Winning loser

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Back in March, News Hits gave y'all the heads-up that a company with strong Michigan ties was in the running to be placed in something called the Corporate Hall of Shame.

Well, the results are finally in. Last week the group Corporate Accountability International (CAI) announced its 2008 Hall of Shame inductees, and at the top of the list was the military contractor Blackwater. The firm, which supplies mercenaries and other support personnel to supplement U.S. forces in Iraq and other global hot spots, was started by native son Eric Prince, brother of former Michigan Republican Party head Betsy DeVos and, through her, an in-law to the religious right-wingers who brought us Amway.

"With 28 percent of the vote, Blackwater earned the dubious honor of the year's most abusive corporation," CAI announced.

From Blackwater's perspective, it probably wasn't a good thing to have federal agents — in the days just before the close of voting — raid the company's armory at its Virginia headquarters as part of a probe into possible illegal activity involving automatic weapons. (The company has denied any wrongdoing.)

With more than 30,000 votes cast, runners-up were agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland and Wal-Mart, described as the world's largest corporation.

We had our concerns about Blackwater before the good folks at CAI started waving a red flag (See "Soldiers of fortune," Metro Times, May 9, 2007). But with an outfit like this, the more attention that gets focused on it, the better.

News Hits is edited by Curt Guyette. Contact him at 313-202-8004 or [email protected]

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