Category Archives: In the News

Irma Survivors Murdered

A Federal Government contractor killed two men in a botched robbery.

Squeezed between hurricanes Harvey and Maria last year, Hurricane Irma laid as much as $190 billion of damage on America, destroyed large parts of Caribbean islands like Barbuda, and killed at least 72 Floridians (including, for example, victims of a nursing home without power and carbon monoxide poisoning from emergency generators).

FEMA to the rescue!!!

Gerjuan Jackson (below, left), 18,  dispatched by the Feds to perform the work they take your taxes to ostensibly perform themselves, assessed the Polk County, FL home of William Reiss (below, right) for Irma damage last year and apparently returned two weeks later to purchase a pair of pistols from the 68-year-old for $800.

Gerjuan Jackson, 18, was arrested for killing Reiss, whose home he assessed after the devastating storm.  

After he was collared in Alabama for traveling strapped without a gun permit last November, Jackson brought Kenley Campbell (below), 22, and Darril Rankin (below), 22, back to the Florida residence to lift the rest of Reiss’s firearms on January 3.

Campbell and Rankin are accused of helping boost up to 25 firearms from Reiss' home.

Reiss and his roommate Kenneth Maier (below), 57, were home. So Jackson (who has already confessed) plugged Reiss four times and wounded Maier. Maier, loaded with at least three bullets, reportedly flagged down a passing motorist in the driveway to save his friend. Both men eventually died.

Jackson and his friends loaded 25 guns and a flat-screen TV into Reiss’s truck, which they promoted for extra capacity. Most of the guns were sold on the street in Alabama and later recovered by the Feds.

The Polk County sheriff alleges Jackson told the friends en route that he intended to kill Reiss.

The three suspects are from Mobile, AL. Campbell and Rankin were pinched on January 6 and sold out Jackson, who was captured January 9.

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FEMA, a $14 billion behemoth bureaucracy best known for mismanaging the aftermath of 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, offered a “not our fault” statement, according to WFLA:

“FEMA is aware of an alleged incident that occurred in Polk County, Florida, and are looking into additional details on this matter. Our thoughts are with the families and loved ones of the victims.

FEMA’s Inspection Services are handled by contracted firms, and not FEMA employees. Currently, FEMA contracts with two private sector companies for disaster survivor home inspections. Questions about individuals employed within those contracted companies, or those companies’ hiring practices, must be pursued through their individual contractors. FEMA works closely with law enforcement on a regular basis, and will provide appropriate coordination with law enforcement on this incident.”

FEMA logo.svg

Contracting out work to others who then contract to fourth parties to ensure your disaster rebuild since 1979!

The FEMA contractor is Vanguard Emergency Management, who blame-shifted by citing Jackson’s successful FEMA background check. They confirmed his contract with Vanguard ran from September 14 through November 13.

Jackson and company are expected to be extradited to Florida for first degree murder charges. First, though, Jackson was in Mobile on Tuesday to get charged with: carrying a pistol without a permit, possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, and promoting prison contraband. It’s unclear if these all stem from the November incident.

 

Thanks to our sources:

https://www.vox.com/explainers/2017/9/18/16314440/disasters-are-getting-more-expensive-harvey-irma-insurance-climate

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-41182991

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/weather/hurricane/fl-reg-hurricane-irma-deaths-20171120-story.html

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-storm-irma/about-1-5-million-mostly-in-florida-without-power-in-irmas-wake-idUSKCN1BQ1C6

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/fema-contractor-charged-killing-irma-vic-befriended-article-1.3756358

Sheriff: Alabama FEMA contractor traveled to Polk City, murdered man he met after Hurricane Irma

2nd victim dies after being shot by FEMA contractor in Polk City

Polk County mother shocked to learn man who helped family file FEMA claim arrested for murder

http://www.theledger.com/news/20180112/2nd-victim-of-polk-city-shooting-dies

http://www.fox10tv.com/story/37279080/polk-county-murder-suspect-appears-in-mobile-county-court

Delta Updates

New year, same Delta Airlines.

Image result for delta airlines

The Atlanta-based monstrosity sent flight 284 out of Hartsfield-Jackson International at 8:15 PM on Tuesday. The London-bound 737 jet was back by 9:45 PM after (per passengers), a loud “bang” was heard on board.

Related:

Delta Drops the Ball Again

Delta Out-Winged by Unidentified Bird Species

Delta initially blamed the return on “emergency engine trouble,” and, indeed, emergency vehicles were captured meeting the plane at the gate on return.

(Courtesy: Bill Sengstacken / Twitter)

A different 737 was enlisted to get everyone to London. They took off just after midnight…and came right back after another “bang” was reportedly heard.

Passengers told Fox both times the planes took off it was reported that someone had left an unclaimed coat in the gate area, and that both flights’ pilots said there were no mechanical problems.

The Heathrow hopefuls were placed in hotels and reportedly scheduled to try a third time Wednesday evening. All bags remained in the custody of Delta for the overnight stay.

FlightAware.com reports Delta #284 (the same physical plane from the second attempt early Wednesday morning) successfully landed at Heathrow at 8:25 AM on Thursday.

Fox got a statement Wednesday evening in which Delta admitted to returning in an abundance of caution when an abnormal noise was observed in the aircraft, and again when a similar observation was made on the replacement plane.

Thanks to our source:

http://www.fox5atlanta.com/news/emergency-landing-at-atlantas-airport

December Debacle: Stories from the Freezer!!! November 16: Keystone Spillage and Keystone XL Approval

We previously covered the Dakota Access Pipeline:

Pipeline Postponed–Now Plural!

Just as divisive is the Keystone pipeline, which accidentally poured 210,000 gallons of oil near Amherst, South Dakota, the second Keystone spill in the state since 2016.

TransCanada, the Canadian outfit shipping Alberta tar sands oil to U.S. refineries in Texas, reportedly estimated the line would leak less frequently and in smaller amounts than what has actually transpired.

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The affected area is near the Sioux tribe’s Lake Traverse Reservation, which is home specifically to the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate.

Unfortunately, according to Inside Climate News,

A preliminary assessment from the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) suggests damage that occurred during TransCanada Corporation’s construction of the pipeline was likely the cause of the spill.

Therefore, other parts of pipe could be poised to pop.

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Days later, the $8 billion Keystone XL pipeline (which will expand the Keystone line) was approved by Nebraska’s Public Service Commission regulators. All states along the proposed route have now cleared the project, but it could still be shut down by the courts, according to NBC.

Trump approved Keystone XL in March, reversing Obama’s decision on the new line.

BUT, to the elation of landowners opposed to the pipeline, on December 19:

The Nebraska Public Service Commission unanimously rejected TransCanada’s request to amend its application for a route across Nebraska. TransCanada said it would “take some time” before considering whether to build the $8 billion project.

Apparently, the route approved in November was undesirable, and runs parallel to the existing (original) Keystone pipe. It is unclear whether this version of XL will proceed, as both sides have 30 days to file with the Nebraska Court of Appeals.

Thanks to our sources:

http://www.cnn.com/2017/11/16/us/keystone-pipeline-leak/index.html

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/keystone-xl-pipeline-gets-approval-nebraska-regulator-n822526

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-pipeline-keystone-spills/keystones-existing-pipeline-spills-far-more-than-predicted-to-regulators-idUSKBN1DR1CS

https://insideclimatenews.org/news/29112017/keystone-pipeline-oil-spill-south-dakota-permit-transcanada-construction-weights

http://www.omaha.com/news/nebraska/future-of-keystone-xl-pipeline-becomes-more-muddled-after-psc/article_63053116-e4e6-11e7-8a21-3b6e865ae887.html

Delta Out-Winged by Unidentified Bird Species

Delta Airlines flight 1943 out of Detroit returned shortly after takeoff because the pilot found a small bird in the cockpit “potential[ly] distracting” for the trek to Atlanta.

Washington Post reported the pilot initially kept the December 30 plane grounded for an hour while a search for the bird (spotted at boarding) commenced. The pilot announced as the doors closed, “We’re going to take off, but if I hear any chirping in the cockpit, I’ll turn around.”

An eyewitness told WP the bird was re-discovered just minutes after takeoff. The online tracker data suggests the Detroit-to-Detroit flight lasted 34 minutes. Yellow-breasted vested security people (above) then removed the bird.

Thanks to our sources:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/dr-gridlock/wp/2017/12/31/how-a-small-bird-managed-to-take-over-a-delta-flight/?utm_term=.bd36547cb020

https://flightaware.com/live/flight/DAL1943/history/20171230/1510Z/KDTW/KDTW

Breaking: Erica Garner Deceased

Eric Garner‘s daughter, Erica Garner, passed away following her heart attack last weekend.

Related:

Summer Part 1: Stories We Shelved!!! March 24–Eric Garner Update

Erica was 27 and supported Bernie Sanders for the 2016 presidency. She had an previous heart attack following the birth of her son earlier this year, named Eric for her father. While Erica learned she had an enlarged heart at that time, her mother, Esaw Snipes, reported the Christmas heart attack was due to asthma.

Erica helped raise awareness of minority citizens’ disparate treatment by police after her father’s 2014 homicide by the NYPD, and was reportedly a prominent member of the social justice movement Black Lives Matter.

Thanks to our sources:

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/erica-garner-died-obituary_us_5a446518e4b0b0e5a7a49a79

http://edition.cnn.com/2017/12/25/us/eric-garner-daughter-heart-attack/index.html

December Debacle: Stories from the Freezer!!! October 27: Boente Bows Out

U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Dana Boente is ready to cash out, announcing his resignation in October (pending confirmation of his replacement).

Image: Dana Boente, acting U.S. attorney general, listens during a county sheriff listening session

Politico reported the career “government servant” and 2015 Obama appointee to EDV, 63, who briefly took over for Sally Yates as acting Attorney General upon Yates’ firing for refusal to enforce Trump’s travel ban, is reportedly still in charge of Justice’s national security division.

Related:

Summer Part 2: August Agony!!! Looking Back: May 9: FBI Director Comey Fired

MSNBC suggests Boente’s resignation was solicited by Trump after the veteran Justice employee was retained at the beginning of 2017. Rachel Maddow emphasized Boente “was in a position to investigate the president when Trump decided unexpectedly to fire him.”

Justice bit back on November 29 via a letter to Senator Chris Coons (D-DE). Mr. Coons asked the Judiciary Committee for a hearing on Boente’s resignation, apparently sensing something nefarious.  The letter indicates Trump’s nominee to take over for Boente as AAG–national security division, John Demers (below) is merely the next expected link in the chain of succession.

Mr. Demers is a big man at Ex-Im Bank beneficiary Boeing, and will reportedly retain over $1 million of their stock in his new position.

If he gets confirmed. Demers reportedly helped author the 2008 Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, a monstrous justification for the Feds to scoop up your phone records and emails.

According to AllGov:

At his confirmation hearing on October 31, 2017, Demers made it clear that the NSA should not be required to obtain a warrant from the FBI before searching the communications of American citizens. He also waffled on the subject of whether journalists should be jailed for refusing to reveal their sources.

[our emphasis]

Later on in December, Senator Rand Paul blocked Demers’ confirmation vote to the Justice position. It is unclear when the vote will proceed.

Section 702 is scheduled to expire next month, and neo-conservative thugs are eager to reauthorize the privacy-and-constitutional-rights-be-damned program.

Daily Beast:

If confirmed, Demers will be one of just three DOJ officials with the power to sign off on Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant applications. 

Thanks to our sources:

https://www.politico.com/story/2017/10/27/dana-boente-justice-departments-national-security-division-244268

http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/trumps-ouster-us-attorney-dana-boente-matters

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/justice-department/dana-boente-senior-federal-prosecutor-obama-holdover-submits-resignation-n815331

http://www.allgov.com/news/appointments-and-resignations/assistant-attorney-general-national-security-division-who-is-john-demers-171107?news=860356

https://www.thedailybeast.com/republican-senator-rand-paul-freezes-trump-nomination-over-nsa

December Debacle: Stories from the Freezer!!! October 9: Flint Update

Dr. Eden Wells, chief medical executive of Michigan, racked up involuntary manslaughter and misconduct charges to go with her obstruction of justice charge from the summer relating to the Flint water crisis.

Related:

Summer Part 2: August Agony!!! Looking Back: June 14: Flint, MI Update

Michigan Health and Human Services director Nick Lyon (also charged with OOJ and IM) may have tipped off prosecutors, as special prosecutor Todd Flood (below) credited “some revelations” from Lyon’s testimony leading to Wells’ extra charges. Like Wells, Lyon remains in his position amidst the charges.

Flood

As a refresher, the Flint water crisis du jour is not the elevated lead levels that tipped Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha to government-regulated brain damage in Flint’s children, but the deadly outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease three years ago. Unlike the lead (due to pumping acidic water through antique lead pipes to sell to your citizens), the Legionnaires’ was apparently due to contaminated water at the Flint River source.

Robert Skidmore, 85 (below), was one of twelve Flint residents who died of water-borne Legionnaires’ from 2014 to 2015. Prosecutors have fingered Dr. Wells and five other government officials for the involuntary manslaughter of Skidmore.

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On November 20, as Wells’ hearing for alleged interference in the research of the Legionnaires’ outbreak loomed, Michigan governor Rick Snyder appointed her head of the newly-formed Public Health Advisory Council, according to Michigan Radio.

However, Michigan.gov reports “Eden Wells” as chair of the PHAC, with a specific notation that she was not appointed by the governor. Wild!

Snyder has not been charged in the disaster.

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Flint mayor Karen Weaver won her November recall election, capturing almost 53% of the vote among 18 candidates.

She appears to have evaded investigation into allegations of pouring crisis relief funds into her personal account:

Lead Astray

Thanks to our sources:

A Michigan Official Was Just Charged with Involuntary Manslaughter in the Flint Water Crisis

http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/michigan/flint-water-crisis/2017/10/09/obstruction-hearing-eden-wells/106463504/

http://www.mlive.com/news/flint/index.ssf/2017/11/flint_mayor_karen_weaver_wins.html

https://www.freep.com/story/news/columnists/rochelle-riley/2016/02/06/dr-mona-hanna-attisha-goes-doctor-global-hero/79772514/

http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/michigan/flint-water-crisis/2017/06/14/flint-water/102838154/

http://www.michigan.gov/snyder/0,4668,7-277-57738_57679_57726-454407–,00.html

December Debacle: Stories from the Freezer!!! October: IRS Cozies Up with Equifax

On October 3, Politico reported the IRS had lavished credit report agency Equifax with a no-bid, $7.25 million contract to “verify taxpayer identities and prevent fraud.”

Image result

Yes, this is the same Equifax that announced in September they had discovered a security breach earlier in the year that compromised many Americans’ social security numbers, addresses, birth dates, and (in some cases) drivers license numbers. You have likely heard of the breach, because the number of Americans affected was over 140 million.

(It really makes the 2015 Office of Personnel and Management breach that exposed just 21 million social security numbers and  millions of sets of fingerprints, leading to the resignation of director Katherine Archuleta, look absolutely pathetic.)

Atlanta-based Equifax created a website for affected consumers to see if they were affected and obtain a free “credit freeze.” (The abominable Delta Airlines is also based in Atlanta.)

The fallout was insufficient to stop head IRS thug John Koskinen from allowing the crooked contract to gamble several million in taxpayer cheese on an unreliable company; he observed, “Our estimate is a significant percent of those taxpayers already had their information in the hands of criminals.”

Now, as stellar an agency as Koskinen’s IRS has proven to be,

Summer Part 2: August Agony!!! Looking Back: May 10: IRS Takes From Little People; Squander Millions on Unused Email, Faulty Fraud Detection

we should probably take a pompous “notice” explaining away their idiotic contract award with a grain of salt:

[A] notice [posted on the Federal Business Opportunities database] describes the contract as a “sole source order,” meaning Equifax is the only company deemed capable of providing the service. 

And according to Gizmodo, Equifax was pissed when this contract was awarded to another company just before the hack was revealed, given the former’s most favorite nation status at the IRS.  Equifax proceeded to file a complaint with the Government Accountability Office.

Koskinen, 78, claimed his hands were tied, and the “incumbent” Equifax vendor had to be retained for emergency access services as hurricane victims sought their own tax information:

“Shutting down online access would also have impacted victims of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. These taxpayers have an immediate need for tax information and may no longer have paper records on which to rely.”

[A revenue-neutral FairTax that eliminates the IRS, and billions of dollars in compliance annually, is apparently still out of the question. Maybe the new Republican-pushed tax overhaul will move us in that direction.]

[Interestingly, just before the breach was announced, GAO continued to warn Federal agencies against over-collecting fingerprints of the little people, because vulnerability, people.]

But more on Equifax:

The company has subsequently taken criticism for issuing confusing instructions to consumers, which contained language that appeared aimed at limiting customers’ ability to sue, as well as tweeting out a link to a fake website instead of its own security site.

So accountability was somewhat lacking. The government goons suspended the Equifax contract on October 13, according to Engadget.

GAO, meanwhile, stood up to Equifax on October 16, denying the complaint we mentioned above and allowing IRS to contract with rival Experian for one year instead. It is unclear if Experian was the company that originally won the contract before Koskinen tried to play favorites.

Experian logo.svg

The best part? Stewardship of tax dollars will have a rare victory. According to Politico, Experian will provide 12 months of service to IRS for just $795,000. The $7.25 million Koskinen tried to blow on Equifax (the only company capable of checking consumer identities in its Swiss cheese database) would only have covered nine months of service.

To be fair, Experian (based in Dublin, Ireland) had 15 million customers’ private information hacked in 2015.

Thanks to our sources:

https://investor.equifax.com/news-and-events/news/2017/09-15-2017-224018832

https://www.politico.com/story/2017/10/03/equifax-irs-fraud-protection-contract-243419

http://thehill.com/policy/cybersecurity/355862-irs-significant-number-of-equifax-victims-already-had-info-accessed-by

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-cybersecurity-usa/millions-more-americans-hit-by-government-personnel-data-hack-idUSKCN0PJ2M420150709

Equifax Breach Proves Federal Action Necessary

https://www.engadget.com/2017/10/13/irs-freezes-equifax-fraud-prevention-contract/

https://www.politico.com/story/2017/10/16/gao-equifax-irs-contract-243824

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/oct/01/experian-hack-t-mobile-credit-checks-personal-information

December Debacle: Stories from the Freezer!!! September 26: Southwest Removal

We got another one!!!

After United Airlines‘ memorable removal (courtesy of Chicago PD) of a Kentucky physician from an overbooked flight last spring, airlines are back under the national microscope for questionable regard of passenger’s bodies.

Summer Part 1: Stories We Shelved!!! April 9–United We Drag

This time, Southwest Airlines was in the hot seat.

Not in her seat was Anila Daulatzai, a 46-year-old professor at Maryland Institute College of Art en route to Los Angeles for her father’s emergency surgery. She decided to demand dogs be removed from the flight, according to the flight crew, due to an allergy. Since she had no paperwork documenting such, Southwest policy apparently justified her removal from the plane by law enforcement.

Prior to being roughly escorted from her seat (ripping her pants), she requested an injection of anti-allergy medicine, which for some reason airplanes keep stocked; due to the lack of paper documentation, this request was refused.

(Heavy reported the Epi-pen requested was not provided because according to a Southwest spokesperson, “We do not have or administer shots.”)

Washington Post heard from Daulatzai that she never requested the two dogs on board be removed and was never asked for documentation.

Bill Dumas, who captured the above clip, reported hearing Daulatzai categorize her condition as “deadly allergy.” (He also told CBS Baltimore:“It really looks like police were being overly aggressive, but really she wasn’t giving them much of a choice.”)

But on October 10, Daulatzai told Good Morning America that she told the Southwest crew the allergy was not life-threatening. She did admit “[T]he first thing I asked the flight attendant was, ‘How many dogs are going to be on this plane?’”

She also revealed she was two months pregnant, which is unfortunate as the fetus had to get cooked by a full-body TSA x-ray machine to even make it this far in the boarding process.

And:

“They just didn’t trust me. I was a brown woman with a hoodie.”

Uh-oh. We were unable to obtain settlement details, but her attorneys are looking to cash in on this experience, based on Daulatzai being “profiled, abused, interrogated, detained, and subjected to false reporting and the trauma of racist, vitriolic public shaming precisely because she is a woman, a person of color, and a Muslim.”

Oppressed, allergic and pregnant, Daulatzai was slammed with five misdemeanors:

anila daulatzai

Southwest did issue a public apology, but they’ll probably have to pay out some cheddar. This woman is a PROFESSOR, as she indignantly reminded her handlers.

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It was a rough end to the year for Southwest, who had to deal with this on December 10:

Valerie Curbelo was caught smoking in the lavatory en route to Sacramento from Portland.

The 24-year-old reportedly tampered with the lavatory smoke detector, against which the standard pre-flight safety and regulation speech surely warned her. She declared “I have a destination for myself!” after the flight attendants removed her from the bathroom, and then “I swear, if you don’t (expletive) land, I will (expletive) kill everybody on this (expletive) plane!”

Flight 2943 indeed got to the destination of Sacramento (with emergency landing privileges!), and Curbelo was jailed for a felony count of death threat.

 

Thanks to our sources:

http://www.baltimoresun.com/business/bs-md-southwest-passenger-removed-20170927-story.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/dr-gridlock/wp/2017/10/04/southwest-says-she-was-forced-off-a-plane-over-dog-allergies-the-woman-has-a-very-different-account/?utm_term=.0f0004a67a9d

Anila Daulatzai: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

http://thehill.com/news-by-subject/transportation-infrastructure/352742-southwest-apologizes-after-woman-dragged-off

http://people.com/home/woman-threatens-kill-everyone-southwest-airlines/

http://www.oregonlive.com/today/index.ssf/2017/12/airline_made_oregon_passenger.html

December Debacle: Stories from the Freezer!!! September 8: California Water Project Price Tag Watered Down by Unapproved Federal Funds–Audit

California’s aging chief spendthrift, Jerry-atric Brown, found himself in hot water when the U.S. Department of Interior was caught pumping $84.8 million of federal cash into a water project approved only under exclusive California water agency funding. Interior also waived $50 million of the reimbursement. Both moves were omitted in official reports from Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation. Ignorant masses will never notice, right?

Related:

July Juice–Stories We Missed!

The tunnels were apparently funded by bonds and the water companies to avoid the requirement of voter approval. Assemblywoman Susan Eggman introduced a 2016 bill demanding a public vote on the project, in 2018 at the earliest. It’s unclear if that went anywhere.

Mr. Brown’s initial attempt at this project was rejected by voters during his second term as governor in 1982. He did sign a $4 billion “parks and water” bill in October that provided $100 million in “flood protection funding” for the Delta and Central Valley areas, but does not fund the Delta tunnels.

California Water Fix and Eco Restore was originally called Bay Delta Conservation Plan and carried a price tag of $25 billion. However, a proposed 50-year “guarantee” to restore wetland habitats for endangered species was cut from the project after Federal authorities refused to issue permits. Mercury News reported in 2015 California could not prove it will restore salmon, smelt, sturgeon and other wildlife struggling for survival in the Delta.

The original “guarantee” would have shielded California from federal lawsuits avenging vulnerable species. The new tunnels are supposed to “increase reliability” of the same amount of water, and reduce reliance on current “pumps” that grind up and kill fish. Unfortunately, the new deal is precarious, as the Feds can shut down the pumps immediately if any fish are harmed, according to LA Times.

The diluted $16 billion buildup of tunnels to drain the Sacramento River and spit water into southern locations like the houses of  Silicon Valley elitists and farmlands of the Central Valley.

US-DOI-BureauOfReclamation-Seal.svg

USBR deflected explanation to the auditors for its decision to illegally bill other states for Mr. Brown’s vanity project. To the inspector general auditors themselves, the Reclamation bureau told auditors that it had disclosed the payments in a 2013 letter to seven unidentified members of Congress, and said it planned to make no more such payments for the tunnels project.

ABC News reported Mr. Brown refused to comment on the deceit, as the audit is a “federal matter.”

Meanwhile, Central Valley water districts that were supposed to pay 50 percent of the tunnels’ planning costs contributed only 18 percent, the audit found.

According to US News, the Securities and Exchange Commission fined the Westlands Water District (the largest of five water authorities funding the project…if they choose, apparently) an undisclosed amount in 2016 for misleading bond investors regarding their declining revenue.

A Westlands representative told ABC the district is only responsible for repaying federal funds (ill-gotten or not) if the mammoth project is completed, and it demonstrably benefits the districts. (For people who weren’t supposed to be taking federal money at all, they sure did some research.)

Opponents of the tunnels include environmental advocates, who must have been STEAMED when the “environmental” aspect of laying 35 miles of twin pipes four stories in diameter was eliminated from the plan. (A state bond-funded, $300 million conservation effort was instead pursued, according to Mercury News.) Patricia Schifferle, who ABC identified as anti-tunnel, noted the audit proving your tax money illegally subsidized California water repair they didn’t even bother asking their own citizens to pay for only looked at records through 2016, so more federal cheddar has probably been grated and gorged.

Thanks to our sources:

http://abcnews.go.com/amp/Technology/wireStory/apnewsbreak-us-taxpayer-money-misused-water-project-49706084

http://www.mercurynews.com/2015/04/11/delta-tunnels-major-changes-to-environmental-restoration-could-endanger-browns-water-plan/

https://www.usnews.com/news/us/articles/2016-03-18/decision-time-for-california-governors-big-water-project

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-brown-delta-plan-20150430-story.html

http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-sac-essential-poli-you-could-vote-on-controversial-delta-water-tunnel-1461106431-htmlstory.html

http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/10/16/jerry-brown-signs-859-bills-into-law-vetoes-119-what-made-the-cut/

http://sd24.senate.ca.gov/news/2017-09-20-legislature-sends-landmark-parks-water-and-flood-control-bond-governors-desk

http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/09/18/california-lawmakers-approve-4-billion-ballot-measure-for-parks-and-water-projects/