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Funeralgate Company hid Katrina dead in 10 weeks! Now closing 17M morgue

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goodboy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-16-06 02:03 PM
Original message
Funeralgate Company hid Katrina dead in 10 weeks! Now closing 17M morgue
Following a no-bid contract, wholly-owned subsidiary of SCI, (funeralgate)Kenyon Co. have done such a great job hiding (i.e. desecrating) the dead in NOLA from Hurricane Katrina, that they're closing down a 17million dollar taxpayer funded morgue in just 10 weeks!

Morgue for Katrina shuts down
By Shaila Dewan The New York Times

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2006


CARVILLE, Louisiana After using it for only 10 weeks, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has shut down a $17 million state-of-the-art morgue built to handle victims of Hurricane Katrina, according to agency officials.

The morgue, which can decontaminate and examine 150 bodies a day and has living space for nearly 500 workers, is closing because the number of bodies coming in has dwindled to about one a week, said Chuck Smith, a FEMA official.

Smith said Tuesday the morgue had been developed when officials believed there would be 5,000 deaths. Instead, there have been about 1,300 in Louisiana so far and it was apparent within a few weeks of the hurricane that the number of deaths would be 1,000 to 2,000.

"It is the Taj Mahal of forensic science; it is a beautiful place," said Frank Minyard, the New Orleans coroner. "But by the time we moved there we were finished with all the autopsies."

The shutdown began over the past weekend, when the morgue accepted its last body, found in the Ninth Ward in New Orleans.

FEMA has begun removing the equipment in the morgue and putting it in storage in preparation for the next disaster with high casualties.

State and local officials say they would have preferred that the federal government leave the equipment for their use, expressing concern that dozens of bodies remain to be found in the debris and damaged houses from the storm. Although state officials signed off on the morgue's disassembly in December, Louis Cataldie, the state emergency medical director, said that he thought the plan was flexible, and that the facility would still be usable after FEMA was gone.

But Smith said the federal agency's role had ended.

"Our mission is to support the state and local governments," said Smith, the incident commander of the Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team at the Carville site. "When we get to the point where they're no longer overwhelmed, it's time for us to go."

The team, known as D-Mort, is a part of FEMA. After Hurricane Katrina, it was given the job of helping to identify storm victims.

Of the 910 bodies that were examined by D-Mort, all but 95 have been identified. About 100 have been identified but their families have not been located, or they have yet to be picked up by funeral homes.

Among D-Mort's last actions will be to transfer the remaining bodies to New Orleans, where officials are planning to build a mausoleum. Bodies that are identified, in some cases by DNA testing, could be disinterred in the future, officials said. The morgue also examined 610 bodies washed out of cemeteries after the flooding caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and put them in new coffins, officials said.

The Orleans Parish morgue was destroyed in the storm, and Minyard, the coroner, said he hoped to sign a lease on an unused funeral home at the end of this week. FEMA will pay to replace equipment he already had, but neither he nor the state had a dental X-ray machine or the software that compares dental records, all of which will be removed from the Carville morgue. Nearly 400 identifications have been made using dental records.

No one seemed to know what would happen to the 70,000-square-foot, or 6,500-square-meter, building that housed the morgue, built from the ground up on private land belonging to Bear Industries, a construction supply company.

In addition to the morgue, a warehouse, and rows of never-used cubicles, it included a cafeteria and fitness center.

CARVILLE, Louisiana After using it for only 10 weeks, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has shut down a $17 million state-of-the-art morgue built to handle victims of Hurricane Katrina, according to agency officials.

The morgue, which can decontaminate and examine 150 bodies a day and has living space for nearly 500 workers, is closing because the number of bodies coming in has dwindled to about one a week, said Chuck Smith, a FEMA official.

Smith said Tuesday the morgue had been developed when officials believed there would be 5,000 deaths. Instead, there have been about 1,300 in Louisiana so far and it was apparent within a few weeks of the hurricane that the number of deaths would be 1,000 to 2,000.

"It is the Taj Mahal of forensic science; it is a beautiful place," said Frank Minyard, the New Orleans coroner. "But by the time we moved there we were finished with all the autopsies."

The shutdown began over the past weekend, when the morgue accepted its last body, found in the Ninth Ward in New Orleans.

FEMA has begun removing the equipment in the morgue and putting it in storage in preparation for the next disaster with high casualties.

State and local officials say they would have preferred that the federal government leave the equipment for their use, expressing concern that dozens of bodies remain to be found in the debris and damaged houses from the storm. Although state officials signed off on the morgue's disassembly in December, Louis Cataldie, the state emergency medical director, said that he thought the plan was flexible, and that the facility would still be usable after FEMA was gone.

But Smith said the federal agency's role had ended.

"Our mission is to support the state and local governments," said Smith, the incident commander of the Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team at the Carville site. "When we get to the point where they're no longer overwhelmed, it's time for us to go."

The team, known as D-Mort, is a part of FEMA. After Hurricane Katrina, it was given the job of helping to identify storm victims.

Of the 910 bodies that were examined by D-Mort, all but 95 have been identified. About 100 have been identified but their families have not been located, or they have yet to be picked up by funeral homes.

Among D-Mort's last actions will be to transfer the remaining bodies to New Orleans, where officials are planning to build a mausoleum. Bodies that are identified, in some cases by DNA testing, could be disinterred in the future, officials said. The morgue also examined 610 bodies washed out of cemeteries after the flooding caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and put them in new coffins, officials said.

The Orleans Parish morgue was destroyed in the storm, and Minyard, the coroner, said he hoped to sign a lease on an unused funeral home at the end of this week. FEMA will pay to replace equipment he already had, but neither he nor the state had a dental X-ray machine or the software that compares dental records, all of which will be removed from the Carville morgue. Nearly 400 identifications have been made using dental records.

No one seemed to know what would happen to the 70,000-square-foot, or 6,500-square-meter, building that housed the morgue, built from the ground up on private land belonging to Bear Industries, a construction supply company.

In addition to the morgue, a warehouse, and rows of never-used cubicles, it included a cafeteria and fitness center.

CARVILLE, Louisiana After using it for only 10 weeks, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has shut down a $17 million state-of-the-art morgue built to handle victims of Hurricane Katrina, according to agency officials.

The morgue, which can decontaminate and examine 150 bodies a day and has living space for nearly 500 workers, is closing because the number of bodies coming in has dwindled to about one a week, said Chuck Smith, a FEMA official.

Smith said Tuesday the morgue had been developed when officials believed there would be 5,000 deaths. Instead, there have been about 1,300 in Louisiana so far and it was apparent within a few weeks of the hurricane that the number of deaths would be 1,000 to 2,000


http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/02/15/news/orleans.php


http://www.hereinreality.com/funeralgate.htm


WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?

Funeralgate
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

"Funeralgate" is the name given to a scandal involving George W. Bush and family campaign contributor Robert Waltrip, owner of Service Corporation International, the largest funeral home company in the world.

In 1999, Bush was subpoenaed but refused to testify in a lawsuit filed against the state of Texas and SCI by Eliza May, former director of the Texas Funeral Service Commission, who claimed that she was fired when she refused to quit investigating SCI despite pressure from Bush and his then Chief of Staff Joe Allbaugh.

The lawsuit was quietly settled in November, 2001, weeks before the revelation in the media that two Florida cemeteries owned by SCI were recycling graves, removing remains from their places of rest and placing other people in the graves.

9,000 people have staked a claim to a $100,000,000 settlement in a lawsuit stemming from the desecration of graves at these cemeteries.

In one instance at Menorah Gardens, a Jewish cemetery, SCI desecrated graves and left corpses in the woods where they were devoured by wild hogs.

The general manager of Menorah Gardens, Peter Hartman, died by apparent suicide on December 27, 2001.<1>

Harry Whittington, was named presiding officer of the Funeral Service Commission after a major shakeup of the agency in 1999. His board reluctantly agreed to pay $50,000 as part of the settlement to end the two year-old Funeralgate case. <2>

In February 2006, Whittington was shot in the face by Vice President Dick Cheney in an apparent hunting accident.


SCI was later awarded a no-bid contract by FEMA to count and collect corpses in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina.
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whatelseisnew Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-16-06 02:11 PM
Response to Original message
1. kick
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Stephanie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-16-06 02:30 PM
Response to Original message
2. 1300 DEATHS
1300
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RUMMYisFROSTED Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-16-06 03:48 PM
Response to Reply #2
9. My ass.
Although that number is staggeringly high, it is way too low.
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threadkillaz Donating Member (453 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-17-06 12:43 AM
Response to Reply #2
16. 3200 still missing + 1300 = 4500 total (close to 5000)
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Ouabache Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-17-06 01:44 AM
Response to Reply #2
20. 1300 x five to a grave like SCI did in Florida during Funeralgate
means more like 6500.
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OzarkDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-16-06 02:35 PM
Response to Original message
3. $1.7 mil a week for fitness centers and plush offices at a morgue?
This is infuriating. While thousands upon thousands still have no homes.

:grr:
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peacetalksforall Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-16-06 02:37 PM
Response to Original message
4. Unbelievable and what is Congress doing - the same thing they did
after 9-11 - take a look at government in Washington. This was a NOTHING investigation.

If our Congress is not going to look at crime of Katrina in ALL its forms - who is?
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Nothing Without Hope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-16-06 02:41 PM
Response to Original message
5. Interesting that the GM of Menorah Gardens died by "apparent suicide"
Did he know too much?
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goodboy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-16-06 03:55 PM
Response to Reply #5
10. NWH, get ready to be SHOCKED! ENRON vs. SCI "coincidences"
Enron Enrongat Funeralgate Service Corporation International

Enron - Biggest Energy Company in the World


SCI - Biggest Funeral Home Company in the World

Involves Houston business owned by GW Bush friend and campaign contributor


Involves Houston business owned by GW Bush friend and campaign contributor

Central figure and key witness in investigation dies from "apparent suicide"


Central figure and key witness in investigation dies from "apparent suicide"

Subject of investigations only after loud public outcry


Subject of investigation only after atrocities were reported in the media

Involves unanswered questions about the company's relationship with George W. Bush


Involves unanswered questions about the company's relationship with George W. Bush

Cheney won't answer questions about meetings with Enron chief


Bush ignored subpoena to testify about meetings with Funeral Home chief

Thousands of retirement accounts decimated


Hundreds of dead bodies desecrated

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woodsprite Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-16-06 02:55 PM
Response to Original message
6. OK, tinfoil hat on. Do ya think
shooting Harry was an attempt to cleanup evidence? Seems real fishy timing.

OK - Tin foil hat time over :tinfoilhat:
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goodboy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-16-06 03:41 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. If Cheneyquiddick had shot Brownie(tm) or Chertoff (R-liar) that would
be a little too obvious. Harry's a team player. No I think they're just praying that this criminal web not be exposed, (hence the disappearing tapes, fight to end discussion) because in doing so, it would open a whole pandora's box of death-profiteering, embezzelment, conspiracy, corruption, macabre desecration, and drunken quail hunts (and DIckie's secret weekend swiss miss TAIL HUNTS) and shot-gun facial for a friend.,

or aquaintence.

or what is he today?
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Carni Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-16-06 04:19 PM
Response to Reply #6
11. You know..I don't believe THAT he tried to off him BUT
That could be the reason big Dick was spending the weekend with Harry...maybe they were trying tgo get their stories straight on this bullshit going down in NOLA with the funeral gate thing--wouldn't that be ironic?

Do those women there have anything to do with any of these funeral companies or whatever?


We assume that Swiss miss is a love interest but is it possible she's another swine tied into this funeral business?
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goodboy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-16-06 05:27 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. there you go...Let's find out about swiss miss.
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mod mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-16-06 02:59 PM
Response to Original message
7. Gee, what a small (GOP) world it is. nt
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DoYouEverWonder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-16-06 05:28 PM
Response to Original message
13. Whittington is still on the TX Funeral Board
Edited on Thu Feb-16-06 05:29 PM by DoYouEverWonder
he'll find a way to help them cover it up. If he lives.

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Liberty Belle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-17-06 12:56 AM
Response to Reply #13
18. Perhaps he was going to blow the whistle, so Cheney blew him away instead.
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Nothing Without Hope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-16-06 05:45 PM
Response to Original message
14. The outsourcing by FEMA to the Funeralgate company was noted early - LINK:
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=102x1778107
thread title (Sept 13 05): FEMA outsources Katrina body count to firm implicated in body-dumping!

Excerpt:

http://rawstory.com/news/2005/FEMA_outsources_Katrina_body_count_to_firm_implicated_in_bodydumping_scan_0913.html

FEMA OUTSOURCES BODY COUNT TO FIRM THAT SETTLED CORPSE
DUMPING, DESECRATION SUITS-


FEMA outsources Katrina body count to firm implicated in body-dumping scandals

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has hired Kenyon International to set up a mobile morgue for handling bodies in Baton Rouge, Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina, RAW STORY has learned.

Kenyon is a subsidiary of Service Corporation International (SCI), a scandal-ridden Texas-based company operated by a friend of the Bush family. Recently, SCI subsidiaries have been implicated in illegally discarding and desecrating corpses.

(snip)

FEMA and then Blanco outsourced the body count from Hurricane Katrina -- which many believe the worst natural disaster in U.S. history -- to a firm whose parent company is known for its "experience" at hiding and dumping bodies.

The Menorah Gardens cemetery chain, owned by SCI, desecrated vaults, removed hundreds of bodies from two cemeteries in Florida and dumped the gruesome remains in woods frequented by wild hogs, investigators discovered in 2001. In one case, a backhoe was used to crack open a vault, remove corpses and make room for more dead bodies...

(snip)
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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-16-06 05:50 PM
Response to Original message
15. Well if they were prepared to desecrate graves
and dump the bodies of people whose relatives paid for decent burials, imagine what they may have done to some of bodies of the poor working class black and white dead in NOLA.

One day perhaps we'll hear why every fugging thing is a cover- up with these people. This is a fugging disgrace.
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Liberty Belle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-17-06 12:56 AM
Response to Original message
17. Whittington (Cheney's target) oversees SCI as TX funeral ind. regulator
Might he know where the bodies are buried -- literally, in the case of New Orleans? Perhaps more than the government has admitted to?

SCI, you'll recall, is the same company previously nailed for having subsidiaries desecrating crypts and tossing bodies into the woods in Florida and Georgia:

rawstory.com/news/2005/FEMA_outsources_Katrina_ body_count_to_firm_implicated_in_bodydumping_scan_0913.html


Whittington's predecessor at the Texas regulatory agency sued Gov. George W. Bush, accusing him of illegally firing her for investigating shady dealings by SCI, which is owned by a Bush family friend. After his appointment, Whittington promptly settled the case and got W off the hook.



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NVMojo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-17-06 01:38 AM
Response to Original message
19. it's like our big conservative government is run by vampires
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