Monday, March 09, 2009

Remarkable Timing

Rough Monday for Ray Nagin. He could be held personally liable for his refusal to hand over his emails and calander to WWL per the public records request they made way back in December. He's going to look positively awful in the papers tomorrow, especially after last week's timid attempt to turn the transparency issue back on Council. I mean how do you spin away fro -- screeech!!!!

Stop the presses!

We have a late-breaking, tight-to-deadline press release from City Hall to pass along:



NEW ORLEANS, LA (March 9, 2009) - The City of New Orleans filed suit today in Civil District Court against six contractors who have failed to document they completed work for which they were paid with City funds.

The City's alleges in the petition for damages that the businesses were contracted for services on behalf of the city and that the contractors have failed to prove that the services were provided.

"As always, the City Attorney's Office is taking the appropriate steps to protect the City's legal interest," said City Attorney, Penya Moses-Fields.

According to the petition, the six contractors should repay the city a total of $217,887.25. The contractors and the amount for which each is being sued are:

Hall Enterprises -- $47,245

Parish Dubuclet -- $103,116.75

Doucette Associated Contractors -- $14,790

Matthew Developers -- $8,980

Joseph Jenkins Construction -- $12,085

Ex-Cel Development -- $31,670.50

The contractors were all hired by the New Orleans Affordable Homeownership to complete duties related to the city's housing remediation program following Hurricane Katrina. The contractors were hired to gut and board and cut the lawns at identified properties.


Oh looky looky. Turns out Mayor Nagin does hold people accountable! How you like dem apples, Zurik?


Let's be clear.

The NOAH program spent millions of dollars. The city has sued to recover just over $200,000. The claim is others were able to provide 'documentation.' However, as you might recall from this past summer, most surveyed homes were actually not remediated at all or were remediated by charity organizations or individual owners. The whole program was a giant funnel scheme. So with some exceptions, and it is important to recognize that some contractors did what they were supposed to do, most of the money spent at NOAH was pure waste. Plus the records kept on the city's end were so atrocious, I just don't see any real way to evaluate who did what and who got paid for what. That's why criminal investigations are ongoing.

So this move is pure optics. That is why you issue this press release at the end of the day. You want to get it into tomorrow's papers but you don't want to answer any detailed questions about how the city determined who owed what from a program that operated as a scam.


Take a minute to digest all of this.

We've just witnessed the Mayor voluntarily putting NOAH back into the news to deflect attention from his various other controversies.

He's in such bad shape that he's looking to NOAH for a lifeboat.



Tim said...

Nagin's not done. I hear from a reliable source that he plans to interrupt tomorrow's City Council meeting by flying in on a jet, hopping out and raising a banner that says, "Transparency Accomplished."

How low we have sunk.



Editilla said...

"He's in such bad shape that he's looking to NOAH for a lifeboat."
Priceless, especially considering the source. HA!

I really don't think this would be coming down as it is without your (and youruns) blog'doggin these beotchs outta'da woods no lie.

Clancy DuBos said...

Great post -- and I agree with Editilla about using NOAH as a lifeboat. Priceless observation! (And thanks for the link. Shameless plug: I'm workin' on a follow-up about the City Attorney's laughable response to news of the court's ruling.)

Leigh C. said...

Spinning like dervishes, those folks in City Hall are. They can try to swim, but boy they're having a rough time being up shit creek with only toothpicks to guide 'em.

Leigh C. said...

Oh, and they're not just using NOAH for damage control: