Sunday, January 25, 2015

DHECC - Comment Bump, January 25, 2015

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "DHECC - would the real Pat Juneau please stand up?...": 

You asked what BP is up to or doing?

Delaying claims with bullshit arguments read below. 

And why are we missing the Dec monthly court report Pat? 

Don't want anyone to know you wiped out $795 million in offers but your court vendors got paid for doing the work?

Appeal Panel Decision 2014-723

BP has again appealed a BEL award to a realtor on the same grounds that have been asserted in a multiplicity of other appeals. In almost boilerplate fashion, BP asserts that as a cash accounting basis entity, Claimant reports spikes in commission income in certain months that should be matched at Step One of Policy 495 to reallocate it over the several months that to a near certainty it took in earnings activities to produce the revenue. It also again asserts that instead of using the AVM methodology chosen by the vendors to roughly match revenues and expenses, the vendors should have resorted to the use of the Professional Services methodology. It argues for a remand to perform further matching and alternatively proposes a much lower award, admitting in footnote that its math is based upon assumptions unavailable from the record. This record has been reviewed de novo. 

Sufficient matching was done by the vendors in the second step of Policy 495, by subjecting Claimant to the seven criteria denoted therein. This is all that is required. The vendors exercised their allowable discretion in choosing AVM over Professional Services as a methodology, the latter which does not include realtors as one of the enumerated entities that mandate its use. There is nothing different in this record from the facts and arguments addressed and denied in many other essentially identical appeals on this issue. As such, the award must be chosen and affirmed.

BP lost this appeal.


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

DHECC - McGladrey hires a cleaner

McGladrey whistleblower reports investigation underway; Partner in charge of Deepwater Horizon audit asked to stay away from headquarters

Meet Sean Hecker.  Dude looks like he stepped out of central casting.  Are we sure that isn't a stock photo of a model?

14 million dollar question....was he called in to investigate or obfuscate?    

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

DHECC - would the real Pat Juneau please stand up?

Yesterday, BP filed an appeal in the 5th Circuit in respect to their original motion to remove Patrick Juneau as Claims Adminstrator of the Deepwater Horizon Economic Claims Center.  The motion was denied by Judge Carl Barbier.

The appeal cites Juneau's conflict of interests which he failed to disclose upon being interviewed for the claims administrator position.  It also singles out his involvement in the Omega Protein claim where he lobbied Kenneth Feinberg, former head of the Gulf Coast Claims Facility, to pay out a $45 million dollar claim (the largest payout in the history of the settlement to date) to a Houston-based company, Omega Protein.

Juneau also billed the state of Louisiana for the time he spent lobbying for this non-Louisiana based corporation...which should constitute payroll fraud to the state of Louisiana.

The appeal offers a few more details on the Omega claim than we (AZ readers and the public) were previously aware of such as the fourth item on page 38:
"Appellees downplay Mr. Juneau's advocacy for an individual claimant by asserting that Mr. Juneau was "merely inquiring" about the claim (Omega Protein).  Class-Br. 35; Juneau Br. 52-53.  The evidence refutes that characterization.  Mr. Juneau pressed Mr. Feinberg to contact the claimant's president, and peppered Mr. Feinberg with urgent emails until Mr. Feinberg finally informed him the claim had been paid.  At a minimum, discovery would be warranted into the nature of Mr. Juneau's intervention with this, and potentially other, claims."

This has echoes of the Corps Constructors claim.  In Juneau's response to the motion to remove him, he addressed the Corps Constructors issue on page 31 as follows:
"Also, despite characterizing Mr. Sutton's credibility as "certainly questionable", BP relies on his statements in the ""American Zombie" interview to allege that Mr. Juneau wrongfully expedited the claims of a friend's son.  The CSSP and Mr Juneau receive numerous calls from claimants who feel their claims are taking longer than they expected.  The program always has tried to respond to these inquiries, but not with the object of improperly expediting a claim."
Sounds nice but HE DID EXPEDITE THIS CLAIM.  It's not simply an issue of taking phone calls from claimants about the status of their claims or inquiring to Brown and Greer about the current status of a claim (as he stated he was doing with Omega and Feinberg).....he actually had Lionel Sutton tell Brown and Greer to expedite this claim.  There's a world of difference between checking on a claim and moving it out of it's place in a queue.

DHECC - Lionel Sutton Interview Series - Corps Constructors 1 from Jason Berry on Vimeo.

Juneau's explanation regarding Corps Constructors is as opaque as his explanation regarding Omega appears to be.

There are so many non-answers in Juneau's response, it's laughable.  Particularly his Corps Constructors excuse but also his excuse for lying under oath to Special Master Louis Freeh regarding his previous involvement with the settlement process.  This recent appeal calls that perjury issue out as well.  

On page 5 of Juneau's response he also claims that in his position as the special master/claims administrator that he is not a "justice, judge, or magistrate judge of the United States".  He stated to BP and the Court, that he had no judicial power or authority.  This recent appeal counters that assertion on many different levels but I want to point out something the appeal fails to mention.

In Christine Reitano's breech of contract suit against the DHECC for her termination, Pat Juneau claimed quasi-judicial immunity in Judge Barbier's court which places him squarely in the role as a court official.   Item number 9, page 3:
9. As Claims Administrator of the Court Supervised Settlement Program, Mr. Juneau enjoys quasi-judicial immunity for his actions taken as Claims Administrator, and he intends to raise the federal defense.  See Young v. Selsky, 41 F.3d 47, 51 (2d Cir. 1994) (quasi-judicial immunity has been extended to individuals who perform duties "closely associated with the judicial process" and who "perform tasks that are inextricably intertwined with the judicial process.")

This argument was made in Reitano's case as both a reason to move the case from state to federal court (Barbier's court where the case was stayed and put in a black hole) and also to provide immunity for Juneau from being deposed.  But with BP, Juneau is now arguing he has no judicial title or powers and can't be held to that standard.

Judge Barbier, himself, even told Lionel Sutton in open court that lying to Juneau was the same as lying to the Court.  Here are Barbier's exact words from the last hearing:
"'A lawyer shall not knowingly make a false statement of fact to a law or tribunal.'  Well, Mr. Juneau may not be technically a tribunal, but he is a Court-appointed claims administrator.  And as far as I"m concerned, if a lawyer, particularly a lawyer who is working for him, makes a false statement to my Court-appointed claims administrator, as Mr. Sutton has admitted he made on several occasions, that's the same as making a false statement to the Court."
This is a clear violation of the rules of professional conduct to argue opposite positions in the same case under the same set of facts...otherwise known as a positional conflict.  Both Barbier and Juneau appear to have done exactly this, or at least Juneau argued and Barbier accepted the argument.

I wonder where they went to law school.

I suppose you can put your judge hat on when it's convenient then take it off when it's not?  Like over appz and entrees?

Friday, January 16, 2015

DHECC - The Mamas, The Papas, and the orphaned children of the Gulf Coast

- "And no one's getting fat except Mama Cass..."

...and Juneau, the PSC, Louis Freeh, the court vendors....just not the people actually affected by the oil spill.

Tuesday, Kyle Barnett of the Louisiana Record published this nuclear bombshell:

McGladrey whistleblower claims Deepwater Horizon audit deeply flawed

Although it's been met with little fanfare in the mainstream media cycle, if this whistleblower's story is true it has the elements of an Arthur Andersen/Enron debacle.

Disclosure:  I was aware of the whistleblower's claims (as were other reporters who have followed this story) before Barnett published his post.  I have seen the whistleblower's original allegations and I can tell you they go much deeper than what Barnett was able to publish.  There are some highly salacious elements to the story that could possibly implicate a collusion between court vendor PwC (Pricewaterhouse Coopers) and McGladrey in how the audit was carried out....if you could even call it an audit....but I can't comment on all of it at the moment.

As Barnett pointed out, BP filed with Barbier's court to obtain the initial versions of the audit and was denied.  No surprise there, Barbier's only goal is to run interference for Juneau, the PSC, the Freeh Group and the chosen court vendors who are racking up millions while the people who have suffered the most along the Gulf have been orphaned in the wake of Act 495.

Barnett also notes the whistleblower's report calls out McGladrey team leader for the DHECC audit, Mark McNamee, for essentially running up the bill without a real game plan in place to accurately assess the success or failure of the settlement.  The whistleblower claims McNamee told the auditing team, "The client is willing to pay whatever costs that we incur during this engagement as long as we can get the job done."  McNamee also allegedly encouraged the McGladrey team members to stay in New Orleans on the weekends and yuck it up on the company expense account while filing billable hours to the DHECC.

There is second player mentioned in the whistleblower's complaint that was not mentioned in the Louisiana Record story, McGladrey Risk Advisor Service Manager, Jessica Batt.  Batt served as an executive member on the BP audit team and worked very closely with McNamee according to the information laid out in the ethics complaint.

Someone in the comment section of the LR story is obviously aware of the content in the whistleblower's complaint referencing Jessica Batt's complicity in helping McNamee run up the bill without having any real direction on the audit itself. While I can't go too deep into all of the allegations, I will mention a quote attributed to Batt by the whistleblower, "We don't want to have anything in writing that PwC (secondary auditors) could hold us to."

That quote is pregnant because according to the ethics complaint Jessica Batt may have had some inside knowledge as to exactly what issues PwC would have held McGladrey to due to the fact that she was married to a manager at PwC, Scott Batt (at the time of the audit that is).  The whistleblower points out that McGladrey's Code of Ethics prohibits their employees from "working on any audit where immediate family members are either employed by or have significant interest (investments, loans, etc.) of the entity that is being audited."  PwC would certainly have been a company examined in the audit being a court vendor for the settlement and the primary accounting firm processing claims in the DHECC.

The whistleblower also notes in the ethics complaint that he seriously doubts BP told McNamee to run up whatever costs were needed to "get the job done".

But what I think "Toots McGladrey" may be missing is that it most likely wasn't BP who stroked the blank check, it was more likely the actual client, Claims Administrator Pat Juneau.  When the initial drafts of the audit came in and suggested that upwards of 50% of the claims examined did not have proper documentation and could be considered "fraudulent" I suspect Juneau then made the offer to McNamee to run the bill up through the goddamn roof...13x the original estimate (see Louis Freeh)...  as long as the audit turned out benign.

It's no wonder Judge Barbier is blocking BP's attempt to see all the audit materials.  If the judge knew Juneau approved of the excessive billing, it could hang not only Juneau but Barbier himself and it's hard to imagine he wasn't aware of the progress of the audit and ballooning costs.

What's painfully apparent is that this settlement has been fucksnu'd to the point where the administrative costs by the court vendors have expanded into a completely alternate galaxy while the existing one the settlement was created for (to compensate the people of the Gulf Coast for the damages from the oil spill) is collapsing in on itself.  Act 495 and the energy and resources sucked out by the black hole (The Freeh Group and court vendors like McGladrey) have cannibalized the DHECC.

If these whistleblowers's allegations prove true, Pat Juneau should resign immediately.  McNamee should be deposed to find out exactly what Juneau told him regarding the audit and McGladrey's expenses.  Don't hold your breath on Freeh actually doing his job there but even an outside entity, preferably the FBI, should investigate the matter as it clearly suggests payroll fraud.  I suppose they'll get to that as soon as they finish with Double Bill Cassidy....not. 

Just to pour salt in the wound, I'll leave you with this recent comment by AZ reader and contributor In-Hale:

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "DHECC - from Omega to the Alpha with love": 

After posting the $ 795 MILLION DOLLARS IN CLAIM OFFERS THAT VAPORIZED on Nov 22, 2014 little has changed. These were offers accepted but BP appealed and lost them they were just waiting on the processed payment. 

The Appeals Coordinator sent them back to the accountants for new calculations under Policy 495 and what does BP do?

Appeals the new offers!!!!

Today's stats 1/14/15 chart 7 demonstrates little to know appeals resolved with a spike in appeals filed.

Table 5 now has the gap between Accepted offers vs. Pay offers growing again to just under 400 million.

We now have another 158 Businesses receiving Exclusion Denials along with their employees and another 900 Businesses receiving Incomplete Denials.

I guess it’s now safe to say that the only thing this settlement resolved was BP liability. Based on the definition to even refer to calling this a settlement would be FRAUD.

Time to replace the PSC or expand it with qualified litigators. My research on the PSC shows little to no experienced members were included just a group of Monty Hall’s from Let’s Make A Deal that took door number 1 worth $600 million.


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

DHECC - from Omega to the Alpha with love

An interesting item about the Omega claim story has popped up after a public records request to the Louisiana Economic Development (LED) office.

On September 2, 2010, Chairman, CEO and President of Omega Protein, Joe von Rosenberg, sent an email and enclosed memo to the Secretary of the LED, Stephen Moret.  In it he mentions that he will be in Baton Rouge the coming Tuesday evening to attend an event for Governor Bobby Jindal.

As fate would have it, Omega made a $5000 donation to the Republican Party of Louisiana the day after that Jindal soiree on September 7th, 2010.  DHECC Claims Administrator Pat Juneau was cc'd in subsequent emails from the LED and shortly after that the Omega Claim was paid out.

It appears LED is who asked Juneau to contact Feinberg about the Omega claim and I suppose the $5000 donation to Jindal was a small pittance to get a $45 million payday.

It's an interesting snapshot of how the machine works.

More Metairie...

Louisiana revisionary history

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Lakeside Mall Christmas message to their customers: We fucking hate you

Apparently last year's Lakeside Mall Christmas exhibit didn't get their anti-immigration, pro-republican and outright racist message across so this year they went even more literal.

This scene is of a border patrol officer stopping an eighteen-wheeler with what I assume are Mexican immigrants on the back polishing a hot rod vehicle:

I suppose the scene implies the truck driver was smuggling the people across the border and got caught by a Border Patrol agent.

In case you were confused as to the political and racial bias of that scene, the "artist" put this one right next to it:

Two years in a's pretty clear this is no accident on the part of Lakeside's management.  It amazes me that they would display this shit 1. in a Christmas exhibit and 2. in a business that is supported by an overwhelming amount of minority customers, including Latin-American.

Good Ole Metry....backwards-ass, redneck, fucksticks still reign supreme even in their prized attraction....the shitty, run-down mall.  Merry racist Ho Ho from the shitburbs of New Orleans.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A sinking feeling

This post will by my 1818th entry on The American Zombie since the first on July 4th, 2006.

In the past month I have found myself reflecting, heavily, on this thing I've done....this blog.  At times I've been extremely proud and other times I've felt like it was an enormous burden, even a threat to myself and my family.  Truth is, in the past few months it's felt like an exceptional burden.

It started it as an experiment.  Upon the completion of the documentary, Left Behind, I made with Dr. Vince Morelli, I came to the conclusion that the root of this City's problem was its education system and the root of our education system's problem was corruption.  I discovered there was not a lack of money in the Orleans Parish School System but that the funds were simply being stolen at nearly every turn to the great detriment of our children.

I figured the blog was a way to possibly expose the entrenched corruption that exists within so many layers of New Orleans/Louisiana government.  I was naive enough to think that I could affect change simply by exercising the powers of the First Amendment.  

From that original "thunk" I have devoted an enormous amount of time, energy and money into this experiment and there's not a day that goes by I don't think about it....wondering if it's worth it...feeling guilty because I've neglected one or more stories...thinking about how much more effective it might be if I devoted all of my time to it....worrying about who I might have pissed off and if it would affect my income stream....wondering how it will affect my children as they become adults.... weighs on me a lot.  Lately it has weighed on me more than usual.

I have to admit that I've reached a point where I don't think my efforts are actually affecting social and/or governmental change and if I'm not doing that I don't think it's worth the effort.  As my father used to tell me, "Don't half-ass do anything, Son.  Otherwise you're just pissing in the wind."

Truth is, I feel hopeless.

When I started AZ I was writing under the assumption that our justice system was...just.  I believed that if I simply told the truth and exposed criminal activity, city, state and federal law enforcement officials would pay attention and rectify the problems.

I believed justice was truly blind and the rule of law was real, the system simply needed people to exercise the First Amendment in order to set the wheels in motion.

What I believed, in the beginning, was that there was an avenue for recourse if the average citizen just woke up from their slumber (hence "The American Zombie") and cast a a light on the corruption that existed in their community.

Now, I'm not so sure.

The corruption within this state is intrinsic...hereditary even.  It is so prevalent, we have come to simply accept it as the modus operandi.

Any reform we saw on a local level, in post-Katrina New Orleans, is a faded dream.  Even the dreamers were defiled.

Pay to play has woven itself into the fabric of our government for so long it's now categorized on the "insiders'" sliding scale of significance.  On the national barometer of corruption, we've actually managed to go so far off the reservation we can't even be quantified....we're an anomaly.

The collusion between the oil and gas industry, the trial attorneys who would have us believe they are fighting for the public's best interest and the politicians who take both of their money is an unholy trinity promising salvation at every turn. 

They lie.  They fucking lie. But we keep buying their bullshit.

If you read this blog...even if you don't...what I hope you will understand is that none of these people have the public's best interest at heart.  It doesn't benefit any of them....any of create a healthy, educated, populous in an environmentally safe Louisiana.  They want idiots and this state is ripe by design.  Idiots more concerned about what two grown men choose to do with their sexuality than a Congressman fleecing a public university.

We are losing everything that is near and dear to our hearts in this state...our higher public education system, our public hospital system, our coastline.....yet we bicker about partisanship instead of actually holding our public officials accountable.

We are trapped inside a juvenile interpretation of the Hegelian Dialectic.

The corruption in this State and City is insulated, obscured, behind the political dichotomy of left/right.  In New Orleans, democrats are protected from prosecution by the local political machine while on the state level republicans' transgressions are overlooked and written off as "minor issues".

They are all stealing public money.  All of them.  They are all using tax dollars as their own 0% interest, no money down, no principle

Bill Cassidy stole money from the state of Louisiana.  Diana Bajoie stole money from the state of Louisiana.  One is a republican, the other a democrat.  Neither one has been prosecuted or even officially investigated.
Patrick Juneau illegally billed the state of Louisiana.  He is not a democrat or republican, he's just an opportunistic old man that will do whatever either reigning "party master" asks him to do in order to enrich his own bank account.

We are standing on the deck of ship, floating in a sea of corruption with no rudder, no mast, no sail, holes in the hull, arguing about the weather while our politicians take the cargo and sail off in lifeboats.

In the matters I listed above, I think the evidence is clear on all fronts, at least enough to justify investigations by our state regulatory officials...the state auditor , state inspector general, state attorney general.

Thing is, I've busted my own ass on at least two of these stories and liberated information on the third while many other reporters busted their ass to do the same.  The Fourth Estate has fulfilled it's duty, not just my small contribution but the body, whole.  The evidence is convincing, overwhelming on the issues listed above.

LSU would never conduct an honest audit on Cassidy.  No university would.  Not Loyola, Tulane, or even UNO as it fades into obscurity.  They are all deeply entrenched in political interests on both city and state levels.  University employees will not talk to their own institution's investigators for fear of losing their job.   These things need to be audited by our state regulatory's their job, it's their duty. 

For these regulatory agencies to ignore even one of these issues, much less all three, is a bellwether as to the state of our State.

This...these moments....are where we traditionally fail, Louisiana.  Let's not fail again.  Let's not kick the can down the road and allow business as usual.

We have a problem here.  It's systemic.  It's destructive.  Please.  Please.  Please....investigate.