American Alan Gross says a reckless desire for profit drove a Maryland contractor, leading to hasty decisions that may have made it easier for Cuban authorities to capture him in December 2009.
Authorities jailed Gross while he was carrying out work under a USAID contract called, "Cuba Democracy and Contingency Planning Program."
Published reports say Gross received more than $500,000 for his work, which involved smuggling satellite gear and other equipment into Cuba so that people would be able to establish Internet connections that didn't depend on the government network.
Development Alternatives Inc., or DAI, of Bethesda, Md., hired Gross to carry out the work.
I looked at contract information available in public records and it appears to me that DAI lost $21,452,813 in future receipts after Gross was arrested and USAID cancelled the contract.
Below is what USAID paid DAI under the $28,310,630 contract:
- Aug 14, 2008 - $2,000,000
- Sep 30, 2008 - $2,000,000
- May 18, 2009 - $1,000,000
- Aug 18, 2009 - $1,000,000
- Sep 29, 2009 - $853,976
- Sep 30, 2009 - $3,841
In a Nov. 16 lawsuit against DAI and the federal government, Gross says greed motivated the contractor. If that's true, the pursuit of money may have also prevented the company from completing the contract and collecting $21 million.
But don't feel too sorry for DAI. USAID has given the company more than $4 billion since 2000 for projects around the world.
The real loser is Gross, now serving a 15-year prison term, his wife, Judy, and the rest of their family.