Tuesday, April 01, 2014

DHECC - Samples? Possibly....Random? Not likely.

Last Friday I received a tip from an anon that the blacked-out claim on the email from PSC attorney Calvin Fayard to Christine Reitano is for a company called Fab-Worx in Hammond, LA.  This is of great importance because Fab-Worx just happens to be owned by Fayard's cousin and business partner in multiple businesses, Robert A. Maurin, III.

While I haven't been able find any direct ownership on Fayard's part with Fab-Worx, the company name has multiple filings with the Louisiana Secretary of State and I'm unable to ascertain which company with "Fab-worx" in the name may have filed a claim with the DHECC.

There is a Hammond-based Fab-Worx Holding, LLC that was registered in 2011 which would put the company's incorporation date after the Deepwater Horizon accident and nullify their ability to file a claim but then there is another filing called Fab-Worx Properties, L.l.C., that was registered from a Baton Rouge location in 2008.

I am slowly uncovering multiple business ventures between Calvin Fayard and Robert Maurin, as well as ventures between his daughter and lawyer at his firm, Caroline Fayard, and Maurin.

The fact that Fayard had this particular claim expedited calls into question Patrick Juneau's explanation that the claims listed in the email chain were being used as part of a "sampling program".  If that's the case, and this blacked-out claim is indeed Fab-Worx, then we can assume the "samples" chosen were not random.  Unless Fayard randomly plucked his cousin's claim out of a hat.

Last night I faxed the following letter to Special Master Louis Freeh asking him to please investigate this matter while cc'ing the Court, Fayard and other various legal entities:

Special Master Louis Freeh,

Hello, my name is Jason Berry and I am the investigative journalist who authors The American Zombie blog here in New Orleans, La.  As you may know, I have been writing about issues that have occurred within the Deepwater Horizon Economic Claims Center since it’s inception, particularly specific members of the attorneys appointed as class counsel to the settlement, the Plaintiff Steering Committee.  

Recently, I posted a report based on information I anonymously received in the mail that confirmed an allegation I have been researching for over a year that the PSC members had expedited their own claims ahead of other class members’ claims with the knowledge and consent of the the Claims Administrator, Patrick Juneau.  

Upon publishing the story, Mr. Juneau replied to the me via email with the following explanation:

“In response to your recent inquiry, we thought that you should be made aware of the actual facts. In the fall of 2012 the DHECC Program was fast approaching the fairness hearing and the opt-out deadline.  To avoid confusion as to who should opt-out versus who should stay in the class, it was important for the class as a whole to have a representative sample of paid claims across all of the claim types in order for them to assess which was the better path forward for them.  This could not be accomplished in the time required using the first-in/first-out (FIFO) method outlined in the Settlement Agreement, which method had been used for the summer of 2012, because many of the claims were incomplete and therefore not ready for processing.

After discussion with the Court, BP and the PSC, it was determined that a larger number of claims should be examined before the fairness hearing so that the Court, the parties, objectors and claimants could see how the settlement program was working.  As noted above, since the program had encountered problems with a lot of the claims not having complete documentation it was difficult to come up with claims that could be analyzed and determined, so a sample of sufficiently documented claims was needed.

The Claims Administrator, with the knowledge and input of the PSC and BP, asked the PSC to provide a listing of such cases and a sampling was taken of those cases.  This action had nothing to do with trying to expedite a claim for any particular attorney or party. Pursuant to that request, claims were submitted, a sampling taken and determinations were made, and those results were made available to the Court and the parties at the time of the fairness hearing.  During this same time frame some of the objectors were taking the position that in order to be able to determine whether or not to opt out, they needed to see at the time of the fairness hearing a determination on the type of claims they were handling.  We therefore took samples of claims from the several of the objectors and made determinations which were also available at the time of the fairness hearing.  It is interesting to note that over 60% of the claims that were considered were not represented by the PSC. 

The issues as they stood at that time and the above outline of facts are supported by the e-mails recently made public which were subject to confidentiality.”

I have since filed a request (enclosed) with Mr. Juneau to provide me with the following:

“In the spirit of transparency of the claims process to the public it serves, I once again implore that you please provide me with a copy of (or the court record document number to) all orders, minute entries, and transcripts of each hearing, conference and telephone call (including conference calls) between and among you, the Administrator, and/or anyone on behalf of the DHECC or CAO, the PSC, BP representatives, and most importantly the Court, for each “discussion” you referenced in your response to my story.”

I subsequently contacted representatives from BP to verify that they were aware of the expedited claims.   BP’s Head of Communications Geoff Morrell replied to Mr. Juneau’s comments with the following comment:

“BP was aware of efforts by the Claims Administrator in the Fall of 2012 to get the CSSP up and running, including how to make the claims process more efficient and, correspondingly, increase the amount of claim payments in advance of the final approval hearing in November 2012.

However, there are other aspects of your blog postings -- including the e-mails from PSC members to the Claims Administrator you present -- that BP was not aware of, but  we are concerned about them and are trying to look into them now.”

Judging from Mr. Morrell’s response, it appears BP may not have been aware that the PSC attorneys and Mr. Juneau had expedited their own claims as part of the suggested “sampling program”.

Since writing this story, another matter has been brought to my attention which I believe is great cause for concern regarding the ethical matters of the expedited claims.  I have been told that the claim Mr. Calvin Fayard had expedited in the email, with Mr. Juneau’s knowledge and consent, may have been for a construction (it may not be construction depending on which company filed the claim) company owned by Mr. Juneau’s (I made this mistake in the original letter but sent a corrective letter shortly after) Mr Fayard's cousin,  Robert A. Maurin, III.  The company’s name is called Fab-Worx  and is based in Hammond, LA.  

Here is the email which details the request to expedite the claim:

Please note, there is no mention of a “sampling process” in this email exchange nor have I been able to find any mention of this process in the Fairness Hearing transcript which occurred in November of 2012, one month after the above email exchange.

As a reporter, I do not have access to claimant information and as the claim number was blacked out in the documents I received, I have no way of verifying if the above claim was indeed for Fab-Worx.  

However, you do have that access as a Special Master and investigator of the DHECC.  You also have access to the above email and the other emails I posted in my original story which can be found at the following URL:


I believe this issue is of the utmost importance in respect to your ongoing investigation into alleged improprieties within the Claims Office.  If a PSC attorney was expediting his own relative’s claims above the rest of the class claims this is a clear violation of the laws of the settlement as dictated by Judge Carl J. Barbier:

“New claims may be filed during the Transition Process until such time as the Court Supervised Claims Program is established and operational as set forth above. New claims submitted shall be processed and evaluated in the order they are received. Non-deficient claims previously pending with the GCCF shall be processed and evaluated prior to any new claims filed after the creation of the Transition Process.”

The fact that this may have been a nepotistic effort for Mr. Fayard to enrich his own relative and possibly even himself by expediting his cousin’s claim is of profound importance to the public.  I believe the matter deserves investigation on your part to ensure  the claims process is being run equitably.  I trust you will pursue this matter as vigorously as you did the Thonn claim which involved the Andry Lerner Law Firm, Lionel Sutton, and Christine Reitano.  

In order to help your investigation, I have obtained some documents from the Louisiana Secretary of State database that show joint business ventures between Mr. Calvin Fayard and his cousin, Mr. Robert A. Maurin, III.  I also have found business relationships between Calvin Faryard’s daughter and member of his law firm, Caroline Fayard, and  Mr. Maurin.  I am enclosing these business filings:

Fab-Worx business filings:

Wiliston Oil and Gas (joint venture between Robert Maurin and Calvin Fayard):

Safari Investments (joint venture between Robert Maurin and Caroline Fayard):

I trust this information will help you in your investigation into the problems occurring within the DHECC and you will pursue this matter as vigorously as you did the Andry/Lerner, Sutton, Reitano, Thonn matter.  

Thank you for your consideration and please contact me if I can be of assistance on the matter.


Jason Berry, Independent, Investigative Reporter,
(504) 975-3922

cc:  The Honorable Carl J. Barbier
The Honorable Sally Shushan
Kenneth A. Polite, Jr, U.S. Attorney
Charles B. Plattsmier, Office of the Disciplinary Counsel
John G. Heyburn II, Chairman, Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation
Calvin C. Fayard, Esq.

I am still researching the web of companies tying the Fayards and Maurin together.

I would like to ask any anon. who may be able to identify the claim number blacked-out in the email or any anon. who may have direct information identifying which claim Fayard had expedited, please email me or make an anonymous comment with the information.



Kevin said...

In his own words: Amen Brother!

Whenever you make positive ID on the specific LLC, you're going to want to peel back all the layers of that LLC, its managers, it members, its "agents" (not "agent for service"); its holding companies, etc. Much of this info won't be in the public domain.

Use the name Carolyn Mistoler in your searches for Fayard/Maurin LLCs, etc. She's Fayard's bookkeeper and her name appears on numerous LLCs with familiar addresses.

Jason Brad Berry said...

What is striking me as interesting is the number of oil/gas related companies Fayard is associated with. He's a guy that sues O&G on a massive scale and he himself has businesses in the industry. Fascinating stuff, eh?

Anonymous said...

Might want to take a look at this.

More On The Fayard-Louisiana Democrat Party Laundry Operation


Jason Brad Berry said...

Let's not descend into a partisan morass. I'm fully aware of the campaign issues and linking to that ultra-right wing babbling blog is not cool.

Anonymous said...

You are aware of it. Do you think all of the readers are aware of it? You probably aren't the only one looking for information,and trying to make some connections; irrespective of the destination of the link, those are the facts. Could have posted a link from some ultra-left wing blogs posting about the Fayard campaign donations but well...

Jason Brad Berry said...

Yeah...you right....it's totally relevant. I just really hate The Hayride...it's almost as nauseating as Varney.

Mea culpa.

Anonymous said...

Typo sb: "Fab-Worx Holdings LLC" not "Fab-Worx Holding LLC"

Anonymous said...

Fab-Worx Fabricators is in Pt Allen and is in the construction industry. That raises 2 red flags: causation and matching. Recent BP filings would seem to question how a Fab company in BR could have been affected by the spill, and were revenues and expenses matched.

Construction industry claims have been enjoined off and on for over a year so we know that the expediting really benefited the claimant even if there were no matching issues. But what if there were? Did BP appeal that issue? Or did they consent to the expediting AND the non-matching. It would seem to be important for the public to know that BP consented to expediting a large construction claim for the relative of a PSC member just for the fairness hearing and then moved to enjoin the same type of claims for the rest of the class one month later.

What if BP did not know. In that case, you have the Judge, CA, PSC triad improperly expediting a claim that would have had substantially less value one month later. If that really happened all 3 should resign. Immediately.

And what is the Special Master's position here. Is he going to file a claw back claim against this connected claimant that got a claim paid only because it was improperly expedited or is he going to stick to going after the shrimpers whose only crime was relying on their accountants to file their tax returns? Nevermind, we all know the answer to that question.

The above assumes that Fab-Worx was the claimant and that the claim would have been affected by the recent matching rules. The only way we will know for sure is if the judge grants Lerner's discovery request. Sadly, I think we all know that answer too.

Anonymous said...

Trying to prove that Pat Juneau is incompetent or corrupt is a fool's errand.