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More evidence the government has no respect for other people’s money

November 16, 2010

Report: In Obama’s Chicago, stimulus weatherization money buys shoddy work, widespread fraud | Washington Examiner.

A lot of money has come from Obama’s stimulus package to help weatherize homes.  No comment on the stimulating effect of that, so meh.  Some of that money went to the bastion of ethical government that is Chicago, about $91 million (I know it doesn’t seem like a lot, but you wouldn’t turn it down), which went to the Community and Economical Development Association of Cook County (CEDA).

Let’s see how they spent it shall we?

The findings are grim. “Our testing revealed substandard performance in weatherization workmanship, initial assessments, and contractor billing,” the inspector general report says. “These problems were of such significance that they put the integrity of the entire program at risk.”
Uh-oh, this doesn’t sound good.
Department inspectors visited 15 homes that were being weatherized by CEDA and paid for by stimulus funds. “We found that 14 of the 15 homes …failed final inspection because of poor workmanship and/or inadequate initial assessments,” the report says. In eight of the homes, CEDA had come up with unworkable and ineffective plans — like putting attic insulation in a house with a leaky roof. In ten of the homes, “contractors billed for labor charges that had not been incurred and for materials that had not been installed.” The report calls billing problems “pervasive,” with seven of ten contractors being cited for erroneous invoicing. And the department found “a 62 percent final inspection error rate” when CEDA inspectors reviewed their own work.
Oh dear.  At least they were only wasting money, not putting anyone’s lives at risk right?  Right?
Department inspectors found “heat barriers around chimneys that had not been installed, causing fire hazards.” They found “a furnace [that] had not been vented properly.” The found “a shut-off valve that had not been installed on a gas stove.” And they found “carbon monoxide detectors, smoke alarms and fire extinguishers had not been installed as planned.”
Okay fine, they may have put some people in danger, but that is just because they didn’t know better.  They aren’t actually tring to defraud the taxpayer right?  Right?
At ten of the 15 homes visited, Department inspectors found examples in which “a contractor had installed a 125,000 BTU boiler, but had billed CEDA for a 200,000 BTU boiler costing an estimated $1,000. more.” Another contractor “billed for almost four times the amount of drywall actually installed.” And another “installed 12 light bulbs but had billed CEDA for 20.” (The Department found that CEDA paid almost three times the retail price for each light bulb.) “Billing issues appeared to be pervasive,” the report concludes.
I love the understatement in government reports.
Nice to know the government is wasting, excuse me, spending our tax money wisely.  And yet, they want us to give them more…
2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 16, 2010 5:13 pm

    Some things never change. Wasn’t there a GAO report about a month ago praising the TARP program for the absence to corruption? Sigh!!!

    • November 16, 2010 5:16 pm

      This wasn’t TARP, it was the stimulus, but your point is the same.

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