Ex-Ambassador Joseph Wilson’s ‘Embarrassing’ Emails To Hillary Are Part Of Bitter Legal Battle
Former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson caused “embarrassment” to a company he consulted for by lobbying then-Sec. of State Hillary Clinton in an email he sent through her longtime friend and ally, Sidney Blumenthal, according to court documents obtained by The Daily Caller.
The company, Symbion Power, made the claim in response to a lawsuit filed in New Mexico last week by Wilson, who served as ambassador to Gabon and São Tomé and Príncipe during the Bill Clinton administration.
Wilson claims that Symbion and its co-founders, Paul Hinks and Lord Richard Westbury, engaged in fraud, breach of contract and civil conspiracy by failing to pay him more than $280,000 in consulting fees and by misrepresenting itself as an American company.
Wilson asserts that Symbion is a group of companies organized under the laws of Cypress, where Westbury resides. He also says that his professional reputation has suffered through his association with the company, which has recently focused on building power plants in Africa.
In response to the suit, Symbion claims that Wilson overstated his importance to the company, did not generate new business, and perpetuated lies of his own.
Wilson began consulting for Symbion in June 2009 after meeting Hinks, who co-founded the company four years earlier. The gig paid Wilson $20,000 a month, though Wilson says he has not been paid in 13 months. Symbion claims that the agreement between Wilson and Hinks was never put in writing and is “at will.”
The State Department’s release of Clinton’s emails shed significant light on Wilson’s work on behalf of Symbion, as TheDC documented in July. (RELATED: After An Email To Hillary, Company Directed By Former Ambassador Won Lucrative African Contract)
Though neither Wilson nor Symbion are registered as lobbyists, the former diplomat directly pitched Clinton on his company’s behalf beginning in Sept. 2009.
On Sept. 30, 2009, Blumenthal, the loyal Clinton insider, informed Clinton that Wilson would be present at an African business summit at which she was scheduled to appear.
“Pls be sure I see Joe,” Clinton wrote to two of her aides.
Wilson referenced the meeting in an Oct. 6, 2009 email sent, again, through Blumenthal. In that email, Wilson first mentioned his work for Symbion.
“We think the model is well adapted to Africa and have already begun work on a training center in Tanzania, where we will be bidding on all of the upcoming MCC [Millennium Challenge Corporation] financed power generation and distribution projects,” Wilson wrote.
“I tell you all this, not to tout Symbion (about which I am very enthusiastic) but let you know that we are doing much of what you have been advocating in your public comments about human capacity development.”
In its counterclaim, Symbion cited a similar email Wilson sent to Clinton via Blumenthal on Nov. 10, 2009.
Wilson asked Clinton for a meeting to discuss Symbion, whose “success in the most difficult and dangerous environments has been very impressive.” Wilson also referenced a “four minute video that Sid gave you on my behalf.”
Clinton’s response to Blumenthal is heavily redacted. It has also been deemed to contain information classified as “confidential.” That despite Clinton’s claims that she did not send or receive classified information.
Clinton responded to Wilson in a separate email chain saying that she was out of the country and could not meet with him. The pair made plans to schedule a visit for the future.
In its response to Wilson’s suit, Symbion disputed that Wilson influenced the government’s decision to award the Tanzanian contract. It also appeared to address TheDC’s coverage of Wilson’s lobbying effort as “utterly inaccurate speculation.”
The company also asserted that Wilson took credit for services he did not render on behalf of Symbion. One of those was an appearance Clinton made at a Symbion plant in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on June 13, 2011.
“Although Wilson was not present during this visit, he often inaccurately boasted that the Secretary of State decided to visit Symbion because of her friendship with him,” Symbion states.
The company claimed that Clinton’s visit was arranged by the U.S. Embassy in Tanzania and the MCC.
Symbion levels other accusations against Wilson, portraying him as an egomaniac who ceased working for the company because of a dispute over an equity stake.
The company accused Wilson of abusing the company’s policy for booking air travel and accommodations. He also allegedly berated Symbion employees at the company’s Washington D.C. office. And in another alleged unprofessional act, Wilson had lunch in the company’s conference room one day with three female staffers and consumed an entire bottle of wine.
The company also faults Wilson for introducing Hinks to Robert Cabelly, a shady American diplomat with experience in Africa. Wilson convinced Hinks to hire Cabelly in June 2009 for $15,000 per month in order to drum up business in Angola. But Symbion claims that Wilson purposely avoided telling the company that Cabelly was under indictment for violating U.S. sanctions against Sudan. Cabelly was formally indicted in Oct. 2009.
Symbion claims that Wilson’s relationship with the company went south after he began asking for an equity stake. The diplomat initially asked for a 5 percent share, but soon began seeking control of one-fifth of the company. Hinks rebuffed the request, which rankled Wilson. Through email, Wilson allegedly told Hinks that he planned to quit working for Symbion. And by April 2013, Symbion asserts that Wilson had ceased all work on behalf of Symbion. During a meeting in Washington D.C. later that month, Hinks claimed that Wilson told him “you do not want to get into a fight with me,” and that “I can destroy Symbion.”
Wilson declined TheDC’s request for an interview.