This USAToday piece leaves out an important piece of the puzzle here. The company who sold the pumps was closely tied to the Bush family, at one time even employing Jeb Bush:
WASHINGTON — Huge flood-control pumps installed in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina don't protect the city adequately and the Army Corps of Engineers could have saved $430 million in replacement costs by buying proven equipment, a federal investigation finds.
The investigation by the federal Office of Special Counsel finds there was "little logical justification" for the corps' decision to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on the "untested" hydraulic pumps, which are meant to empty millions of gallons of water from the below-sea-level city during storm-related floods.
Nope, no "logical" justification. Just political! From March 2007:
Meanwhile, Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., asked the Government Accountability Office on Thursday to investigate the Corps and the contract it entered into with Moving Water Industries Corp.
MWI is owned by J. David Eller and his sons. Eller was once a business partner of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in a venture called Bush-El that marketed MWI pumps.
But wait, it gets even worse:
In 2002, the U.S. Justice Department amended its suit against Eller, alleging that he twice flew suitcases of cash to offshore tax havens to hide his assets, the St. Petersburg Times reported. The DOJ also claimed that MWI improperly used more than a third of a $74.3-million U.S. loan to pay a Nigerian agent for the company. In turn, that agent and other company officials paid Nigerian government officials involved in buying MWI's pumps, the lawsuit alleges. MWI denies the charges.
According to the paper:
Between 1985 and 1993, the government says, Eller flew on his company plane to the Bahamas and to Grand Cayman, once with a "large suitcase filled with currency" and once with a "large duffel bag or suitcase filled with currency." At both places, a chauffeured limousine whisked him and the money away. Eller told his pilot he was "moving his assets out of the United States," the lawsuit contends, calling it an effort to shield the money from creditors.
Eller's lawyer, William Scherer, said the flights never occurred and neither Eller nor MWI has accounts in either country.
The lawsuit by the George W. Bush Justice Department suggests no wrongdoing by Jeb Bush, who from 1988 to 1994 worked with Eller marketing MWI pumps to foreign countries, including Nigeria.
Indeed, the amended complaint omits allegations of influence-peddling by MWI -- including Eller's bringing Jeb Bush into the pump business -- leveled in the whistle-blower's recently unsealed lawsuit. That lawsuit prompted the federal investigation.
This begs a couple of questions: Why was a company under DOJ investigation for such serious charges given a major federal contract for New Orleans reconstruction in the first place? And why is the DOJ suit against MWI still unresolved after so many years?
More like this
- Bob Cesca
- Raw Story
- Learn Out Loud
- Blue Gal
- AOL Hot Seat
- The Black Snob
- Raw Replay
- The Talent Show
- The Immoral Minority (Alaska)
- Suburban Guerrilla
- Nicole Sandler - Radio or Not
- Daily Kos
- echidne of the snakes
- Lawyers, Guns & Money
- Naomi Klein
- Glenn Greenwald
- The Huffington Post