National Air Cargo founder Christopher Alf said Tuesday he is back in charge of the freight forwarder after winning a key ruling in a dispute over the conflicts between commercial shipping practices and the rigid requirements of government contracts.
The Buffalo-based forwarder said Alf and his wife, Lori Alf, resumed their positions on National’s board of directors and the company now will be allowed to resume bidding on U.S. military contracts, a major part of its business before the government put the company under heavy restrictions during an investigation into fraud allegations.
Alf said in a statement a judge’s ruling granting a preliminary injunction against the government’s debarment action “vindicates” him in a case going back several years.
The dispute has been watched closely in the forwarding industry because it highlighted the gap between what many executives said were routine and even cost-saving commercial business practices against the strict, inflexible parameters of military contracting.
A government investigation alleged National Air Cargo had misidentified expedited U.S. Air Force shipments meant to move by air cargo but which were transported by truck. National said the shipments were transported by the fastest and most economical means possible, which sometimes meant goods moving between remote locations were handed off to readily available trucks for direct transport.
Alf sued the U.S. Air Force after the debarment and U.S. District Judge Ricardo Urbina recently granted him a preliminary injunction against the debarment, saying the government’s actions were “logically flawed.” The government responded to the injunction by withdrawing the proceedings against Alf and his company.
“We are relieved that after fighting for this long that the judge found this case fundamentally flawed and lacking legal merit,” Alf said in a statement. “It was worth fighting for our innocence."