Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Flashback to the Interoperability Grant

My last post refreshed some people's memory on the scuttled, Department of Justice, interoperability grant for 7 million dollars which New Orleans was offered in 2003. The grant was acquired to create and build a working, storm-proof communication system here in the city.

Had we actually utilized the grant, we would have had that system in place before Katrina....think of the lives that could have been saved.

With that in mind, I thought it would be timely to revisit some of the stuff I uncovered on what happened and why the DOJ retracted the grant from the city.

To recap the story, briefly....the Department of Justice asked a man named Grant Holcomb, who owned a company named eXOS, to HELP spec the bid for the interoperability grant. Holcomb had been working for years with Tulane, developing a working interoperability system. At the time in 2003, he had one of most robust and developed solutions on the market...and possibly the only one. He was probably one of the only people who could properly write the bid, much less fulfill it.

As acting CTO, Meffert was in charge of the bidding process and distributing the grant....7 million dollars. He started fucking with the bid....trying to figure out a way to get his Imagine boys in on some of that cash. The DOJ realized what was going on and pulled the grant from the city.

In Meffert's defense, he claimed that he thought it was unethical to award the grant to the same person that had helped spec. the bid. That's funny, huh? He had a compulsory bout of conscience.

I actually got in contact with Holcomb to find out his side of the story. He sent me a series of emails which detailed a lot of what happened. Here are the pertinent links, in sequential order as I wrote them:

American Zombie: The DOJ grant revisited

American Zombie: DOJ Grant Redux Chapter 2

American Zombie: DOJ Grant Redux Chapter 3

American Zombie: DOJ Grant Redux Chapter 4

American Zombie: DOJ Grant Redux Volume 2; Chapter 1 This one is really good.

I want to prove that you are an unqualified and incompetent appointed public official who has undermined public safety and national security through the serial abuse of authority.

and.....

Does the public know that your first act as an appointed public official was to give yourself and Sherry Landry a raise? At a salary of $150,000.00 per year the public should gain some meaningful benefit, like addressing issues of public safety.

Does the public know that you have a liberal arts degree and do not have the engineering credentials to be the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of anything, particularly the City of New Orleans? Ordering Microsoft Software and Dell computers and hiring a third party to set up a web site does not make you "technical", nor should it cost the taxpayers so much a year.

Does the public know that Sherry's legal opinion against me was rendered after multiple failed attempts by you to kill the $7 million public safety grant? Here is the chronology of events that I witnessed first hand:

and.....

9.) After you reminded the Tulane General Counsel that the University had 27 active contracts with the City of New Orleans, I was told by the Tulane administration that they would no longer pursue the grant or take legal action to stop you.
Even an appointed public official must serve the interests of the community. Your actions reflect that you only serve your own interests.

I am an honor graduate of the United States Marine Corps Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Warfare Defense School. I am a combat veteran. I have a B.S. in Electrical Engineering. After attending the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, I taught Electrical Engineering at the U.S. Naval Academy. I have over 25 years of experience behind my claim that the inability to communicate during a natural disaster or terrorist attack directly results in the unnecessary loss of life. The grant submission presented how vulnerable the citizens of Southeast Louisiana are during a disaster. You intentionally ignored this critical information.
You abused your position and you ignored the safety of the citizens of the City of New Orleans. I personally think your negligence was criminal in nature because your actions were deliberate and intentional.

I pray that Mayor Nagin is successful in rebuilding the City of New Orleans and protecting its citizens. His first act should be to fire you immediately and start a grand jury investigation.


and finally....Holcomb's direct response to my blog posts:

American Zombie: Holcomb responds directly to Meffert's allegations


Remember that Greg Meffert stopped then redirected the grant after it was approved and awarded. He cycled through multiple approaches to kill the grant until his final attempt worked by sending a false official statement to the U.S. Department of Justice. If the U.S. DOJ had only verified Greg Meffert's claims in his letter I am confident he would be in jail right now. It is too easy to prove that he lied. Unfortunately, Tulane does not like bad press, of any kind, and directed me to move on to other efforts.

If it's any consolation Grant, you may finally see him in the clink after all.

It is worth going through all these posts to get a clear picture of what transpired. And while you're reading it....keep in mind that Meffert actually received an award for:

taking decisive and immediate action to deploy IP-technology during a public crisis to ensure ongoing government communications between the City of New Orleans and the outside world.

That tops Nagin's Excellence in Recovery award. Oh and notice the exchange in the comment section of that page....Meffert assumes that the poster "Katrina" is Holcomb, then retorts by signing his own name as Grant Holcomb. 

You're so clever, Muppet.

10 comments:

Civitch said...

All I can think about after reading this is the people trapped on roofs and in attics who might have survived if our first responders had had the right communication tools.

Meffert needs to be slapped with murder charges.

Despicable.

Anonymous said...

Reading your blog to get caught up on current political environment before moving into NOLA. I love the drama! This is better any reality show!
Keep up the great work.

Clay said...

There's probably a far better case for the prosecutor for the crime cameras, but I really hope he goes down for the interoperability grant.

I finally got around to listening to the whole WWL interview. Man, Meffert is total bull. How could anyone have thought he was a genius (thank you idiot local media)?

Honestly, that might throw a monkey wrench into the works. Meffert is such a serial liar and is so erratic, he wouldn't do well on the witness stand.

I'm betting the first round of indictments will be over the crime cameras. I'm hoping there will be a superseding indictment off the interoperability contract.

Anonymous said...

From your 3/6/07 post: "Within days of our meeting, you or a member of your staff copied all of the emails belonging to the Director of Homeland Security into a public Internet folder. You or a member of your staff then contacted all of your business associates, directed them to the location of these emails, and then directed these businesses to write formal letters of complaint to Sherry Landry."

---->>>> Boy, is that turning into their M.O. or what?

Remember Kimberly Butler Williamson going down because of mysteriously circulated emails? Remember the assessor property information getting lifted off their servers and placed on the web? And of course compare the napalming of the Council 3 and Jeff Thomas with their emails.

Anonymous said...

Ha, really, here's more, from No. 6, your 3/6/07 post:

"Any technically literate individual knows, and can easily prove in a courtroom, that this type of "accident" is impossible. You are responsible for the email system for the City and you allowed information critical to national security to pass into the public domain."

Man, that is a perfect summary of the current situation.

Dambala said...

Clay,

Yeah, the FED is isn't going after this...I'm almost positive. I think it's all crime camz.

Meffert's favorite retort to anyone who criticizes him is "They're a disgruntled contractor."

Well ok, but that doesn't mean he didn't break the fucking law over and over and over and over again.

I published this post because you and Clancy were talking about Interoperability. While I don't think he'll ever answer to this, I think that this, by far, was his greatest transgression. The unnecessary loss of life during the storm...it just makes me sick to think about it.

Karen said...

“The federal government just failed us,” she says, “and it’s got a lot to do with the fact that we’re a poor city. We’re too poor to matter down here. FEMA was way too slow. Communications failed within the city. The Army Corps of Engineers just sat by and watched the city flood.”


http://www.bread.org/learn/us-hunger-issues/hurricane-katrina-background.html

Headcritter said...

I once had the distinct DISPLEASURE of having lunch with Meffert Pre-K when he was Second in Command for C-Ray in order to kiss his ring for support of a development and after having suffered through two hours of this twit's braggadociousness I can believe everything Holcombe alleges. I have never met a more narcissistic person hell bent on selfaggrandizement thatn this jerk. Keep up the good work Dambala!

juanfromnola said...

Ashe, it's not about crime cameras it is about something much bigger called FusionCenter Technology, and involves critical Infrastructure protection:

http://cip.gmu.edu/

go to thetab "what is CIP"

This is Probably, the single largest INTERNAL breech (or Failure) of National Security, as of this date.



I will write more later.

juanfromnola said...

ok here goes(links only)

Fusion Centers:

http://www.it.ojp.gov/default.aspx?area=nationalInitiatives&page=1181

Critical Infrastructure

:http://cip.gmu.edu/cip/

Homeland Security Presidential Directives (Laws by Presidential Order):(see 5, 7, 8, 20)
All: http://www.dhs.gov/xabout/laws/editorial_0607.shtm

Crime Cameras are just a Miniscule part of a much bigger thing/place/system Called a Fusion Center. This is where all VITAL information flows "through".

Mine is a design called all crimes/ all hazards, it is the current perfection of what a truly unique and efficient Fusion Center should be.

My design is named Vernetia Vision, I named it after my wife who was killed in a car wreck, as wel y there a man came up and stole a ring from her hand and there was nothing we could do.

I then incorporated this into the proposal I was preparing for the DHS.

they said do it on a local level, and you know the rest.

So my friend those are the types of crimes we are dealing with. the total lapse and mismanagement of all which has led to over 100 dead this year already.(just with crime)

what about the waste from duplicity and fraud, or ethics violations involving city/state/fed assets, I can solve that too with just one system.

OH AND BY THE WAY, YOU CAN PRINT THIS:

I BET MY LIFE, I VOW BY ALL THAT IS DEAR TO ME, THAT I CAN HAVE 2000 WORKING CAMERAS IN THE CITY OF NEW ORLEANS, AT NO COST TO THE CITY, IN UNDER 30 DAYS.

AND WILL GIVE AWAY WIFI SERVICE, AGAIN IF THEY LET ME SET IT UP.