Sallyport Global Holdings filed a defamation lawsuit on Friday against two former employees who made false and misleading statements to the Associated Press about the company’s operations at Balad Air Force Base in Iraq.
The lawsuit claims the statements harmed Sallyport’s reputation and the company has notified the employees that it would not pursue the lawsuit if they issue a retraction on the public record.
“As this lawsuit makes clear, these former employees knew—as can be seen from their own internal reports and communications—that the statements they made about Sallyport were not true,” said attorney Lee H. Rubin of Mayer Brown.
“The misleading narrative created by these employees needs to be corrected and this lawsuit seeks to hold them accountable for the damage they caused to Sallyport’s reputation. Sallyport is a dedicated partner in the fight against terror and operates with transparency, integrity and accountability.”
While Sallyport strongly disputed the claims when the article was published, the company undertook a thorough investigation of the accusations and confirmed that claims made by the former employees were inaccurate and misleading.
In the wake of this review, Sallyport determined it was necessary to set the record straight about its operations in Balad. The lawsuit provides a detailed and truthful account of the events falsely described by the former employees.
According to the lawsuit, shortly after employees Robert Cole and Kristie King were terminated for inadequate performance, they made a number of false allegations about Sallyport, including that the company was involved in a sex trafficking ring and had concealed information about security breaches from the U.S. government.
The complaint shows that internal reports by King and Cole contradicted the claims they made in the news article. For example, regarding King and Cole’s accusations of prostitution and trafficking at Balad, the lawsuit notes that these employees wrote a report prior to their firing stating that the prostitution allegations were “unfounded” and “rumors.”
Another example of the false statements made by one of the employees is the accusation that Sallyport tried to cover up the theft of three large generators at the base. Verbal and written reports made to government representatives about the incident immediately after it occurred clearly establish that it was “openly investigated and reported to the Government.” Futhermore, the equipment at issue was stolen from an area of the base that Sallyport did not control and was not assigned to protect.
The lawsuit seeks damages against Cole and King for defamation and breach of contract.
Sallyport is a critical component of U.S. efforts in the war on terror and the fight against ISIS. The company currently has a contract to provide comprehensive life and logistics support, security, construction, and base operation support services at the largest Iraqi Air Base, supporting more than 4,000 resident contractors involved in the Iraqi Air Force F-16 Program.