One Missing, One Dead: An Iraq Contractor in the Fog of War.

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Kyrgyzstan 2001

The story of contractor Ultra Services begins in September 2001 at an unlikely event: a wedding.

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Founded: April 2000
Locations: based in Moscow, Russia
Note: IPSOTEL conducted business in many locations including: Russia, Ukraine, Latvia, Armenia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, India and Egypt
Key Personnel:
John Dawkins -- General Director. Backed by a German financier

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Founded: May 1998
Locations: Delaware
Key Personnel:
Founded by relatives of Ramil Mullayanov, a citizen of Uzbekistan

Founded: late 2001
Locations: Uzbekistan
Note: Founded as a legal subsidiary or "daughter company" of Stratex Inc. John Dawkins made an initial investment in the new company. He was later forced out by the Uzbek partners in 2002. The company formally split with the American partners in July of 2003. After the split, the Americans discovered close to $75,000 of missing inventory on the books.
Key Personnel:
Ramil Mullayanov -- citizen of Uzbekistan
Naum "Neil" Emilfarb -- citizen of Uzbekistan
John Dawkins -- initial investor and 25% owner
Glen H. Lockwood -- General Director
Geoff Nordloh -- CFO

Founded: 2003 Locations: Kabul, Afghanistan
Note: Formed from the split of Stratex Freedom Services DP
Key Personnel:
Ramil Mullayanov -- citizen of Uzbekistan
Naum "Neil" Emilfarb -- citizen of Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan 2001 – Supporting the Troops

Within weeks of the wedding in Kyrgyzstan, the United States, in response to the attacks of September 11th, moved forces into Central Asia. With the possibility of working in Moscow no longer an option, Lockwood joined Dawkins to visit the newly leased7 Karshi-Khanabad (K2)8 base in Uzbekistan. The two initially approached the US Army offering to set up an IPSOTEL Internet café for American soldiers. The café would be built locally using pre-fabricated shipping containers. However, when the time came to complete the contract, the US Army no longer needed the Internet services of IPSOTEL. But the Army was in need of pre-fabricated buildings like the ones the local Uzbek partners could deliver.

Glen Lockwood went to work with Dawkins’ local Uzbek partners, Ramil Mullayanov and Naum “Neil” Emilfarb. The new business venture, now specializing in containerized buildings, was called Stratex Freedom Services DP. Through his initial investment, Dawkins owned 25% of the company.

From a legal standpoint, Stratex Freedom Services DP was originally a company registered in Uzbekistan. Officially, as translated from the Russian — a ‘daughter-company’ — from a Delaware company [owned by family of a Uzbek partner], called Stratex Inc.

Initially, Stratex Freedom Services DP was a locally registered company. Some time in September of ‘02, we registered Stratex Freedom Services LLC, in Delaware, so that we would actually have a more legitimate company presence in the United States. One that was not primarily controlled by the local partners. – Geoff Nordloh

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Founded: September 2002 Locations: Delaware
Note: Stratex Freedom Services LLC was created to give a more legitimate American presence to the company and as a result of ongoing tensions with the Uzbeki partners at Stratex Freedom Services DP. Stratex Freedom Services LLC had several legal subsidiaries registered in Uzbekistan. The company would later change its name to TFI International LLC in July 2003. The company initially subsidized part of Charles Phillips' salary as well as made an investment of $50,000 to Ultra Services.
Key Personnel
Glen H. Lockwood - CEO
Geoff Nordloh - CFO
Frank Edgerly - joined in late 2002

Founded: July 2003 Locations: Delaware
Note: TFI International LLC was the new company created thru a name change from Stratex Freedom Services LLC. TFI International LLC has had several legal subsidiaries registered in Uzbekistan such as TFI International DP, OOO TFI Furniture, etc. TFI International would later be approached to partner in a new company Irex Ltd.
Key Personnel:
Glen H. Lockwood - TFI CEO & President
Frank Edgerly - TFI Vice President
Mike McCall - TFI General Director - joined in early 2003
Randolph Lewis - Kyrgyzstan Country Manager
Mike Mertz - TFI CFO - joined in early 2005
Bertan F. Ersoy - Turkey Country Manager - joined in early 2004
Evgeny Rojkov - joined in late 2003
Geoff Nordloh - fired in early 2005 - still retains 22% ownership in TFI

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Founded: believed to have been founded in May 1998
Locations: Turkey Note: Microserve Mikro Sistemler ve Teknoloji Ltd. is the name used on website. Mete Mutluoglu also has companies Microserve Technology LLC registered in Pennsylvania and Microserve Technology, Inc in Virginia but it is unknown if any legal relationship exists with Microserve of Turkey.
Key Personnel:
Mete Mutluoglu - owner

Founded: May 2003 Locations: Iraq, Turkey
Note: Ultra Services was to be the name of a new company created from Microserve to be registered in Turkey. Mete Mutluoglu would own 50% thru Microserve while the other 50% would be owned by Stratex Freedom Services LLC thru its $50,000 investment. Stratex Freedom Services LLC was later renamed TFI International. John Dawkins was originally to have been a 25% owner in Ultra Services thru a 50% share of Stratex investment. Dawkins would pay in "sweat equity" as he would be working out of Iraq. It is not known if the legal paperwork necessary to establish Ultra Services in Turkey was ever completed by Mete Mutluoglu.
Key Personnel:
Mete Mutluoglu - 50% owner thru his company Microserve
John Dawkins - intended to be a 25% owner
Geoff Nordloh - informally the CFO - represented the interests of the investment from Stratex Freedom Services LLC but was never an officer or employee.
Ryan Manelick
Albert Charles Phillips
Kirk von Ackermann
Bora Tuncay
Egemen Çakmak

Charles was mostly in Turkey, ostensibly dealing with backside of operations, dealing with suppliers who were building the modular units — prefabricated types of construction.

I know that Charles made at least two trips into Iraq; he might have made two or three more. At first things seemed to be fine, and then later on there seemed to be this conflict that developed between Charles and John [Dawkins]. – Geoff Nordloh

Unsure of the changing nature of the company’s partnerships, and with John Dawkins vague on details, Nordloh was dealing almost exclusively with Phillips in overseeing Stratex’s $50,000 investment in Iraq. Even with the addition of Charles Phillips to Ultra Services, John Dawkins increasingly worked as an independent agent, while simultaneously securing contracts with the US Army. As work progressed, Phillips became the one who was communicating with the suppliers and the Stratex partners, while Dawkins avoided any discussion of the changing partnership. The Stratex partners were growing increasingly alarmed.

In effect, John operated as ‘John Dawkins’ doing business as ‘Ultra Services.’ There’s no such legal company. – Geoff Nordloh

Prior to arriving in Istanbul, Charles Phillips had worked for the software company Siebel Systems of San Mateo, California. While at Siebel, Phillips had met former Air Force Captain Kirk von Ackermann. Von Ackermann had experience working in combat zones, having been assigned to NATO intelligence operations in Kosovo.10 Through contact with Phillips while he was in Istanbul, von Ackermann would eventually join Ultra Services and begin traveling between Turkey and Iraq.

Kirk von Ackermann was ostensibly coming to work for the company, but the fact is that Charles brought him over. He saw Kirk getting involved as an opportunity to start not being dependent on John [Dawkins] for business development in Iraq. – Geoff Nordloh

By the time von Ackermann joined Ultra Services, Mete Mutluoglu was effectively no longer an active partner. Thus Von Ackermann’s salary would not need to be subsidized by Stratex Freedom Service LLC as Phillips' had. Phillips would pay his salary directly out of Ultra Services funds. Like Manelick, Kirk von Ackermann spoke a number of foreign languages, including Russian, which was useful in Istanbul with its large number of Russian ex-patriots.

As Ultra Services’ work progressed, Phillips was increasingly sending up alarms about Dawkins to Nordloh. He accused Dawkins of being disorganized and endangering people in Iraq. At one point Phillips reported Dawkins had driven up too quickly to a military gate, resulting in the car being fired upon. Phillips made it clear to Nordloh that he felt Dawkins was a risk. He also claimed to be nervous that Dawkins might withhold payments to Turkish suppliers.11

I spoke with [Kirk] once on the phone. It was at a point where, Charles had been reading the riot act, vis-à-vis John. At that point Kirk had been with John, had been into Iraq and I wanted to get his ‘take’ on the situation. He was a lot more mellow about the situation with John than Charles [was].” – Geoff Nordloh


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