Why is it that the Los Angeles times has just figured this out? Local media has been reporting the story for months.
March 31, 2005 (WAFB TV)
Louisiana officials are stumped. Do officials in our Office of Homeland Security owe the federal government more than 30 million dollars? The feds sent the bill Wednesday for money paid out in the form of grants for a federal flood buyout program. Three former Louisiana Homeland Security employees who oversaw the program are currently under federal indictment.
April 1, 2005 (WAFB TV)
Governor Kathleen Blanco says if the state is forced to pay back the federal government more than 30 million dollars, the state’s children and sick will suffer. This week, FEMA officials sent a letter demanding back 30.4 million dollars back in misspent flood buyout money.
Governor Blanco is very concerned about that FEMA demand letter. She says the state simply does not have that kind of money just laying around. Blanco says a 30 million dollar hit to the state budget would be devastating.
“The regretful thing is if we have to come up with 30 million dollars, it takes away from children, it takes away from the sick… you know, very, very important initiatives.”
According to FEMA, the Louisiana Office of Homeland Security which is the overseeing agency misspent the money over a five-year period. The money is for buying out homes that habitually flood.
U.S. Department of Justice
A federal grand jury has returned two separate indictments charging three members of the State Military Department with offenses related to the obstruction of an audit of the use of federal funds for flood mitigation activities throughout Louisiana, United States Attorney Donald W. Washington announced today.
Two of the individuals charged, MICHAEL C. APPE, 51, of Mandeville, Louisiana, and MICHAEL L. BROWN, 61, of St. Francisville, Louisiana, are senior employees of the Louisiana Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. Both APPE and BROWN are charged with conspiracy to obstruct a federal audit; BROWN is additionally charged with making a false statement.