday, November 10th, 2005

Occasionally, without advance warning, adverse conditions put you in an ethical predicament, and while overwhelmed by all of the pressures and complications that arise, one may choose to take, what appears to be, the easiest way out that allows you to accomplish your short-term goals. Many people trade their values for the rewards.

However, most people are completely aware that you are treading down an extremely narrow path, on very thin ice, adjacent to a precariously slippery slope leading to a black hole of doom and despair. [Drama off]

It is those leaders with strong moral and ethical values, who are dedicated to those internal truths, that consciously choose to withdraw themselves from the predicament and remain on the true path – in spite of letting a brass ring slip past their fingers. This may appear to be a sign of weakness or failure to some, but in truth, I firmly believed a victor has emerged from the battle. A wise leader chooses the right battles to fight. In this instance, the ring is made of pot-metal, and has little value; so why take the risk?

Recent events have reinstilled my faith; its comforting to know I am associated with people that make the right choices.

Taking it to the Next Level

Sunday, November 6th, 2005

Ordered and received the requisite training materials to pursue getting a real estate broker’s license. From what I can tell, it appears the absolute soonest I could possibly be eligible to take the broker exam would be May of 2006; 12 months experience. Normally it requires 24 months experience, but I believe my previous college courses will allow me to shorten the period. Checking into this in more detail.

Anyway, the five courses and their online tests must be completed before then. That should give me enough time but don’t want to wait until the last minute. With 40 hours per course, spread out over a month each, that should be achievable and still let me have a life.

In the meantime, continuing to work the phones and the network. Actually having people return calls!!!

Austin law secures $12.5M settlement in whistleblower suit

Saturday, November 5th, 2005

Austin law firm Lawrence Arenella & Satija LLP secured a $12.5 million settlement against Fluor Corp. on behalf of Cosby Coleman, a 15-year employee who worked in the company’s Sugar Land government contracting office.

The settlement, entered in federal court in Santa Ana, Calif., goes to the federal government and the whistleblower. Coleman and his attorney will receive $2.75 million of the whistleblower’s share of the settlement, plus Fluor will pay legal fees.

The suit alleges that, from 1995 to 1998, Fluor knowingly overbilled the government under several contracts held by its Fluor Daniel subsidiary (now known as Fluor Enterprises) with the U.S. Energy and Defense departments.

“This has been an incredible David versus Goliath battle for both Cosby Coleman and our firm,” says Paul Lawrence, a partner with Lawrence Arenella & Satija.

Fluor (NYSE: FLR – News) provides engineering, procurement, construction, operations, maintenance and project management services. The company is based in Aliso Viejo, Calif., but is moving its headquarters to the Dallas area.

Lawrence filed Coleman’s whistleblower case in California in March 2000, alleging Fluor Daniel used a fictitious accounting entity, Fluor Daniel Federal Operations, to recover corporate overhead costs that weren’t proper under the government’s cost accounting standards.

The costs disputed by Coleman included multimillion-dollar bonuses paid to Fluor’s management, $13.2 million invested in raw land, $7.3 million for improvements to office buildings Fluor leased to other companies, $2.6 million for construction of a parking garage Fluor leased to another company, $410,000 spent for luxury condos in Palm Springs, Calif., $1.8 million for a fine art collection, $75,000 for Mercedes-Benz convertible driven by the company’s president and $20,000 for an antique Chippendale chair.

Coleman alleges he made numerous attempts to point out the violations to senior management, but no action was taken.

Fluor’s general counsel, Larry Fisher, says the settlement “avoids substantial further litigation costs in what could have been a lengthy and complex legal proceeding.”

He says he thinks the company ultimately would have prevailed in the case.

“After careful management consideration and review, it was determined that a settlement without admitting any wrongdoing would allow the company to focus on current and future operations without further distraction,” Fisher says.

Bird Flu Protection Package

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2005

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