South Korea rules no conflict over big contract involving spouses
SEOUL — An Army Corps of Engineers district commander’s marriage to an engineer for a company that won a multimillion-dollar contract does not present a conflict of interest, the South Korean Ministry of Defense said Wednesday.
Far East District commander Col. Janice Dombi is married to Joseph Dombi, an employee with multinational engineering and construction firm CH2M Hill.
Joseph Dombi is also a West Point graduate and former army major.
The Englewood, Colo.-based CH2M Hill teamed with four South Korean companies to submit the winning bid for moving U.S. bases from Seoul to the Demilitarized Zone down to Camp Humphreys in Pyongtaek, about two hours south of Seoul.
During the request for qualifications from five groups of bidders last year, the five South Korean members of the 10-member choosing panel asked the U.S. members whether the applicant groups were eligible under U.S. law, according to a Wednesday defense ministry news release.
“The U.S. made it clear that the applicant company had no problem in qualifying for bidding, making sure that no problem existed in their domestic law,” the release stated.
Joseph Dombi hasn’t worked in his former position with CH2M Hill in South Korea for the past six months, a second ministry press release stated.
Col. Dombi was out of the country Wednesday on temporary deployment and unavailable for comment, Far East District spokesman Joe Campbell said.
USFK officials could not provide comment by press time.
The project’s contractor will work closely with Far East District on moving bases and constructing new facilities at Camp Humphreys. Originally set for the end of 2008, the move is now expected to be complete within four to five years.
CH2M Hill won the competitive bidding process as part of a consortium with South Korean companies Kunwon Engineering, Yooshin Engineering, ITM and TOPEC Engineering & Consulting.
The South Korean government has reserved 160 billion won, or about $173 million, to pay the group. U.S. Forces Korea has not disclosed how much it has set aside, but the two countries are expected to split overall relocation costs about evenly.
Although the group was selected as preferred bidder, it must still negotiate a contract with the two governments.
Privately held CH2M Hill had $3.15 billion in sales and 18,363 employees in 2005, according to Hoover’s business information service.
The selection committee based 70 percent of its bid evaluation on technical plans and 30 percent on a combination of cost, management plan, necessary work force and performance history, a South Korean defense ministry official said.