But with stiff competition from other more seasoned outfits, how did the relatively young HillStone land the contract?
Well, as is usually the case in situations like this, a little political help may have been involved. And in the case of Hill, that help may have been executive vice president of Hill International’s housing subsidiary James Biden, brother of Vice President Joe Biden.
“Since November 2010, James Biden has been the executive vice president of Hill International’s housing subsidiary despite little if any documented work history in residential construction,” Fox Business reports.
“And if the company’s projections are accurate, both Hill and Biden are on the verge of a huge payday, beneficiaries, some analysts believe, of James Biden’s connections to the Obama Administration through his older brother,” the report adds.
Lord knows the company could use the deal: Hill has been steadily losing money since 2011 and its shares are currently trading for $3.82, down 28 percent this year on the NYSE. But the Iraq deal, if it ever gets underway, could see the company’s profits boom.
“I think these guys will come through,” one former Hill executive told Fox, referring to the delay of the project’s start date. “You have to realize that these guys are relentless businessmen and they have the right connections.”
The project is expected to bring in about $1.5 billion over the next three years.
And you know who stands to profit handsomely?
“[A] chunk of that $1.5 billion will flow to the biggest connection Hill has to government: James Biden. Hill International owns a 51% stake in HillStone; a group of minority partners, including Biden, hold the rest,” Fox reports.
“That means that the minority partners would split roughly $735 million, pocketing millions of dollars even after expenses are paid,” the report adds.
Not a bad payout at all.
“There’s plenty of money for everyone if this project goes through,” Hill International’s chief executive, Irv Richter, who founded the company 40 years ago, is quoted as saying.
And Hill may have someone to thank for it. Indeed, as Hill president David Richter allegedly once said: It helps to have “the brother of the vice president as a partner.”
But Richter is also claims James Biden isn't totally responsible for the contract.
“Listen, his name helps him get in the door, but it doesn’t help him get business,” Richter said of Biden. “People who have important names tend to get in the door easier but it doesn’t mean success. If he had the name Obama he would get in the door easier.”
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Click here to read the full, in-depth report. All photos courtesy the AP.