Category Archives: Horror.Stories

Safety violations at UM dining hall mean proposed fines of $134,000 for managing company

Source: David J. Neal, Miami Herald, January 23, 2019

An August inspection of a University of Miami dining hall resulted in $134,880 in proposed fines for three workplace safety violations. And two of the three violations at the Mahoney Pearson Dining Hall were classified as Repeat violations because North Carolina-based Compass Group USA, which runs the dining hall through its Chartwells Dining division, got busted breaking similar rules in Illinois in 2014. Of 20 workplace inspections nationally since 2014, according to OSHA.gov, Compass has been fined nine times. The biggest before this was $38,000 for failures at Canteen Vending Services in Bloomingdale, Illinois. …

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Chartwells to Open Tossed Unit at University of Miami
Source: Food Management, November 3, 2014
Deal with Compass is part of chain’s strategy to expand in the onsite dining market.

Compass Group/Chartwells has signed a franchise agreement with the Tossed restaurant concept that offers design your own salads, wraps, sandwiches, melts and other menu items…. The self-contained unit will feature the chain’s new stand-alone prototype design, which includes soothing, contemporary and nature-inspired colors with a cool contemporary look. Tossed anticipates opening in Miami’s Whitten Hall in late December in time for the students’ return the first week of January.

After High-Profile A Line Troubles, RTD Plans To Operate N Line Itself

Source: Colorado Public Radio, January 24, 2019

Before construction started on the Regional Transportation District’s N Line in 2014, most of the agency’s senior leadership thought that the private contractor building, maintaining and operating RTD’s other commuter rail lines — the A, B and G lines — should operate the new line to Thornton as well. … In the intervening years, the A, B and G Lines — collectively known as the EAGLE Project — have been beset by delays, dramatic breakdowns, lawsuits, and operational issues that put passengers at risk. While the A Line has been running smoother in recent years — 97 percent of trains are on time, RTD says — the transit agency has decided not to farm out operations to Denver Transit Partners. …

Are charter school building leases fleecing Ohio taxpayers?

Source: Jim Siegel, The Columbus Dispatch, January 21, 2019

For-profit management companies are receiving rents from the Ohio charter schools they operate that are significantly higher than rents of comparable buildings in the same area, according to a report released by former state auditor Dave Yost. Cincinnati charter school Orion Academy paid $867,000 more to lease its facilities in 2016 than what was paid for comparable buildings in the area, according to a recent state auditor’s report. In 2015, Cleveland-based Harvard Avenue Performance Academy paid about $516,000 above market value for its facilities. That taxpayer money went to subsidiaries of the schools’ for-profit management companies, National Heritage Academies and Imagine Schools. Imagine became non-profit in mid-2015, and the numbers account for only one year of multiyear leases. The payments were highlighted by former state Auditor Dave Yost who, in one of his last acts before switching offices to become Ohio attorney general, issued a 30-page, public-interest report examining problems with the way charter schools obtain and pay for their facilities. …

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Editorial: Consumers paid, then paid again

Source: Lexington Herald Leader, January 27, 2019

Five years ago, the private Kentucky American Water quit including local government fees on water bills then used the resulting revenue loss to justify charging Lexington households and businesses more for water. It still galls that the public had to pay twice — once because it cost $700,000 a year more to outsource sewer and other billing to the Cincinnati Water Works, and again when the water company used its annual loss of $1.59 million from canceling the city contract to argue for a rate increase, an argument accepted by the Kentucky Public Service Commission. The city recently brought the billing home, in hopes of eventually saving $400,000 a year. The transition to in-house billing also created six customer service jobs in Lexington. It appears to be a smart move by Mayor Jim Gray’s administration. The city has paid the increased billing costs out of fees paid by consumers. That’s millions of dollars that could have gone into upgrading sanitary sewers, controlling flooding and supporting recycling if Kentucky American had not ended the billing agreement. Most cities never face such a problem because most water utilities are owned by the public. …

Trump NLRB May Strip Disabled Workers of Union Rights

Source: Mike Elk, Payday Report, December 12, 2018

…. For nearly a century, disabled workers have complained that they have been treated like second-class citizens when it comes to their rights as workers. Under the 14c exemption to the Fair Labor Standard Act, more than 400,000 disabled Americans, employed in so-called non-profit “sheltered training workshops” are exempt from minimum wage laws and other federal labor laws.

Now, a non-profit employer, Didilake,  that specializes in employing disabled workers, Didlake, is asking Trump’s National Labor Relation Board (NLRB) to strip some disabled workers of the right to unionize.

For more than three years, a group of two dozen disabled workers at the Army National Guard building has been attempting to organize with Laborers Local 572. The workers say that they are treated like second-class citizens compared to their non-disabled colleagues often performing the same jobs.

The disabled workers are paid as little as $12.66 an hour and forced to pay $170 a month for inadequate health insurance that often leaves workers with out-of-pocket deductibles sometimes ranging in the thousands of dollars. While non-disabled workers performing similar work at the Pentagon, who are union members of Laborers Local 572, make $15 an hour and receive health care at far cheaper rates…..

He’s Built an Empire, With Detained Migrant Children as the Bricks

Source: Kim Barker, Nicholas Kulish and Rebecca R. Ruiz, New York Times, December 2, 2018

The founder of Southwest Key made millions from housing migrant children. His nonprofit has stockpiled taxpayer dollars and possibly engaged in self-dealing with top executives. … Mr. Sanchez has built an empire on the back of a crisis. His organization, Southwest Key Programs, now houses more migrant children than any other in the nation. Casting himself as a social-justice warrior, he calls himself El Presidente, a title inscribed outside his office and on the government contracts that helped make him rich. Southwest Key has collected $1.7 billion in federal grants in the past decade, including $626 million in the past year alone. But as it has grown, tripling its revenue in three years, the organization has left a record of sloppy management and possible financial improprieties, according to dozens of interviews and an examination of documents. It has stockpiled tens of millions of taxpayer dollars with little government oversight and possibly engaged in self-dealing with top executives. …Southwest Key has created a web of for-profit companies — construction, maintenance, food services and even a florist — that has funneled money back to the charity through high management fees and helps it circumvent government limits on executive pay. …

Editorial: The Pentagon Doesn’t Know Where Its Money Goes

Source: Editorial Board, New York Times, December 1, 2018

After decades of ducking the legal requirement that it undergo a thorough financial audit, the Pentagon finally opened up its books to 1,200 outside accountants and analysts. The report was recently completed, and here’s the good news: The Army Corps of Engineers (most of it, anyway) and the Military Retirement Fund passed the audit. The bad news: The Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines and most other divisions failed, which means they were unable to show that they were properly keeping track of their finances and assets. … The Pentagon failed the audit largely because there are serious gaps in the financial controls that guide it, the world’s largest military organization. Basically, the auditors couldn’t account for where all the money went because of flaws in information technology systems. That laxity — and the prospect of tax dollars flowing to boondoggles — would be concerning at any time. But it is especially worrisome when the federal budget deficit has skyrocketed to $779 billion — and the military is insisting it needs more money. …

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Audit: Privatized Medicaid is saving Iowa millions of dollars. Democrats aren’t convinced

Source: Tony Leys and Barbara Rodriguez, Des Moines Register, November 26, 2018

After two years of releasing see-sawing estimates, Iowa Medicaid leaders are correctly calculating how much the state is saving by hiring private companies to manage the state’s $5 billion Medicaid program, the state auditor concluded Monday. State Auditor Mary Mosiman said the May 2018 estimate of $141 million in annual savings was more accurate than earlier state estimates of $234 million and $47 million. Using the most recent estimation method with updated financial information, Mosiman’s office estimates the fiscal year 2018 savings at $126 million. The auditor chided the Iowa Department of Human Services for failing to have an accurate way to estimate the savings when the state made the shift to private Medicaid management in 2016.

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Iowa’s Medicaid privatization: Kim Reynolds says right track; Fred Hubbell says ‘disaster’
Source: William Petroski and Brianne Pfannenstiel, Des Moines Register, September 4, 2018

Two months ahead of Election Day, Iowa’s gubernatorial candidates painted a vastly different portrait of the state’s Medicaid system Tuesday. In the morning, Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds defended the state’s decision to shift administration of the program that serves 685,000 low-income or disabled Iowans to private management, telling reporters that initial problems have been addressed and the system is on the right track. In the afternoon, Democratic businessman Fred Hubbell held a roundtable with providers where he described a system in crisis and criticized Reynolds’ handling of the program. The results of privatizing the massive federal and state program in Iowa have become one of the issues that will influence — and may decide — this year’s governor’s race. …

A private Medicaid company that pulled out of Iowa has yet to pay thousands of medical bills
Source: Jason Clayworth, Des Moines Register, August 30, 2018
 
A Medicaid company that terminated its Iowa contract almost a year ago has yet to pay as much as $14.6 million for medical care provided to disabled, poor and elderly Iowans, a Des Moines Register investigation shows.  AmeriHealth Caritas’ outstanding bills include nearly 6,000 individual charges totaling more than $1 million at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and $541,000 at Broadlawns Medical Center, public records obtained by the Register show.  Several private and nonprofit medical groups told the Register they have tens of thousands of dollars in outstanding bills that they say are hamstringing their operations and efforts to provide medical care. …

Iowa agrees to give Medicaid management firms 7.5% raise to continue running program
Source: Tony Leys, Des Moines Register, August 24, 2018
 
Iowa has agreed to give 7.5 percent more state money to the two private companies managing its $5 billion Medicaid program, officials announced Friday.  The agreement will keep UnitedHealthcare and Amerigroup in Iowa, but it will mean state leaders must come up with about $103 million more than last fiscal year.  The new agreements cover the current fiscal year, which began July 1. The increase in state spending is more than double the 3.3 percent increase the state agreed to for last fiscal year.  Overall, the new contracts will give the two companies raises of 8.4 percent in state and federal money, totaling $344 million. …

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Trans woman who died in ICE detention was housed at facility with history of abuse allegations

Source: Rebekah Entralgo, ThinkProgress, November 26, 2018

A new autopsy report shows Roxsana Hernández Rodriguez may have been beaten prior to her death. …. A transgender woman held at a privately operated Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center was likely beaten before her death, according to private autopsy results obtained by The Daily Beast. Both the private prison company that owns the facility and the detention center itself have faced allegations of misconduct and neglect in the past. …. Hernández Rodriguez was detained by immigration authorities at the border in early May and died on the 25th of that month, just nine days after being transferred to dedicated unit for transgender women at the Cibola County Correctional Center in New Mexico. As ThinkProgress previously reported, Hernández Rodriguez was the sixth person to die in ICE custody since October 2017. …. The Cibola County Correctional Center where Hernández Rodriguez was being held at the time of her death is operated by CoreCivic, one of the largest private prison corporations in the country. In the past, it has faced allegations of medical neglect, “including operating for months on end without a medical doctor and failing to provide basic care and screening for infectious diseases,” and come under scrutiny for a series of questionable deaths, The Nation reported in 2016. ….

ICE Handcuffs Immigrant Kids on Their 18th Birthdays, Drags Them to Jail

Source: Tim Elfrink, Miami New Times, August 23, 2018

….Since April, at least 14 children at the Homestead center have been handcuffed on their 18th birthdays and taken to a jail cell in Broward, Lehner says. And at least one of those kids had been separated from his father under the Trump administration’s since-abandoned policy to rip apart families that crossed the border together. Lehner and her colleagues have filed seven lawsuits since early July on behalf of those 18-year-old immigrants. In five of those cases, ICE has quickly released the immigrants to relatives or guardians while their cases work through the courts. (Two cases are still pending, and Lehner expects to file several more in the coming weeks.)….