une 16, 2006, By MARGARET EBRAHIM and PAT MILTON, Associated Press Writers
As firefighters searched for survivors after the Sept. 11 attacks, heat from the World Trade Center’s smoldering ruins burned the soles off their boots. They needed new ones every few hours, and Chris Christopherson made sure they got them.
The disaster specialist was proud to dispatch replacement boots from the Long Island warehouse of a company paid by the government to manage rescue supplies donated by Americans. Then came the moment that crushed Christopherson’s faith.
His employer dispatched trucks to the warehouse and loaded hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of donated bottled water, clothes, tools and generators to be moved to Minnesota in a plot to sell some for profit, according to government records and interviews.
Dan L’Allier said he witnessed 45 tons of the New York loot being unloaded in Minnesota at his company’s headquarters. He and Christopherson complained to a company executive, but were ordered to keep quiet. They persisted, going instead to the FBI.
The two whistleblowers eventually lost their jobs, received death threats and were blackballed in the disaster relief industry. But they remained convinced their sacrifice was worth seeing justice done.