Paging Mr. Grisham

| January 27, 2003 Issue

The St. Petersburg Times reports that Lockheed Martin IMS Corp, the giant known mostly for its defense contracting work, is being sued for fraudulent activity and harassment. The company had been facilitating a $15-million job training program for Pinellas County, and several people involved were complaining that the company was double-billing. Rick Dodge, then a Pinellas County official, and Janet Gifford-Meyers, a young attorney, were investigating the claims when Lockheed hired a local activist named Theresa “Momma Tee” Lassiter to, as the suit claims, run a smear campaign against them. Less than a year later, Dodge had been fired and Gifford-Meyers, having just given birth to her second child, committed suicide. According to Dodge, Lockheed was worried that allegations of fraud would hurt the company’s contract with Pinellas County. The suit claims that Lassiter went so far as to call Dodge and Gifford-Meyers repeatedly, threatening them and even asking the young lawyer, “How would you like to wake up tomorrow and not be a mother anymore?” Lassiter denies having harassed them, claiming that she worked for Lockheed as a “community liaison.”
Chuck Terhark

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