Amazing at it sounds, former chief technology officer Greg Meffert still doesn't seem to grasp just how much trouble he's in.
Stephanie Grace spells out Muppet's fate better than anyone has to date. I've always maintained that the "amazing" thing about New Orleans' corrupt elite is that they can't keep their damn mouths shut. Its not enough that they're lining their pockets, they feel the need to verbally justify it or in Muppet's case...even brag about it.
Basically, his defense for setting up the credit card kickback scheme was "I'm used to making more money....I deserved it." I'm not sure how that played with the jury in this civil case, but I'm really curious to see if that's his defense in a criminal case.
And Grace gives us this observation which I wasn't aware of:
He argued that it was a reward for unrelated work on kiosks and web solutions, and likened it to extra pay for police officers who work private security details.
A reward for kiosks and web solutions? The only companies I know of that got contracts for kiosks and web solutions are Logistix and MAS....both companies which he owns or has part ownership in, he had no ownership in Netmethods, St. Pierre's company who gave him the credit card. However both Logistix and MAS were awarded contracts immediately after he stepped down as CTO.
I don't quite get that....he was being rewarded for ideas he had to siphon more money out of the city IT department for things we probably didn't need to begin with....and to which his company would get the contracts for as soon as he stepped down as CTO. In other words, he was being rewarded for figuring out how to award himself, and possibly Netmethods, future contracts? I bet St. Pierre would like his 130k back right about now. And who was footing the bill for that reward? Who paid for that stroke of capitalistic genius? The city did...the city was ultimately paying that reward.
Imagine if that happened in the private sector. An agent of a company gets a credit card from a subcontractor as a reward for figuring out how to get the sub more money and future contracts regardless of whether or not the agent's company actually needed the services. It would most likely never happen because the brass in the company would never allow anything to bleed the bottom line and the agent would get canned in a heartbeat and possibly even sued.
In this case....the only brass Meffert had to justify his actions to was himself and Nagin. "Well....I think we need crime cameras....I think we need Kiosks...I think we have to use Dell...", yeah, he thought that because he was profiting from all of it. Even the stuff which we needed desperately, like an interoperability system, he scuttled because he was trying to push it back through his world. Not only did we get a bunch of shit we didn't need, we lost things we did need that could have saved lives in Katrina.
There is a very real cost of public corruption. What if all that money could have been diverted into the District Attorney's office....or used to put more police officers on the street? Or what if we actually would have been able do utilize the 7 million dollar grant the DOJ offered us to build an interoperability system that would have saved countless lives during Katrina?
I wonder if Meffert regrets those decisions or if he just regrets that he got caught....I wonder that a lot when I read stuff like this.