A Corporate Predator

The Rigsbys’ qui tam claims are now set for trial. State Farm’s favorite strong arm tactic – a slap suit aimed back at the relators as a counterclaim – has been mooted by severance, with all discovery stayed. In a word, the Rigsbys’ qui tam case is now early stage radioactive. For those of you who care to study the pathology of corporate monopolies, now is the time to tune in, lock your dial and follow State Farm’s every move.

You’ll likely see State Farm agents turn up in hometown newspaper photos, handing a giant copy of State Farm’s check to the fire chief, buying the police department some pricey crime fighting device, or donating education funds to the local school board. As trial approaches, the number and frequency of “Good Neighbor” TV ads in the broadcast markets of the jury venire will double. Typically, these ads falsely portray State Farm as a deeply caring protector of America’s families. You’ll see lots of minority face time, puppy dogs, tearful then happy children and so on. Not much different than the “family values” theme some of our best pimp politicians like to market. That’s what you will see; what’s more important is what you won’t see.

You won’t see the “Shred-it” trucks pulling up to State Farm’s and Renfroe’s lawyers’ offices. (They needn’t go to State Farm’s regional or headquarter offices, they have their own shredders and corporate employee operators. In fact, State Farm shredded copies of altered engineering reports and corresponding invoices right there in their temporary Katrina claims office off Pops Ferry Road). Also, you won’t see State Farm’s creepy data managers systematically scrubbing data off the head office’s mainframes and hundreds of work stations. You won’t see this same thing happening behind the walls of State Farm’s and Renfroe’s lawyer’s offices either, or even within the offices of the federal court in Birmingham. You won’t see crooked law clerks scurrying to isolate and delete phone logs or emails proving hundreds of unauthorized ex parte contacts with State Farm’s and Renfroe’s case lawyers. You won’t see the destruction of records detailing communications with FEMA’s David Maurstad or James Shortly, or with FEMA’s shadow manager, Computer Science Corporation (“CSC”), all to get the proof of loss requirements under the flood program waived, and in place within 48 hours of Katrina. Continue reading “A Corporate Predator”

Anita Lee writes about housing on the coast: A surplus of units and unmet needs

This is not the first story Anita has authored on this topic and I have a feeling it won’t be the last. Steve and I have had several conversations about the coast’s housing conundrum of having unoccupied rental units with many more in the pipeline while those on the bottom rung still do without. So while the combatants bicker and parse words I’ll add the view at Slabbed is we need no additional “tax credit” apartments that low income folks can’t afford. Without further commentary on my part here are the links to today’s story excerpted below and the related editorial.

Too many homes and apartments are on the market in South Mississippi, but residents least able to afford them are still waiting for permanent housing more than four years after Hurricane Katrina.

“We clearly, at this point, have more units for sale and for rent than we need,” Gov. Haley Barbour’s Coast Housing Director, Gerald Blessey, told the Sun Herald. “We have enough in the pipeline between now and 2011 to meet the remaining needs. But many of those units are vacant because they are not at rates or prices people can afford.” Continue reading “Anita Lee writes about housing on the coast: A surplus of units and unmet needs”