Saturday, September 19, 2009

Would the real airport contractor please stand up?

I'm a little confused right now cause I just found this:

Benetech, LLC et al v. Infinity Surety Agency, LLC et al

I guess I'm confused becasue Infinity Surety was the bond company for the HSOA construction contract at Louis Armstrong Int. Turned out the bonds were bogus and the whole contract went to hell....after the city had paid out HSOA.

So is this lawsuit in connection with the airport? If it is why is Benetech filing it and not HSOA? If it's not in relation to the airport, its one more interesting link between Frank Fradella, Aaron Bennett, and....what? Texas....yeah....Texas....let's just say that. Can the state of Texas sue me?

I know Bennett is now an owner of Picke Construction...but it's interesting that both HSOA and Benetech would be using the same Bond company out of Texas.

And also, just to back assertions that Benetech did, in fact, receive a no-bid contract from the city....I went back and re-read this story. Now it may have been legal...but just read this story again, knowing everything we know now. I had actually forgotten that Veracent was a Benetech sub. Read these two columns in particular:

Complicated connections

Nagin spokeswoman Ceeon Quiett said the city could not answer questions about Veracent -- including how much the city owes the firm -- because the city does not contract directly with the firm. "Veracent is (a) subcontractor to Benetech," she wrote via e-mail. "Benetech can answer details about Veracent."

Quiett added that it is up to Benetech to "manage and vet all applicants and then make recommendations" about which ones to use.

In fact, Veracent held the rooftop lease before the city ever hired Benetech. When the lease was signed, Imagine -- and later Veracent -- were subcontractors to another firm, Ciber Inc. Ciber was the third company to oversee Imagine at City Hall.

Thanks to an executive order signed by Nagin in 2004, when it comes to technology services, the city does not have to follow its own procurement rules and seek competitive proposals as long as it does business with a company that has prenegotiated rates with the federal General Services Administration. Ciber and Benetech both bill under a so-called "GSA schedule."

Around February of this year, Ciber, which also was owed a substantial amount of money by the city, decided to drop that contract. Benetech, a local firm that also uses a GSA schedule, volunteered to take over as prime contractor.

Benetech's owner, Aaron Bennett, said that when he took on the job, he had been told the city's chief technology officer at the time, Mark Kurt -- who had been a partner in Imagine before taking the city job -- that a change was in the works.

Tired of questions about favoritism, Kurt wanted to end the practice of using subcontractors to do the technology work at City Hall. Bennett said his plan was to decide which Imagine and Veracent employees to keep, and to make them Benetech employees.

Shortly after issuing that directive, Kurt left the city and went to work for Ciber.

Hispanic firm chosen

Kurt's position was filled on an interim basis by Anthony Jones, who issued a request for proposals in April in hopes of contracting directly with a company that would provide technology services. (More recently, the city has advertised for the position of chief technology officer as well.)

The city received 10 proposals for technology services, and spent months looking them over. In the meantime, Benetech has continued to bill on behalf of Imagine and Veracent.

Quiett confirmed last week that city officials have decided to award the new technology contract to Vision IT of Detroit. City Hall has not yet provided score sheets or other materials requested by The Times-Picayune showing how the proposals were ranked.

According to the company's Web site, Vision IT is one of the nation's fastest-growing Hispanic-owned firms. Locally, the company hosted a "Tech Day with the Saints" in July at the Saints' facility on Airline Drive.

Quiett said the company has not begun working for the city yet. "A draft contract is being negotiated," she said.

That said, most of the city's current technology vendors apparently have been shown the door. Bennett, of Benetech, said he got a letter from the city in early September saying his services, and those of his subcontractors, no longer were needed.

Bennett alerted St. Pierre, who was displeased with the abrupt notice. The next day, St. Pierre sent his e-mail demanding payment from the city.


Anonymous said...

Hi, AZ. I read the article you linked to, and the comments. Your request for more information about Segura and Vision was great; did you catch the comment about St. Pierre's Dad being a big wheel at the school board? I felt slow to have missed the connection.

I'll say it: Bob Ellis did side work for Benetech and his wife for HSOA/Picke. He STILL has not written you that letter he was going to, and we're left with all those stories half told. That's frustrating.

Ceeon Quiett gave an answer in that story denying knowledge about sub contractors. She sings variations of this song all the time. You'd think they would have had time to create a master list of who the contractors are for each project, and who is involved in the subs.

Thanks for sticking with the stories. I am glad to see the airport contracts and the big scary names connected to the people who threatened you are back on the adgenda. You're a fearsome warrior, man.

Anonymous said...

Is someone moving funds from one pocket to another by getting his left hand to sue his right hand?

It would be even more amazing if the lawyers who are acting for the left hand and the right hand are also family or family friends.

Then the legal fees they charge seem legit instead of like another skeezy leetle crime.

Anonymous said...

Not again???!!!!! Talk about business incest....

Anonymous said...

Infinity Surety rung a bell.

This bell:


You had a link to the story of Dennis LaButte's complaint that he was owed $200 000. He was the skilled tradesman from Biloxi stiffed by HSOA. Or if he wasn't from Biloxi himself, it was still the TV station from Biloxi that did a story about the situation.

Now that "Infinity Surety" bell finally dinged for me, and I remembered this story.

The comments the first time I read the piece were all pretty angry; angry enough to be memorable.

I didn't reread them this time, but as I recall, they were calling for the heads of everyone involved in screwing over the little independant business people with actual skills, the ones who do actual work.

This story supports your "Nagin is screwing over black people" point well.

I sure would like to hear that honorable explanation from two white Republicans in particular, Precious Flower the Incorruptable and her 'Jedi Knight'.

Anonymous said...

I heard that according to the Department of Insurance, neither Infinity Surety nor Infinity Surety of Louisiana Inc. were ever licenced insurance companies in LA.

They never were authorized to make bid bonds or to write surety insurance.

The case you are pointing out appears to be some sort of personal injury suit. I don't understand that. Is this that Houston bred moron again?

Is THIS the personal injury work his Texas law firm (with the New Orleans City Hall telephone number) does?

Is he, as a City Attorney, allowed to do the side work he did for Aaron Bennett's Benetech if Bennett is part owner of a company (Picke) that gets no bid city contracts? Is that allowed?

And that same company uses moron's wife as an agent or attorney, even in business dealing with the city?

I can't decide if these people are insane baffoons or criminal masterminds.

Who has the contracts at the airport, and how about that story in the paper about Federal City over in Algiers?

I know a lot of amazing men who are Marines or former Marines, and I'd like to be for the investment over there, but that map of Sparky's is unforgetable.

Clay said...

More Benetech in the news. Once again, Times-Pic is like reading the two year old archive of Zombie.

Anonymous said...

Here's another Infinity Surety story, this one about the Monroe Airport:

Envirotech sounds a lot like the name HSOA had before it was renamed HSOA. One of the comments interested me.

Infinity Surety also has a Washington address in addition to their Florida and Texas connections. Why am I still smelling a connection between these people and the mortgage meltdown create-a-crisis that is making land speculators rich?