Contracting Trouble

For Halliburton Co. Chairman David J. Lesar, things are going from bad to worse. After first being accused of winning a huge defense contract in Iraq because of its former CEO, Vice-President Dick Cheney, the company now faces scrutiny of its handling of the contract. Pentagon auditors wonder if it overcharged for gas, which the company denies. Halliburton could also be embarrassed by a dining-hall-services bid. It estimated payments to a subcontractor of over $200 million, but that company already had a deal for nearly $70 million less. Halliburton and the Pentagon attribute the error to bad internal communications. The estimate was off by almost 50%, though: If this wasn't fraud, it sure looks like incompetence.

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