Monday, September 26, 2005

"Waste, Abuse and Mismanagement" Suspected Among Some FEMA Katrina Response Contracts

The New York Times reports that billions of dollars worth of Katrina response contracts have been awarded without competitive bidding, leading to widespread worry of waste, fraud and abuse.

More than 80 percent of the $1.5 billion in contracts signed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency alone were awarded without bidding or with limited competition, government records show, provoking concerns among auditors and government officials about the potential for favoritism or abuse.

Bills have come in for deals that apparently were clinched with a handshake, with no documentation to back them up, said Richard L. Skinner, the inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security, who said 60 members of his staff were examining Hurricane Katrina contracts.

This is old hat for the Bush Administration, of course, following similar awarding of no-bid contracts in the Iraqi reconstruction.

"When you do something like this, you do increase the vulnerability for fraud, plain waste, abuse and mismanagement," said Skinner. "We are very apprehensive about what we are seeing."

Kind of goes against that endless spin that the Bush Administration are "fiscally conservative." Not only is the administration not acting fiscally conservative, it hasn't provided any laadership for Congress -- such as supporting a plan offered by Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Tom Coburn (R-OK) to nix pet projects and other pork to help pay for Katrina's costs.

***

Congressional investigators are looking into the $568 million awarded to AshBritt, a Pompano Beach, Fla., company that was a client of the former lobbying firm of Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi.

The investigators are asking how much money AshBritt will collect and, in turn, what it will pay subcontractors performing the work, said a House investigator who did not want her name used because she was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.

The contracts also show considerable price disparities: travel trailers costing $15,000 to $23,000, housing inspection services that documents suggest could cost $15 to $81 per home, and ferries and ships being used for temporary housing that cost $13 million to $70 million for six months.

For some smaller companies, the recovery work will be an extraordinary test. For example, Aduddell Roofing and Sheet Metal, an Oklahoma City business run by a former steer wrestler, shares with a partner a $60 million contract to install temporary roofing on houses in Mississippi. Aduddell's single biggest contract before this was for $5 million, company executives said.

Some businesses awarded large contracts have long records of performing similar work, but they also have had some problems. CH2M Hill and the Fluor Corporation, two global engineering companies awarded a total of $250 million in contracts, were previously cited by regulators for safety violations at a weapons plant cleanup.

The Bechtel Corporation, awarded a contract that could be worth $100 million, is under scrutiny for its oversight of the "Big Dig" construction project in Boston. And Kellogg, Brown & Root, which was given $60 million in contracts, was rebuked by federal auditors for unsubstantiated billing from the Iraq reconstruction and criticized for bills like $100-per-bag laundry service.

KBR, a subsidiary of Halliburton, got its contract with help from lobbyist Joe M. Allbaugh, President Bush's former campaign manager and a former leader of FEMA.

5 Comments:

Anonymous hiley said...

death and corruption should be written on every pic of picture of george w and cronies... stop thief!

3:20 PM  
Anonymous Im with Rosey said...

I just heard reporter from WaPo making the comment that because things needed to be done very quickly that is the reason for the no-bid BS. Sorry, I forgot her name, I saw her briefly while trying to find something, anything about Cindy's arrest.

4:18 PM  
Anonymous gratuitous said...

Not to worry . . . I'm sure that Bush will personally get to the bottom of any corruption, waste, mismanagement, fraud, abuse, or out-and-out theft. And he'll be sure to get his cut. It's the Bush Family Way (Coat of arms motto: Where's Mine?).

4:18 PM  
Blogger Chandira said...

I continaully find myself surprised by this bullshit.. (Bush's not yours!) why??

6:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Been reading so much and cutting and pasting to Notepad but forgot where I saw the other day that Congress is investigating the new and old no-bid contracts to Halliburton.

Bunny Bunnetine, several articles on her demotion for objecting to no-bid Halliburton contracts testified last week.

Go to http:www.Congress.org to encourage your Congressperson to get involved.

7:42 PM  

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