The More You NOAH

by Eli of WCBF

Y'all ought to read up on the emerging NOAH scandal coming out of the Nagin administration in New Orleans.

New Orleans Affordable Homeownership, or NOAH, is a city established and city administered non profit empowered with community development block grant development money to provide home remediation services to low income seniors after Hurricane Katrina. This scandal was uncovered by bloggers and was quickly picked up by a local TV affiliate. The story is likely to garner national attention soon.

So if you want to say that you knew about the NOAH scandal BEFORE it was trendy, I suggest you pay attention.

After receiving NOAH's list of homes it claims to have serviced under the Mayor's Home Remediation Program, a quick survey determined that many of the homes had not been gutted or were not owned by low-income seniors. Soon after, it became clear that many of the contractors hired by the agency to do work were in poor standing with the state of Louisiana.

After Lee Zurik's initial TV report went live, Mayor Nagin hastily organized a press conference to desperately denounce the allegations and allege that citizen watchdogs asking obvious questions were hurting New Orleans' recovery efforts. The Mayor claimed that a new list of properties was the only accurate list.

That list, it would appear, raises as many questions as the first. Why would a home owned by the chief of police be gutted with city money? Why would NOAH claim to have paid contractors to gut homes that were actually worked on by the homeowners themselves or by volunteer groups? Why were the homes of slumlords claimed to have been gutted by NOAH? Is it more sinister than incompetence? Was it money laundering?

I won't just bare all right now. I'll leave something to the imagination.

The naked truth lies behind these links:

The initial blogger-generated reports can be found here and here.

The first TV report is here and the follow-up is here.

The Mayor's angry press conference is here.

Keep up on the latest by routinely checking back here and here.

Update: WWL will report tonight that HUD, the FBI, and the New Orleans inspector general's office will open up official investigations into NOAH.