Mapping The Real Deal: Piracy on the Delaware

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I reviewed the original opinion issued by the appeals court, which
summarizes what happened at the district court level and rules against Paul
Atkinson as relator in the qui tam action against Penn Shipping.  Sun
Shipbuilding was actually named in the second amended complaint together
with Penn Shipping, but was dropped from the third amended complaint for
some reason, possibly on the theory that the second amended complaint was
still in effect and they did not have to be re-named.

This is a very complicated case procedurally, and the arguments and court
findings on the jurisdictional issues are almost unintelligible, as is the
case in many False Claims Act cases.  The attorney letter asking Solari to
remove the article from its website repeats an assertion made by the appeals
court that the defendant had won on the merits of the case and had been
“vindicated.”  That is an interesting assertion, given that the case went
against Atkinson on jurisdictional grounds, not on the basis of a finding
that his allegations were not true.  The lower court did find that
Atkinson’s pleadings did not provide sufficient support for one of his many
counts, viz, that there was a conspiracy to defraud the government by the
trustee (First Fidelity) and Penn Shipping.  On appeal, however, the entire
case hinged on whether Atkinson was the original source for the allegations
against the defendant, not on whether the allegations were true.  For
various reasons (most of which, from my perspective, didn¹t hold water under
the original intent of the statute, although they may be consistent with
case precedent) the appeals court held that Atkinson was not the original
source for the allegations.  On one count, e.g., it held that he was not the
original source for the fact that Penn Shipping had fraudulently failed to
record a mortgage interest in favor of the Navy in real estate records (as
it said it would and should have done under its contract with the Navy)
because the real estate records are public documents!  In another instance,
the information in the complaint was held to be ³based upon² information
revealed in Atkinson’s co-relator’s FOIA request response, even though that
response came after the original complaint (because it was public before the
last amendment to the complaint was filed).

The court¹s order enclosed with the attorney’s letter to Solari relates to
an appeal that Atkinson lost in relation to the payment of legal expenses of
the defendant the bulk of which were fore depositions.  Atkinson argued that
he should not have to pay the victorious party’s expenses because his case
was not frivolous or vexatious.  The holding in this part of the case was
that the standard for awarding legal fees against the loser was not whether
it had filed  a frivolous or vexatious case, but rather whether the award
was “just”. The appeals court held that it was not an abuse of discretion
for the lower court to find the award “just”, particularly in light of the
fact that Penn Shipping endured lengthy litigation in which it ultimately
prevailed based upon its early jurisdictional challenge and that the court
had earlier warned Atkinson that he might not be able to amend his complaint
to satisfy the pleading requirements of the False Claims Act statute.

Piracy on the Delaware

Introducing Paul Atkinson’s Story of How the Bush Boys, Sun Oil, the U.S. Navy & the Philadelphia Upper Crust Profitably Destroyed a Great Shipbuilding Business & It’s Hometown of Chester, Pa.

See Picture

by Catherine Austin Fitts

Once in a while a story comes along that is so important that I am inspired to write an introduction to persuade others of the value of reading it. “Piracy on the Delaware” by Paul E. Atkinson, former President of Sun Shipbuilding, is such a story.
I grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and watched my modest yet lovely neighborhood full of stoops and row houses in West Philadelphia destroyed by narcotics trafficking and HUD mortgage fraud. As the working class and minority communities of Philadelphia were devastated by organized crime, the large banks, insurance companies, corporations and university hospitals and endowments of Philadelphia grew ever richer. As a child, I was inspired to learn how money works in the hopes of finding a way to persuade the rich and powerful to profit from the success of communities, rather than their destruction.

I met Paul Atkinson two years ago as a result of his efforts to right the naval fraud that had destroyed Sun Shipbuilding in Chester, Pennsylvania. Chester is on the outskirts of Philadelphia, along the Delaware River south of the Philadelphia Navy Base, the Philadelphia Port and it’s significant oil refinery complex.

The naval fraud that destroyed Sun Shipbuilding, a subsidiary of Sun Oil, was an integral part of the organized crime epidemic that has destroyed the Philadelphia work force and communites along with financial fraud, money laundering and narcotics trafficking. Whether drugs or business and financial fraud, this is the dark side of how the military intelligence and central banking complex fuel the global rise of the financial industry and large corporations. Under the light of full transparency regarding government resources, the dirty secret of globalization can be revealed. Large banks and corporations can not compete on the merits in a free and lawful marketplace without dirty tricks, illegal subsidies, padded government contracts and credit and covert intervention.

Getting to know Paul has been a remarkable experience. Paul is an outstanding businessman. His knowledge about what it takes to build, market and finance a business and to hire, motivate and lead people is first rate. After more than a decade of trying to understand the black budget fraud that destroyed his former business, Paul has a knowledge of Iran Contra, black budget fraud and covert military intelligence and operations that is highly unusual for a corporate executive of his experience and skills. He is joined in his efforts by the former head of research at Sun Shipbuilding, Gene Schorsch. Together, they are a formidable executive team.

One of the great myths of globalization is that manufacturing in the US is moving abroad because it is economic to do so. The truth of globalization is that it is not economic. It is the use of governmental powers and resources in combination with warfare and organized crime to centralize economic and political power in a manner that shrinks wealth. There is no finer example of the real deal on globalization than the story of Sun Shipbuilding and it’s hometown of Chester, Pa.

The greatest economic engine of a community is knowledge. What do we know how to build, to grow, to make that is useful? Great business enterprises organize people and tools in a learning environment that creates wealth – for the employees, for the investors and for the surrounding community. When you destroy such an enterprise, you also destroy an ecosystem and the rich intellectual capital that gives it vitality and creates wealth and purpose. Destroy such an enterprise and you destroy the primary source of learning and relevancy in the community. Destroy such an enterprise and you destroy a powerful constitutency for transparency and accountability in government. Without businesses like Sun Shipbuilding, we will not have communities.
What this means is that the success of Paul Atkinson and Gene Schorsch efforts to illuminate and right the Sun Shipbuilding fraud are critical to all who seek transparency and accountability in government, an open and free society and sustainable communities.
For those who want to understand how the US military-banking complex is using the destruction of our great manufacturing enterprises and our communities to finance globalization and to line their personal pockets, “Piracy on the Delaware” is a must read.

For citizens and activists who wish to make serious headway on their issues – whether peace, environment, social justice, globalization or economic inequality — real transformation will happen when we vote with our time, money, and attention for honest business leaders like Paul Atkinson and Gene Schorsch who have the capacity to dedicate a life time to the hard and rigorous building of honest and useful economic enterprise.

Piracy on the Delaware
by Paul E. Atkinson
Published by
Sanders Research Associates, London May 2004