Monday, August 20, 2007

Why is Nagin Pumping Cash to Republicans?

I made a series of posts a couple months ago noting that Nagin is steering millions of dollars into the hands of a Metairie business man named Aaron Bennett through multiple companies, most notably a technology company called Benetech. Apparently Mr. Bennett does everything from from construction contracting to IT services....if there's a contract to be had, Bennett can provide the LLC. He also provided an all expense paid private Gulfstream jet ride to the Bears/Saints playoff game to both Ray Nagin and Greg Meffert, who has also entered the contruction contracting business with his own company, PRM Restoration.

Benetech currrently holds the city IT services contract, which was somehow awareded without a bid, as well as a handful of restoration contracts for schools, the French Market renovation contract, a French Quarter sidewalk renovation contract let by the city, and the contract to remove all the flooded cars from the city. All totaled the contracts exceed 50 million.

Also keep in mind that the crime camera contract was recently killed by the Nagin administration after a well publicized public this closely...I have no doubt Benetech or Netmethods will end up getting it without a bid.

It was also brought to my attention that former George H. Bush staffer and local republican poster boy, Scott Sewell, was somehow involved with Benetech and held major influence over Ray "I'm scandal free" Nagin...who still claims there's a white republican conspiracy to keep poor, black people from returning to the city. Of course he forgot to mention to the African-American community that he's pumping millions of dollars into white republican's hands, while taking free private jet rides on their dime. Oh yeah...he also forgot to mention that he contributed to W. Bush's campaign.

I put out a request for any information about Sewell and his links to Nagin or Benetech....this came in last week:

Anonymous said...
scott sewell is an owner of benetech. he also is president of home solutions (nasdaq symbol hsoa) a contractor that is doing lots of public work in new orleans. hsoa has been mentioned as a fraud by the website

And by all read the report by citron. The GulfStream G4 jet which tweedle-dee and tweedle-dum hitched a free ride on was owned by HSOA, of which Bennett is an owner, and Sewell is president.

So Sewell is not only involved in the contract, he's an owner of Benetech and president of HSOA....nice. That would explain how Benetech got a FEMA awarded contract for the school restorations...I wonder if W. had something to do with that.

I also think it would be prudent to conduct an audit of The French Market Corporation's activities for the past 10 years...particularly the matter of how Benetech was awarded the current renovation contract. I've heard a lot of dirty shit surrounding them, including an effort by some of the corporation's board members to illegally oust certain vendors from their leases in the market so the spots could be given to their own peeps.

I don't have full details on this, but one case involved a Vietnamese husband and wife who had a ten year lease on a prime location in the French Market where they were running a very successful seafood business. After the storm, they got a notice from the French Market Corp. that their lease would be terminated and they would no longer have the spot...someone in the corporation was trying to oust them from the spot so thier own peeps could take over. The schemers were assuming that because the couple was Vietnamese, they wouldn't know to seek legal counsel and would sacrifice the location without a fight....luckily another local real estate guru came to their aid and called bullshit...the plot was foiled. It leaves one to wonder how often shit like this goes down.

If Anyone has any more info. on Benetech, HSOA, Sewell, Bennett, or the French Market Corp.....please share.


Anonymous said...

Is it legal for a contractor to give a gift like a private flight from Nola to Chicago just to watch the Saints?

Jason Brad Berry said...

of course it's not legal. This is exactly what Tom Delay got nabbed for.

The real question is how much more have they got that we don't know about.

bayoustjohndavid said...

In addition to the audits, I want somebody to ask Letten why Barre was indicted but Roy Rodney wasn't. I'm not real confidant about the probe hurting Nagin, and if doesn't hurt him, it strengthens him. He could come out of this stronger than Morial ever was.

Anonymous said...

hsoa, per their most recent 10q, is currently being investigated by the sec. sewells involment in the probe is unclear but he is an executive and board member. i have been unable to find any details on the $7million french qtr sidewalk repair contract announced by hsoa last may. emails to the n.o. purchasing dept. were unreturned and the city of new orleans website has scant information on bids. is this a real contract and if so was their an RFP? if not this could be a real problem in light of the chicago/las vegas gulfstream ride. another question is if bennett is still bidding on jobs (for hsoa) as a service diabled veteran. he would be inelidgeable to do so as he is not a majority owner of the company.

Jason Brad Berry said...

yeah, I was wondering about that sidewalk contract as well....where did that come from. I asked a Quarter politico about it and he had not heard anything about it.

Anonymous said...

So to get back to your question, "Why is Nagin Pumping Cash to Republicans?" Is it not true that Nagin himself was a Republican and switched to Democrat shortly before his first run for mayor? I think this is why he beat out Mitch Landrieu - Nagin got the Republican vote because he is, in essence, one of them.