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.

  • ArkLaTex SlideshowsMore>>

  • ArkLaTex Adoptable Pets

    ArkLaTex Adoptable Pets

    Saturday, April 19 2014 6:50 AM EDT2014-04-19 10:50:42 GMT
    There are lots of animals in the ArkLaTex who are looking for that perfect home.
    There are lots of animals in the ArkLaTex who are looking for that perfect home.
  • Easter Bunnies

    Easter Bunnies

    Saturday, April 19 2014 6:26 AM EDT2014-04-19 10:26:06 GMT
    Thank you to all of our viewers who sent us pictures of your little Easter bunnies.
    Thank you to all of our viewers who sent us pictures of your little Easter bunnies.
  • Celebrate Education 2014

    Celebrate Education 2014

    Thursday, April 17 2014 3:30 PM EDT2014-04-17 19:30:00 GMT
    Community Projects Director Jan Elkins with donors for the KTBS 3 St. Jude Dream Home.
    CELEBRATE EDUCATION, and it begins next week at the Shreveport Convention Center.
  • Assignment EducationMore>>

  • Celebrate Education 2014

    Celebrate Education 2014

    Thursday, April 17 2014 3:30 PM EDT2014-04-17 19:30:00 GMT
    Community Projects Director Jan Elkins with donors for the KTBS 3 St. Jude Dream Home.
    CELEBRATE EDUCATION, and it begins next week at the Shreveport Convention Center.
  • Louisiana Tech to showcase innovation, entrepreneurship at annual ‘I-20 Top 20’

    Louisiana Tech to showcase innovation, entrepreneurship at annual ‘I-20 Top 20’

    Thursday, April 17 2014 2:31 PM EDT2014-04-17 18:31:46 GMT
    University Hall at LA TechUniversity Hall at LA Tech
    Business and community leaders, technology entrepreneurs, and leaders in innovation throughout north Louisiana will gather at Louisiana Tech University, April 29 for the second annual I-20 Top 20 Regional
    Business and community leaders, technology entrepreneurs, and leaders in innovation throughout north Louisiana will gather at Louisiana Tech University, April 29 for the second annual I-20 Top 20 Regional Showcase.
  • Education chief gets favorable job review

    Education chief gets favorable job review

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 8:41 AM EDT2014-04-16 12:41:51 GMT
    John White, LA Superintendent of EducationJohn White, LA Superintendent of Education
    State Superintendent of Education John White has received a favorable job evaluation. The review was done by the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. Board President Chas Roemer announced
    State Superintendent of Education John White has received a favorable job evaluation.
  • 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