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March 28, 2011

Thompson Calls For Better Oversight of FEMA Grantees

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security, released the below statement in response to a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) Advisory Report on FEMA funds going to Emerald Coast Utilities Authority (ECUA) in Pensacola, FL in 2004. The DHS OIG found that the Emerald Coast Utilities Authority (ECUA) was awarded over $130 million in FEMA contracts through the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) to repair damages from Hurricane Ivan in 2004. However, less than one percent was awarded to minority-owned businesses and only 3 percent were awarded to women-owned businesses. Of the five contractors in this study, two failed to award any contracts to minority-owned businesses. Another failed to award any contracts to women-owned businesses.

"This report is a startling indictment of FEMA's failure to oversee contracts awarded as a result of federal hazard mitigation grants. It is hard to believe that this was happenstance. FEMA's responsibility is not over once the grant has been made; it must assure that state agencies monitor contractors and take action when they don't."

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Media Contact: Adam Comis at (202) 225-9978