Bloomberg: Barbour Friends, Family Profiting from Katrina

Also see: Jackpedia: Haley Barbour

This isn't exactly new news, but Bloomberg is reporting today on the apparent cronyism that has benefited friends, family and business associates since Hurricane Katrina devastated the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Bloomberg reports:

The $15 billion or more in federal aid the former Republican national chairman attracted has reopened casinos and helped residents move to new or repaired homes. Among the beneficiaries are Barbour's own family and friends, who have earned hundreds of thousands of dollars from hurricane-related business. A nephew, one of two who are lobbyists, saw his fees more than double in the year after his uncle appointed him to a special reconstruction panel. Federal Bureau of Investigation agents in June raided a company owned by the wife of a third nephew, which maintained federal emergency- management trailers.

Meanwhile, the governor's own former lobbying firm, which he says is still making payments to him, has represented at least four clients with business linked to the recovery.

No evidence has surfaced that Barbour violated the law; at the same time, the pattern that emerges from public records and interviews raises "many red flags,'' said Ken Boehm, chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center, a watchdog group in Falls Church, Virginia, that investigates the investments of government officials. "At the minimum, the public is entitled to a full explanation of the facts,'' he said.

Barbour, 59, who is running for re-election this year, turned down an interview request. His spokesman, Pete Smith, declined in an e-mail to answer questions.

Read the whole piece for details about just who of Barbour's circle benefitted from what. Then watch The Clarion-Ledger for Sid Salter's inevitable spin on Barbour's behalf.

Previous Comments

ID
113860
Comment

Meantime, while his people benefit off a disaster, Barbour's Katrina schtick has been to divide Louisiana and Mississippi by saying people here don't "whine" like they do over in Louisiana. You know what, Haley—there are people living poisonous FEMA trailers who are whining their heads off. And that's OK. So where is Barbour's public outrage on the formaldehyde in the trailers? Could the silence have something to do with his family's connections to them? Does he really think that he can do and say anything in this state and no one will notice?

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-08-16T08:32:00-06:00
ID
113861
Comment

More: he FBI raid involved another relative of the governor, Rosemary Ramirez Barbour, who's married to Henry's and Austin's brother Charles, 44, a member of the Hinds County board of supervisors. Rosemary owns a Jackson company, Alcatec LLC; OMB Watch, a Washington organization that monitors federal spending, says the company has received almost $27 million in U.S. contracts to maintain trailers used by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the government's disaster-relief arm. On June 21, FBI agents searched three Alcatec offices, seizing computers and documents as part of an investigation into what the warrant said was possible mail fraud. The company didn't respond to repeated requests for comment. Brunini, Haley Barbour's lawyer, said in a telephone interview that the governor ``doesn't have any connection with Charles Barbour, and certainly not with his wife.'' Smith, the governor's spokesman, declined to comment. It isn't just Barbour relatives who have found opportunities in Katrina-related work; lobbyists at the governor's former firm, Washington-based Barbour Griffith & Rogers LLC, have profited from Katrina, too. So, why isn't the state's media talking about Charles Barbour's wife being investigated by the FBI as he runs for state office? Sid?

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-08-16T08:38:12-06:00
ID
113862
Comment

Also, note that Barbour is getting fees from his lobbying firm that is benefitting from Katrina. And they are trying to tiptoe around, acting like they're not connected somehow: On Feb. 9 of this year, the governor's two partners, Ed Rogers and Lanny Griffith, filed forms with the state of Mississippi disclosing lobbying they did last year for Leucadia National Corp., a New York-based buyout firm that acquired the Hard Rock Casino in Biloxi, which had been ravaged by Katrina just days before its scheduled grand opening. The lobbyists used their personal addresses instead of the business office that still bears Barbour's name. They faxed the forms from a FedEx Kinko's store in Washington. Rogers, 48, said in an e-mail that he and Griffith, 56, used their personal addresses because Mississippi asks lobbyists to file as individuals. The state form asks for a ``physical address.'' Lobbyists such as Henry Barbour commonly use a business address. Leucadia paid Rogers and Griffith $80,000 each, according to state filings. Casino president Joe Billhimer said he believes Rogers helped Leucadia win state approval of its liquor license. Barbour's chief of staff, Charlie Williams, said ``we encouraged'' the state Gaming Commission and alcoholic-beverage control division ``to expedite'' the Hard Rock's approval process, ``and they did." Read the whole thing and weep. My guest is that the corruption scandals that have rocked D.C. are about to come home to Mississippi to roost.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-08-16T08:40:30-06:00
ID
113863
Comment

Be sure to read this Bloomberg story, folks. I'm guessing we'll hear deafening silence from the Haley-can-do-no-wrong crowd.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-08-16T09:40:50-06:00
ID
113864
Comment

Funny coincidence. This just showed up. Verbatim: DATE: Thursday, August 16, 2007 GOVERNOR BARBOUR, FEMA OFFICIAL TO DISCUSS HURRICANE PREPARATION (JACKSON, Mississippi) – Governor Haley Barbour and Gil H. Jamieson, the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Associate Deputy Administrator-Gulf Coast Recovery, will hold a press conference to focus on preparations and readiness for the 2007 hurricane season. The press conference will begin at 10 a.m. on Friday, August 17, 2007, in the Governor’s Press Room (Sillers Building-18th Floor, 550 High Street). Credentialed media only.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-08-16T09:46:30-06:00
ID
113865
Comment

Funny, I don't see the Bloomberg story linked on the Magnolia Report or other conservative blogs, yet (like the sites pushing the funny meme "Ike Brown Democrat"). Tell me if I missed it. Isn't it true that the people who do the Magnolia Report have something in common with Capitol Resources, mentioned in the Bloomberg piece, or am I missing that up?

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-08-16T10:02:00-06:00
ID
113866
Comment

This is hilarious. Sid Salter tried to frame the Bloomberg piece as a hit job from the AG's people. Amazing. Transparently so. It's fun to watch Sid dance. ;-) How about commenting on the story itself, Sid?

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-08-16T12:46:16-06:00
ID
113867
Comment

I didn't see the story either on the Magnolia Report.

Author
golden eagle
Date
2007-08-16T13:38:46-06:00
ID
113868
Comment

More goodies for the Coast today from Barbour. Verbatim: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Thursday, August 16, 2007 GOVERNOR BARBOUR ANNOUNCES GRANT OF $9.4 MILLION FOR 23 HARRISON COUNTY PROJECTS Constructed projects will total $229 million (JACKSON, Mississippi) – Governor Haley Barbour announced today that the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) has approved a grant to the Harrison County Utility Authority for planning and engineering costs for 23 infrastructure projects in Harrison County. The grant of $9.46 million for the projects is anticipated to be increased after the planning and engineering phase to a total of $229,082,005. The funds provided for these projects are part of the U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funding allocated by Governor Barbour for water and wastewater enhancements in the Gulf Coast Region for hurricane recovery. “Improving and expanding our regional water and sewer system infrastructure is an important component toward recovery and rebuilding on the Gulf Coast. These funds are vital to support both existing and future growth patterns especially for new housing construction. New and improved infrastructure is a positive step for future storm preparedness and will also promote economic development,” Governor Barbour said. “We appreciate the efforts of the Harrison County Utility Authority and other local officials who have worked with us on the planning for these needed projects. We anticipate moving through the planning stage and entering the construction phase as quickly as possible,” said Trudy Fisher, MDEQ Executive Director. The projects included in the grant are: ? The Central Harrison County Regional Water Supply; ? Pass Christian Water System Improvements; ? The Western Harrison County Regional Water Supply; ? Long Beach Water System Improvements; ? The North Gulfport-Lyman Regional Water Supply; ? Gulfport-VA Area Water Supply Improvements; ? The South Gulfport Regional Water Supply Project; ? The Eastern Harrison County Regional Water Supply; ? Biloxi Broadwater Water System Improvements; ? A Demonstration Project on the Beach to Improve Water Quality; ? The Saucier WWTF and Riverbend-Robinwood Forest Transmission System; ? The East Central Harrison County Regional Wastewater Transmission Facility; ? The DeLisle Wastewater Transmission Facility and Long Beach-Pass Christian Transmission System; ? Pass Christian Wastewater System Improvements; ? The West Gulfport Regional Interceptor; ? The West Gulfport Regional Transmission System; ? Long Beach Wastewater System Improvements; ? Gulfport-VA Area Wastewater System Improvements; ? The South Gulfport Regional Transmission System; ? The South Woolmarket Wastewater Transmission Facility and Transmission Mains; ? The D’Iberville Wastewater Transmission Facility and Transmission System; ? Biloxi Broadwater Wastewater Transmission System Improvements; and ? D’Iberville Waterfront Wastewater System Improvements. These projects are part of the Gulf Region Water and Wastewater Plan that provided recommendations for the use of $641 million in disaster recovery funds to enhance water and wastewater infrastructure in Pearl River, Stone, Hancock, Harrison, and Jackson counties. Governor Barbour and Mississippi’s Congressional Delegation obtained appropriations of more than $5 billion through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to assist in hurricane recovery. The Mississippi Gulf Region Water and Wastewater Plan was prepared by the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality for improvements intended to support existing and future growth patterns, particularly as realized through new housing construction, and to promote economic development. ###

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-08-16T16:39:31-06:00
ID
113869
Comment

John Leek of Cottonmouth is challenge Sid, by the way, on his Hood frame of the Barbour story in Bloomberg. Here's Sid's really wuss response: I just got another Bloomberg story version from Mississippi Democratic Party headquarters. What a coincidence that Hood and the Democratic Party would be promoting the same story on the same day. As I pointed out to Mr. Compretta, if General Hood has evidence of illegality on the part of the Barbours, he has a duty to prosecute public officials. But for someone like Hood, who has himself been on the razor's edge of ethics involving close political supporters, to cry foul through a surrogate about the Barbours' ethics is what it is — election year politics. Um, it's a "coincidence" because it's a REALLY big story that came out TODAY. What a rube thing for a newspaperman to write. So he is ignoring what the story actually said to complain that Hood's person sent it to him. I am so sure that Barbour's boyz never send him anything about Democrats. He is so tapdancing.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-08-16T16:42:17-06:00
ID
113870
Comment

This story is a month or so old. The CL ran part of it a while back. Ms Ladd you keep taking jabs at Barbour, but nothing seems to stick. The governor is a good man and has done a good job. Why do you want him out of office so bad?

Author
LakesideRes
Date
2007-08-16T22:00:42-06:00
ID
113871
Comment

Sid Salter is a joke. He use to work at a paper in Scott County and has always been skewed. I will say one thing about the current Republican leadership nationally and statewide, they do their dirt out in the open and dare you to come after them. It could be completely legal, but what gets me about the Rosemary Barbour thing is she benefitted from the very things Republicans try to do away with. She used her minority status as a bonus. Republicans always speak against such programs. I guess that is unless you are getting a 100 million dollar contract.

Author
Goldenae
Date
2007-08-17T08:57:45-06:00
ID
113872
Comment

AGamma, that was funny. But is the impression you get from guys like Salter.

Author
Goldenae
Date
2007-08-17T08:58:43-06:00
ID
113873
Comment

Nothing sticks? Who says? I haven't seen a thing that hasn't "stuck," yet. One doesn't define "stick" by the reactions of people, such as yourself, who turn a blind eye to anything he does because he's a Republican. You're the partisan here, not me. I think your last question is very funny. Here's a man who has sold out the soul of Mississippians and the South, and believed and promoted the worst of us through the southern strategy, and you dare ask why I don't think he should govern our state!?! And that doesn't even get into all his close connections with Big Tobacco, Tom Delay, the Allbaughs, the Bush dynasty and so on. And the fact that he has made Katrina into (a) a political food to bash Louisiana and Democrats in general with and (b) a way for his buddies and family members to make very big money. Bottom line: I don't believe there is a lot of soul in the most powerful lobbyist this world has ever seen. How could there by to be so good at what he does?

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-08-17T09:21:16-06:00
ID
113874
Comment

The personal insult about Salter is out of line; The Clarion-Ledger allows stuff like that, not us. It's going.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-08-17T09:21:49-06:00
ID
113875
Comment

Actually donna, i read the sports blogs on the CL a lot and there is a troll (ole miss fan) that spends his entire day on the jsu and msu blogs. a reader asked the msu beat writer why he doesn't delete the trash the troll writes or just ban him and he responded that its a Blogger site and the CL has no control over who or what is written on it.

Author
jd
Date
2007-08-17T09:35:06-06:00
ID
113876
Comment

The Ledger is jumping back on this story today, reporting: A company owned by Rosemary Barbour that has netted lucrative federal contracts is under investigation by the Justice Department for possible mail fraud, recently unsealed court records show. The Jackson, Flowood and Brooklyn offices of Barbour's business, Alcatec LLC, were searched by FBI agents June 21. The agents seized hundreds of files, dozens of computers and other records through a warrant issued by U.S. District Court in Jackson that said those seized items and records could prove violations of federal mail fraud and swindle statutes. The case is being investigated by the the U.S. Department of Justice's Criminal Division. Mississippi U.S. Attorney Dunn Lampton has removed himself from the case but would not say why. Justice Department spokeswoman Jackie Lesch said she could not comment. Notice they don't mention who her husband is until the bottom of the story. Maybe The Clarion-Ledger should recuse itself from this story as Lampton did. (Just for fun, I bolded all the backward, passive constructions.)

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-08-17T09:39:13-06:00
ID
113877
Comment

One could probably learn a lot about Barbour by learning of the things that he was a lobby for. Without knowing, I would bet that he was a lobby for things that he says he is against personally. When you have a person like that, they will sell out anyone for a dollar.

Author
Goldenae
Date
2007-08-17T09:39:56-06:00
ID
113878
Comment

We ran a long list one time, Goldenae, of the companies he's lobbied for. Let me find it.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-08-17T09:41:59-06:00
ID
113879
Comment

Looks like maybe that story is still news after all, despite what Sid Salter claimed...

Author
Rico
Date
2007-08-17T09:45:55-06:00
ID
113880
Comment

And look at the Ledger headline: Barbour's kin being probed by Justice Dept. How about: "Justice Dept. Probes Barbour's Kin" The Ledger has no excuse running such bad writing with the resources they have. None. Oh, and parts of this are definitely old news. The New York Times ran a story about the Rosemary Barbour contract back in 2005, which we blogged about, but the Ledger barely touched it until recently. And why hasn't it come up in Charles Barbour's campaign. It's his wife, not just his uncle, after all.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-08-17T09:46:38-06:00
ID
113881
Comment

Uh oh. I can not wait for that. I bet it will be very interesting. Thanks Donna. It must be a job in itself to keep up with the wealth of information that must be accumulated. Back to Barbour.....why am I the only one that finds it funny that they would use minority status as a bonus for getting the contract? They supposedly hate that sort of thing(Republicans that is).

Author
Goldenae
Date
2007-08-17T09:48:31-06:00
ID
113882
Comment

Right-o, Rico. I think this story has gotten much bigger than Sid Salter, and now that Bloomberg has broken open new pieces of it, it will unravel. Whether or not The Clarion-Ledger will cover it, the national media have made up for lost time on the corruption and cronyism of the recent batch of national Republicans. I suspect it's Barbour's turn to be scrutinized. Of course, we'll do what we can as well to bring out the truth about what has really happened on the Coast since Katrina. And even if Sid tries to downplay the national coverage, we'll bring it to Mississippians so we're not the only ones who don't know what the hell is going on in our state and our Governor's Mansion.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-08-17T09:49:25-06:00
ID
113883
Comment

I looked back at Sid's blog—today he says it's an "old story." Well, I'd like to see the links of where The Clarion-Ledger has reported everything in that Bloomberg story in the past. They haven't, and he knows it. The tapdance is in overdrive today.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-08-17T09:51:40-06:00
ID
113884
Comment

Goldenae, the minority status thing is intriguing. You people don't do it, but we can. And we all know that there are many cases of a white family fronting the company with a woman's name so that they can get a "minority" contract. Not saying that happened here, but Charles Barbour needs to be scrutinized as well. My guess is that the Justice Department may well be doing just that. The Bloomberg story does a great job of showing the sheer volume of Barbour's friends who have benefitted from Katrina. The Clarion-Ledger will then split it all apart and feed Mississippians a little piece at a time instead of writing a big story that puts it all in context. Oh, and next Sunday, expect a Big Excuse story from Sid, probably covering the front page of the Perspective section.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-08-17T09:54:44-06:00
ID
113885
Comment

Here's what one reader posted to Sid: Um, aren't you guys the people who are supposed to be exposing this stuff? If Hood has done something wrong, then by all means expose him too, but don't let this just fly on by because others have done the same or worse. Right on.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-08-17T09:55:42-06:00
ID
113886
Comment

What is Salter's blog? I remember listening to talk radio about all the minorities that were getting handouts from FEMA and the federal government during Katrina. But as I would drive down Lakeland, the cars in the line headed to get those checks represented a different picture. What bothers me about a story like this is that these same people will be up at arms about a black kid getting a scholarship to the University of Michigan. But on the sly, they will gladly be a minority to get paid.

Author
Goldenae
Date
2007-08-17T10:00:52-06:00
ID
113887
Comment

hat bothers me about a story like this is that these same people will be up at arms about a black kid getting a scholarship to the University of Michigan. But on the sly, they will gladly be a minority to get paid. Good post, Goldenae. Speak.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-08-17T10:06:24-06:00
ID
113888
Comment

"And we all know that there are many cases of a white family fronting the company with a woman's name so that they can get a "minority" contract. "-Ladd Quoted for truth.

Author
Jeff Lucas
Date
2007-08-17T10:15:41-06:00
ID
113889
Comment

"And we all know that there are many cases of a white family fronting the company with a woman's name so that they can get a "minority" contract. "-Ladd Quoted for being the truth! (fixed)

Author
Jeff Lucas
Date
2007-08-17T10:22:54-06:00
ID
113890
Comment

The article in the Clarion Ledger pointed out another aspect of Republican ideology that I do not agree with. Republicans would have you believe that if you trust in them, give them the tax breaks and other incentives to make companies grow, all "ships" will rise in the tide. This company got a contract possibly worth over 100 million, but allegedly did not pay workers over time. Trickle Don't Economics.

Author
Goldenae
Date
2007-08-17T10:28:39-06:00
ID
113891
Comment

Still digging Salter's dance. He was challenged about his "old news" statements by a user, being that the Ledger ran an Ana Radelat story on page 1 today. Salter answered: D: No change of heart whatsoever. When there are new developments regarding the Barbour probe, we report the news and we do so prominently. You'll notice that the Associated Press moved nothing in the last several days regarding the Bloomberg piece or today's additional information on the Alcatec investigation, but the C-L did. The mail fraud investigation of Rosemary Barbour's company is new information. It's news. OK, a couple points on that. This is how Radelat's story starts: A company owned by Rosemary Barbour that has netted lucrative federal contracts is under investigation by the Justice Department for possible mail fraud, recently unsealed court records show. "Recently unsealed"—as in yesterday after the Bloomberg story? Or did they already know this and hadn't reported it until Bloomberg got in front of this story and did reporting the Ledger had never done about Barbour's family and friends benefitting from Katrina? Also, note that Sid refers to Radelat's reporting as "the C-L." This is significant for those who remember the contortions the Ledger twisted itself into last year in order to say that Radelat (who reported Melton's faulty laked memo about the MBN agents, apparently without factchecking it) was NOT a Clarion-Ledger reporter. So she is now? Also, someone correctly called him out on the all the stuff in the Bloomberg story that is most certainly NOT "old news." He's eating crow on this one. It could be a long three months until the election for Salter if this is going to be his tactic.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-08-17T14:53:49-06:00
ID
113892
Comment

Barbour's response on WLBT: "It's an election year and nobody in the liberal New York press is gonna say anything nice about Haley Barbour this year," says Barbour. Oh, nice to see Barbour go to his old well. Blame the "liberal" (business) press. Hardy har har. How about addressing why so many of your friends and family are profiting from Katrina, Barbour? And while you're at it, how about a little outrage about the Mississippians living in poisonous FEMA trailers as a new Cat 4 hurricane teases the region? Anything?

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-08-17T21:48:48-06:00
ID
113893
Comment

This is funny. The Clarion-Ledger picked up this Bloomberg from last week off the wire and ran it as their *lead* story today on page 1, with one of their local reporters' name attached (meaning they added something new). It's good to see them do this story, but this is a very funny way to do it. All the same, this means this story will get legs this time around, much to the GOP's chagrin. Let's hope Jim Herring's best response isn't more race-baiting about the Black Caucus. This story is very serious. Ask the people on the Coast whose losses are benefitting the friends and family of Haley Barbour.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-08-19T17:04:07-06:00
ID
113894
Comment

Another funny point about the Ledger running the Bloomberg story at the top of page 1 on Sunday is that Sid was talking on his blog about it being "old news." So they ran "old news" as the lead story in the Sunday edition!?! Why do I get the feeling it wasn't Sid's idea?

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-08-20T10:14:37-06:00
ID
113895
Comment

Ladd, I see you got mentioned over on the Sid Slater blog.

Author
Goldenae
Date
2007-08-21T10:14:40-06:00
ID
113896
Comment

Yeah, I saw that, too. The funny part is that when people are in a corner about something, they will inevitably blame the messenger. ;-)

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-08-21T10:28:13-06:00
ID
113897
Comment

I thought Barbour said that their were no women who could do any of "HIS" jobs in Administration and if they could, it is " R A R A H" (rare); yet, he didn't miss any time hooking his female relatives and friends up. Our State is sailing down a river and Barbour's focus is on his family and friends getting every dime from the suffering of others.

Author
justjess
Date
2007-08-21T10:56:29-06:00
ID
113898
Comment

Do you guys think this will be approved for Sid's blog? Sid, I was reading the Republican Party Platform and it says that you all oppose discrimination, reject preferences, quotas, set asides based on race, ethnicity,.....The story here should be why Republicans go out of their way to keep a black kid from getting a scholarship to college, but when it is advantageous for someone in your camp it is okay. Sid, I do not think that people have a problem with media people have political leanings, but people do have a problem with hypocrites and people that only tell parts of the story they like.

Author
Goldenae
Date
2007-08-21T11:23:34-06:00
ID
113899
Comment

The Clarion-Ledger tries to steal credit from Bloomberg this week for a story Sid Salter first said was "old news": No one is accusing the governor of any wrongdoing, but as the stories in recent days by Bloomberg News Service, Gannett News Service and The Clarion-Ledger detailed, Henry and Austin Barbour, sons of Haley's older brother Jeppie, have made a killing as lobbyists, as well as others of Barbour's kith and kin, getting Katrina-related business. In effect, the editorial repeats what we said on Wednesday in our editorial. It's about time that they call Barbour out on the blind trust. They could have years ago when Salter was defending it. Had they held his feet to the fire sooner in a statewide newspaper, perhaps he and his family might not have felt so bold about benefitting off of Katrina victims.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-08-24T08:08:03-06:00
ID
113900
Comment

Anybody read Sid Salter's article in the paper sunday?

Author
Goldenae
Date
2007-08-27T11:13:13-06:00

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