Hurricane Gustav is headed in a straight line for New Orleans and I can tell you first-hand that the hydraulic pumps don't work. Who manufactured the defective pumps? Moving Waters Industry (MWI), which is owned by J. David Eller, who was once a business partner of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. (From 1989 to 1993 the two operated the company Bush-El, which marketed MWI pumps.)
Lots more after the jump.
A brave and brilliant woman from the Army Corps of Engineers, Maria Garzino, complained to the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) about the failure of the hydraulic pumps manufactured by Moving Waters Industry (MWI) and installed in New Orleans.
She should know. She was the team leader of pumping system installations. The OSC required the Department of Defense Secretary to conduct an investigation into her disclosures. The Department of Defense Inspector General substantiated more than half of her allegations, but ultimately concluded that
. . . the deficiencies [were] performance related short-comings that did not rise to the level of a serious violation of law or regulation, abuse of authority or gross mismanagement.
But the OSC agreed with the whistleblower, Maria Garzino, that the report was a whitewash:
The documentation and comprehensive explanation provided by [Ms. Garzizino] in contrast with the agency's superficial and dismissive findings also sugest that, although [she] regularly and persistently made the USACE [U.S. Army Corps of Engineers] aware of serious flaws in the design, testing, installation, capabilities and contract issues that arose with the New Orleans pumps . . . USACE employees appeared to have taken a band-aid approach at the expense of good government and public health and safety . . . It appears that the pumps remain inadequately untested, and vulnerable to failure in the event of a hurricane.
Letter to President George W. Bush from U.S. Office of Special Counsel, Aug. 4, 2008. (To read the full report, go here: http://www.osc.gov/... It's the last entry on the Public List and the pdf'd report is the second document.)
The Department of Defense has pledged to hire an independent engineering company to review allegations. As usual, however, the wrongdoer cares more about shooting the messenger than listening to the message. Bill Buckman, the VP and general counsel of MWI says:
For the ninth time in the past two years, Moving Water Industries categorically denies the highly inventive, scurrilous and patently false allegations by the would-be whistleblower, Maria Garzino
and called her accusations "wild."
Garzino should be applauded, not trashed, and I cannot think of a better reason to call Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) at (202) 224-3542 and urge him to reserve floor time in September to finish the Whistleblower Protection Act bill (S 274 and HR 985). Also call your own Senators and ask them to tell Senator Reid that they want floor time in September to finish the bill. We need netroots communications from voters to Congress.
UPDATE: After this blog went up, OSC is taking the unprecedented step of re-opening the investigation. In the meantime, put MWI, David Eller, and others in NOLA to ride it out. The experts have no confidence that the pumps will work. They have installed a completely untested entity. The mechanical integrity test would come during this hurricane.