Two days after Big Bob Chicken Day and three days before Christmas 2003, the U.S. Department of Defense sent Axion Corp. owner Alex Latifi a frantic request. U.S. troops in Iraq were rolling into battle in underequipped Humvees. Huntsville, Ala.-based Axion had a contract to build Humvee machine-gun mounts. The deadline was weeks away, but Defense needed them now.Axion’s 61 workers met some grueling deadlines that December. Latifi treated them to juicy chicken and fluffy lemon pie from Big Bob Gibson’s joint. He offered overtime, a $100 bonus and a turkey to anyone willing to work Christmas.“Our fighting men and women are in danger,” Latifi, a naturalized American citizen born in Iran, told workers. “Do it for your country.”Everyone volunteered.“He’s the best boss any of us ever had,” former Axion employee Connie Kidd says. “We’d work on Christmas, even without poultry.”Just five months later, federal investigators raided Axion and Latifi was caught in a four-year investigation involving the Army Criminal Investigation Command, FBI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, NASA, a hazmat team, IRS, Alabama Bureau of Investigation and U.S. postal inspectors. The U.S. Department of Justice sent lawyers from its National Security Division to help U.S. Attorney Alice Martin prosecute Latifi… Read full this story
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