Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The DOJ grant revisited

One of Meffert's boys responded to the matter of the DOJ grant. For a little background on the matter, I have blogged on this a couple of times, but let me brief you on what the accusations were.

In 2003 the Department of Justice approached the city with a 7 million dollar grant to build out a hurricane proof communication system in the city. According to PBS' Frontline, the contract was highly lucrative and a number of national companies lobbied Nagin's office to get the bid....but somehow the contract got "stalled". I have received numerous reports that the reason it was stalled was because Meffert was trying to force the potential contracters to use Imagine in the process. The DOJ subsequently pulled the grant after receiving reports of Meffert's attempts to get Imagine in on the contract.

Here is the response from Meffert's guy:

I was in the meeting when this grant was discussed. A gentleman, who will remain anon, was selling a solution for $7,000,000 that would allegedly interconnect agencies, by the way using land lines to provide connectivity which all failed during the storm. The city hired Bearing Point to evaluate the solution and determined it to be vapor-ware, or a non-existent solution. Also, they determined that the individuals, not Meffert or his boys, who were writing the RFP were actually responding to it. Correct me if I am wrong, but I think that is illegal. Meffert's boys had no solution to the interconnect problem, so how could they receive a kick back? Also, how does Meffert have blood on his hands? Correct me if I am wrong again, but I do believe the DOJ grant was the responsibility of the Office of Homeland Security. If anyone is to blame, its them for not taking the correct steps to provide reliable communications during Katrina.

Your statement above holds no water, because "Meffert's boys" played no role in determining how the funding was spent. No money was EVER kicked back to them. Please get your facts right.

If you have info to the contrary please post it.

Meffert and his boys originally had no solution for anything they got contracts for from the city wi-fi to crime cameras. Imagine was a "software" company, not networking, not IT infrastructure. That never seemed to matter.

Also the allegation wasn't that they did recieve kickbacks or got sub-contracted....the allegation was that their attempt to do so scuttled the grant from the DOJ.

But let me get this right ANON...because it seems to me you are making one hell of an allegation. By saying that the individuals who were writing the RFP were the same ones responding to it....Who wrote the RFP? Are you suggesting that the DOJ was attempting to funnel money to a specific contractor? Yeah that is tell us who was attempting to commit the crime, because from this post it would appear to me you are suggesting the DOJ was complicit. Who issued the RFP for the city if not Meffert?

I want to make one thing clear....I've never met Meffert or any of the people surrounding him. Nothing I've blogged about these guys is "personal". I have withheld story after story I've received about their personal lives...I'm not interested in that and I've repeatedly stated that on this blog. I am only interested in exposing corruption within our city government.

So do tell....who issued the RFP and who are you accusing? As I see it you are implying that either the DOJ or DHS is guilty of attempting to kickback this contract. That's one hell of an accusation.


Anonymous said...

Do you understand the difference between a grant and an RFP?

Jason Brad Berry said...

yeah I do....I also understand the difference between Grant Holcomb and a Grant.

I just read the Bearing Point review. I am contacting Holcomb to get his version of the story. Should be interesting.

I also know that Holcomb reported the potential conflict of interest before the RFP was written. But you guys believed there was a conflict of interest regardless and went to the DOJ telling them such. The DOJ replied with a simple response, if you think you're doing something unethical....don't do it. That could of course serve as an excuse not to contract eXOS for the grant.

You said Bearing Point came back to you with a report that said eXOS's solution was essentially vaporware. I don't see anything to that effect in the independent review from December 15, 2003, which i will publish on the blog soon. So in what report did Bearing Point say that eXOS's solution was vaporware?

mominem said...

I think it's fairly common for agencies to seek assistance from sales droids in writing RPF's. Of course there can be no squid pro quo, and the agency should know enough to to avoid lockins.

bayoustjohndavid said...

I thought the city backed out of the grant, because it didn't want to deal with eXOS and "certain vendors" informed the city they could perform the same work. At the time, Holcomb speculated was that it was national companies (mainly microsoft)that pressured the city. But from the little I read, it sounds like the city asked DOJ to hold off on the grant. You can still find some pre-Katrina articles if you google "Grant holcomb New Orleans." This is from a 2004 article (the first link):

"Barham plans to convene the Homeland Security Committee soon and summon New Orleans officials to explain themselves.

Meanwhile, East Baton Rouge Parish's Office of Emergency Preparedness has jumped at the chance to try out Tulane's software, and will coordinate an eight-parish field test in conjunction with State Police."

Jason Brad Berry said...


I have an article Russell wrote on it as well. What I really want is Holcomb's side of the story. I think that's the only way we're gonna find out what actually happened.

I'm trying to get in touch in with him.