Quantcast

Millions in ice allowed to melt in warehouse after Hurricane Isa - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Millions in ice allowed to melt in warehouse after Hurricane Isaac

Posted: Updated:
Pelican Ice warehouse. Photo courtesy of LA Office of State Inspector General. Pelican Ice warehouse. Photo courtesy of LA Office of State Inspector General.
Pelican Ice warehouse. Photo courtesy of LA Office of State Inspector General. Pelican Ice warehouse. Photo courtesy of LA Office of State Inspector General.
Pelican Ice warehouse. Photo courtesy of LA Office of State Inspector General. Pelican Ice warehouse. Photo courtesy of LA Office of State Inspector General.
KENNER, La. -

Millions in taxpayer dollars was essentially allowed to 'melt away' in a south Louisiana warehouse in the aftermath of Hurricane Isaac.

That's according to a new report released August 1st by the Louisiana Inspector General's office.

As Hurricane Isaac made landfall last August, affected parishes began making requests for certain commodities.

One of those commodities was ice, and according to the OIG report - lots of it.

"We have been through enough trauma and natural disasters and man-made disasters for a lifetime," says Jill Craft, attorney for former state worker, Bruce Ellis, who is currently suing the state.

Ellis claims he lost his job after exposing the ice program's flaws.

The report states that the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) purchased 33,924,000 pounds of bagged ice from Kenner, LA company, Pelican Ice.

Of that, the reports says only about 6,248,000 pounds made it to storm victims.

The rest of it was allowed to melt in a Pelican Ice warehouse in Lacombe, LA.

In fact, due to an insufficient inventory tracking system, the Inspector General says the state was unable to figure out at any given moment how much ice was purchased, and how much had already been handed out.

Craft says the state should own up to its mistake, not point the finger of blame.

"Frankly, as a citizen and a taxpayer, it's outrageous to me that we spend so much money on unnecessary commodities and you almost get the impression, well it's not my money. Why should I worry about it?"

Ellis's co-worker shot cell video of the millions of pounds of bagged ice inside the Lacombe warehouse.

Ellis was a commodities specialist and says he tried to warn the state their ordering was excessive.

In total, the state was charged $17,407,633 for the ice. According to the report, this was the second major ice purchase by GOHSEP, which replaced FEMA as the state's main cold customer.

The report also says that as the threat of Isaac diminished, 71 truckloads of the ice was donated to private businesses and restaurants.

Craft says a warehouse full of melted ice has much larger implications for future aid during natual disasters.

"Taxpayers in the state are smart enough to realize that waste on one issue is going to eventually translate into, 'we're just not coming and the sky is falling and we're not your pleas this time.'"

A spokesperson for GOHSEP couldn't comment on pending litigation, but says the state doesn't dispute any findings in the report and that they're working to ensure this type of situation never happens again.

The report also includes recommendations for both GOHSEP - and the Louisiana National Guard - which plays a role in determining how much ice should be ordered.

Those two agencies responded with their own corrective actions, including an updated inventory system to track all commodities.

The state also created contracts with three new vendors that include a provision for returning any un-used ice to the vendor that has not been used in refrigerated trucks.

To read the full report, click here.

  • Assignment EducationMore>>

  • Anna P. Tooke Memorial Library taking shape in South Bossier Parish

    Anna P. Tooke Memorial Library taking shape in South Bossier Parish

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 10:27 PM EDT2014-08-28 02:27:55 GMT
    Anna P. Tooke Memorial Library (Photo source: Prevot Design Services)Anna P. Tooke Memorial Library (Photo source: Prevot Design Services)
    It's Bossier Parish's smallest library branch. Originally just a bookmobile, this 12 x 30 foot temporary metal building has been the Koran community's only branch since 1977.
    It's Bossier Parish's smallest library branch. Originally just a bookmobile, this 12 x 30 foot temporary metal building has been the Koran community's only branch since 1977.
  • Family mourns loss of Natchitoches teen

    Family mourns loss of Natchitoches teen

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 7:53 PM EDT2014-08-27 23:53:10 GMT
    18-year-old Johnquaries Smith was a high school senior at Natchitoches Central High school.He died Tuesday after he was punched by another student on campus.
    18-year-old Johnquaries Smith was a high school senior at Natchitoches Central High school.He died Tuesday after he was punched by another student on campus.
  • Jindal suing feds over Common Core

    Jindal suing feds over Common Core

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 5:51 AM EDT2014-08-27 09:51:42 GMT
    Louisiana's Republican governor is planning to file a lawsuit against the Obama administration, accusing it of illegally using federal grant money and regulations to force states to adopt the Common Core education standards.
    Louisiana's Republican governor is planning to file a lawsuit against the Obama administration, accusing it of illegally using federal grant money and regulations to force states to adopt the Common Core education standards.
  • NationalMore>>

  • Lawmakers pass first California groundwater rules

    Lawmakers pass first California groundwater rules

    Friday, August 29 2014 11:49 PM EDT2014-08-30 03:49:49 GMT
    The worst drought in a generation has pushed California lawmakers to overhaul the state's longstanding "pump-as-you-please" groundwater policy under a package of bills lawmakers sent Friday to Gov. Jerry Brown.
    The worst drought in a generation has pushed California lawmakers to overhaul the state's longstanding "pump-as-you-please" groundwater policy under a package of bills lawmakers sent Friday to Gov. Jerry Brown.
  • NY police probed for 2nd restraint-related death

    NY police probed for 2nd restraint-related death

    Friday, August 29 2014 11:09 PM EDT2014-08-30 03:09:57 GMT
    The New York Police Department said Friday it's under investigation for a second restraint-related death, this one involving a drugged, emotionally disturbed man four days before a fatal videotaped chokehold...
    The New York Police Department said Friday it's under investigation for a second restraint-related death, this one involving a drugged, emotionally disturbed man four days before a fatal videotaped chokehold that...
  • Jury finds woman guilty in silicone-injection case

    Jury finds woman guilty in silicone-injection case

    Friday, August 29 2014 9:49 PM EDT2014-08-30 01:49:48 GMT
    A Mississippi woman has been convicted of murder in connection to illicit silicone buttocks injections that led to a Georgia woman's death.
    A Mississippi woman was convicted Friday of murder in connection to illicit silicone buttocks injections that led to a Georgia woman's death.
  • KTBS 3 News Tips

    Send your news tip or story idea to the KTBS 3 Newsroom.  Enter your email address below to get started.

    * denotes required fields
    We're sorry, but only one entry is allowed per person.
    Thank you for your continued interest.

    Thank you for your submission to KTBS 3 News.  A member of our staff may contact you for more information.

Share Your Images
Powered by WorldNow
    Powered by WorldNow
    All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and KTBS. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.
    Advertising | EEO Public File | KTBS 3 Public File | KPXJ 21 Public File