December 15, 2008

What the Heck is the U.S. Office of the Independent Ombudsman?

This month saw the debut of a curious website for the U.S. Office of the Independent Ombudsman. According to the site, "The OIO comprises of a trusted team of advocates and business advisors providing the highest degree of professional service in resolving complaints, disputes and procedural issues." It offers the following services: Hotline; Research & Investigations; Alternative Dispute Resolution; Mediations; Compliance Issues; and Advocacy. It claims to be a member of USOA, TOA, and IOA. In addition it claims as members many state and local government agencies (including the Texas Youth Commission, Austin ISD, and the University of Texas at Austin), federal government agencies (including the VA, TSA, DOD, and EPA), and corporate entities (PBS/NPR, BP America, IBM, Microsoft, and Neiman Marcus). (USOIO Home.) None of these memberships or members could be confirmed. Moreover, the telephone number provided is not in service.

Other evidence casts doubt on the legitimacy of OIO. Its logo is the coat of arms for Poland. Although located in Texas, the entity is not registered with the Texas Secretary of State. OIO's website says that it is "a division of Mansour Mubaarak & Hogue LLP," a Houston research, management consulting and advocacy firm. Mansour Mubaarak has the same phone number and is the registered owner of the OIO web domain. In addition, Mansour Mubaarak is "an affiliate of Da Vinci & Lombardi SA," a merchant banking and consulting firm with offices in Paris, New York and Houston. (Mansour Mubaarak & Hogue; Da Vinci & Lombardi; Whois Results; Wikipedia - Poland Coat of Arms.)

So, what the heck is the U.S. Office of the Independent Ombudsman? The best explanation may be that it's just a front company. But why? (See Wikipedia - Front Organization; Boing Boing - Donna Blue Aircraft.)


  1. The Office of the Ombudsperson at The University of Texas at Austin is not a member or affiliated with this organization in anyway. After hearing about this, I called the hotline number and spoke to S. Arjumand Mubaarak. He told me he is starting some type of agency to service small cities and counties. I asked him why were listed as a member of his organization and he said it was his website person who made it appear that way. He told me he was just trying to list reputable agencies and universities that had Ombuds offices. Hmmm. I asked him to remove us from his website because it made it appear as if we were affiliated. That's my bit of fact-finding on this one for the day,
    Lauren Bloom
    The University of Texas at Austin

  2. Thank you for your interest in our wehbsite. It is simple the beginning of as process to augment the Texas lawsuit reform movement. We have provided pro bono services thus far. We have decided to pursue the field as a profit center because we have seen that manay interanal/organizational ombudsman programs only have wet paper knives to cut out poor customer service, employee relations and business operational processes. For your information, the website did not list the above organizations as members, it listed them as examples of premier ombudsman programs to which other organizations could use as models. Also, for your information, the regular phone number has been in service for many years, however toll free phone number up and operable two weeks after the website was posted. Since others had not seen the title above the page in bold 14pt letters, we have simplified the page. However, since your blog fears encroachment of your news, rest assured that we are not interested in just writing about the industry, we are active players on the field. What's wrong with Poland? We like the logo. To paraphrase an old saying, "People who can't do, teach. Those who can neither do nor teach, write. So just keep writing.
    Arjumand Mubaarak

  3. I am in charge of developing our marketing materials at the OIO. The website was just a rough draft and work in progress. We were and are still working on it. The initial site was just a working format. It did not represent our chosen logo, members or the final draft. It does not represent an attempt to replace the organizational ombudsman. Many organizational ombudsman programs primarily handle ministerial tasks, i.e., distribution of information, recording complaints, and facilitating simple procedural bottlenecks. Numerous employees and customers of our consulting clients have expressed distrust and disbelief about the confidentiality, independence and neutrality of the internal ombudsman or hotline. Our firm, the U.S. Office of the Independent Ombudsman, was developed to address these problems with actual management consultants. We are specialists in customer relations management, employee relations management and business process management. As an independent ombudsman firm, we are paid to get quantifiable results. In sum, it is our objective to improve the industry and help internal complaint resolution programs.
    McNeal Bessington
    Admin. Manager, USOIO

  4. This look scammy to me. Some of the same staff are reported as staff for, located in New York City. This "company" heartlessly scams prisoner's families into sending them money to review and reduce sentences. They are not attorneys, just scammers trying take advantage of the pain of families missing their incarcerated loved one. And why are their websites so similar? And why is the address from whois in Madeira, Portugal?