Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Monday WTF Files: Outrageous Fortunes

Gordon Gecko might contend that greed is good but I have my doubts.

Not so much doubt regarding whether greed falls on one side or the other of the good/bad divide, but how it can be justified to a seemingly willing participant?

I want to know.

A few years ago a local firm, 'Simpson & Lake Investigative Services' (not their real name), provided a number of services to a government-owned enterprise, Liquid Energy (not their real name either) to the tune of around $75,500 a month, for 20 months.

That's $1.5 million. For what, exactly?

And here I was thinking that Edward Banach was taking the piss.

Not too much is known about what SLIS actually did for Liquid Energy, except for what they got caught red-handed for. Over a three year period, SLIS were caught out planting GPS devices, covert CCTV surveillance, and bribing informants.

Liquid Energy were particularly concerned about the activities and intentions of an activist/protest group and wanted SLIS to provide threat assessments as well as monitor the activities of this group.

Somewhat embarrasingly, SLIS were caught out bribing students to inflitrate the group and act as informers. The very students that were 'recruited' ended up being whistleblowers, outing SLIS in the bargain.

Now I don't particularly have a problem with what SLIS attempted to do - although it does appear to have been a bit ham-fisted.

And I'm not assuming that the surveillance and intelligence-gathering operation on the protest group was the only service SLIS provided Liquid Energy.

What I do question, however, is how they could seriously entertain the notion that this group posed any real threat to Liquid Energy - to the extent that they could bill out the greater part of $1.5 million to their client and keep a straight face?

And that their client would just pay this without question...?

I have decided to try and court Liquid Energy myself since SLIS have embarassed themselves (and their client) a number of times publicly.

I have nothing to lose and, apparantly, quite a lot to gain.


  1. Ethical question for you, Mr. Anonymous.

    Since the allegations made against SLIS were apparently ordered by Liquid Energy, if you are successful in your attempt to gain the contract, will you do what SLIS did and comply with instructions passed down from the client or will you refuse and lose the client?

    1. I'm not certain that the questionable activities of SLIS were on the explicit instructions of Liquid Energy but, if they were, my position would be to counsel against any activity which is patently illegal or risks adverse publicity (unless the risk is far outweighed by the benefits of conducting that activity).

      I would argue that the same information might be obtained through other, more legitimate, channels with less risk of 'blowback'.

      If Liquid Energy were to insist upon a particular course of action that I believed to be irrational, I would have to think very long and hard about our future relationship.

      After all, I am nothing if not guided by principles of self-interest.