Retraction: An anon commenter pointed out that the first sentence in this post is incorrect and indeed it is. I was unaware that the pumps purchased from MWI are only used when the floodgates close, so the MWI pumps still haven't actually been put to the test. The anon also stated that the power to the existing pumps was cut and this is what actually caused the city to flood on Friday...I don't know if this is correct or not.
On their first real test....the pumps worked. We had a massive storm come through on Friday....as the Kentucky adage goes..."It was rainin' like a cow pissin' on a flat rock."
The city did flood but the pumps were not to blame, we simply had too much rain too quickly to get the water out. Of course it had to happen during Jazzfest when the city was filled with tourists...they now know the reality of living below sea level.
Most people also know that the Army Corps. of Engineers gave the 26 million dollar pump contract to the MWI Corporation, based in Deerfield Beech, Florida. The company's president, J. David Eller was a former business parnter with Florida Governor, Jeb Bush. In 1989 Bush formed a company called, Bush-El, which served as a marketing company to sell the pumps to foreign countries.
What many people don't know is that in 2002, the U.S. Department of Justice charged MWI with fraud. The DOJ claimed that while Jeb's dad, George, was president, MWI fraudulently helped the country of Nigeria garner $74 million in U.S. taxpayer backed loans from the Export-Import Bank of the United States. The money was then used by the Nigerian government to buy pumps from MWI.
The pickle is....the country didn't need the pumps. Most of the pumps ended up dorment, rusting in a field.
Jeb brokered the deal with the Nigerian government after traveling to the country in 1989 where he was greeted by Nigerian brass with a parade of 1300 horses in his honor. Apparently Bush convinced them they needed the pumps which I'm sure involved a healthy kickback to the Nigerian officials who decided they suddenly needed industrial water pumps.
Jeb claims he had nothing to do with the loans themselves. The Export-Import Bank is a U.S. government entity whose board members are appointed by the President...once again at the time the loans were granted to Nigeria, George H. Bush was the seated president. The Export-Import Bank claims Nigeria payed back the loans with interest.
The investigation was never completed by the DOJ, and the charges were subsequently dropped.
So MWI seems to do most of their business in third world countries...no suprise they supplied New Orleans with pumps. But how did they get the contract with A.C.E.?
An AZ reader has informed me that the deal was cut with MWI before anyone else knew the bid solicitation was even in the works. Enter a below-the-radar company from Houma, Associated Pump and Supply, Inc. The company is owned by a guy named Louis "Booga" Klingman who is the exclusive Louisiana representative for MWI. "Booga" caught wind that the pump deal was coming down the pipe well before it was public knowledge. He wined and dined the Corps. reps and was no doubt the source for the MWI specs. which the "Corpse" brass used to write the bid. There is even speculation that "Booga" may have actually written the specs. himself for the A.C.E. bid.
I'm curious if the pumps were actually purchased directly from MWI or if they were purchased through Booga's company, Associated Pumps and Supply, Inc. According to this article in Houma Today ....Booga did indeed get the contract for 26 million. It would appear his company essentially served as a broker for MWI. I'm curious how much Booga netted out of that 26 million.
Read more at da po' blog and Fix the Pumps