Good Job Brownie! KBR Katrina Work Blasted by the Pentagon. Millions Squandered

I ran across this on Chris Joiner’s blog while first missing it in Thursday’s Sun Herald. Then Halliburton subsidiary KBR was blasted by the DOD Inspector General for doing poor work and squandering millions of dollars in contracts to restore military facilities impacted by Hurricanes Ivan and Katrina. Here is the Sun Herald report. Following are excerpts from the Washington Post blog entry that got the reporting rolling:

The Houston-based company’s efforts to repair Navy facilities following Hurricanes Ivan and Katrina were deemed shoddy and substandard, auditors say, prompting one technical adviser to claim that the federal government “certainly paid twice” for many KBR projects because of “design and workmanship deficiencies,” according to a report (see PDF here) released today by the Defense Department’s inspector general.

The report, released following a Freedom of Information Act request, says the U.S. Navy hired KBR, Inc., then known as Kellogg, Brown and Root, in July 2004 to repair Defense Department facilities after Hurricanes Ivan and Katrina. The federal government agreed to pay the company $500 million over five years.

At the time, the company was a subsidiary of Halliburton, the Texas oil company, whose former chief executive is Vice President Dick Cheney.

As part of the Navy project, KBR was tasked with removing water-damaged carpet and drywall; applying temporary roofing; removing debris; and building trailer parks for displaced Navy families at the Naval air stations in Pensacola, Fla.; Gulfport, Miss.; the Stennis Space Center in Hancock County, Miss.; and other Navy facilities in the Gulf Coast region.

Among the inspector general’s findings:

— KBR awarded sole-source or limited competition subcontracts that overpaid hourly rates to roofers and paid $4.1 million worth of services and meals that should have cost only $1.7 million

— The Navy entered into an illegal “cost-plus-percentage-of-cost” contract with KBR, the audit found. As a result, higher costs meant higher profit and KBR was rewarded for “inefficiency and non-economical performance.”

— KBR was paid nearly all of the contract amounts despite “marginal-to-average performance,” the audit found.

The audit recommended the Navy try to recoup about $8.4 million in “excessive” equipment lease payments and material profits and noted several over-the-top costs, including employees getting $540 per month for cell phone charges during roof repairs; $720 per month in gas charges despite existing payment of work site fuel expenses; and expensive meals, including steak and eggs (full meal prices were redacted from the report).

Investigators also found that as part of the recovery effort, KBR was hired to build trailer parks for Navy personnel displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Each trailer was supposed to have 200 amps of electricity and water piping.

But the subcontractors hired by KBR gave each trailer 100-amp outlets and failed to lay piping at proper building code levels. As a result, a second contractor was paid $200,000 to fix the problems in the KBR construction, the audit said.

It appears Dr Ben Marble of Gulfport was ahead of his time when he chatted with Vice President Cheney in Gulfport back in September 2005.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwNiVZWuQpE]

6 thoughts on “Good Job Brownie! KBR Katrina Work Blasted by the Pentagon. Millions Squandered”

  1. I’ve been reading along for a while now. I just wanted to drop you a comment to say keep up the good work.

  2. I hate waste. I’ve never seen a government contract (federal) that didn’t have plenty of it. I was ready to be very upset with KBR aka Halliburton. That is untill I read further. I noticed your wording. Such as describing their work as marginal to average. I noticed that you was unable to use the term sub standard or inferior. I have never seen a contract for emergency repairs or construction such as drying I buildings after a fire or storm to protect from further damage. Or providing quick emergency housing for soldiers & families that required exceptional or custom above average workmanship. It usually get it done NOW. I would like examples. As for the trailers that called for 200 amp service. I was in the manufactured housing and building game for several years. Anything from 2 bedroom single wide to 4000 sq ft 2&3 story cussom modulars. $ 25-300k range. I would say the 200 amp requirements was a mistake on the govt’s part. Surely written by a govt stooge with a title and w/o a clue. I would like to see some factory invoices on trailers. Most all FEMA trailers are single wide and very basic. Which are all even very nice high end units equipped with 100 amp service. (Breaker Boxes) Unless custom ordered for specific purpose such as jobsite shop units. Putting a 200 amp service to them would not only be wrong but dangerous. Even double wide units are 100 amp unless specified. Usually 2000+ square ft. As far as the non code water supply. Codes vary so much from city to city and county to county. Example. I’ve been on jobs where the city required 1 more inch of sand in the trench for the waterline than the house across the street that was out of city limits. A very common code violation is one municipality will require PVC or copper connection at meter whereas manufactured homes are built with flexible poly type pipes. As far as the steak and eggs. I am on the road 6 days a week and home 2. Most places I eat they have different specials. I can show you several places on Wednesday the steak eggs and hashbrowns w/ coffee is $5.99. $2 less than omlette or pancake plate. The gas paid for in govt contacts is for vehicles owned by contract holders. (KBR, Haliburton ect) in disaster relief one large contractor KBR is the general. They will use roofing company’s from all over the country. Their gas is a material cost as in cost plus. I know both these companies have had far to many bloated no bid jobs where they raped all of us and should be hung out to dry. There was no specifics of that provided here. What I hate worse than that is a proclaimed professional journalist ( from either side) that will destroy a company because someone they hate worked for them in the past and no longer gas any connection to them. Then won’t say a word when their guy gives a no bid no questions asked contract to a foreign company that was just fired by their govt for incompetence. Pay them over a 1/2 billion dollars for a website that the calculator won’t even work. I bought a calculator for 99 cents today that works. A Silicon Valley company has said they will build a site that will far exede Obama care requirements guarantee it to work and handle any amount of traffic without crashing AND provide tech support for less than a million. Oh and said will have it up and running before the begin to fix this one. They won’t talk to them. That’s real waste. 40 hrs a week x 52 weeks is 2080 hrs. That’s called a man year. The company Obama hired didn’t start this job untill well into this year. Even if they charged $200 per man hr. The amount we already paid them equalls over 5000 man years you would think the 99 cent calculator would work. When I see an article on that. You don’t even need to research it. All facts are right in front of you. And actual fact and evidence on KBR I’ll know you are a true journalist and not just someone who goes to places like move on and feeds on complete bull crap and pukes it up and calls it journalism or investigative reporting.

    1. Let’s hear it for paragraphs, overrated and wasteful of paper due to the useless white spaces.

      The prior comment states: ” I noticed your wording. Such as describing their work as marginal to average. I noticed that you was (?) unable to use the term sub standard or inferior.”

      In looking over the post you apparently refer to, I fail to see where “your wording” (which a plain english reading would infer refers to the person making the blog post- and not to wording contained in either a block quote citation or a document hotlinked or reposted by the blog operator) says anything resembling what you refute at length. I’d start trying to find out if in fact any of the hotlinks in the above post say anything resembling what you take exception to, but like Willie Dixon said “I Ain’t Gonna Be Your Monkey Man”.

      The above tends to detract from the main point of your comment (if I am wrong as to what the main point is; see above use of the paragraph , and google “organize thoughts before posting diatribe on internet”) which appears to be Obamacare sucks. Well sorry to say, KBR in general, and Dick Cheney ( both individually as VPotUS and as Halliburton’s Chairman and CEO (the line between these is where?) when it spawned bastard offspring profiteer KBR) has at least as much suck as the fact you can buy a calculator for $0.99. Luckily for the taxpayer, all KBR ever billed for was labor, so turn your calculator on this story to calculate whatever you want. KBR, Guilty In Iraq Negligence of poisoning US troops. Now wants Taxpayers To Foot The Bill!M I wasn’t able to determine what to divide into what to determine who is the real patriot and who did the boning.

      1. I suspect that although lacking in grammatical niceties, the complaint was that the State is not at all efficient in anything productive, although the State is, as many have observed, quite efficient in the misuse of force.

  3. Here is something missing from the article. We have a Navy Construction Battalion in Gulfport. They do on the fly construction, housing, electric, sewer, roads, etc. in swamps, deserts, and other places where it has to be done immediately. After Katrina, they cleaned up their own base, had their own power and water, and were fully self-sufficient and then went out into the community. They started a nice temporary housing village of large tents with wooden floors, community showers, etc., and then were told to stop. They were forbidden from doing any construction that would take business from contractors. So it is especially stupid that the Navy was cheated by KBR when they had their own CB Base in the disaster area with their hands tied.

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