Friday, August 18, 2000

Faulty missile trailers bring $1M fine

Batavia company built vehicles for military

By Tom O'Neill
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A Batavia company is part of a $1 million fine over nonregulation nuclear missile transport trailers it built, the U.S. Justice Department announced Thursday.

        Ellis and Watts, an unin corporated division of Elkhart, Ind.-based Dynamics Corp. of America, built 33 trailers in 1992 and '93 for the Air Force and Navy, the Justice Department said.

        After delivery of the trailers, the Air Force discovered numerous electrical and mechanical defects in them. Then in 1995, Ellis and Watts built a custom trailer designed to hold sophisticated electronic equipment for the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Dahlgren, Va., and violated its contract by installing an old, damaged trailer shell from its yard, the government said.

        A phone call to Ellis management Thursday was not returned.

        The government did not allege that the substandard work led to any injuries or illnesses.

        “This settlement demonstrates the department's ongoing efforts to ensure that the safety of the United States military and the transport of arms is not compro mised by faulty and substandard equipment,” said David Ogden, assistant attorney general in charge of the civil division.

        The government was tipped off by Michael J. Klump, a former Ellis and Watts employee. As a whistle-blower, Mr. Klump will receive 22 percent of the government's share of the fine.


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