Much has been made of Obama’s President’s Day golfing weekend in Florida – from it’s cost to his questionable choices over his playing partners- but little has been reported about the questionable background of Democratic donor Jim Crane who hit the links alongside the President and Woods.
Obama and the ‘boys’ – among them Woods, US trade representative Ron Kirk and Houston Astros owner Crane – have done their best to downplay the trip. Like Tiger said, it was ‘just a great round of golf.’ No doubt for him it was. But there is no such thing as ‘just a round of golf,’ for Jim Crane.
This is a man whose company’s business practices have been the subject of several investigations, costly legal suits and eye-watering settlements and whose own methods have drawn excoriating criticism.
In 2006 Eagle paid $4million to settle a civil suit brought by the Department of Justice alleging that the company had inflated the cost of military shipments to Iraq, allegedly adding $0.50 per kilogram of freight from Dubai to Baghdad.
They paid a further $300,000 in 2007 and $750,000 in 2010 to settle allegations of kickbacks. Ultimately Eagle paid a fine of $4,486,120 and fired two senior executives – conditions made by the Department of Justice for dropping the case in which Eagle was one of several companies charged with price-fixing shipments to Iraq.