Friday, August 19, 2016

Feds to MEMA: You ripped us off with your good ole boy system

Mississippi government can't help itself. Democrat Republican Black White Commie Klukker SJW Dittohead male female.  It doesn't matter who is in charge, he or she is going to figure out how to rip off everyone else.  The Feds came calling, took a look at nearly $30 million in FEMA grants, and suspended the remaining grant payments.  Some allegations will be very familiar to anyone who knows anything about Mississippi government:


Mississippi did not provide proper oversight of a $29.9 million grant for the Hazard Mitigation Program. As a result, FEMA has no assurance that Mississippi properly accounted for and expended Federal funds. Specifically, Mississippi (Move over Jackson and West Rankin Utility Authority. Make some room on that Group W bench.)

*allowed one employee complete authority over the Program, which influenced the approval of completion of work and payments to contractors (Who would've thunk it?)

*contends it has spent $31.5 million in state funds to complete work on 945 of the estimated 2,000 homes but has claimed only $957,776 for FEMA reimbursement; (I'm shocked, shocked mind you. This is more proof of the current and past Governor's approach to law enforcement in general. Unqualified good ole boys who treat their departments and employees as fiefdoms and serfs to be ruled with no accountability to anyone.)

*has not provided documentation to support $30.5 million paid to contractors. (Doc-u-men-tat-ion. Well it is a five-syllable word.  Five syllable words are not recognized in Mississippi.)

*Mississippi allowed one employee complete authority over the Program, which influenced approval of completion of work and authorization of payments to contractors. Although Mississippi became aware of improper oversight as early as December 2014, it did not take any actions to stop or mitigate the problem until February 2016—after we initiated this audit and we had preliminary discussions with them on our findings. (No comment needed.)

*Before September 2012, the Mississippi Department of Finance (DFA) was responsible for managing the Program as MEMA’s subgrantee. DFA allowed one of its employees total control over the Program, which, in our opinion, created a breakdown in Mississippi’s accounting controls. In September 2012, this employee, along with responsibility for the Program, transferred to MEMA. While working for DFA and MEMA, according to Mississippi officials, this employee approved and influenced other State employees to process $31,475,706 in payments—more than the amount of the grant—using state funds for 945 of the estimated 2,000 homes within the project’s scope. In addition, according to MEMA officials, these actions may have circumvented the State’s accounting controls....

*Mississippi has only requested $957,776 in FEMA reimbursement because the employee did not allow a contracted accounting firm to reconcile payments of $30,517,930 in invoices. However, no one above the employee’s authority questioned the situation. Finally, in February 2016—after we initiated this audit—the newly appointed Executive Director of MEMA took actions to improve program oversight by firing several employees, securing program records, and coordinating with the Mississippi State Attorney General’s Office... (Wait, he blocked the accounting firm? This guy IS going to be prosecuted if the evidence warrants, such, RIGHT?)

*MEMA contends that it completed work on 945 homes—less than half of the 2,000 homes estimated in the project’s approved scope of work—and paid contractors $31,475,706 forthat work. This amount is $1,586,999 more than the entire $29,888,707 grant. According to the approved scope of work, retrofitting each home against wind damage would cost $14,944 on average($29,888,707 divided by 2,000). However, according to MEMA, retrofitting the 945 homes has cost$33,308 on average ($31,475,706 divided by 945), a 123 percent increase over the original estimate. MEMA did not provide any substantial evidence to justify the increase in costs. Further, the one employee who had complete control of the Program would not allow us or Mississippi officials access to the contractors’ invoices totaling $30,517,930. (That's right, she stood up to the Feds and wouldn't let them look at anything.  Can't imagine why.)

Kingfish note: Therese Apel worked on the story for the CL. Sorry, but she is a former MEMA employee.  She is a good reporter but she should not have been allowed to work on it.

Meanwhile, there better be some prosecutions.  Mississippi's state law enforcement agencies are barely better run than JPS.














55 comments:

Anonymous said...

The employee was a she, not a he.

Mr. Disaster Recovery said...

Back in the day, less than a year after Katrina hit, MEMA had a contract with Horne LLP to oversee and document the FEMA money flow to state and local government agencies being reimbursed for hurricane damage and recovery/repair costs. Basically it was an ongoing, continuous audit. While that was still going on, this mitigation project started and Horne's contract was expanded to include that. I guess in the meantime MEMA cancelled that contract and decided they could do it themselves?

Anonymous said...


Are you saying the money is missing or misappropriated ? I'm lost on this one !!!!!! Who is at fault ?

Anonymous said...

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

Anonymous said...

*Mississippi allowed one employee complete authority over the Program, which influenced approval of completion of work and authorization of payments to contractors. Although Mississippi became aware of improper oversight as early as December 2014, it did not take any actions to stop or mitigate the problem until February 2016—after we initiated this audit and we had preliminary discussions with them on our findings. (No comment needed.)

*Before September 2012, the Mississippi Department of Finance (DFA) was responsible for managing the Program as MEMA’s subgrantee. DFA allowed one of its employees total control over the Program, which, in our opinion, created a breakdown in Mississippi’s accounting controls. In September 2012, this employee, along with responsibility for the Program, transferred to MEMA. While working for DFA and MEMA, according to Mississippi officials, this employee approved and influenced other State employees to process $31,475,706 in payments—more than the amount of the grant—using state funds for 945 of the estimated 2,000 homes within the project’s scope. In addition, according to MEMA officials, these actions may have circumvented the State’s accounting controls....


Could have said something like

Look here! See they done had dat evil Uncle Sugar bent over fo mo o dat bidness the good old boy way. Who all got some?

PittPanther said...

MS Dept of Corrections
JPS
MS Dept of Educ
MEMA

Everywhere we look, an agency is either incompetently managed or outright corrupt. What the hell is going on in this state?

Anonymous said...

Sounds similar to SOS work on behalf of Morgan Stanley, that revered ole Mississippi - based firm

Anonymous said...

Indictments or GTFO.

Anonymous said...

What will it take before people learn the govt. is a very crooked business and all politicians are crooked. Every single program the govt. has been involved in has quickly became a slush fund for politicians and their friends. There isn't a single honest govt. program.
We elect the dishonest who hire the unexperienced to fool the uneducated.

Anonymous said...

We have to re-elect them. Since they have a bunch of buildings with their names on them I'm told that means they must be doing a good job. If I ask a question about what has been accomplished since they were elected that makes me a racist.

Anonymous said...

Same republicans that were in charge then are in charge now.

Anonymous said...

12:26 We elect the dishonest and then they hire their consultants who ran their campaigns.You can go to all of the counties who received any of the money from FEMA after Katrina and find most was misspent on unneeded infrastructure and much was never spent as intended and stayed in the pockets of those who oversaw and managed the federal funds.

Anonymous said...

Same republicans that were in charge then are in charge now.

Which ones?

Anonymous said...

Remember - 90% of the voters say they despise the Congress (or Legislature) but 60% say their own representative is great. Go figure.

Anonymous said...


PITT PANTHER, Mississippi is actually listed as the most corrupt state in the USA with the most corrupt politicians. We have had that honor for several decades. WOW !!! ARE YOU SURPRISED ??????????????

Anonymous said...

12:08, you forgot the MS Department of Public Safety. The moron that just got fired (yes Rusty, you got fired) from homeland security, his incompetence cost the taxpayers $75,000, it may not seem like a lot of money, but if you add all of the cases DPS has had to settle while Santa Cruz has been Commissioner it would show just how much we tolerate incompetence.

Anonymous said...

Before heading off in all directions, maybe somebody should READ THE REPORT. It says that funds, which have not yet been drawn down by MEMA, may have been improperly spent. That's why FEMA is "suspending" payment of additional funds until the audit is completed. While it appears that the prior management of MEMA did permit the contract work to go on without proper internal controls, the current MEMA management is trying to correct that situation to sort out whether the State is, in fact, entitled to draw down the money from FEMA.

Bean Counter said...

If we have awarded $31 million, but only sought $1 million in Federal $, where did the other $30 million come from?

Anonymous said...

It will never change until the people get a little smarter. Many actually think there is a difference in republicans and democrats. No matter how many times the power changes from one to the other and things still stay the same or gets worse.
I am beginning to think we have a country of deadbeats, crooks, and idiots. Over half pf the people are on some type of govt. benefits. All of the politicians are crooks. The people keep electing the crooks while arguing their crooks is better than the other crook even though they all do the same thing.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the one in charge is that lady that parades around town in the big black Infinity QX56 SUV with MEMA plastered on the side? Mighty fine ride for a emergency management vehicle.

Yes, I know technically Nissan has a place in Canton, but its not Infinity.

Anonymous said...

2:01 - The way programs like this are set up is that the state (MEMA) pays the money and then gets reimbursed by the federal government. So the state has already paid out the funds but so far (for whatever reason) has only sought reimbursement for less than $1m. Now that FEMA will cut off reimbursements, the state is on the hook for the difference, and may also have to pay back to FEMA the $957k that was reimbursed as well.

Anonymous said...

2:56, those Infiniti SUVs were donated and they all have stickers that say "donated vehicle" on them

Anonymous said...

Nisson donated 50+ vehicles to the state after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The infinity's were included along with Nisson trucks and pathfinders.

PittPanther said...

1:50pm, did you miss the part where FEMA said they notified MEMA about their concerns back in 2014, but nothing was done until February of this year (once they knew the shit was hitting the fan)?

Stop apologizing for crooks, unless you are a crook yourself or you suckle at the teat of another crook.

Anonymous said...

I know the lady and I don't believe she did anything wrong. If I know Phil, and I know Phil, he told her to do this via direction of his former DFA Director. She would never act alone - it is not in her character. I have seen her work around DFA for a number of years and in 2012 became the Deputy Director of MEMA. She would come to the Capitol with the Executive Director - someone had to tell her to do it or else. Cowboy Phil comes to my mind!

Anonymous said...

3:42, she should have never been given the job. That is the problem with the govt. Too many people are given a job they cannot do.
Somewhere along the line the govt, politicians, have decided the people do not need any knowledge or experience to do a job. It never works for the people but it does get the politician re elected.

Anonymous said...

"Mississippi is actually listed as the most corrupt state in the USA with the most corrupt politicians. We have had that honor for several decades. "

That is an outrageous, bald-faced LIE!!!

Louisiana has the most corrupt legislators. Our legislators are known far and wide (very wide, some of 'em) for being the dumbest.

Get it straight, tourist.

Anonymous said...

Is MEMA a law enforcement agency?

Anonymous said...

This is a report from the OIG of FEMA. OIG reports generally start off with the sky has fallen and cannot ever, possibly, be replaced. All that this report says is that the reporting required by the grant has not been made, and until it is the state is not going to get paid the FEMA dollars. My bet - this report will get somebody off their duff and do the paperwork. Once it is submitted and MEMA makes its response to the IG report (which is a standard part of the process) the final result will be that FEMA pays the grant - or at least 95% of it - to the state to reimburse what has been spent.

Fun to raise hell with about people you don't like - but there are a lot of other real issues out there to waste time on an initial OIG report over grant funding.

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure Bryant, Reeves and Gun were all state officials shortly after Katrina and all of their operatives were fully entrenched.

Anonymous said...

This is another example of the persecution of the people of Mississippi by the socialist Obama administration.

Anonymous said...

Haley?

Anonymous said...

Phil's top notch agency managers strike again!

Anonymous said...

$31 mil, chicken feed. Sun Herald ran a week long investigation, "where did the money go" a year or so after Katrina. I remember reading that 1$ in 6$ was unaccounted . No big deal until the $6 was 6$ billion. Think they stopped looking.

Anonymous said...

Phil's dynasty: corrupt managers; inept managers; misspent money.....

Anonymous said...

There is a reason Haley ran Latham off, yet Phil brought him back.

Anonymous said...

5:58 is spot on. Obama has been targeting MS federal funds for about three years now. Everyone involved with the oversight and management of these funds is well aware of it.

And Horne overlooking funds means nothing. There isn't a dollar that comes to Mississippi that Horne doesn't have its hands on. And rest assured, the people Horne has assigned to this job are hardly qualified.

Anonymous said...

Run Phil run!

Former EM-1 That Got Smart said...

The whole fault starts and ends with Robert Latham. The only reason he came back to MEMA was to jack up his retirement about 20K a year.

After Latham hired Deb Biggers, everyone at DFA wanted to know why? They all talked about how DFA was about to get rid of her. Next thing you know, Latham promotes incompetency to a Deputy Director. He was good at surrounding himself with people he could pin his failures on and still make himself look clean.

After his first two years, he became totally ineffective as Director. You never knew what frame of mind he’d be in from one day to the next or what he would do that would astound everyone.

In 2015, he promoted incompetency again by hiring an Office Director “Chad Callender” (Check Mississippi Today for that name), even after the state personnel board informed him Callender wasn’t qualified for the job, Latham put him in the job anyway. Callender was the joke of MEMA and all the county EMA’s and state agencies that had to work with MEMA, because all he was able to do was talk big, lie and drop names, but never accomplish anything. If Callender becomes your friend, wear Kevlar on your back and get rid of him quick. Latham spent more time trying to find ways to ignore the complaints made against Callender, than he did running the agency. To keep himself spotless, Latham turned all those problems over to his Chief of Staff, Bill Brown who became part of the problem.

Brown just let Biggers and Callender ran rampant, spending money and making decisions and trying to lay the blame on other people. Latham & Brown how do you justify letting Callender hire a radio installer at $50K a year, when no one else in the agency had not had a raise in 6 years? Did you question why Deb Biggers bought an $1800.00 shredder for her office and shredded papers for hours at a time for months. How do you spend all the money allotted for pre-let contracts, but only complete half of the work Deb???? Oh yea, you had to jack up Mike Ferdinand’s salary.

Why didn’t the Chief of Staff, Bill Brown or Robert Latham do something about Biggers & Callender and all the problems they caused?
If the IG wants some serious answers, he should talk to the MEMA lawyer who was there at that time when all these practices were going on.

Anonymous said...

Can we start a pool on Phil's next management fiasco? I'm in.

Anonymous said...

9:27 knows what's going on

Kingflash And His Acronyms said...

WTF is SJW?

John Q. Taxpayer, CPA, JD, DMD, MPH said...

I'm sort of wondering why Horne LLP continues to provide services for the state and it's agencies?

Horne LLP has milked MEMA and taxpayers in the past and have been rebuked by the Dept of Homeland Security for charging ridiculously high fees.

Horne LLP also performed shoddy work for the Public Service Commission and Entergy by basically overcharging the PSC for work that never really took place. Horne LLP cleverly blamed Entergy for that round of cash grabbing.

So why do we continue to pay all of the taxpayers money, to all of these people, with all of these acronyms attached to their names at Horne LLP? They are supposed to be providing oversight/accounting of funds coming in from the federal government. However, every time accounting of funds needs to take place the state gets blasted with an IG report that says accounting of federal funds isn't taking place.

Why do we continue to pay taypayer money to private business for work that is not being performed?

Anonymous said...

Anybody wanta take a stab at what Phil's PERS retirement check will be?

Anonymous said...

The State should run Jackson and its airport.

Anonymous said...

Agree 11:47, Horne is thick as thieves with the state. The gaming commission contracted its background investigations for licenses with Horne when its investigators were finding too many derogatory issues with gaming license applicants. Miraculously, findings decreased significantly (like to none) once Horne came along. So did potential operators suddenly become more clean, or did Horne "clean" them for the state?

Anonymous said...

That's what happens when Phillllll lets the agencies run themselves. He never shows any leadership with them unless Porter needs something.

Anonymous said...

A more accurate title would be, "Taxpayers of Mississippi Get Ripped Off Every Day by Inept State Government." But that's really not a story, because it seems to be the expectation and happens every single day.

Anonymous said...

7:32, if people would stop electing these life ling politicians we might see something different. Not much chance of that happening as many actually think a politician has to be a member of a special group before they will vote for them.

Anonymous said...

Just think of how much better the state would be if it seized on all of the missed opportunities destroyed by the good ole boy system. Think about how much better off MEMA would be if Callender and Biggers weren't placed into their positions. Reading this forum for the past several months I can't help but think about how much better off the homeland security office would have been if qualified candidates would have been selected instead of Barnes and Beard. I don't know any of these people, but it certainly seems like the state could have done better for her citizens in selecting at the very least people who qualified for the jobs into which they were placed. It's almost like the state is trying to fail.

I'm a recent transplant and have found that doing business here is harder than in some third-world countries due to the implied quid pro quo on every level. If the state wants to be taken seriously, this kind of crap has to stop.

Anonymous said...

10:11, This kind of crap is not going to stop. Too many politicians get rich, too many politician friends get jobs, and too much money passed under the table. The people will keep electing these dishonest politicians. The crooked politicians will see no need to change.

Anonymous said...

10:11 - if you are going to make your decisions, on matters that you admit you know nothing about - by the comments on this or any other blog, God Bless you cause you haven't got any chance in whatever business it is that you are trying to get into.

One must take the comments here (including this one, of course) as just opinions of various individuals. And that also includes the posts put up by the blog administrator - as he admits, are often nothing more than something to generate traffic.

Anonymous said...

"Is MEMA a law enforcement agency?"

Did anyone answer this question. KF seems to imply that there is a law enforcement agency in this, but I thought MEMA was a bunch of fire fighters.

Anonymous said...

No, MEMA is not a law enforcement agency. How's that.

MEMA is also not a bunch of fire fighters.

MEMA is a bunch of bureaucrats that help organize in case of disasters (large and small) - generally work to coordinate assets of the state with local community Emergency Management Divisions (and local fire fighters. There you are.)

MEMA also is the group that pushes the pencils to submit paperwork documenting costs related to disasters to justify federal grants (FEMA) that help reimburse local communities and the state for allowable expenses spent due to the disasters.

Anonymous said...

Horne is Six Sigma which is basically a cult of brainwashed individuals bowing at the alter of corporate worship.

Instead of working, people are assigned projects to attain higher levels of knowledge or belts--like in martial arts.

They get all giddy on buzz words, like the "process" and spend most of their time trying to attain the next level belt on their new "project" that they came up with in order to get promoted.

As you can probably guess--the real work that needs to take place within the firm suffers becasue of this...in this case government oversight.

Suscribe to latest on JJ.

Recent Comments

Search Jackson Jambalaya

Loading...

Subscribe to JJ's Youtube channel

Who is the hottest reporter?

Archives

Who is the Hottest Reporter in Jackson?

Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).


Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.


In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.


Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS
.