Wednesday, November 26, 2014

DHECC - TP hires clairvoyants

This is pretty amazing.  I was still downloading these reports of the McGladrey audit shortly after they were made public but apparently Times-Pic reporter Jennifer Larino had already read and assessed the whole thing.

I'd like to ask Larino two questions....1. Did you actually read the entire audit?  2.  Did you write this story from personal analysis or primarily from a press release you were given by either the Claims office or one of the PSC attorneys?

For those of you who would like to read the entire thing and do the homework....here they are:

Part 1  

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5 

More to come but pay particular attention to the "documentation deficiencies" regarding BEL and seafood claims.  

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Bill Cassidy's questionable billing - Lamar fills in more blanks

Paging Dr. Cassidy.....

Every election cycle I always get one or two stories fed to me that are clearly coming from opposition research done by one candidate on another.  I usually don't bother with them and just try to stick to the longer term stories I've been working on but last week I was delivered a dossier on current U.S. Representative for Louisiana's 6th district, Dr. Bill Cassidy, that called into question his tenure and billing practices to LSU's Health and Sciences Center...

....quite frankly....it irked me.

Here are some documents I received.  I haven't had the chance to scan them all yet but they are public so use them at will:

Cassidy LSU timesheets...or lack thereof

Cassidy LSU workforce documents

Cassidy hours overlapping with time spent as congressman

This particular report was so well researched and sourced....it was hard to ignore.  I read it from top to bottom and I still don't understand all the ethical issues but there are many.

Who is Bill Cassidy?   

Cassidy, an Illinois native (Chicago suburb),  has been employed by the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center  (LSUHSC) since before he won his House seat in 2008.  He won that seat by beating out Don Cazayoux for the 6th District seat.

Shortly after Bill Cassidy made his way into the Beltway, the terms of his employment and tenure at LSUHSC began to be called into question by LSU accountants and administrators.  It seems top-level folks in the LSUHSC were confused at to Dr. Cassidy's position with the public institution and exactly what he was being paid for.

Cassidy wrote a letter to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ethics to approve his position with LSUHSC.  He wanted to keep some level of income flowing from his LSU employment to supplement his salary as a congressman....$174,000/year.

I don't blame him.....he'd been employed by LSUHSC, prior to his election to Congress, at a base salary of $96,156.  That may not sound like much but he was also pulling in an additional $238.581 ( taxpayer generated income...) through various public/state revenue streams.  

A U.S. Rep can hold "side-jobs" as long as the House Committee on Ethics approves the situation and the congressman meets the rigid standards required by Committee laws to ensure there are no conflicts of interests or opportunities for kickbacks by employers, contractors, institutions, etc.

There should be no quid pro quo directly or by circuitous route.

Can congressmen moonlight?

Cassidy's side work for LSUHSC was, in fact, cleared by the Ethics Committee in May of 2010:

U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ethics approval on Dr. William Cassidy's employment at LSUHSC

The response from the House Ethics Commitee (public record) spells out a number of regulations specific to Cassidy's situation including a mandate that Congressmen may not exceed an annual earned income limit of $26,550.  The letter also addresses the amount of time Cassidy would spend working on his side-job and the physical commitments it would require for him to serve as both a practicing physician for LSUHSC vis-a-vis a congressman representing the Gret Stet.

Aside from addressing the potential conflicts it would raise for LSUHSC, the letter from the Ethics Committee states that Cassidy's position with LSUHSC "... requires a time commitment of approximately 16 hours per month and pays a monthly stipend of $2,000."

One can only assume this was the time and amount listed by Cassidy himself in his original letter to the Ethics Committee when requesting approval.

The problem is that his declaration of time/money may not be true.

Time ≠ Money?

Here's where all the trouble starts and this is why I decided to write this post...after looking at these records it appears that Bill Cassidy may be, yet, one more Louisiana politician sucking the public teat without actually doing that much, if anything.  Let me lay it out for you and you be the judge.

From LSUHSC's standpoint, it looks like they bent over backwards and even bypassed their own regulations to keep Cassidy on salary.  They even granted him tenure.

The dossier contains a chain of emails between LSUHSC administrative officials attempting to sort out exactly how much they are going to continue to pay Cassidy and how many hours he will work.

LSUHSC email chain regarding Rep. Cassidy's position after being elected to Congress

Of note in this email correspondence is the query LSUHSC Business Manager, William T. Livings, sent out to LSUHSC brass trying to find out exactly what Dr. Bill was doing for the institution and what they were paying him for....:
" I could make up some semblance of what I think his duties could be, but, in this case, given his status as a U. Congressman, I think it would be prudent from our perspective if I knew exactly what it is yall expect from him for his one day per week (20%). Is he to provide simple clinic services, GI services, endoscopies, HIV services, etc.? What happens to his clinical trials? Is he to provide services at the private clinic? I wouldnt think so given that I cant reimburse him for those services anyway since those collections payments would put him over the 25,000 threshold and auditors are going to want to know exactly what it is he is doing for us (EKLMC; LSUHSC) for the 20,000 Base pay we give him annually. We are going to really have to spell out exactly what it is he does for us for his remuneration from us. Believe me, this scenario will be a very auditable item and I feel they will really hone in on this situation to make sure we are meeting all federal and state
regulations. Thanks." What exactly was he doing for LSUHSC that warranted the 24 thousand bucks a year for 5 years? I've reached out to Cassidy's campaign to try and get an explanation but so far he hasn't responded to me.

What's really interesting is that he told the House Ethics Committee that he was only working for LSUHSC for...

- 16 hours a month/ 4 hours a week

...but he billed LSUHSC for "roughly" ...

- 30 hours a month/7.5 hours a week

....twice the amount of hours he told the House Ethics Committee he was working.  

It appears he told the House Ethics Committee a lie. I don't know for sure but in order for him to accommodate the minimum amount of hours he needed to work for LSUHSC and make his $1,666/ a month, he may have had to lie about his work hours to Congress. It appears he either lied to LSU or to the House of Representatives Committee on Ethics in order to pull down that extra Louisiana taxpayers' cash...I hope he will explain this to the public.  

What's more important to me is that even if he did lie to the House Ethics Committee it looks like LSU bent over backwards to accommodate him as an official staff member and pay him for doing....something on the internet...for 8 hours a week. WTF?  

LSU even maintained his tenure in spite of the fact that he was working at a 20% "LOE" (level of effort). According to LSU's rules, Cassidy should have lost his tenure when he took on the job as a congressman. They either held their nose or, even worse, genuflected in order to keep "Dr. Bill" on staff and on payroll.

There's still a ton of shady stuff going on with his billing to LSU vis-a-vis his time spent on the floor of the House that I haven't gotten to yet. I'm looking into but I don't have all the documents and I need to understand it more before I post.....stay tuned...I'm working on all of this and more importantly so is my brutha Cenlamar.  

This ain't no partisan hit, btw...this is an autopsy.



          

Monday, November 17, 2014

DHECC - cheap fish swim deep

So much has happened since I last posted I don't even know how to catch up.  I apologize for the absence but I've had a lot going on in my personal life and I simply haven't had the time to devote to AZ.  Hopefully I can get back in the saddle and get in a new groove.

Since we last rapped here on AZ, Judge Carl Barbier not only denied BP the right to see the 14 million dollar McGladrey audit commissioned by Claims Administrator Pat Juneau, he also denied BP's motion to dismiss Juneau's tenure as the Claims Administrator in spite of Pat's prior involvement with the BP settlement and the GCCF previous to the formation of the DHECC.  Juneau outright lied about that involvement, twice, in order to hop on the DHECC gravy train and milk it for as much as he and his PSC cohorts could muster.

None of these issues seemed to bother Judge Barbier too much.

Regarding the McGladrey audit, the Judge made up some bullshit excuse to deny it's disclosure to BP by claiming that Juneau has not even had the opportunity to see the final audit, himself.  That's funny stuff.  What Juneau saw was the initial "versions" of the audit and he freaked the fuck out because they were going to expose just how much corruption has occurred in the settlement, particularly by the PSC members (more on that in the next post).  I suppose the Judge wants to give Juneau the opportunity to pay McGladrey an extra 14 million of BP's own money to water down the existing audit and cover up the indiscretions of the PSC.    

At this point I think someone needs to remove Barbier from the settlement for his own good.  He's gone so far off the legal reservation to protect Juneau and the PSC from being exposed for their unethical and ILLEGAL actions, I don't think he even realizes how this is going to mar the legacy of the Louisiana judicial system much less his own personal legacy as a federal judge.  His myopic perch on Poydras has blinded him to the long term damage he's doing to his own reputation, as well as Louisiana, all to protect these rotten bastards who are gaming the system without worry of retribution thanks to him hiding them all behind his robe.

These guys are chomping up wads of settlement cash like Pac-man on meth while the ghosts chasing them: Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde, are being held in a perpetual shade of blue by Judge Barbier.

Also, the Andry/Lerner firm, Christine Reitano and Lionel Sutton all stood before Barbier a little over a week ago to plea their case against Louis Freeh's allegations of wrongdoing. Sutton admitted to lying about accepting the Thonn referral fee from AndryLerner.  For some reason this admission garnered the headlines for most MSM outlets, including The Advocate,  with a caveat noting "...it absolved administrator Patrick Juneau of wrongdoing."  Really?  What, exactly, did it absolve Juneau of?  Not knowing Sutton had made the Thonn referral?  No...not.

The irony is too thick.  Barbier absolves Juneau of any wrongdoing because he claimed BP knew he had represented the State before he jockeyed to become the DHECC Claims Administrator.  But then he turns right around and chastises Sutton for the exact same scenario.  If Sutton lied, his lie was no less grand than Juneau's lie....and Juneau lied under oath.

Sutton lied to his wife...and he admitted that in the hearing.  If he lied to Juneau about accepting the referral fee it's a small drop in the bucket compared to what Juneau himself has done.

If you've been following the blog you should already know that Christine Reitano had no fucking idea that her husband, Lionel, had accepted a referral fee for the Thonn claim.  I've stated as much, and so did Lionel in his interview with me, numerous times.  Reitano also informed Pat Juneau of this but he saw fit to fire her anyway.  I'm a little confused as to why people think this was some great revelation, including the local MSM.  I've stated this ad nauseam and I'll state it again.....Christine Reitano is innocent of anything Louis Freeh accused her of.  The headline of that hearing should have been "DHECC employ absolved of allegations made by Special Master Louis Freeh" not "Lionel Sutton lied!!!".  

The PSC and Pat Juneau, however, are guilty as sin of everything I've accused them of here on AZ and I'm about to lay out yet one more damning piece of evidence against Mr. Juneau that dives deep into Louisiana politics and gives us a snapshot as to why so many people are bending over backwards to hide this guy's transgressions, including a federal judge.  Stay with me here.

Something smells fishy

Before Pat Juneau came on as the DHECC Claims Administrator he had been hired by the State of Louisiana as a legal consultant regarding the State's damages and claim against BP for the oil spill.  Juneau originally claimed that he had nothing to do with the ongoing settlement, a prerequisite in order for him to get hired as the Claims Administrator.  He also made the same assertion, under oath, to Louis Freeh in a deposition.  The latter was clearly perjury but Juneau argued that the statements in the deposition had been "taken out of context" and that he had not lied.  That's laughable in my opinion but of course the Judge agreed and absolved Juneau of any conflict of interest because apparently BP knew that Juneau had represented the State before they agreed to hire him as the CA.

Putting all this aside, one incredibly interesting revelation that came up in this investigation was that while under contract with the State of Louisiana, Pat Juneau billed the state for helping to expedite the claim of a private company under Feinberg's GCCF.  Actually that information was liberated through a Public Records Request to the state for Juneau's billing records (hat tip K).

As it turns out, this wasn't just your run of the the mill claim...it was the largest claim paid out by Feinberg, a whopping $44.8 million smackeroos to a single company.

Well, at least a good ole' Louisiana company was getting compensated by BP for the oil spill, you say?  Uh...actually....no.  Turns out this company isn't even a Louisiana-based corporation.

The company Juneau went to bat for and landed the 44.8 mill is Omega Protein, a Houston, Texas based corporation.  Omega harvests Menhaden, also known as Pogies here in the Gulf, a fish that is considered one of the "lifelines" of the Gulf marine ecosystem.  Pogies are one of the most critical links in the Gulf food chain as they procreate en masse and serve as the staple diet for most of the larger Gulf fish and sea creatures.  Omega farms these fish and then grinds them down for various commercial purposes including cat food, fish meal, plant food and nutritional pills.  In fact, Omega is the largest harvester of Pogies in the country constituting up to 80% of the entire national Pogie catch coming from the Gulf and East Coasts. Pogie fishing has traditionally been unregulated but Omega has pulled so many from the Gulf waters, conservation agencies have recently been forced to regulate catches.

Omega also has an interesting political history.  The company cast its first net in Virginia circa 1913 and later moved to Houston.  In 1973 former President George H.W. Bush's company, the Zapata Corporation, bought Omega and later took it public in an IPO announced in 1998.

Omega does have plants in Louisiana, Abbeville and Cameron (closed in 2011), that employ about 550, mostly seasonal, workers.  Their largest plant is in Moss Point, Mississippi, a shipyard that employees about 1000 workers. I've been told by some of my peeps in the fishing industry that the bulk of Omega's workforce are not simply "seasonal" workers but undocumented as well.

The $44.8 million was a massive windfall for Omega; the company's annual income only averages about $177 million.  In fact, the BP spill turned out to be a boon for Omega as it resulted in a 40% rise in prices for their products in 2010 and 2011.  They even ended up catching 90% of their projected catch in 2010 while the Macondo well was still spewing oil out into the Gulf.  Omega's CEO Joe von Rosenberg was ecstatic with the GCCF payout and as the CBS article notes above he was quick to let his stockholders know about it.  It must have worked because shortly after the 44.8 mill landed in their bank account their stock price rocketed out of the cellar where it was hovering between 4 and 6 dollars a share to over 14 dollars a share where it's currently at after a few dips over the years.

Good on Omega, huh?  Louisiana power brokers like Pat Juneau go to bat for guys like this and they end up re-capitalizing the entire company from a single lawsuit.  A rising tide raises all boats right?

Well....we live in Louisiana and we all know by now that what's good for Texas is almost always at the expense of our own state and Omega is no exception.  Shortly after landing the BP payout Omega shut down its Cameron, LA plant and consolidated it with the Abbeville, LA., and Moss Point, MS., plants.

But let's quit obsessing Omega and turn to the real issue...the question here is why would Pat Juneau use his leverage with Feinberg and the GCCF to get a Houston company paid before everyone else and paid extremely well?  The bigger question is....how could he possibly have billed the State of Louisiana to do this?  That's a felony, ya' know?  You can't bill the State to work on a private company's claim, much less one from Texas.  Was he asked to do this by a state official?  Governor Jindal?  Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell?  A Jindal crony like Garret Graves?  If any of these guys had Juneau expedite a private claim on the State's dime it's an even bigger issue than if Juneau did it for his own reasons and I think it's something the Louisiana State Legislative Auditor should investigate PDQ.

And to help them with that investigation (don't hold your breath) I'll offer some extra tidbits of 411 that may help the legislative auditor's office figure out exactly what happened and if Pat Juneau deserves to be criminally charged for billing the State to expedite Omega's claim.

Juneau's invoices show that he was communicating with several of Governor Jindal's cabinet members right before he lobbied Feinberg on behalf of Omega.  As fate would have it, right before they submitted their claim, Omega donated $5000 to the Louisiana Republican Party:

http://www.ethics.state.la.us/CampaignFinanceSearch/ShowEForm.aspx?ReportID=21108


They also donated $2,000 directly to Bobby Jindal in 2009.   Also, $5,000 to Mary Landrieu and $1,000 to Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell back in 2007.

But what's really interesting is Omega's ties to PSC lawyers.  PSC lawyer Jeffrey Breit of Virginia Beach, VA., represented Omega ship captains in a suit against BP.

Phillip Cossich Jr., PSC Member from the law firm Cossich, Sumich, Parsiola and Taylor, also represented Omega several times in the past and even cited those cases in his application to be named a member of the PSC.

It's pretty apparent that Omega has deep connections to the "Good Ole' Boy" network down here in paludal-ville.  Still, the question is how did Juneau get away with billing the State for helping these guys get a 44.8 million dollar payout?  Our tax dollars were used to help a Texas company make a buttload of cash, how is that?

And here's an even better question....was there a direct quid pro quo from Omega to Juneau?  Did Juneau get a referral fee directly from Omega in any way shape or form for his efforts to get them paid and paid better than anyone else in the settlement?

The beat goes on 

This game is so rigged....it's disgusting.  How many Louisiana fisherman have yet to see a dime from the settlement while Juneau helps this Houston company pull down a 45 million dollar windfall?

In the hearing last week, Judge Barbier, in a moment of dudgeon, asked Lionel Sutton, "What year did you graduate law school?"  That's really cute....I would love to ask Barbier the same question.  His robe is only going to fan out so far in his attempt to hide these guys and their illicit behavior.

He is standing in a cesspool and I'm not sure he realizes that it's only going to keep rising.  Forget wrinkled robe...this one is stained through and through.  







Saturday, November 08, 2014

Zombie Fund Drive

Thank you to CW, CC, AMc, MS, ML, DC and very big thank you to my biggest donator in AZ history SW.

I'm a few donations away from the level I wanted to achieve so if you'd like to donate please click the PayPal button over there>>>>>>

Thanks again to all!

We're gonna talk about expediting and referral fees......

...oh yeah....trust me....we're gonna have that conversation.

http://www.theneworleansadvocate.com/news/10775255-123/lawyer-says-he-lied-about

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Zombie Fund Drive

I have admittedly been slacking on the blog because I've had a lot going in my life including a move and some medical challenges I've been dealing with but I am now back in the saddle and writing again.  

I try to keep my donation soliciting to a minimum but this is one of those times where I could really use the help to continue the efforts on the blog so if you can find it in your heart and your pocket please make a donation on the Paypal button on the right side of the blog >>>>>>>>>>>>

For those folks who have continually donated....my eternal gratitude....for those folks who read AZ daily or weekly...and there are a lot of you....please consider making a donation.  This work consumes a tremendous amount of my time and attention and while I don't do this for money it sure does help.  Thanks for you consideration.

Ashe'.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

DHECC - BP files for McGladrey Reports

The BP attorney, who drafted the scathing letter detailing how the Claims Office spent 14 million with auditing firm McGladrey, LLP and then buried their work has filed a motion to the Judge Barbier's court to force the office to produce the audit(s).  

Here is Don Haycraft's motion (in segments/exhibits):

Main motion, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Some of those exhibits are funny because you clearly see how hard some of our local MSM entities are shilling for Juneau and the PSC.  

I don't think there's any damn way Barbier can justify keeping these audits buried considering BP paid 14 million for them.  If he does deny the motion it would be the most blatant attempt to cover up Juneau and the PSC's misgivings yet.

But if that audit is as damning as I've heard it is, I'm sure Juneau bought the Judge a strong aperitif at Annunciation and pleaded with him to keep the cat in the bag.

On a side note, I've been super busy in the past week and I haven't had time to really go through the IBM zombie stalking report enough to comment on it.  Juneau also filed his response to BP's motion to remove him and I was only able to skim that but I want to comment on it as well.  Hopefully I will have some time this week to get 'er done. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

DHECC - zombie stalking

IBM Report:  Independent journalist covering BP case investigated over leaked emails

Wonderful...they're running full background checks on me?  They could have just contacted St. Pierre and Meffert, they already investigated me and it could have saved them a ton of money.  I'm assuming this report must have cost a ton of money if IBM conducted it.

I'll expound on the report later.

About eight months ago I was told one of the PSC attorneys had hired a private investigation firm to follow me.  I didn't worry about it too much because I don't have anything to hide.  I don't know if it is true but if it is I hope they got some tips from my amazing golf swing considering that's about the extent of my life other than work and family.

I can't decide if the whole thing is ridiculous or worrisome.  I'll sleep on it and let you know.