Wednesday, July 8, 2015

GSA releases more documents; reveals more Federal Laws broken, foreign money involved

A very significant release from GSA. Please read this.

This release contains correspondence involving the STORIS Museum and GSA as well as correspondence and documentation between the buyer, Mark Jurisich of US Metals Recovery, and GSA. There are a lot of new twists in this paperwork and some new questions of a legal nature.

Page 67 is particularly revealing, as Jurisich complains of the problems he is having because of STORIS Museum and the ship’s historic designation. No one in the Bay area wants to help him because they don’t want to have blood on their hands. The GLACIER fiasco probably played into that…but so did his attempts at leasing space in the Bay area to cut the ship with untrained, illegal immigrants as we were told by reliable sources.

We’ve also discovered that there was foreign money involved in the purchase of the ship. The buyer speaks of a foreign wire transfer, but no identification of where the money came from. Federal Laws require identification of funding for foreign wires greater than $10,000.

Again, this documentation is significant and will hopefully help lead to some serious investigation of the GSA activities with STORIS. The Federal Laws broken with the sale of the ship are stacking up.

The language of the STORIS Act and the audit in the legislation would encompass the ship sale activities with GSA as it relates to MARAD. We need the legislation to pass. Read these documents then constructively vent your disgust and frustration with what was allowed to happen by writing your legislator to get the STORIS Act passed as S 1511 in the Senate and HR 2876 in the House.

The cover letter is here:

The GSA documents are here:

P1- Correspondence from Jim Lukasiewicz, Sea Cadet contact referring to the two-year period that we were initially told it would take to acquire STORIS. Also note reference to GSA personnel calling STORIS a vessel, as she was larger than a “boat.”
P6- Bob King inquiry from Sen. Mark Begich’s office. GSA notes Mark Jurisich is high bidder, below reserve, GSA awarding ship in “best interests” of government.

P16- GSA conducted auction on Coast Guard’s behalf (illegally because of 40 USC 548, which mandates that MARAD disposes of vessels in excess of 1,500 tons. STORIS displaced 1,730.)

P18- Certificate of Financial Responsibility (for pollution abatement insurance in event of release) issued to US Metals

P19- Discussion from USCG about ship leaving the country - Kristina.N.Williams from the U.S. Coast Guard. Problem is, the ship should not have legally been allowed to leave the country for scrapping purposes.

P25- "Tonya Dillard - 4QSCA<>
To: ""<>
Thank you for the update
Enjoy the vessel"      Seriously? GSA knew he was scrapping her.       

P28 – Discussion between Jurisich and Dillard re: Commander Marsh from DOD and discussion of delivery of towing bridle for installation on ship – Addl discussion from Dillard about DOD being involved as far as moving the ship out of the country. Because STORIS was a military vessel, the State Department and Department of Defense had to be involved in authorizing export of the ship. This automatically should have prevented the ship’s export because under Section 3502 of the Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act of 2009, it is illegal to export US Government ships for foreign scrapping unless there is a compelling reason, no domestic means to do so, extenuating circumstances are involved and strict guidelines are met. That would not apply in STORIS’ case. The export was illegal as hell.

P29- towing certificate from CG (loadline exemption)

P30-33 Discussion of export license for STORIS through DOD

P34- Oct 15 deadline to move the ship; movement within US not require clearance from DOD – extensions of deadline costly to government per GSA’s Dillard. Ship wasn’t moved until Oct. 25.

P36- State Dept gives permission to move vessel

P38- Jurisich: can’t move vessel of STORIS’ size without lead time, says CG paid for MARAD storage until end of year (this is not true, as should be end of FISCAL year which would have been Sept 30. This is confirmed later in documents.) No indication who paid for the extra three+ weeks of storage at Suisun Bay.

P39- hard deadline from GSA to move by Oct 15 (message stream in reverse chronology)

P40- Jurisich complaining he can’t move ship under short notice and he and Dillard of GSA are being put under pressure, that they are not responsible for government shutdown

P50 – Another message stream re removal of ship-  Jurisich: shutdown is causing delay, need State Dept authorization to move ship

P55- Jurisich: under pressure from “our people” to get the boat moving. Reminded every day paid for ship three months ago. Who are “our people?”

P56- Dillard: Must be moved no later than Oct 31-  copied to Jeff Beach of CG and Jeff Siragusa of MARAD. Remember, Jeff Siragusa is the former Barletta scrapyard executive from Baltimore that walked away from scrapping operations on the East Coast, leaving MARAD holding the bag with two partially scrapped ships in Baltimore that were floating haz-mat disasters waiting to happen. Yet MARAD turned around and hired him.

P64- Must work with a nongovernmental agency to move ship to alternate domestic location

P67- Jurisich asking about export restrictions from GSA and Beach, told there were none. Also discussion of flagging for the ship, to reflag or not. Export issues of military equipment. In one breath it’s a matter of selling to the public, but according to DOD, the ship is military equipment, (therefore should fall under Duncan Hunter, but no mention of the Duncan Hunter domestic scrapping restriction).  Also issues where no one in Bay area wants to touch ship because of historic status. Jurisich can’t wait to get the ship out of the country because of the historic status and the STORIS Museum’s publicity and general awareness of the ship’s significance.

P72- More discussion about deadlines

P74- STORIS can’t be moved easily because she is anchoring IRIS and PLANETREE while powering other vessels. Jurisich describes conditions of how STORIS Museum got in contact with him. His description of the nature of the contact with STORIS Museum/Last Patrol is totally false, as he had an associate contact us. MARAD told us nothing, and other GSA paperwork shows that I had to FOIA for the buyer info. By the time I received the FOIA answer, we had already been in contact with Jurisich. We never asked Jurisich to have the ship donated to us for free. We may have offered him the chance to do so for a writeoff, but for the most part, STORIS Museum and Last Patrol were trying to negotiate a reasonable purchase price in combination with a tax deduction since both groups involved were IRS 501 c 3 nonprofits. Jurisich said there would be no benefit to a deduction, so he wasn’t interested.

P76- COFR discussion, again can’t move the ship because she’s anchoring IRIS and PLANETREE

P78- Demil code listing is “A” according to Beach. Correspondence with State Department

P82-83- Discussion of moving STORIS as military equipment to Mexico through ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations). Again, should have prevented export for scrapping.

P95- Discussion of paperwork through State Department DSP5 (Permanent export license)

P104- Load line exemption certificate and other requirements, CG Sector SF

P107- Discussion bet. Jurisich/Dillard regarding demilling of STORIS and State involvement

P109- Confirmed that storage paid for FY 2013, so after Oct 1, fees will be incurred. Fee of sale for $250,000 to STORIS Museum came up with Loback estimating that scrapping would cost $200,000. Actual scrap estimate given to me by Gary Whitney from Mare Island Ship Yard was $330,000 with haz-mat and labor, with best case scrap value of ship at appx. $290,000. This did not include insurance, towing or mooring fees, either, so how any profit could be made from scrapping STORIS is still highly questionable.

P113-118- Attempt by Dillard to get update from Jurisich

P119- Jurisich talks of CG inspection and determination whether COFR needed or not

P125- From late August, Dillard needs copy of COFR and status update

P126- Jurisich says has COFR, cost is $3500/month, ship was to be moved Aug. 28

P131-134 – POC for vessel tow at USCG

P135-36- COFR ready/signed

P137-139 -- Discussion of insurance/COFR issues with insurance underwriter

P140-141 through to 156- Correspondence dated July. Plan to tow to Alameda, ship in very good condition, laid up better than other CG vessels with fresh bottom paint, chests blanked, Jurisich discusses paperwork regarding clean of “all PCBs”

P157 -159 – email including correspondence with Jeff Sause towing company based in Oregon. Details of ship from GSA auction, nothing about export restrictions. Ship eventually towed by Pacific Tug. According to our West Coast tug expert, Sause is based in Oregon and does long-haul towing, particularly log barges to San Diego.

P161-168- Discussion about COFR, point of contact for pollution control center, discussion regarding Defense Logistics Agency and GSA bet Jurisich and Dillard. Jurisich speaks of wire for $50,100 coming in… from where? Unknown financial backer? Federal law requires that foreign wire transfers in excess of $10,000 must have identification of the money’s source. This is through the 1970 Bank Secrecy Act and the PATRIOT Act of 2001, some MAJOR federal laws. There is no indication in any of this correspondence that GSA requested to know where the foreign money was coming from.

P169-171 through to 183 - COFR discussion. Beach asks GSA when he can release name of buyer as STORIS Museum wants to discuss purchasing the ship as one of our backers was out of the country and we assumed ship would be relisted since reserve not met for auction.

P173- Bischoff specifically tells Beach that he is never authorized to tell who bought the ship. Make anyone who asks file a FOIA through GSA
P176- Reference to me asking for name of buyer, forcing me to FOIA, FOIA process streamlined, etc. It took almost a month to get a response just to find out who the buyer was and by that time, he had already contacted us through his intermediary and already gone through his extortion terms. GSA left my phone number in again that I had to resubmit to GSA to have redacted.

P180-181- More about FOIA, specifically Region 4 streamlined, but FOIA has to go through HQ to be assigned to region.

P184- STORIS awarded to Jurisich

P185-187- correspondence between Jurisich and Dillard, discussion of wiring of funds Internationally, again question through Federal Law as to where the money came from.

P188-197- Discussion between GSA, Jeff Beach and Jim Lukasiewicz, Sea Cadet contact, to claim STORIS under the public benefit provisions of disposal using the two-year timetable we had been given by GSA before they found the Section 106 MOA

P198-199- Forms for STORIS Museum to become eligible for GSA program Jim Loback’s personal information left in.

200-206- The 501 (c) (3) paperwork for STORIS Museum.

The next GSA release is supposed to come on or before August 7.

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