Harbinger Alleges Conflict In Conduct Of 'Father Of GPS'

Jan 13 2012 | 1:10am ET

Accused of greasing the wheels itself, Harbinger Capital Partners' wireless Internet venture is taking aim at a director at one of its rivals.

LightSquared late Wednesday demanded an investigation into Bradford Parkinson. Parkinson is vice-chairman of the National Space-Based Position, Navigation and Timing Advisory Board—but he also serves on the board of Trimble Navigation, the global positioning system maker spearheading opposition to LightSquared's planned network.

In its request to Paul Martin, general inspector of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, LightSquared alleges that Parkinson may be in violation of federal conflict of interest laws and ethics rules.

Trimble and other GPS makers have warned that LightSquared's network could seriously interfere with GPS units. A study, leaked to the press last month, by Parkinson's agency found that LightSquared's system interferes with 75% of GPS recievers.

Trimble dismissed LightSquared's allegations, noting that Parkinson's position as the "father of GPS" justifies his service in both roles.

"It appears that LightSquared has now run out of solutions and has nothing left but baseless allegations about process," Dale Leibach of the Coalition to Save Our GPS, which Trimble co-founded, said.

LightSquared itself has faced scrutiny over the process by which it received a crucial waiver from the Federal Communications Commission. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) has been investigating LightSquared's communications with the White House and FCC—to the cheers of the GPS coalition.

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