Sun Sentinel: FEMA: A Legacy of Waste

Part 1 of the South Florida Sun Sentinel's report on FEMA funding snafus from 1999-2004. Good reading as over 70 billion begins to pour into the Gulf Coast.


This report is the latest in a series by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel examining the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s disaster assistance payments. The newspaper first revealed that FEMA paid $31 million in Miami-Dade County for Hurricane Frances, even though the Labor Day weekend storm made landfall 100 miles to the north. Subsequent reports detailed how FEMA inspectors receive little training; that the agency paid for funerals for deaths unrelated to the storm; and that some criminals were hired to inspect damage. The reports resulted in recommendations by a U.S. Senate committee and the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security for widespread changes in the way the agency administers its program. FEMA announced last month that it was making some alterations in the way it awards aid. The U.S. attorney in Miami has charged 16 Miami-Dade aid recipients with fraud. Fourteen have pleaded guilty and one was found not guilty after trial"

Some of the highlights:

9 Million to Miami for a tornada that happened a hundred miles away.
5.2 Million for Los Angeles for wild fires occuring 25 miles away from the city.
165 Million for Detroit, for a storm no one remembers.

Graphic -

No doubt FEMA is on the hot seat. As I've said before I've worked with them over the years, specifically during my years in law enforcement here in South Florida. By and large they do good work, but this is BIG Goverment (never a good idea). Big money going everywhere, and evidently without a lot of accountability. But then again, that isn't news.

This story is good news in that perhaps the whole concept of FEMA needs to be re-looked at. The system isn't totally broken, but it has many critical flaws. Again, as money begins to flow into the Gulf Region at the tune of 3 billion per day, we NEED to get a handle on it.

This isn't a problem of the Bush or Clinton administrations, FEMA was created in 1979 - it's been around and I doubt the problems are new. As US citizens, tax payers, this is OUR problem. It's OUR money. The end result is that only the people, towns and cities that NEED help get help and not to fill political coffers, especially in Louisiana.

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