When Bunnitine "Bunny" Greenhouse called out an Iraq contractor for using its own cost projections to obtain a multi-year contract with her employer, the Army Corps of Engineers, she had no idea that she would lose her security clearance, be physically harmed at the office, or that she would ultimately lose her job. But that is exactly what happened.
Greenhouse was the civilian procurement executive for the Army Corps when she objected to the bidding process used by Haliburton subsidiary Kellog Brown & Root to land the contract. In the wake of voicing her objection, she was demoted, her pay was cut and her security clearance was revoked. On top of that, someone installed a trip line in her office which tripped her and caused a painful knee injury.
Rather than accept these developments, Greenhouse fought back as a whistleblower. This week, a U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. approved a payment of $970,000 to settle her case against the Army Corp for the retaliation it took against her. The amount reflects full restitution for lost wages, compensatory damages and attorney’s fees. While she feels vindicated and now knows that she can move on, she retired last Friday after 29 years of government service without her prior position or her top security clearance. It is not how she planned to end her career.
Greenhouse’s efforts have also led to sweeping reforms in how government contracting is done which has ended the abuses Greenhouse had the gumption to talk about. There is some justice in the world.
Bret Hanna of Wrona DuBois in Utah, focuses exclusively on litigating plaintiffs’ medical malpractice and catastrophic personal injury cases. He has represented clients in state and federal courts, in mediations, and in administrative proceedings in Michigan and Utah since 1991.