If we see someone in serious trouble and we can help, safely, we should! This Ahole perpetrator, if convicted, needs serious prison time.
Excerpts from the Article:
When news first came out that a woman had been raped on a busy train in Philadelphia last week, it drew nationwide attention and outrage because police said bystanders did nothing to intervene. Police even went so far as to say that some citizens filmed the attack.
Now, the district attorney on the case is refuting that characterization.
At a press conference Thursday, Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer said it’s not true that people sat on the train and “watched this transpire and took videos of it for their own gratification.”
Stollsteimer said witnesses who were on the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority should come forward to share information about what they saw. He also stressed that it is not against the law in Pennsylvania to witness a crime and not intervene. Anyone who saw the attack would not be prosecuted, Stollsteimer emphasized.
The district attorney painted a picture, instead, of a “sparsely” crowded train, with passengers getting on and off throughout the interaction between the suspect and victim and eventual rape. He said people getting on and off the train might not have known what was going on at any given point and that they were witnessing a rape in progress.
He acknowledged there were two people who were believed to have filmed at least part of the incident, and he is in possession of one witness’s video. Stollsteimer also said CCTV footage from SEPTA shows the whole attack and will be convincing in the prosecution of the case.
The suspect, Fiston Ngoy, 35, allegedly harassed the woman, groped her and eventually raped her through more than two dozen train stops last week, authorities said. SEPTA authorities also said at a press conference earlier this week that officers responded within three minutes of the lone 911 call they received – from an off-duty transportation employee.
Police said they believed no one called authorities, and they were investigating whether any of the witnesses may have recorded the incident. Authorities said they were disturbed by the lack of intervention, claiming people had watched the assault happen.
“There were people witnessing the act with phones in their hands,” SEPTA Police Chief Thomas J. Nestel said at the press conference held Monday. “People were holding their phone up in the direction of this woman being attacked.”
“There was a lot of people, in my opinion, that should have intervened. Somebody should have done something,” Superintendent Timothy Bernhardt, of the Upper Darby Police Department, told The Philadelphia Inquirer. “It speaks to where we are in society and who would allow something like that to take place. So it’s troubling.”
Bernhardt stood alongside Stollsteimer as the top prosecutor contradicted the narrative that witnesses “callously recorded” the crime.
“People in this region are not, in my experience, so inhuman and callous human beings that they’re going to sit there and just watch this happen and videotape it, as one journalist said today, ‘for their own private enjoyment,'” Stollsteimer said.
He said people are more like a woman who, in a separate Wednesday night incident involving a sexual assault at a SEPTA stop, intervened to help the victim when she cried out for help.
“When people need help, people stand up and help,” he said.
Partial human remains found after Brian Laundrie’s possessions located in Florida park – too bad – kra
Based on my vast experience, I have no doubt that Brian Laundrie murdered little Gabby Petito. None. So I say “too bad” because he should have been arrested, convicted, and sent to rot in prison.
Now, what his parents have said makes no sense to me, and their role in his disappearance is being investigated. We shall see what happens. Did he tell them what he had done and then kill himself?
Excerpts from the Article:
What it appears to be human remains were found in the same area as personal belongings of Brian Laundrie, including a backpack.
The Sarasota County medical examiner’s office was called Wednesday to a Florida nature preserve where police recently discovered items belonging to Brian Laundrie, the department confirmed.
The medical examiners are responding to Myakkatchee Creek Environmental Par, which is adjacent to the Carlton Reserve where Launrie’s parents said he had left to go hiking over a month ago.
The park is now closed to the public, having reopened only Tuesday following a weeks-long search for the fugitive.
Laundrie, 23, is wanted for alleged bank fraud and is a person of interest, in the homicide of his girlfriend Gabby Petito, 22.
In mid-September, her body was found in Wyoming’s Grand National Park.
Laundrie’s parents, Chris and Roberta Laundrie, informed the FBI and the North Port Police Department Tuesday night that they intended to come to Mykkahatchee Creek Environmental Park on Wednesday morning to search for him, family attorney Steven Bertolino said.
Their first Newsletter by CCRC and National maps on expungement, pardoning, and voting rights restoration and MORE!
Their first Newsletter and National maps on expungement, pardoning, and voting rights restoration and MORE!
National maps on expungement, pardoning, and voting rights restoration = Obviously a great resource, thorough and informative. I read through it on Delaware, and these people have done their homework!
October 8, 2021
The Collateral Consequences Resource Center is pleased to unveil six new maps that visualize the Center’s research on national laws and policies for restoring rights and opportunities to people with a record. These maps are now available below and on the 50-state comparison pages (expungement, sealing & other record relief; civil rights; and pardoning). Each state can be clicked for a detailed summary of state law and policy.
The Center will keep these maps updated, along with the rest of the Restoration of Rights Project, with future changes to the law.
Coronavirus is a health issue, not a political one! Morons like Abbott in Texas are killing people, plain and simple; vote them OUT!
Excerpts from the Article:
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) on Monday banned any entity in his state — including private businesses — from mandating coronavirus vaccines for workers or customers, expanding prior executive orders from his office that prohibited state government entities from imposing similar requirements.
Abbott’s move puts him at odds with some large corporations and with the Biden administration, which last month announced plans to require all employers with 100 or more workers to adopt vaccine mandates or testing regimens. A number of large private companies in Texas have issued mandates.
“If indeed the mandate now is everyone must be vaccinated or . . . tested once a week, we will obviously comply by that mandate,” Doug Parker, chief executive of Fort Worth-based American Airlines, said in a Washington Post Live interview in September.
“All along, as we’ve been going through this, we have been considering mandates and may have done one on our own. But what we wanted to do was do everything we could first to encourage everyone to do so,” he said. Dallas-based Southwest Airlines last week gave all employees until Dec. 8 to get vaccinated or face possible termination. (Many U.S. airlines also are government contractors, which must meet a Dec. 8 federal deadline for coronavirus vaccinations.) Telecom giant AT&T, also based in Dallas, in August ordered most of its management employees to get vaccinated by this week. Hewlett Packard Enterprise, headquartered in Houston, announced a similar move the same month.
Abbott called the Biden administration’s sweeping plan “yet another instance of federal overreach,” saying in his order that the administration is “bullying” private entities into vaccine mandates, hurting the livelihoods of Texans and threatening the state’s economic recovery from the pandemic.
Although the White House did not immediately reply to a request for comment, President Biden appeared dismissive of earlier legal threats by a group of Republican governors including Abbott over his vaccine mandates, saying, “Have at it.”
Violators will face a fine up to $1,000, according to the order, which will remain in effect until the Republican-dominated Texas legislature passes a law that formalizes it, Abbott said. The ban covers any person who objects to vaccination “for any reason of personal conscience, based on a religious belief, or for medical reasons, including prior recovery from COVID-19.”
But Abbott, who is fully vaccinated, still urged those eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine to do so.
In July, Abbott restricted local governments and state entities from levying vaccine mandates. In March, he repealed mask mandates, an order that has since been overridden by some courts in the state.
Abbott is also facing political challenges from within his party, whose most vocal members have railed against vaccine and mask mandates. Don Huffines, a former Texas state senator who is challenging Abbott for the GOP candidacy in next year’s gubernatorial race, tweeted that Abbott’s move had been long overdue.
“Greg Abbott is a political windsock and today proves it,” he said. “He knows conservative Republican voters are tired of the vaccine mandates and tired of him being a failed leader.”
About 15 million Texans have been fully vaccinated, or just over half of the nation’s second-most populous state, according to The Washington Post coronavirus vaccination tracker. The United States as a whole has vaccinated about 56 percent of its residents.
Texas’s deaths and new daily infections have been gradually falling in recent weeks, after the state suffered increases in both tallies this summer amid the spread of the delta variant of the coronavirus.
The Color of Justice: Racial and Ethnic Disparity in State Prisons – lack Americans are incarcerated in state prisons across the country at nearly five times the rate of whites, and Latinx people are 1.3 times as likely to be incarcerated than non-Latinx whites
Sure not news to me, but it may be news to some of you. Racism, subtle, subconscious, and overt, permeates our criminal justice system.
Excerpts from the Article:
When former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin killed George Floyd by kneeling on his neck in 2020, the world witnessed the most racist elements of the U.S. criminal legal system on broad display. The uprisings that followed Floyd’s death articulated a vision for transforming public safety practices and investments. Almost one year later, Chauvin was convicted for Floyd’s death, a rare outcome among law enforcement officers who kill unarmed citizens. The fight for racial justice within the criminal legal system continues, however. The data findings featured in this report epitomize the enormity of the task.
This report details our observations of staggering disparities among Black and Latinx people imprisoned in the United States given their overall representation in the general population. The latest available data regarding people sentenced to state prison reveal that Black Americans are imprisoned at a rate that is roughly five times the rate of white Americans. During the present era of criminal justice reform, not enough emphasis has been focused on ending racial and ethnic disparities systemwide.
Going to prison is a major life-altering event that creates obstacles to building stable lives in the community, such as gaining employment and finding stable and safe housing after release. Imprisonment also reduces lifetime earnings and negatively affects life outcomes among children of incarcerated parents.1) These are individual-level consequences of imprisonment but there are societal level consequences as well: high levels of imprisonment in communities cause high crime rates and neighborhood deterioration, thus fueling greater disparities.2) This cycle both individually and societally is felt disproportionately by people who are Black. It is clear that the outcome of mass incarceration today has not occurred by happenstance but has been designed through policies created by a dominant white culture that insists on suppression of others.
At the same time, states have begun to chip away at mass incarceration. Nine states have lowered their prison population by 30% or more in recent years: Alaska, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Alabama, Rhode Island, Vermont, Hawaii, and California.3) This decline has been accomplished through a mix of reforms to policy and practice that reduce prison admissions as well as lengths of stay in prison.
Still, America maintains its distinction as the world leader4) in its use of incarceration, including more than 1.2 million people held in state prisons around the country.5)
Truly meaningful reforms to the criminal justice system cannot be accomplished without acknowledgement of its racist underpinnings. Immediate and focused attention on the causes and consequences of racial disparities is required in order to eliminate them. True progress towards a racially just system requires an understanding of the variation in racial and ethnic inequities in imprisonment across states and the policies and day-to-day practices that drive these inequities.6)
This report documents the rates of incarceration for whites, African Americans, and Latinx individuals, providing racial and ethnic composition as well as rates of disparity for each state.7) The Sentencing Project has produced state-level estimates twice before8) and once again finds staggering disproportionalities.
Black Americans are incarcerated in state prisons at nearly 5 times the rate of white Americans.
Nationally, one in 81 Black adults per 100,000 in the U.S. is serving time in state prison. Wisconsin leads the nation in Black imprisonment rates; one of every 36 Black Wisconsinites is in prison.
In 12 states, more than half the prison population is Black: Alabama, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia.
Seven states maintain a Black/white disparity larger than 9 to 1: California, Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Wisconsin.
Latinx individuals are incarcerated in state prisons at a rate that is 1.3 times the incarceration rate of whites. Ethnic disparities are highest in Massachusetts, which reports an ethnic differential of 4.1:1.
Eliminate mandatory sentences for all crimes.
Mandatory minimum sentences, habitual offender laws, and mandatory transfer of juveniles to the adult criminal system give prosecutors too much authority while limiting the discretion of impartial judges. These policies contributed to a substantial increase in sentence length and time served in prison, disproportionately imposing unduly harsh sentences on Black and Latinx individuals.
Require prospective and retroactive racial impact statements for all criminal statutes.
The Sentencing Project urges states to adopt forecasting estimates that will calculate the impact of proposed crime legislation on different populations in order to minimize or eliminate the racially disparate impacts of certain laws and policies. Several states have passed “racial impact statement” laws. To undo the racial and ethnic disparity resulting from decades of tough-on-crime policies, however, states should also repeal existing racially biased laws and policies. The impact of racial impact laws will be modest at best if they remain only forward looking.
Decriminalize low-level drug offenses.
Discontinue arrest and prosecutions for low-level drug offenses which often lead to the accumulation of prior convictions which accumulate disproportionately in communities of color. These convictions generally drive further and deeper involvement in the criminal legal system.
Click here to read the full report.
It really is good, hits the nail on the head, with humor. Hearing John Lithgow read it we can sense how profound it is!
Trump ordered to give deposition in 2015 case involving alleged assault during Trump Tower demonstration
I still can’t believe this lying P O S has not been arrested for something! This might bring him one step closer, because he surely will commit perjury.
Excerpts from the Article:
A New York judge has ordered former President Donald Trump to sit for a video deposition next week in a case involving an alleged assault during a 2015 demonstration outside of Trump Tower.
State Supreme Court Judge Doris Gonzalez has ordered Trump to appear for the deposition on Monday morning at the Trump Organization headquarters in New York City, “or in the event of illness or emergency,” on another agreed upon date before the month’s end.
The deposition comes two years after a New York appeals court judge paused an earlier ruling ordering Trump’s deposition.
“After defendants spent years unsuccessfully fighting to keep Donald Trump from testifying under oath, we will be taking his testimony in this case on Monday. We look forward to presenting this case, including Mr. Trump’s video testimony, to the jury at his trial,” said Benjamin N. Dictor, a lawyer for the plaintiffs.
The judge order the parties to appear in court for a pre-trial conference on October 25, according to a court order.
The litigation revolves around a 2015 lawsuit filed by a group self-described as “human rights activists of Mexican origin” who were protesting Trump’s rhetoric on immigration in front of Trump Tower in September of that year. The men allege that Trump’s then-head of security, Keith Schiller, hit one of the protesters, Efrain Galicia, in the head after Galicia tried to stop Schiller from taking their large cardboard signs, which read, “Trump: Make America Racist Again.”
A different New York judge earlier this month ordered Trump to answer questions under oath by December 23 in the defamation lawsuit brought by former “The Apprentice” contestant Summer Zervos. Zervos accused Trump of defamation when he denied her allegations of sexual assault. Trump has denied the assault.
There are so many wrongs in this world! I do not understand gays and transsexuals, it is unnatural. But they have a right to be that way. I commend Netflix for its policy of transparency.
Excerpts from the Article:
Netflix fired an employee who leaked “confidential” and “commercially sensitive” information regarding Dave Chappelle’s latest stand-up special, the company said Friday, after backlash from the LGBTQ community over recent onstage remarks made by the comedian were criticized as transphobic.
The firing of the employee, who was not publicly identified by the streaming giant, came days before a Netflix employee walkout planned in response to Chappelle’s special, “The Closer,” which has generated intense public furor in recent days for including comments by the comedian that LGBTQ advocacy groups say could incite harm against transgender people. The news was first reported by the Verge.
Netflix confirmed the person’s firing in a statement and said the employee had released data that appeared in a Bloomberg News article detailing that the company spent $24.1 million on Chappelle’s special. A review of the company’s internal access logs pinpointed the information to a single person, who “admitted that they downloaded and shared sensitive company information externally,” Netflix said.
“We understand this employee may have been motivated by disappointment and hurt with Netflix, but maintaining a culture of trust and transparency is core to our company,” Netflix said.
The firing occurs at a tenuous time for Netflix in the days since the release of “The Closer.” Advocacy groups such as GLAAD and the National Black Justice Coalition have condemned the special and demanded that it be removed from Netflix’s offerings. Jaclyn Moore, the showrunner of the Netflix series “Dear White People,” said last week that she would no longer work with the platform “as long as they continue to put out and profit from blatantly and dangerously transphobic content.”
Netflix had previously suspended three employees for crashing a digital meeting among the company’s executives. One of those employees, Terra Field, a software engineer who is transgender and criticized the Chappelle special on Twitter, said Tuesday she had been reinstated. Field voiced her displeasure with the news of her co-worker’s dismissal.
“I am furious about it,” she tweeted Friday.
During the special, Chappelle joked about transgender genitalia, said “gender is a fact” and told his audience he was on “team TERF,” an acronym for trans-exclusionary radical feminist. The comedian also defended J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter books, who has been criticized for making statements seen as transphobic. Chappelle has joked about the transgender community in the past, including in his 2019 special, “Sticks & Stones.”
Here’s the difference between sex and gender:
The Equality Act is a positive step forward for the LGBTQ community. But it came with swift backlash from conservative lawmakers. (Monica Rodman, Sarah Hashemi/The Washington Post)
Since it was released Oct. 1, the special, Chappelle’s sixth with Netflix, has at least 10 million views, according to the Associated Press. As of Saturday morning, “The Closer” was the fifth-most-watched show on Netflix. Although its Rotten Tomatoes score from critics is 43 percent, audiences gave the special a score of 96 out of 100.
Netflix CEO argues that Chappelle’s new special, criticized as transphobic, is too popular to cancel
GLAAD, a media watchdog group, accused the Chappelle program of having “anti-LGBTQ content” that violates Netflix’s policy to reject programs inciting hate or violence. The National Black Justice Coalition, a civil rights advocacy group, called on Netflix immediately to pull the special and “directly apologize to the transgender community.”
Ted Sarandos, the streaming giant’s co-CEO, has defended the comedian and has said the streaming platform will not remove “The Closer,” telling managers in an internal memo that the stand-up program doesn’t cross “the line on hate.” Sarandos cited “creative freedom” as one reason the company will not take it down. He acknowledged that although some people may find Chappelle’s stand-up to be “mean-spirited,” “our members enjoy it, and it’s an important part of our content offering.”
“Chappelle is one of the most popular stand-up comedians today, and we have a long standing deal with him,” Sarandos added in an Oct. 8 memo obtained by news outlets. “His last special ‘Sticks & Stones,’ also controversial, is our most watched, stickiest and most award winning stand-up special to date.”
In his defense of Chappelle, Sarandos mentioned the work of comedian Hannah Gadsby as part of the platform’s efforts to “ensure marginalized communities aren’t defined by a single story.” Gadsby lashed out at Sarandos on Friday, writing on Instagram that she preferred “if you didn’t drag my name into your mess.”
My good friend and great attorney, Steve Hampton, called this article to my attention. Connections has been a disaster for Delaware. We must demand more transparency and accountability!
Excerpts from the Article:
Despite years of lawsuits and agreeing to pay more than $15 million to settle charges that it improperly billed federal programs and lacked proper recordkeeping for narcotics, Connections Community Support Programs was continuously shielded from scrutiny by the state of Delaware.
It remains a mystery why.
State officials continue to block public access to any records that may shed light on how it oversaw the largest provider of mental health and substance abuse services’ spending of tens of millions in tax dollars.
Records turned over in a Freedom of Information Act request seeking audits of Connections’ contracts with the Department of Health and Social Services offer little oversight of the nonprofit’s operations or compliance.
A shroud of secrecy was further cemented by state officials including contract language that explicitly blocked the public from accessing any records reviewing the nonprofit’s compliance with the contract. The state continues to keep taxpayers in the dark by dodging questions about how Delaware oversees contracts.
NONPROFIT REWARDS LEADERS: While feds say Connections was falsifying documents, nonprofit was rewarding top leaders
FORMER EMPLOYEE CONVICTED: Former Connections nurse convicted of falsifying records, lying to investigators about inmate death
State agencies contracting with Connections relied on the nonprofit self-reporting financial issues and non-compliance with state and federal regulations to ensure millions of state tax dollars were spent appropriately.
If any independent oversight was exercised, state officials have been reticent to say, avoiding specific questions about scrutiny of vendor contracts.
While auditing and oversight requirements for Connections as well as state authorities are outlined in several contracts the health department had with the nonprofit, the state did not provide any records of “independent peer reviews” – an oversight measure outlined in a Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health contract with Connections that expired in March this year.
DHSS spokeswoman Jill Fredel in an email in response to a list of detailed questions, said, “provider management is an important priority” for the department.
“Contract monitoring requirements may vary based upon the division procuring the service, type of service, funding source, or federal requirements,” she said in the emailed statement. “Across the department, we have recognized the need for strong contract monitoring and have been working to centralize business operations to maximize our resources, maintain consistency across our divisions, and ensure accountability.”
After this article was published Thursday to DelawareOnline.com, DHSS provided answers to some follow-up questions.
The department defended including provisions within Connections’ contracts to prevent the release of records to the public.
“These complaints remain confidential due to the compelling state interests in keeping informants and complainants protected, ensuring the integrity of its investigatory functions, and the provision of a robust and frank opportunity for complainants to reported alleged misconduct,” Fredel said, citing a provision within state public records’ access that allows department’s to withhold “investigatory files.”
When asked why officials couldn’t redact identifying information so the public could access contract compliance audits, Fredel said they are “abiding by what the courts have ruled.”
John Flaherty, a member of Delaware Coalition for Open Government, said the department could easily redact any names and identifying information. It’s the substance of the audit or complaint that the public is interested in, he said.
“I would say that the state is obstructing what should be the legal dissemination of public documents here by making up this mythical investigatory files,” he said. ‘If that’s the case, then everything they provide could be an investigatory file, it could be potential litigation and it goes on and on and on.”
Limited oversight was initially baked into the contract Connections had with the Department of Correction to provide mental health, substance abuse and physical health services to Delaware’s prisoners.
That practice hasn’t changed, even despite a 2019 Delaware Online/The News Journal investigation revealing the lack of oversight in relation to claims that Connections falsified medical records.
“To the extent permissible under 29 Del. C. 10001, et. Seq., the parties of this agreement shall preserve in strict confidence any information, reports or documents obtained, assembled or prepared in connection with the performance of this agreement,” a confidentiality clause baked into a contract awarded to Connections for adult withdrawal services in Kent and Sussex counties reads.
When Connections first took over healthcare in Delaware’s prisons in 2012, the contract signed with the Department of Correction restricted the state’s ability to watch what the nonprofit was doing, preventing the department from using data or information that Connections had already covered in its own reviews.
Quality assurance audits that DOC was required to do were abandoned shortly after the contract was signed, leaving the only scrutiny of Connections operations to be conducted by the nonprofit itself. These “peer review reports” conducted by Connections, however, are blocked from public scrutiny, according to DOC’s denial to release the records in April 2019.
At the time, DOC Healthcare Services Chief Marc Richman said he didn’t know why the state would limit its own auditing operations and acknowledged that future contracts could remove or alter those provisions.
2019 INVESTIGATION: Prison contractor falsified records to conceal inadequate addiction treatment, sources say
PRISON CONTRACT ENDS: Connections Community Support Programs to exit Delaware prisons amid controversies
Yet, other state departments followed suit, crafting contracts with Connections that included language to keep any records and reports related to evaluating the nonprofit’s performance confidential.
Delaware is not known for accountability and oversight, nor for transparency. Independent studies have consistently ranked the state among the bottom nationwide for government transparency and accountability.
The First State’s Freedom of Information Act has several carveouts that government entities use to block access to public records, including any documents part of an “open investigation” or pending or potential litigation, police personnel records and arrest reports. FOIA also allows agencies to charge requesters exorbitant fees for reviewing records to ensure they are responsive to the request.
These FOIA exemptions give government agencies an “out” to deny a request, but it is not a requirement. The language in the Connections’ contracts makes it a requirement to not release the information.
The health department initially demanded a nearly $2,000 payment to search for all financial audits and program reviews of Connections’ contracts. Its FOIA coordinator ignored requests to have a conversation about the records to help par down the request, ultimately leading to the news outlet appealing the decision to the state Attorney General, who ruled in the state department’s favor.
It took several months of back-and-forth with state health officials and FOIA coordinators to gain access to any responsive records, and questions regarding how those records show the state’s oversight of Connections still linger.
State departments have broad and varying interpretations of what records are publicly accessible, said Flaherty, the open government advocate. For example, a records request Flaherty sent to seven different agencies yielded seven different responses, he said.
John Flaherty, a board member for the Delaware Coalition for Open Government, weighs in on the state’s oversight of Connections Community Support Programs contracts. “Each agency interprets the law as they see fit, and in most cases they err on the side of secrecy because they don’t want embarrassing admissions to become public,” Flaherty said of Delaware’s approach to transparency and public records release. “Just because it embarrasses state officials, doesn’t mean they can hide from public disclosure.”
The only state oversight gleaned from the provided documents is from a late-2020 desk review conducted by the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health on a recovery services program for men.
At the time, the contract compliance officer reported Connections could not provide any documentation nor the clients or employees to confirm $71,301 in charges to the state in December 2019.
“Non-compliance was determined when no documentation was submitted that supported the invoiced amount,” wrote Teena Nelson, the officer who reviewed Connections’ operations, in a Nov. 23, 2020 letter to then-CEO Bill Northey. “Connections was unable to provide documentation that services were rendered to clients.”
Nelson recommended a unique corrective action plan that would address the billing discrepancies, according to the letter acquired through a FOIA request. Another desk review of the adult withdrawal management services in Kent and Sussex counties conducted by Nelson in February 2021 found no issues with those charges.
When asked why there were no desk reviews conducted prior to 2020, DHSS reiterated its previous response that it was working to improve oversight of its contracts. The department has never indicated desk reviews were performed prior to then.
Delaware lawmakers recognize the need to strengthen the state’s oversight of outside vendors’ stewardship of tax dollars but have made few moves to tackle the issue legislatively.
“We believe strongly in the need for the state of Delaware to constantly and vigorously re-examine whether tax dollars are being spent appropriately and efficiently, particularly when those resources are being directed to third-party vendors for services so many of our neighbors depend on,” state senators Sarah McBride and Kyle Evans Gay wrote in a joint, emailed statement in response to News Journal requests for interviews with the lawmakers.
They said they are “confident – based on our ongoing conversations – that the executive branch is engaging in a thoughtful and thorough review to determine where those oversight responsibilities fell short.”
Gov. John Carney’s office declined to comment for this story, redirecting reporters to the emailed statement from the health department, which answered hardly any of the News Journal’s questions.
It’s unclear what, if anything, Carney’s administration has done to strengthen oversight of third-party contracts.
Flaherty said recent moves in Delaware government suggest the state continues to shift further away from transparency.
He pointed to a public-private entity created to develop recommendations for increasing efficiency and effectiveness of state government, called the Government Efficiency and Accountability Review Board as well as the Delaware Prosperity Partnership as examples of quasigovernment entities that lack transparency.
“It seems like both of them were formed to shield the public from prying into the activities of how these groups work,” Flaherty said. “That is not a good sign. We need to have more disclosure, not less.”
“At a minimum, we expect organizations and their staff to comply with the requirements under the False Claims and Controlled Substances Acts,” U.S. Attorney David Weiss said.
Despite Connections Community Support Programs settling with the federal government in September over fraud and improper narcotics recordkeeping charges, Cathy McKay, its former CEO, continues to face charges of her own along with former CEO Bill Northey and Connections’ attorney Steven Davis.
And the contracts Connections had with the state spelled out the nonprofit’s obligations and responsibilities, including providing access to financial and patient records to state representatives to review contract compliance; submitting timely invoices to the state for reimbursement; and ensuring adequate and appropriate staffing, among others.
“The services performed by vendor under this agreement shall be subject to review for compliance with the terms of this agreement by Delaware’s designated representatives,” one Connections contract stated, adding: “It is understood that Delaware’s representatives’ review comments do not relieve vendor from the responsibility for the professional and technical accuracy of all work delivered under this agreement.”
But Connections didn’t provide internal oversight and quality assurance. Instead, the nonprofit relied on the state alerting them to any issues.
A patient care ombudsman appointed to review Connections operations during the bankruptcy proceeding discovered it “relied on the state to provide feedback as to whether the debtor was in compliance.” The ombudsman concluded the nonprofit’s reliance on the state to ensure compliance was a “significant and material deficiency in the overall operations” of Connections.
The contracts allowed Delaware to withhold funding if Connections failed in its obligations or neglected to provide required records.
Good for him. The wrong done to him was pure malicious bullshit from tRump.
Excerpts from the Article:
The Justice Department has agreed to restore full law enforcement benefits and provide some attorney fees for former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who was fired by the Trump administration only hours before his retirement three years ago.
The settlement will resolve a civil lawsuit filed by McCabe, who argued that his ouster was the result of a “years-long public vendetta” driven by the former president.
The Justice Department demoted and then dismissed him on the eve of his 50th birthday in March 2018, when his FBI annuity would have vested.
“I think the message that you get loud and clear from the terms of the settlement is that this never should have happened,” McCabe said. “It feels like complete vindication, because that’s what it is.”
The agreement follows a scathing online campaign by the former president to tarnish McCabe, who spent 21 years in service at the bureau.
A day after the dismissal, Trump tweeted that it represented “a great day for the hard working men and women of the FBI – A great day for democracy.” Earlier, Trump had pushed the bureau to “clean house” and urged authorities to take action against McCabe before his planned retirement.
In his lawsuit, McCabe argued the firing violated his First Amendment rights by punishing him for his “perceived affiliation” with the Democratic Party and violated his Fifth Amendment due process rights by leaving him with little time to review evidence against him and prepare a defense in early 2018.
One of McCabe’s attorneys at the time said a senior Justice Department official told him the department was making things up as it went along. Correspondence among the FBI, the Justice Department and the inspector general obtained through the Freedom of Information Act and other means suggested a race to get rid of McCabe under pressure from the White House.
The settlement talks intensified only after U.S. District Judge Randy Moss gave McCabe’s lawyers a green light to seek documents and testimony from former and current officials involved in the firing, including then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray.
Trump had accused McCabe of conflicts of interest because McCabe’s wife, Jill McCabe, ran without success for a seat in the Virginia Senate and accepted contributions from Democratic Party stalwart and then-Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a longtime ally of Bill and Hillary Clinton. Andrew McCabe countered that he had run the arrangement past FBI lawyers and ethics officials.
Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz later examined McCabe’s conduct as part of a broader review of FBI activities in the election year of 2016. Horowitz concluded that McCabe “lacked candor” when he spoke with investigators about disclosures he authorized to The Wall Street Journal during the heated presidential race. Prosecutors brought the matter to a federal grand jury in Washington, D.C., but McCabe was never charged with criminal wrongdoing.
McCabe said the inspector general report was used by senior Justice Department officials as a “pretext” to dismiss him. McCabe opened investigations into Trump after the then-president fired then-FBI Director James Comey in the spring of 2017.
“The thing that concerns me going forward is firing me 26 hours before my retirement sends an unbelievably chilling message to the rest of the men and women of the FBI,” McCabe told NPR’s Morning Edition two years ago. “It sends a message that if you stand up for what you think is right, and you do the right thing, and you honor your obligations to this organization and the Constitution, that you too could be personally targeted and lose those things that you’ve been building towards your whole career.”
The Justice Department did not admit wrongdoing or apologize to McCabe in the court filing late Thursday, but one part of the document says, “the Parties agree that Executive Branch officials outside the Department of Justice and its components should not comment publicly on ongoing career civil service employee disciplinary matters … so as not to create any appearance of improper political influence.”
The settlement follows mediation between McCabe and the Justice Department this summer. The deal will restore McCabe’s full retirement package, purge his personnel file, allow for the return of his FBI badge and cover fees for his attorneys at the Arnold & Porter law firm.
His attorney, Murad Hussain, said, “What happened to Andrew was a travesty, not just for him and his family, but the rule of law.”
Hussain said they filed a lawsuit in part “to take a stand for the rights of all civil servants, and that’s exactly what this settlement does.”