Katrina relief boondoggle

Hurricane Katrina was an unprecedented, many-faceted disaster, and the Katrina relief effort involved unprecedented, many-faceted waste and fraud, as detailed in the New York Times. Biggest single item: To provide homes for disaster victims, FEMA spent $860 million on 20,000 mobile homes that were never used; or, I saw a trailer park of diamonds with nobody in it, as Bob Dylan might have said.

mobile homes with nobody in them.jpg
FEMA spends $250,000 a month to store about 10,000 empty mobile homes at an airfield in Hope, Ark.

And heres another: $8 million was spent renovating a former army base as a residence for victims, and almost no one came. There were more kinds of fraud than you could count, such as the collusion between two FEMA officials and a meals contractor claiming more meals served than were actually served, netting the FEMA duo $20,000 in kickbacks; or the Louisiana government clerk, a man by the name of Lawless, who has been charged with issuing four score fake benefit cards in exchange for a kickback of $300 per card; or the hotel owner who charged the government $232,000 for hotel rooms that were supposedly occupied by Katrina victims but in fact were either empty or occupied by paying guests.

All in all, it is estimated that of the $19 billion FEMA spent on Katrina relief, $2 billion went to fraud and waste. The disaster brought to us by government sloth and incompetence is being paid for by government sloth and incompetence.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at June 29, 2006 12:15 AM | Send

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