FAILED FLOOD RELIEF
A few weeks ago, The Advocate reported that three years after floods swept across portions of southern Louisiana, only thirty-six percent of homeowners who applied for help through the Restore Louisiana program have been approved for grants, and only about one-third have received checks for repairs, according to a recent report from the relief program.
More than 65,800 residences across East Baton Rouge, Ascension and Livingston parishes were impacted by flooding in August 2016, according to federal data. Of those who applied for grants, only 15,634 homeowners were offered grants through Restore Louisiana and 12,980 homeowners have been sent checks as of July 26.
More than $1.2 billion in federal funds were allocated for rebuilding efforts following floods in March and August 2016, but only $575 million was offered to homeowners across the state. Of that total, $412 million was disbursed as of July 26.
As part of the contract, Innovative Emergency Management (IEM) will receive $308 million as payment for managing the program, and that money comes directly from Restore Louisiana funds. That’s right, IEM will be paid $300 million while flooded homeowners in Louisiana will get $575 million!
Of course, IEM, a North Carolina-based disaster management company, was awarded the contract to oversee the state's $1.6 billion flood recovery plan twice, after previously winning and then being stripped of the contract in a botched bid process.
How did IEM manage to win this contract twice?
IEM and its CEO, Madhu Beriwal, have contributed over $50,000 to John Bel Edwards and Gumbo PAC since 2015, with most of the donations coming in the months AFTER they were awarded this contract by John Bel Edwards and his administration.
The state has already been forced to withhold $1.3 million in payments to IEM for failing to meet its responsibilities and making errors in hundreds of flood victim cases.
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