Tags: Homeland Security | Hurricane Katrina | undocumented | grants | Department of Homeland Security

Report: 20,000 Katrina Recovery Grants Undocumented

By    |   Thursday, 13 Nov 2014 04:24 PM

While the federal government handed out billions of dollars in recovery project monies after 2005's Hurricane Katrina, years later there is little evidence whether many of those taxpayer-funded projects in New Orleans were ever completed, the Washington Examiner reported.

Of the approximately 24,000 grant-funded projects authorized in the wake of Katrina's devastation, about 20,000 of them remain undocumented, according to the Examiner, which reviewed the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General reports on the funding.

An official with the Louisiana Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP), which has been responsible for administering the $14.5 billion in grants, defended that the IG has "has not fallen behind, and it is unfortunate that the DHS OIG’s office has consistently misinterpreted this."

But the IG's report on state oversight of the grants was damning, the Examiner noted.

"What is particularly disturbing about this relatively large percentage of small projects being open for eight years is that GOHSEP has already paid applicants for these projects. As the years pass, confirming whether applicants ever completed these small projects will grow difficult," the IG report from 2013 says, according to the Examiner.

Other revelations from the IG report raised questions about spending at Tulane University, New Orleans' Times-Picayune reported.

Of the $36 million in rebuilding grants given to the university, "auditors discovered at least $13 million in overbilled, double-billed and unproven expenses by a contractor," the Times-Picayune noted as federal authorities begin to investigate. Tulane has disputed the audit's findings.

Residents of New Orleans as well as business owners and those visiting the city during Katrina can now apply for compensation for their storm damages as well as death benefits, the Daily World noted.

The settlement funds, about $14 million, come from levee board insurance policies. The deadline to apply is April 2015.

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While the federal government handed out billions of dollars in recovery project monies after 2005's Hurricane Katrina, years later there is little evidence whether many of those taxpayer-funded projects in New Orleans were ever completed, the Washington Examiner reported.
Hurricane Katrina, undocumented, grants, Department of Homeland Security
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2014-24-13
Thursday, 13 Nov 2014 04:24 PM
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