Attorney Defends Indicted Exec

The attorney for Charles Hermanowski — the former chairman of Florida-based Americable International Inc. — claimed an indictment against his client stems from a dispute over contracts that the federal government rescinded without full reimbursement.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Miami recently released a 66-count indictment issued against Hermanowski last June. Hermanowski faces fraud and money-laundering charges in connection with some military-base cable franchises he once held.

Charges were filed with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

Attorney Donald Bierman of Miami said Hermanowski did build cable plant on the bases in question. Those sites — many of which have been mothballed — include several California sites, including a naval hospital in Oakland, a shipyard in Long Beach, naval housing in Los Alamitos and a naval training center in San Diego. Military sites in a number of other states were also involved.

Federal law allows the government to cancel contracts if the vendors are reimbursed for the expenses they incurred to provide the service, he added.

Americable sought reimbursement when the government ended its contracts, but the operator was told the policy did not apply to the military, Bierman said.

Hermanowski successfully challenged that interpretation in court before an investigation resulted in the current indictments, said the attorney.

"The Department of Defense doesn't like losing," he said, asserting Hermanowski "never received a penny" for what he spent at the disputed bases.

At present, Americable continues to serve military bases under the leadership of Hermanowski's wife, Joan. Bierman said Hermanowski resigned from the company in 1998.

Hermanowski is under arrest in Australia. According to press reports, a federal warrant had been issued for his arrest on the Florida charges. He was detained after he tried to leave Australia under a different name.

Bierman declined to comment on the name change.

Bierman said he and his client must now examine the government's paperwork to determine if they have grounds to object to the legal action.