Sunday, August 10, 2008

FEMA and Sanders got together after the fires, now taxpayers pay inflated bills

Jeanne Fowler couldn't could not figure out why A.J. Diani Construction Co. removed so much cement from her property. Her property had a lot of concrete, she said, but her driveway and pathways were not destroyed. Now she knows: the contractors were paid by the pound.

Diani removed 305 tons of concrete, 372 tons of ash and trash, and 11 tons of metal from the remains of Fowler's home, according to invoices. The company charged $164,789; her insurance company agreed to pay $57,779.

Who pays the difference? Taxpayers.

Watsonville-based Granite Construction Company also participated in the clean-up.

Complaints over debris cleanup tab unanswered
By Dana Wilkie
August 10, 2008

"Mayor Jerry Sanders... was told in the spring that homeowners were outraged by the program's high costs...At the same time, Sanders' spokesman acknowledged, the mayor heard from homeowners who were getting “fairly elevated invoices.”

"Spokesman Fred Sainz said the mayor “immediately inquired” about the high bills, and though he wasn't wholly satisfied with the explanations from city staff members, Sanders “took their answers at face value.”

"Sanders has been unwilling to comment on the debris-removal program before or since The San Diego Union-Tribune reported Aug. 3 that city-hired contractors charged much more than private contractors to clear similar home sites and often hauled away far more debris than what private companies took from comparable lots.

"The city assured homeowners that they would be charged no more than their insurance allowed for demolition, which means most of the costs of the $9.4 million program will be borne by federal, state and local taxpayers..."

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