There is a report by Pro Publica that has not received the attention that it deserves. The group looked at charges against BP and found gross overcharges that would seem to constitute nothing short of fraud — including charges by the parish sheriff. They are listed as the new “spillionaires” who cleaned up while others were suffering from the spill.
Wayne Landry, the chairman of the St. Bernard Parish Council has admitted that “[t]his parish raped BP.”
The report notes that on contractor charged BP $15,400 a month for a generator that costs $1,500 a month. The one that was most striking to me was the allegation that the parish sheriff charged BP $1 million a month for a parcel of land that usually fetches $1,700. Sheriff Jack Stephens (left) and St. Bernard’s parish president Craig Taffaro Jr. (right), have been criticized in local papers as had for their use of such funds for friends and associates.
The report below states that the parish proceeded to spend on a variety of less than pressing projects:
Parish employees went shopping for cameras, printers, a file cabinet, staplers, six pairs of children’s scissors and 712 shirts emblazoned with the parish name. Some of the money also went to overtime pay for more than 40 parish employees, including three who claimed overtime for picking up dog food for the animal shelter. St. Bernard’s homeland security director, David Dysart, a salaried employee and Taffaro’s good friend, was paid almost $23,000 for working 497 hours of overtime in less than seven weeks. That meant he was working an average of more than 16 hours a day, including weekends.
What I fail to understand is why some of these obvious overcharges were not the basis for a criminal investigation into the alleged self-dealing, fraud, and corruption.
Here is the report by ProPublica