Thursday, October 20, 2005

FEMA should hire Ed McMahon to deliver the checks!

(Via Florida Cracker) Of course, he would be pretty busy:
With hundreds of thousands forced from homes battered by Hurricane Katrina, the federal government cut red tape to rush $2,000 checks and debit cards to help victims pay for clothes, food, transportation and a place to live.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency intended the aid for displaced Gulf Coast families and limited it to one payment per household.

But in three Louisiana parishes, FEMA issued more checks than there are households, at a cost to taxpayers of at least $70 million, a South Florida Sun-Sentinel investigation has found.

And in 36 parishes and counties in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, FEMA awarded $102 million to at least 51,000 more applicants than local officials said were displaced by the storm.
Might be because the local chiselers discovered that fooling the Feds is profitable and not real tough:
In Mobile, Ala., residents coached each other on the right words to use when calling FEMA to get the $2,000. Many who received the money never had to leave their homes. Some had minor roof leaks. One said her furniture got wet because she kept opening her door to watch the storm.
Maybe they ought to have a special award for the most bogus excuse? Hmmm, I think my rheumatism acted up when Katrina came ashore down there. Send me my bucks!
In Pike County, Miss., Katrina displaced 25 families, yet 2,494 collected nearly $5 million and "made a ton of money," said Civil Defense Director Richard Coghlan.

"I'll tell you, it was Christmas," Coghlan said. "We're talking plasma TVs. We're talking stereos. We're talking bicycles."

In Louisiana's Iberville Parish, 70 miles from Katrina's landfall in New Orleans, the storm knocked down trees and power lines but caused no major damage, said emergency manager Laurie Doiron. Still, 819 parish residents received $1.6 million from the federal government.

"I can't possibly fathom 819 people needing $2,000 in immediate assistance," she said. "What do I attribute that to? FEMA being free with the money, too free with the money."
Ya think?