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Military personnel tied to Fort Hood, Texas, have filed suit against BBG Communications, a San Diego-based company that charges stiff rates for credit card phone calls at airports around the world.

Sgt. Richard Corder paid $41 for a 4 second call he made home from the Leipzig airport, and became the major plaintiff in the suit, which is intended to be a class action.

Military personnel coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan must fly through Leipzig, and since they don't have cash, and the BBG phones don't accept calling cards, they must use credit cards at outrageous rates, says San Diego lawyer John Mattes, who with Alan Mansfield has a similar case against BBG in San Diego.

A Texas lawyer is also involved for the plaintiffs in Waco. Mattes says 40,000 troops a month go through the Leipzig airport and are stuck with the BBG phones.

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bbgvictim Oct. 19, 2011 @ 9:42 p.m.

I am a plaintiff on the other Mattes/Manfield case against BBG Communications, Inc. By understanding that no reasonable person would even consider the possibility of being charged $172 for about seven minutes of calls from a payphone using a debit card, brothers Gregorio and Rafael Galicot, the owners of BBG Communications, robbed $172 from my wife and me in Frankfurt Airport in 2009. I know well the game that BBG Communications’ defense will play in the Leipzig GI scam case. My case began in the standard way with a demand letter sent to BBG Communications. Here’s what the response I received from San Diego attorney Jerry Gumpel had to say in an attempt to deflect the wrongdoings of the Galicots to another country where the chances of bringing the Galicots and their BBG Scam to justice are exactly zero: “Please be advised that you addressed your letter to the wrong party. BBG Communications, Inc. does not provide telecommunication services for calls originating in Europe. The correct party to whom you should address your letter to is BBG Global AG, a Swiss corporation.”

Oh really, Mr. Gumpel, because here’s what the very website of BBG Communications, Inc. (bbgcommunications.com) has to say about the matter: “Our interconnect and billing arrangements enable us to directly carry and deliver telecommunications traffic and bill customers in Canada, Germany, Japan, UK, the US and virtually all countries with credit card transactions.” Hmmm. In defense of BBG’s scamming American soldiers in Leipzig, Sheppard Mullin attorney Fred Puglisi will keep repeating Gumpel's words. But really, Mr. Puglisi. Gregorio and Rafael are US citizens who live and work in San Diego, and they are subject to all laws of the United States and California. They do not live or work in Switzerland. BBG Global is a sham, a shell, a fraud, a scam, created only to avoid justice and to avoid taxes. The Galicots own BBG Communications, and they own BBG Global (whatever, if anything, that means). An attorney on yet another case against BBG has aptly described the Galicot brothers as a pair of pants with two pockets called BBG Communications and BBG Global. If you go to BBG Global’s tiny office in Switzerland during business hours, don’t expect to find anyone there. The Swiss office is a far cry from the glorious building their website shows (which just happens to be the United Nations building). They don’t have a single employee in Switzerland who works full time for them, and they don’t even list a contact telephone on their glitzy, phony website. The demand letter to BBG Global in Switzerland that Jerry Gumpel suggested was hand delivered to their office by an attorney for my case. A year later that letter is unanswered.

It’s time for Gregorio, Rafael, Jerry, and Fred to call it a night. Shame on all of you for scamming the GI's who sacrifice so much on your behalf!


Don Bauder Oct. 20, 2011 @ 7:30 a.m.

This was the gist of my column on BBG Aug. 10. The company's law firm, Sheppard Mullin, keeps saying that people who paid outrageous amounts should sue the Swiss operation, not the San Diego company. But the Swiss operation is part of the parent BBG. It is my understanding that Judge Battaglia, who is handling the San Diego case, rejected that argument when Sheppard Mullin attempted to have the case thrown out. Best, Don Bauder


SurfPuppy619 Oct. 20, 2011 @ 12:26 p.m.

The lawyer here, John Mattes, is the same guy was was working as a field reporter for Fox News here in San Diego when he uncovered a mortgage scam and the guy whom he busted, a "Sam" Assad Suleiman, who along with his girlfriend, attacked Mattes. Those two clowns did a deal and spent less than a year in County, which IMO was way too light for the attack that went down. Sam Suleiman did get his real estate license revoked over that scam.

As for the phone company, hopefully they get taken to the cleaners and lose all of their ill gotten booty. Ripping off the already grossly under compensated military is the bottom of the barrel.


Don Bauder Oct. 20, 2011 @ 2:57 p.m.

Yes, Mattes was a Fox scam reporter in San Diego, and had other media jobs. Then he went into law and began chasing scams in class action suits. Best, Don Bauder


SurfPuppy619 Oct. 20, 2011 @ 12:33 p.m.

I wouldn't be surprised if they end up BK after Sheppard Mullin is finished billing them at $500 an hour.


Don Bauder Oct. 20, 2011 @ 2:58 p.m.

Sheppard Mullin has had a very snug relationship with BBG for a long time. Best, Don Bauder


Twister Oct. 21, 2011 @ 7:27 a.m.

Working angles is nothing new, and a history of wiggling out of the clutches of the law has long been a feature of the unearned increment classes, but we frogs continue to do a slow boil.

But with the advent of rapid communication, a spirit of sharing and of commonality, not to mention old-fashioned bravery and courage, we frogs are becoming more an more hot-blooded. The Arab Spring may have been a relative teapot-tempest, but it had substance--substance that is becoming more and more explosive.

The kind of rage we have recently seen toward dictators and their goon squads may well backfire as dictators, too, decide they have noting to lose, hence will loose the dogs of war upon the multitudes.

"Some one had blunder'd. Theirs not to make reply, Theirs not to reason why, Theirs but to do and die. Into the valley of Death . . ."

The multitudes will die, but their sheer numbers will eventually overwhelm, when the "indirect" goons, working in the munitions plants, looking into the looking-glass and seeing, at long last, frogs walk out into the arms of the rest, and the dictators at every level will be seen no more as saviors, as "job-creators" but as temperature controllers ratcheting the heat up, up, up, ever higher.

Lacking sufficient drones to manufacture drones and other suicidal products, the dictators, having doled out their last job, will find themselves staring, like Edna St. Vincent Millay's dull cutworm, staring upward at the spade.


Don Bauder Oct. 21, 2011 @ 9:07 a.m.

We frogs have to jump out of the pot and start raising some hell. Best, Don Bauder


SurfPuppy619 Oct. 21, 2011 @ 3:51 p.m.

I have told many people recently that these Occupy Wall Street [whatever] protests could easily turn into Rodney King type riots.

Mark me words, it won't take much of an incident to set off this powder keg. The 75% of the people who are in the lower and middle class haver had it with the scamming, with the scams all being legitimized through the Conmgress and Courts.


Don Bauder Oct. 22, 2011 @ 8:41 a.m.

It's more than 75% in the lower and middle class. Best, Don Bauder


nan shartel Oct. 22, 2011 @ 12:31 p.m.

puppy they just need to not get the name of "fomenting revolution"

that would put a death nail in it


Twister Oct. 21, 2011 @ 2:44 p.m.

I would like to hear suggestions as to how we frogs can be most effective with a minimum of croaking. Or being croaked.


Don Bauder Oct. 22, 2011 @ 8:43 a.m.

Occupy Wall Street is a great start. Now escalate. It's time for more people to pull accounts from the larger banks, stop buying products of companies whose CEOs make outrageous salaries, etc. Best, Don Bauder


nan shartel Oct. 22, 2011 @ 12:28 p.m.

why Don!!!!

i can't believe it...there is a little Jean Valjean in u afterall!!!

this little frog will meet u at the protest!!!!


Don Bauder Oct. 22, 2011 @ 9:38 p.m.

Journalists can't go to protests except as reporters. Somebody from NPR just got fired for participating in OWS, or something like it. Best, Don Bauder


nan shartel Oct. 23, 2011 @ 2:12 p.m.

i can understand that Don...balanced journalism and all ...but opinions count 2...especially when the word needs to get out...


Ponzi Oct. 23, 2011 @ 12:02 p.m.

Lisa Simeone was fired from her job as the host of Soundprint.

Soundprint is an independent public radio program that is not produced by NPR.

Simeone was fired for her involvement with the October 2011/Stop the Machine protests. Not Occupy Wall Street of Occupy D.C.

NPR had no contact with the managers of Soundprint before Simeone’s firing.


nan shartel Oct. 23, 2011 @ 2:15 p.m.

ya know this sounds like mental handcuffing to me..can't a journalist do what they want on their own time??

or r disguises in order :(

it's so close to Halloween...maybe Don could wear his POOH costume


DonB55 March 1, 2012 @ 9:11 a.m.

In an area that is largely supported by and for the Armed Forces of these United States I find that it is without a doubt in my mind that you, the people of San Diego, and BBG in particular, along with your already screw ball court system, is without any merit at all. You have done more to harm the troops aand sailors and airmen than any other region in this country. As a result of which, I will not be submitting my transfer papers to even begin to think about re-locating to an area that basically deserves what it gets: more crime, more gangs and the violence that comes with it and more of the Federal presence that all in all....should, either remove So. Calif from the rest of the country and just simply give it back to where it came from due to one aspect: You're all so screwed up and hell bent to get your share of the pie you don't give a s##t one way or the other who you harm or run over . You get what you deserve BBG....and I for one advocate your total overthrow and loss of profits.


worldtraveler546 March 2, 2012 @ 10:17 a.m.

When I was in Warsaw, Poland......I paid pretty much the same rate.


Vinnydownunder March 2, 2012 @ 10:55 a.m.

In my experience isn't this the normal rate for international calls?


Burwell March 2, 2012 @ 1:53 p.m.

Don Bauder was the first journalist to cover this story. The New York Times recently discovered the story, and Senator Boxer is demanding an investigation. I the DOJ will soon be after BBG Communications and its owners.


SurfPuppy619 March 2, 2012 @ 2:08 p.m.

Last- as B said- Don started the ball rolling on this story, and it has now gone national-hat tip to Don-best business reporter around (have been saying and believing that the last 30 years).


annb456 March 2, 2012 @ 3:31 p.m.

I think I paid the same rate on a couple different pay phones when I used this service while in Europe to call California


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