9/13/2005

Michael Brown was recommended to succeed Tom Ridge for election aid in Florida

Michael Brown--More Explosive Revelations!
by jeeves [Subscribe]
Tue Sep 13th, 2005 at 00:13:52 CDT

Michael Brown's background and consequent lack of experience in any form of emergency management has been well documented. Also, what has been documented is that he got the job as the Director of FEMA because he was a friend of friend.

Anything else? Did he have any role to play in the re-election of Geoorge Bush? Seems like there is a deeper connection between Bush and Brown.

* jeeves's diary :: ::
*

Independent Media TV in a post yesterday has some new revelations on the issue.

Michael Brown, the embattled head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, approved payments in excess of $31 million in taxpayer money to thousands of Florida residents who were unaffected by Hurricane Frances and three other hurricanes last year in an effort to help President Bush win a majority of votes in that state during his reelection campaign, according to published reports.

He was recommended to succeed Tom Ridge as the Homeland Security Sec. for his role in influencing the outcome in Florida. More revelations:

Homeland Security sources told the Post that after the hurricanes that Brown "and his allies [recommended] him to succeed Tom Ridge as Homeland Security secretary because of their claim that he helped deliver Florida to President Bush by efficiently responding to the Florida hurricanes.

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel uncovered emails from Florida Gov. Jeb Bush that confirmed those allegations and directly implicated Brown as playing politics at the expense of hurricane victims.

"As the second hurricane in less than a month bore down on Florida last fall, a federal [FEMA] consultant predicted a "huge mess" that could reflect poorly on President Bush and suggested that his re-election staff be brought in to minimize any political liability, records show," the Sentinel reported in a March 23 story.

"Two weeks later, a Florida official summarizing the hurricane response wrote that the Federal Emergency Management Agency was handing out housing assistance "to everyone who needs it without asking for much information of any kind."

The records the Sentinel obtained were contained in hundreds of pages of Gov. Jeb Bush's storm-related e-mails the paper received from the governor's office under the threat of a lawsuit.

Is this true?

Bob Hunter, director of insurance for the Consumer Federation of America, who was a top federal flood insurance official in the 1970s and 1980s and a Texas insurance commissioner in the 1990s, told the Post "that in the vast majority of hurricanes, other than those in Florida in 2004, complaints are rife that FEMA has vastly underpaid hurricane victims. The Frances overpayments are questionable given the timing of the election and Florida 's importance as a battleground state."

FEMA consultant Glenn Garcelon actions certainly lends credibility to questions raised by Hunter.

On Sept. 2, 2004, Garcelon, wrote a three-page memo titled "Hurricane Frances -- Thoughts and Suggestions."

"The Republican National Convention was winding down, and President Bush had only a slight lead in the polls against Democrat John Kerry," the Sentinel reported in its March 23 story. "Winning Florida was key to the president's re-election. FEMA should pay careful attention to how it is portrayed by the public, Garcelon wrote in the memo, conveying "the team effort theme at every opportunity" alongside state and local officials, the insurance and construction industries, and relief agencies such as the Red Cross."

Need the details of some trangressions:

The DHS audit report found that, under Brown, FEMA erroneously distributed to Miami-Dade residents:

$8.2 million in rental assistance to 4,308 applicants in the county who "did not indicate a need for shelter" when they registered for help. In 60 cases reviewed by auditors, inspectors deemed homes unsafe without explanation, and applicants never moved out.

$720,403 to 228 people for belongings based on their word alone.

$192,592 for generators, air purifiers, wet/dry vacuum cleaners, chainsaws and other items without proof that they were needed to deal with the hurricane. Three applicants got generators for their homes, plus rental assistance from FEMA to live somewhere else.

$15,743 for three funerals without sufficient documentation that the deaths were due to the hurricane.

$46,464 to 64 residents for temporary housing even though they had homeowners insurance. FEMA funds cannot be used when costs are covered by insurance.

$17,424 in rental assistance to 24 people who reported that their homes were not damaged.

$97,500 for 15 automobiles with a "blue book" value of $56,140. In general, the report states that FEMA approved claims for damaged vehicles without properly verifying that the losses were caused by the storm.

If accurate, why hasn't MSM picked up on this?

Daily Kos: Michael Brown--More Explosive Revelations!

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