Government pays cash to settle reenlistment lawsuit by former soldier

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by CHRIS INGALLS / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @cjingalls

KING5.com

Posted on July 27, 2012 at 11:08 PM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 12 at 3:50 PM

The U.S. Government denies any wrongdoing, but it has settled a thorny lawsuit with a former Washington National Guard soldier.

National Guard Sgt. Keith Jackson claimed that a reenlistment contract, that would have signed him on for another two years during the height of the Iraq war, contained signatures that were forged.

“The signatures, the initials, didn’t look anything like mine,” Jackson told the KING 5 Investigators this week echoing the claims in his five-year legal battle.

Attorneys for the United States Justice Department offered Jackson a written settlement and a $100,000 cash payment to end the case.  The government says the settlement “should not be construed as an admission of liability or fault on the part of the United States of America” and “it is specifically denied that they are liable to the plaintiff Keith J. Jackson.”

“Obviously, they wouldn’t have settled if they thought there was a way to fight this, and they did try to fight it,” said Jackson.

The Washington National Guard would not agree to on-camera interviews, but a spokesman said the Guard remains convinced that Jackson signed the re-enlistment documents and it stands by the two recruiters involved in the Jackson case.

In October of 2008, the KING 5 Investigators revealed that Jackson’s reenlistment contract indicates he signed the contract before a recruiter at an Issaquah recruiting station.  However, his travel records show that he was overseas at the time working as a private security contractor in Iraq.

Jackson still works as a security contractor in Afghanistan, and he hopes the settlement will  open up more opportunities for employment.  He says his active lawsuit against the government could have limited his private security work with the military or State Department. 

“You go to a potential project or contractor like that, they see this and they don’t want a whole lot to do with it. I don’t blame them,” said Jackson.

In contrast to the Jackson case, the Guard does believe a separate recruiter was responsible for at least two other reenlistment forgeries.   It determined that soldier Michael Patrick’s reenlistment contract was forged in 2006.  The recruiter who processed his paperwork, Sgt. Wendy H. Schaefer, left the Guard soon after. 

A potential recruit who contacted the KING 5 Investigators in 2010 also claimed that his signatures had been forged ten years earlier, after he met with Sgt. Schaefer.  The Guard agreed that his signatures had been forged.

The Guard says it referred both cases and Schaefer’s name to the FBI, but no action was taken.

 

 

 

 

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