Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Imagine this....

All right...after some deliberation about wether or not I should go there....i'm gonna go there.

First a disclaimer: The following post was written by a second party source. I can't identify the person, as it's too volatile for the person to be identified. Having said that, I can assure you this person is a competent and relevant source.  Some of the information posted CANNOT be verified, and I will acknowledge those parts as conjecture by putting the comments in red type. The post is written 1st person from the source.

Now Meffert's indiscretions are one thing, but they do not necessarily implicate Nagin. However......well just read the post and I will follow up.

so here it is:

Imagine A City --- Without Nepotism

If the news media in New Orleans were really doing its job, reporters at the Times-Picayune would know why Mayor C. Ray Nagin appointed, Mark Kurt, chief technology officer, last week.

Kurt has been outgoing CTO Greg Meffert’s right-hand man all along.

It’s no secret around City Hall that Mark Kurt is one of a handful of Meffert cronies who’ve been feeding at the city government trough for far too long. In fact, their “imaginary” Imagine Software, LLC, has been subcontracted by GSA or government approved companies since Nagin first took office.

Imagine Software, LLC was a company founded by friends and former co-workers of Greg Meffert, or his Partners in Crime:

Mark St. Pierre
Mark Kurt (recently named CTO to replace Meffert)
Scott Domke,
Paul Hastings, 732 Ashlawn Drive, Harahan, LA 70123 (orginal address of Imagine Software)

The reason Imagine has been a subcontractor under a prime are several reasons. Namely, so Meffert wouldn’t have to put the contract out in an RFP (or public bid) and secondly so the Imagine team could fly under the radar of the media and the public.

Imagine was first contracted under Science & Engineering Associates (SEA). A few of the Imagine guys, like, Mark Kurt were contracted by Affiliated Computer Services, Inc.(ACS).

Meffert was using SEA and ACS to get his guys hired at higher rates of pay than he could ever get them approved for via City Council and to shroud them in secrecy – while he acted as a silent partner in their company. It was never Meffert’s intention to keep ACS or SEA around or funnel any legitimate projects to these very legitimate companies.

Imagine Software had another goal, which was to:

Get ACS to hire civil servants working in the city’s MIS department at higher, more attractive rates of pay – so they could then be re-located and later fired. The Civil Service Commission makes it almost impossible to terminate longtime city employees – something Meffert couldn’t wait for if his plans were to work.

The plan was to terminate the ACS contract and replace them with the Imagine team. The ACS deal was initially worth about $1.2 million a year. ACS managed many of the mainframe systems in MIS. The size of the ACS deal was a fairly insignificant contract given that at one time it was once overseen by Michael Miller, who was a college roommate of Marc Morial.

Prior to Hurricane Katrina, the Imagine Software contract was about $3.5 million a year.
Imagine is currently hiding out under a subcontractor under a government-to-government deal with Ciber www.ciber.com.

A sweetheart deal like this doesn’t come without many strings attached. Meffert makes sure he “gets his”. Sources report that on many occasions when Meffert’s friend, hotel developer Sean Cummings (International Hotel and Loft 523) hasn’t made a room available to Meffert and his harem --- Imagine comes to the rescue and picks up the tab.

It has also been reported that Meffert was in possession of an Imagine company Credit Card which he ran up 10's of thousands of dollars on.
Meffert also makes sure his “boys” take care of his restaurant and bar tabs … and that’s just the beginning.

Imagine also made sure it took care of C. Ray, just in time for the runoff election:
Ray Nagin 40G CONTRIB 5/16/2006 5000.00
Imagine Software LLC 732 Ashlawn Dr. New Orleans LA 70123

Ray Nagin SPCL CONTRIB 05/16/2006 5000.00
Imagine Software LLC 732 Ashlawn Dr. New Orleans LA 70123

SO....Is Nagin aware of all this? While the source is putting together more info for future posts....I'll leave you with this tidbit which I got from him.

The Imagine crew has a company yacht named "Silicon Bayou" anchored somewhere in Mississippi (apparently they were dumb enough to have it anchored in Pontchartrain at one time). Of course it's not illegal to have a yacht...but how the yacht was purchased is a question mark. Also....Sugar Ray has reportedly taken more than his fair share of cruises on the boat.

So far from the information gleaned from this post...I think the big deal would be if Meffert was actually being funded...expense account....or in any way, from Imagine...that would most certainly be a kickback scheme.

At the worst this whole thing reeks of the stupid cronyism which this city's elected officials seem to have turned into an art form.

I'll be very interested to see what Meffert's next moves are now that he's not a public official. I'll be especially interested to
find out how and from whom he raised a reported $50 million dollars in VC funding.


bayoustjohndavid said...

$50M in VC in money for a software or IT company in today's market? That just doesn't happen anymore.

Jason Brad Berry said...

What is the company? That's the question....what service do they provide? I have one hunch which has to do with a Dept. of Homeland Security initiative to create a digital database for every american's medical records...which will end up being a massive contract...but I'm honestly not sure.

bayoustjohndavid said...

I wasn't sure that I understood the reason for getting rid of civil service employees, but I couldn't help but remember what the T/P said when the city finally hired (contracted for) more electrical inspectors:

"The department’s electricity inspectors fell from 10 to two in the weeks after Katrina while permit applications soared 80 percent, said Greg Meffert, Mayor Ray Nagin’s chief technology officer. The staffing problem was not the result of mass layoffs after the storm. Instead, some inspectors failed to return to work, and others have quit, Meffert said.

After several false starts, the department last week hired a private firm to resupply the depleted electricity inspector ranks. The department should have 10 inspectors working by the end of the week and more on the way, Meffert said."

I understand the reasons for being careful about making accusations w/out firm evidence, but I don't think there's anything wrong with asking obvious questions when there's a lack of transparency. I'd go so far as to say that a lack of transparency makes otherwise irresponsibly speculative questions, entirely responsible.

Schroeder said...

"He created an environment for technology from scratch"? That's quite a stretch. Had he actually done his job, instead of reward himself and his cronies, he would have retooled the civil service job descriptions and pay scales to take them out of the 1970's and bring them into the 21st century. Then, the city would be off to a better start moving forward, instead of continually relying on contractors to do everything (which of course, leaves open the possibility for expensive technology and software maintenance agreements).

Absolutely effing GREAT post Dambala. I'm a little closer to the story than you may know, but I can tell you you're absolutely right on "the money*.

Jason Brad Berry said...

Thanks Schroeder...There is much more to come...from multiple sources. But Meffert's plan from the beginning was to eliminate city payroll and move the contracts through his guys from Imagine, at a much higher payoff...it was also Nagin's parachute if he needed employment after his 8 run was up. He would be named CEO of whatever the fuck the incarnation of Imagine is going to be....and I suspect that is exactly the plan now, that is if Ray doesn't go on to a national politcal position.

David...You're on the money man...it's about transparency. This city doesn't know the meaning of it. If we have one responsibility as a blogging community (not that i do this for the responsibilty factor), I believe it's to "bring to light" the reality of our city government and it's pervasive ineptitude.

I don't necessarily "blame" the TP for not reporting these things on the whole. They are aware of the majority of this post...and they did attempt to delve into the situation, but could not come up with the hard evidence they needed to go after the story. I have friends who are reporters at the TP and they told me some interesting things. Howeve, they are much more privy to lawsuits than a blogger, and they have to have much harder evidence than hearsay. Plus, the only thing I think would have actaully been illegal is if Meffert is actually being bankrolled on an Imagine Credit Card...I've heard he bragged two years ago that he's spent over 80k on an Imagine card. If one could obtain the company's CC records, I suppose you could track back the purchases...and see how many times LOA and the International House come up on it :)

There is an interesting story behind the TP's attempt to uncover the story as well....which I will blog in future post.

Roux said...

Be careful....

Jason Brad Berry said...

With all due respect Roux....the time for caution is over. If this city is going to change, we gotta expose this shit.

Thanks for concern though.

I'm getting a lot of contacts from people verifying information and filling me up with more. So stay tuned.

GentillyGirl said...


I'll keep on my sources for more info on this. Thanks for the heads-up!

Gentilly Girl

dillyberto said...

It's gotta come out on the big news. When I was working with some city employees about a year to a year and a half ago I heard this was going down.

It is really nasty stuff.

Jason Brad Berry said...

dillyberto....we are the big news man....we tell the truth. just tell the truth and don't worry about MSM.

paz y amor

Anonymous said...

You may want to look into whose name the yatch is in and how it was purchased. Also, seems Domke has moved - bought a big ass house in Slidell with his post Katrina bonus. Nagin gave the Meffert team bonuses for all their hard work during Katrina, but who actually paid the bonuses? Check it out.

Anonymous said...

I know a bad fact, a company called www.iseatz.com which Mark Kurt tried to steal the CEO's girlfriend and the company from Kenneth Purcell. He is one nasty selfish indivdual. Anything he can get for himself he will. He could care less about New Orleans. All he cares about is his own interest.

Jason Brad Berry said...

Anon 1....thanks for that.

Anon 2...rather ambiguous about Kurt. I'm not a big fan of attacking people unless there is a credible accusation against the person. What is the exact meaining of "steal"?...and not the girl, i don't care about that (personal relationship is his own business), the company is another story. So please define what you mean by his attempt to "steal" iSeatz.com. thanks for participating.

Jason Brad Berry said...

Anon 2,

Actually don't even go there on iSeatz. I don't care what happens in the private sector...they play by a completely different set of rules, so unless he broke the law...not interested.

But the fact that Kurt is now public sector figure is the issue. How he acts now is of intrest to this blog.

Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Whoa!!!! You guys are going after the only group who, in 20 years, has done anything worthwhile for technology in the city...is this stuff really true?

Jason Brad Berry said...

I'm going after anyone who is actively fleecing the city....pure and simple.

Anonymous said...

Well here is some more data on "imaginary software" and Mark St Pierre. When the work for the City first came up, it was done under contract through a gov-gov partnership the the now famous Navy Information Technology Center and UNO. Mark St. Pierre was an employee of SAIC at entergy and moonlighting with Meffert on City work. Meffert directed SEA to bring several of the "imaginary software" boys on board to kick start the company. St Pierre and company wanted very high rates, but the contract through the ITC limited what could be charged. Then when SEA would not succumb to blackmail and hand "imaginary software" free work on other contracts, SEA was cut from the program. An RFP was let and several companies bid on it, only to have it canceled by the city and the GSA buy through Ciber be the replacement. Mark Kurt actually tried to leverge the threat of this RFP to gain additional work from SEA at the time, and was ultimately successful in blackmailing Ciber to allow the GSA buy. Find out how many Ciber folks are working at City hall. BTW, This procurement approach was only possible because Nagin signed an emergence procurement release to allow it after the RFP was canceled and a work stoppage was close at hand.

Anonymous said...

You know that Imagine Software - 732 Ashlawn in Harahan - is also called Continuous Systems? Same address. And their website, which says almost nothing, says it's a woman owned business? Helpful for getting government contracts.

Anonymous said...

In addition to Continuous System, you should also check out www.netmethods.com. This company is also owned by Mark St. Pierre as well and has only one product; The NetMethods Intelliport. If you look closely, you'll see that the NetMethods Intelliport is the same portal used for the City of New Orleans website (cityno.com). Yes, that's right, it was developed by, you guessed it, Imagine Software on the City's nickel. Oh, and apparently, it's all perfectly legal as the contract for Imagine Software with the City of New Orleans states that anything developed by Imagine Software for the city becomes the property of Imagine Software. And who wrote the contract for Imagine Software? Yes, Greg Meffert. And who signed the contract for the city? Yes, Ray Nagin. What a nice little gig... the City of New Orleans is Imagine Software's R&D department!!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Blinging-est kickback - a Yacht!
in addition to unlimted tabs at LOA, Ricks on Bourbon St, free rooms for romps at International House, straw poker games where Meffert always won and the Imaginary guys always lost. . . Did the Imagin-ary guys really believe they could give Meffert a yacht paid for with their dirty money profits from no-bid deals with City Hall, and get away with it?

Am I the only one who thinks that the special executive order to exempt from RFP requirements so Imagine could corner the market on city IT work amounts to a criminal conspiracy involving Nagin, Meffert, Kurt and Imagine to send all the work and money to a company that Meffert (and maybe Nagin) shared in the profits of -- through the yacht, straw poker games where Meffert always won and the Imanginary guys always lost, unlimited tabs at posh watering holes, private entertainment by "professional" dancers, etc.

Meffert has been a fraud all along. .. his vaunted private sector success was underwritten by a govenrment program that allowed insurance companies in louisina to invest in new businesses in lieu of paying premium taxes (CAPCO). Meffert got millions to start his company, sucked out the money, sold the company to some suckers and what was left of his firm moved to Virginia or somewhere.

Anonymous said...

New Day!!
My friend in city law department says mayor got with CAO and city attorney this weekend and operation "get all gregs boys out now" commences today!!
CAO told one of her people she always hated greg and wants no imagine or other meffert cronies in. None!
Mayor says all need to be gone and actually heard privately from a cop friend he is ready to hang his former right hand thief out.
Maybe he has some sanity afterall.
Kudos to zombie and gordon russel, we did more to help this city in a year than ray nagin did in 5!

Anonymous said...

This one is true. Though truth looks alittle different from my friend in city hall who I just talked to St Pat party Sunday. Shes way up there is all I can say. Yes, mayor has said all meffert hires and contracts need to go asap.
I thought it was because something he did crooked, but my source said they actually still dont think or believe that per se (thought to be true not exactly Einsteins up there). She hates Meffert so I believe that one. The phrase I heard was that mefferts team was no longer "politically expedient" and had to go to protect hizzoners rep. What rep I have no idea! But it looks like mr tech/politics just got served.

#TheLion said...

No Sir, This fully explains everything in detail! Kurt stole my product! and now has greg marketing it under Logistix

me and my wife were in a wreck in which my wife was killed and I suffered a broken neck, later in december when I called to talk more about this I was told they already have something in place!

yeah now I see they stole my programs, I will provide copies of the emails and cell phone records to prove I spoke with mrs Robino, and mr. Kurt, and I will see the "whole Gang in court"

Standard Header|Full Message View

ViewMonday, September 18, 2006 12:42:15 PM
To:mkurt@mayorofno.com; nrobino@mayorofno.com

1 PROJECT SUMMARY.doc (27KB); 2 This is a story of seven characters.doc (26KB); 3 THE PROBLEM STATEMENT.doc (108KB); 4 owner.doc (62KB); 3a FLOW CHART.xls (31KB); 3c ARRIVAL STATE.xls (19KB); 3d DEPARTURE STATE.xls (17KB); MEGACANE POWERPOINTrev1.ppt (354KB); 3b FLOW CHART REFINED VIEW.xls (26KB)


I am willing to lay my cards on the table, so we dont have to re- live katrina failures.

----- Forwarded Message ----
this is a program I designed and have copyrighted




This is the program I have spoken to your office about previously, we are trying to locate federal grants to move forward with this as soon as possible for the good of the general public. Please assist us any way you can, most of the grant programs are for local, state, and federal agencies, or at least cooperative efforts between these agencies and private enterprise.


Please we are asking your office to support our program as a feasible solution and assist us in attaining the proper funding, please remember this is for the greater good of the general public.

On another note this idea solves the current issues with the Stafford act of privacy, This allows the applicant to decide what level of privacy they in fact wish to attain.

as a side note, it will also allow mechanisms to be brought into play along the lines of safety concerning the general public. W could also provide the DOJ,FBI with forwarding addresses of "threats to the general public" such as murderers , rapists or other serious threats ( crimes to the person, of a felonious nature). of course if this causes any problems we can simply disclude this from our program.

A preparedness theses programs would tie in all pertinant agencies for emergency response and better yet preparedness by allowing interoperability between all agencies to coordinate response as well as preparedness.

in non emergency "normal" times it would tie in "FREE" wireless internet with state of the art technology to police the streets, and MUCH MUCH MORE.if this has sparked your interest than please contact me, let your name be written in the annals of fame with reconstruction.

thanking you in advance,

Juan R. Gaspard

CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This e-mail message is intended only for the person or entity to which it is addressed and may contain confidential and/or privileged material. Any unauthorized review, use, disclosure or distribution is prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender by reply e-mail and destroy all copies of the original message. If you are the intended recipient but do not wish to receive communications through this medium, please so advise the sender immediately.

now go to LOGISTIX:http://www.logistixco.com/MetroWireless.html

and then under the tab "sectors" download the white paper, hell download them all and then I will let anyone look at mine and judge for yourself!! but I will take them to court!!