|Pflieger: greener pastures|
As tipped by Coupfourpointfive two weeks ago, Pflieger is departing these shores although there's no mention of what venture he's heading to apart from returning to the United States; judging from the number of pages he's dedicated to his 'accomplishments' on the internet, he's aiming high.
|Wilbur F Foster|
"When he came to Fiji, the airline was in crisis and facing extreme financial difficulties. With skill, determination and his experience, he turned it around and made it profitable. He also built the much needed team spirit with all the Air Pacific personnel that turned it into a highly effective team.'
Insiders say, though, that Pflieger has in actual fact already left the country and that he flew out last Thursday night in a huff. He's understood to be unhappy with a few things, primarily the lobbying against his choice of new planes by cargo handlers and agricultural exporters via the Agricultural Permanent Secretary, Francis Kean.
Both sectors apparently bitched about the limited cargo capacity and the operating of small aircraft to Australia, again over cargo capacity.
Pflieger was the first of the foreigners keen to exert their influence on the regime through Frank Bainimarama and Khaiyum.
Many continue to insist he concocted his flying pedigree and management experience.
The regime has hailed him though for rebranding Air Pacific and the purchase of three new Airbus A330s aside. No mention of workers being overlooked for costly offshore consultants. No mention, too, of the pilots who were forced out of jobs, pilots who went on to great jobs with other airlines. No mention either of Pflieger using NFP funds to buy the new planes or to make the books look like it had made a genuine profit.
And no mention of the National Essential Decree, which he helped hatched.
Coupfourpointfive revealed in 2011 that Pflieger hired a leading law firm in the United States to draft the ENI Decree.
He had lobbied the regime and then found the expertise to draft it.
Our evidence showed an invoice for 24.25 hours of work done by the US law firm, MILBANK, TWEED, HADLEY & McCLOY LLP, which was sent to David Pflieger on June the 8th, 2011, requesting Air Pacific wire $USD 23, 943.75 or FJD $43,200.00 to them.
The work was done between February 10, 2011 and May 8, 2011 and was mostly carried out (24hours) by MILBANK partner, Wilbur F Foster Jr, with the international company being paid in US currency.
The cover page of the invoice we produced in our story was addressed to Pflieger and referred to work done by MILBANK on Air Pacific/Proposed Insolvency Law. Tasks involved included conference calls, reading the draft decree (this is the decree Coupfourpointfive reported in May), corresponding with Air Pacific and dealing with MILBANK lawyers Evan Fleck and Dennis Dunne.
Work carried out also involved corresponding on the draft decree with Air Pacific lawyer, A Siwatibau. We established A Siwatibau was from the Suva law firm of Siwatibau & Sloan. A (Atu) Siwatibau and James Sloan are partners in the firm, who were appointed Air Pacific's lawyers after the regime directed the airline not to use Munro Leys.
That particular invoice in question amounted to hundreds of thousands of dollars and clearly shows Wilbur Foster Jnr's hourly rate is USD$995 or FJD $1800 an hour.
Below, the letter showing Pflieger's thumbprint on the ENI decree.
30 August 2011
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:
I confirm that Air Pacific Limited, a limited liability company of Fiji, in which the majority shares are owned by the Fiji Government, has retained Marshall-James of Kent
House, Upper Mulgrave Road, Cheam, Surrey, UK, to work on its behalf on issues relating to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) complaint made against Fiji and
the airline. Andy Cook of Marshall-James has authority to procure services from third parties in this regard.
David H. Pflieger, Jr