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Katrina victims whose homes were reduced to mold covered framing, desperate for money to rebuild, living in government provided poisonous trailers finally won a federal grant and are now being told they have to pay it back.

The Associated Press has the story of another chapter in the Bush Administration's bungling incompetence of Hurricane Katrina:

A private contractor under investigation for the compensation it received to run the Road Home grant program for Katrina victims says that in the rush to deliver aid to homeowners in need some people got too much. Now it wants to hire a separate company to collect millions in grant overpayments.

The contractor, ICF International of Fairfax, Va., revealed the extent of the overpayments when it issued a March 11 request for bids from companies willing to handle "approximately 1,000 to 5,000 cases that will necessitate collection effort."

The bid invitation said: "The average amount to be collected is estimated to be approximately $35,000, but in some cases may be as high as $100,000 to $150,000."

The biggest grant amount allowed by the Road Home program is $150,000, so ICF believes it paid some recipients the maximum when they should not have received a penny. If ICF's highest estimate of 5,000 collection cases — overpaid by an average of $35,000 — proves to be true, that means applicants will have to pay back a total of $175 million.

 

ICF International who has a Wikileaks  page about the mismanagement of millions of dollars in federal money could profit almost a billion dollars from this program.  Another corrupt corporation making astronomical profits is going to go after Katrina victims to force them to repay thousands of dollars because of their incompetence?!

Joe Lieberman has given the Bush Administration a pass on their ineptitude and by the time a Democrat is sworn in next January it will be too late for thousands of New Orleans homeowners.

Find Law has more on how this company may have deliberately used red tape, confusion and delays to get people to settle:

"They have been pressured into signing closing documents," said Melanie Ehrlich, the other chair of CHAT, who has documented nearly 1,000 such disputes. "We know that this includes applicants who had obvious mistakes in the calculation of the grant."

This is just more Shock Doctrine: Disaster Capitalism from the Bush Administration and I don't know if there is anything we can do about it...

Originally posted to CTLiberal on Sat Mar 29, 2008 at 07:44 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tips for an end to disaster capitalism, (36+ / 0-)

    shocking free market solutions, and tips for hope to the people of New Orleans.

    The moral arc of the universe is long, my friends, but it bends toward justice. - MLK

    by CTLiberal on Sat Mar 29, 2008 at 07:45:25 PM PDT

  •  In Case People Have Forgotten (12+ / 0-)

    I just direct them to this:

    I beg anybody coming across this comment to just spend the 6:11 and watch. Watch. IMHO this is one of the things that started to make Countdown what it is today.

    Let us not forget New Orleans. Visit Project Katrina.

    by webranding on Sat Mar 29, 2008 at 07:51:33 PM PDT

    •  Leave it to Keith Olbermann (7+ / 0-)

      to nail it right on; he is one of the few bright lights we have in the media.

      The moral arc of the universe is long, my friends, but it bends toward justice. - MLK

      by CTLiberal on Sat Mar 29, 2008 at 07:56:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I Don't Even Know Where To Start (13+ / 0-)

        As you can see in my signature block I have a Katrina blog. To be honest not keeping it up as much as I would like. Just too depressing. I used to write stuff on almost a daily basis starting with the day the storm hit. Not so much the last month or so.

        I will try to choose my words carefully, cause I've had an adult beverage or two. We allowed something to happen in this nation that I never thought I'd see. A city, one of the largest 50 in our nation, to be destroyed on our watch and nobody seems to care.

        The editors of this site didn't want New Orleans to host Yearly Kos cause they said it didn't have the facilities they needed (why I am not going BTW). Bull freaking shit.

        Heck, our own political party said the city couldn't handle a Presidential debate. Again, bull.

        I will never forget a couple things you can see in that Special Comment. And in other pictures. People writing, in duct tape on their roofs "we're Americans please help us as they are waving an American flag."

        I will just leave it at that .....

        Let us not forget New Orleans. Visit Project Katrina.

        by webranding on Sat Mar 29, 2008 at 08:04:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm with you webranding (5+ / 0-)

          Sometimes it is too overwhelming for people who care too much and sometimes you have to take a break for your own sanity.

          If you have access to small children take them out for a day to play and rejuvenate your spirit.  So much has happened the past 7 years that it hurts my heart, I care too much and sometimes I don't know what to do with my anger.  

          The moral arc of the universe is long, my friends, but it bends toward justice. - MLK

          by CTLiberal on Sat Mar 29, 2008 at 08:08:40 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  On The Scale Of 1-10 Iraq Is Terrible (5+ / 0-)

            Horrible, but I think New Orleans and Katrina is at least one, if not two or three levels higher on the scale of sheer insanity.

            This happened within our own borders. To our own fellow citizens. And maybe once a day there might be a post here about it (if that). 500 about how my candidate is better than your candidate. Which I might add, none of them now Edwards is out talk about New Orleans at all. Their position statements on the topic are lacking to say the least. They show a gross lack of understanding.

            Let us not forget New Orleans. Visit Project Katrina.

            by webranding on Sat Mar 29, 2008 at 08:15:39 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'm sorry, I cannot agree with you (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              CTLiberal, Losty

              Not in any way to detract from the devastation our own government allowed to happen in New Orleans, but the totally unnecessary and willful catastrophe we have caused in Iraq is far greater by any rational measure. Except, of course, if you think that way, it was  them and not us.

              I know what I know, and I know some of what I don't know. It's what I don't know that I don't know that keeps getting me into trouble.

              by DaNang65 on Sat Mar 29, 2008 at 08:44:06 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  Income Redistribution (11+ / 0-)

    We talk about income redistribution and we mean from the wealthiest to the poorest. For Bush and the republicans, it means from the government and the people to the corporations.

    ICF could get almost a billion dollars - let them reimburse the government out of that due to their incompetence.

    Katrina victims continue to be victimized.

  •  But Bear Stearns gets bailed out in a few days (13+ / 0-)

    You can't let those multimillionaire investment bankers lose, can you?

  •  ICF is not an product of the Bush administration (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pico, CTLiberal

    Joe Lieberman has given the Bush Administration a pass on their ineptitude and by the time a Democrat is sworn in next January it will be too late for thousands of New Orleans homeowners.

    In the name of accuracy, something needs to be made clear.  The Road Home is a completely state administered program.  The federal government sent the money to the State but the State, under Louisiana's former Democratic Governor, Kathleen Blanco, set up the program.  ICF was hired by Blanco.  The federal government had nothing to do with setting up the rules for the program or hiring the contractor. See, for example, this.

    In fact, the Program was even advertised in numerous television commercials as "Governor Blanco's Road Home Program" when it was conceived.  Those advertisements came back to haunt Blanco when the program became a fiasco, and the widespread dissatisfaction with "Governor Blanco's Road Home Program" probably played a role in her decision not to run for reelection.  In fact, in the last couple of weeks it came to light that Blanco gave ICF a raise before she left office. See  this.

    Katrina involved plenty of ineptitude on the part all levels of government -- federal, state, and local.  I can attest to the incompetence of the program because, even though I applied in October of 2006, I have not gotten one cent. (They keep promising me "a few more weeks.") However, it happens that, in this case, the federal government has no real role in the administration of the program.  Blame for the incompetent contractor falls squarely in the lap of Kathleen Blanco.  

    •  Agreed that blame does falls on Gov. Blanco (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DontTaseMeBro

      But it also falls on the Bush Administrations free for all when it comes to corporations making a profit.  They've enabled the atmosphere of profit above all else, profit above people and the give away of American tax payer dollars to their corporate friends while the average American gets royally screwed.

      The moral arc of the universe is long, my friends, but it bends toward justice. - MLK

      by CTLiberal on Sat Mar 29, 2008 at 09:14:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  This corporation free for all, however, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        CTLiberal

        has nothing whatsoever to do with Bush.  I hope nobody would try to justify what Blanco has done with ICF by saying, well, Bush did it, so that's just the way it is done.  

        They've enabled the atmosphere of profit above all else, profit above people and the give away of American tax payer dollars to their corporate friends while the average American gets royally screwed.

        That's what Blanco -- a Dem and no friend of the Bush administration -- did in this case.  

        My comment was not intended to justify anything Bush or the feds did in handling Katrina.  It's just that the blame for this one can't be tied to Bush at all. If it was a giveaway to anybody's cronies at the expense of the taxpayer, it was a giveaway to Blanco's cronies.  

        •  Coffeetalk, I would agree with your... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          CTLiberal

          ... analysis if it weren't for the fact that FEMA botched the aid situation so badly in the first days of Katrina aftermath, that it became necessary for the state to step in and provide an aid solution that FEMA traditionally played.  Just saying.

          Experience teaches only the teachable. -Aldous Huxley // We have a Democratic Congress now and there's still no oversight. - Carl Bernstein

          by DontTaseMeBro on Sat Mar 29, 2008 at 09:30:59 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I think you need to understand (0+ / 0-)

            what this program is.  It has nothing to do with FEMA or the items that FEMA typically takes responsibility for.  It was a separate block grant of $11 billion (CDBG funds, I think) sent to the State to compensate victims who were underinsured or unisured (although there is a penalty if you were unisured).  Basically, it was compensation to private home owners for the failure of the levess, which was caused by flaws in the design of the levees when they were designed and built decades ago (like in the 1970's).   The State (Blanco) structured the programs so that, if your home was more than 51% destroyed, you get the pre-storm value of your house, minus insurance proceeds, up to $150,000, in exchange for a commitment to either rebuild your home or to "sell" your destroyed property to the State and relocate to another home in Louisiana.

            The Road Home is not in any way a "role FEMA traditionally played."  FEMA's role is to provide aid and compensation for the rebuilding of public facilities (schools, fire stations, etc.) and infrastructure (and they are failing miserably, I might add).  The Road Home is direct compensation to private homeowners.  FEMA does not do anything like what the Road Home is supposed to do.  

            •  Right, I get it. (0+ / 0-)

              I did understand this already, though thanks for all the info.  FEMA's response was so sorely lacking, that I'm certain the Road Home program would not have been so vital had the federal role been adequate, or even cursory.

              Experience teaches only the teachable. -Aldous Huxley // We have a Democratic Congress now and there's still no oversight. - Carl Bernstein

              by DontTaseMeBro on Sun Mar 30, 2008 at 07:23:37 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  One more point (0+ / 0-)

            In a "typical" hurricane/flood situation (is there such a thing?) the SBA usually steps in and offers low interest loans mainly to low income homeowners.  That's what happened when Hurricane Betsy flooded the Lower Ninth Ward in 1965. (That flooding prompted the building of the extensive levee system that failed in Katrina.) The SBA did make those loans in this this case. In fact, I heard fewer complaints about the SBA than almost anybody else involved in this.  Most eligible homeowners have long since gotten SBA loans.  However, another example of the ineptitude of ICF is that they can't get their act together on whether the programs requires homeowners to use all or part of the Road Home funds to repay their SBA loan.  

        •  It is "always Blanco's fault" (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          CTLiberal

          Things are not always the way they appear when it comes to ICF.  John Georges (former LA R governor candidate) alluded to connections between Jindal and ICF.  Could this be just Rove getting ahead of Blanco's pending book.  Remember the hits D governor's have taken (Siegelman, Spitzer and they sure tried to make Blanco the fool in the aftermath of Katrina).

    •  It should have been a federal program (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CTLiberal, chigh

      Katrina devastated more than one state, and rebuilding needed a federal response. Allowing the states to oversee this has just added layer of bureaucracy and expense that didn't need to be there. nd in both Louisiana and Mississippi, the bottom line is, folks are still out of their homes.

      To think is easy. To act is difficult. To act as one thinks is the most difficult of all -Goethe

      by commonscribe on Sat Mar 29, 2008 at 09:32:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The responsibility for that (0+ / 0-)

        falls on the state governments as well.  Blanco and Barber asked for full control of the funds.  Mississippi's program is structured differently from Louisiana's because each state wanted control over the rebuilding program.

  •  it's not the heat, it's the stupidity (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonscribe, docangel, CTLiberal

    I recently moved away from New Orleans.  I feel like a traitor, like ultimate shit.  But as a master carpenter who has been slogging it out and dealing with everyone's emotional devastation including my own, as well as my friends' suicides and acquaintances' bizarre murder/suicides, I just couldn't take anymore. I worked for friends and friends of friends, a single mom buying her first house, only to discover, with doubled and higher insurance and doubled taxes (what stupid timing that was) and the lack of road home money, etc she can't afford the house now.  Other friends are the same.  As far as the poster about Iraq being bigger, well, that is arguable.  Sometimes foreign policy can be difficult because we know we never know the whole story.  Katrina showed us boldly the direct effect of criminal negligence, and I never felt so viscerally angry and helpless.  Iraq is our fight.  Katrina is our fight.  We are the people we have been waiting for. . .

    it's new! it's improved! it's old-fashioned! T.Waits

    by bryker on Sat Mar 29, 2008 at 09:25:10 PM PDT

    •  {{{Hugs to you bryker}}} (0+ / 0-)

      I wish there was something I could say to you to help you and yours with all you've been through.  

      I'm sending you love, light, peace and my kind of prayers.  

      The moral arc of the universe is long, my friends, but it bends toward justice. - MLK

      by CTLiberal on Sat Mar 29, 2008 at 09:30:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  No one here (0+ / 0-)

      thinks you are a "traitor," bryker.  We all had to make our own decisions based on our own situations and what we felt was best for our family.  I know what you mean -- I knew someone who committed suicide in his destroyed New Orleans East home, and my children's pediatrician committed suicide as well.  The emotional toll is harder than the financial toll, and only you can decide if it is best for your family to leave that behind and start fresh somewhere else. I wish you all the best.  

  •  Let the Katrina victims sue... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CTLiberal

    .... Iraq contractors like KBR who were overpaid by the US Govt, to recover the money that's being demanded of them.    

    This story is just too galling.

    Experience teaches only the teachable. -Aldous Huxley // We have a Democratic Congress now and there's still no oversight. - Carl Bernstein

    by DontTaseMeBro on Sat Mar 29, 2008 at 09:27:37 PM PDT

  •  And the saddest thing about it is... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CTLiberal

    The folks over in Mississippi are getting even less help.

    To think is easy. To act is difficult. To act as one thinks is the most difficult of all -Goethe

    by commonscribe on Sat Mar 29, 2008 at 09:28:15 PM PDT

  •  Halliburton etc.,and 5 degree separation contract (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    docangel, CTLiberal

    ors, were charging 250 a square to put blue tarps on roofs.  you can get a new roof for that or much less.  As far as Miss, I don't know.  The republican leaders there seemed to get it together a lot better from what I've read (wonder why), But got a friend with a restaurant in Pass Christian and that place was just razed.  But such an incredibly good point that the same g.d m.f.ing contractors benefitting from profitable Schadenfreude are the same in Katrina land.  Make me wanna holler.  It is so outrageous.  They are bankrupting us, they are bankrupt.  

    it's new! it's improved! it's old-fashioned! T.Waits

    by bryker on Sat Mar 29, 2008 at 09:41:40 PM PDT

  •  Great diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CTLiberal

    Even though I saw the title and immediately assumed Wal-Mart was trying to recoup some of the donations it ostentatiously made right after the disaster.

    It's over. Can we all get behind electing Obama now?

    by Endangered Alaskan Dem on Sun Mar 30, 2008 at 12:30:56 AM PDT

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