WHEREAS, Community Based Corrections, LLC (CDC) [sic] will provide case monitoring
and case management services for certain categories of a low-risk
target population of defendants, reporting and related services
at an approximate savings to the County of $16,000,000 over
the course of one year based upon the management of an average
of 500 cases per day, at an approximate cost to the County
RESOLVED, that the County Executive is hereby authorized, subject to
the approval of the County Legislature, to enter into a contract
with Community Based Corrections, LLC for the purpose of instituting
an alternative to incarceration program to reduce the cost
of managing and supervising low-risk defendants and which
will better serve the County’s economic interests.
RESOLVED, funding for this program will be covered by funds appropriated
for the Erie County Probation Department, the Erie County
Holding Center and the Erie County Correctional Facility.
What’s so bad about all that?
Firstly, according to Comptroller Nancy Naples, $16 million
is equal to the County’s entire yearly prison budget. Secondly,
$3 million dollars, taken from the Sheriff’s already squeezed
budget, is a tremendous amount of money to spend on an outfit
like Community Based Corrections, LLC.
According to the Louisiana Secretary of State, the primary
member of the Community Based Corrections, LLC (CBC) is named
Moliere is also the president of a janitorial company called
AME, Inc., which is registered with the city of New Orleans
as a “disadvantaged” business. “AME” stands for “A Minority
A 2001 New Orleans Times-Picayune article reported
that, in 1995, Moliere was a member of the board of a company
called National Contractor Services, which obtained a $500,000
New Orleans city contract to help “disadvantaged” companies
obtain loans and bonds.
National Contractor Services managed to secure $6.8 million
in bonds and loans for “disadvantaged” companies in New Orleans;
however, 25% of that money went to companies owned by Moliere
and two other members of the National Contractor board. Through
National Contractor, Moliere funneled over $300,000 in bonds
to his own AME, Inc.
Although considered “disadvantaged,” Moliere was estimated
in 1998 to earn about $500,000 per year and have an approximate
net worth of $3.6 million. AME, Inc’s 2001 revenue exceeded
AME, Inc. also secured a contract to perform services at
New Orleans’ airport. Interestingly, it did not manage to
secure “disadvantaged” status through the airport authority,
and was required to share 35% of its work with registered
disadvantaged businesses. Between 1990 and 1998, AME failed
to meet the airport’s requirement. When confronted with that
information, AME diverted 40% of its airport janitorial work
to a former AME subsidiary.
In 1998, AME was outbid for the airport janitorial job by
another non-disadvantaged firm. AME protested, and the other
firm was inexplicably fired. After some court wrangling, AME
now shares the airport job with the winning firm.
AME is not exactly renowned for its excellent janitorial
services. Moliere donated money to a New Orleans school board
member’s campaign because the schools superintendent was trying
to terminate AME for poor service.
In 2000, the school district held a hearing to determine
whether AME should be stripped of its $2.4 million school
janitorial contract due to incompetence. Thirteen binders’
worth of principals’ complaints were submitted for consideration.
Moliere personally defended the company, accusing the school
system of unfairly targeting him.
Not surprisingly, Moliere is politically well-connected.
He has close ties to New Orleans’ DA Eddie Jordan, for whom
Moliere was campaign finance chairman, and is a big contributor
to other local New Orleans-based politicians. Moliere was
also part of a local investment group that unexpectedly obtained
a contract to run New Orleans’ Harrah’s casino – a deal that
was later subject to FBI scrutiny.
Moliere’s CBC obtained its first monitoring contract in December
2004 with the City of New Orleans. The contract was awarded
despite the fact that CBC had the least experience, and the
highest price of all the competitive bidders.
At least New Orleans went through a competitive bidding charade.
When most people think of house arrest, they think of ankle
bracelets and GPS satellite tracking. They think of Martha
Stewart. But that’s not what CBC proposed to do.
According to CBC’s website, the monitoring they do is anything
but “community based.” Instead, it’s done remotely, and it’s
Under CBC’s scheme, if a judge assigned an offender to house
arrest, the offender would be required to telephone CBC to
sign up for the service. According to information that has
since been scrubbed from CBC’s website, the offender would
pay a $70 “enrollment” fee, and the first month’s monitoring
cost of $228.75!
The offender then gets a sort of debit card, which requires
topping up when funds drop below $20.00.
What does CBC do for its $3,000,000 + $70 enrollment fee
+ $229/mo? It makes and receives telephone calls. That is
CBC will make random telephone calls to the offender’s home,
work, etc. They use “voice recognition technology” to make
sure it’s the offender with whom they’re speaking.
What sort of reporting do they do? I don’t know; as of this
writing that web page remains “under construction.”
What do they do for emergency notification? Back in February
the website didn’t say. Now, it appears that CBC will merely
contact the responsible caseworker by page, phone, fax, or
Any other questions? CBC’s Frequently Asked Questions page
is “under construction.”
CBC is little more than a glorified answering service - an
extremely costly answering service.
It has been reported that Holt traveled to New Orleans for
a fundraiser, and that Moliere twisted his friends’ arms to
donate money to Holt. Holt claims to have returned any such
Erie County Sheriff Patrick Gallivan claims that Holt presented
the CBC proposal to him, but that he never had an opportunity
to review it in detail. Obviously, Gallivan’s office would
be most affected by the CBC deal.
Any such contract between the County and a private entity
must be submitted for competitive bidding. CBC never competed
in such a process. Indeed, the contract itself reads like
a fait accompli.
The contract contains mandatory language; CBC “will provide…The County Executive is hereby authorized…to enter into a contract
for this program will be covered by funds…”
Nowhere is competitive bidding mentioned or alluded to.
Holt claims that the naming of CBC, and the wording of Amendment
E was a “mistake.” Nonsense. Holt is a long-time legislator
and should know by now how to craft a properly-worded, legal
bill. If he doesn’t, then there is more
than enough staff – legal and otherwise – to go around in
that chamber. His claim that it’s
just a “mistake” seems disingenuous.
CBC was named for a very particular reason.
That reason has to do with $3 million, which Gallivan claims
was diverted from his budget to pay for the CBC deal. That
amounts to nothing more than a giveaway of $3 million to an
untested, inexperienced answering service with strong political
connections and deep pockets for contributions.
Moliere wined, dined, and played Holt like a cheap date.
What was Holt thinking, traveling almost 2,000 miles for a
fundraiser – for him – a small-potatoes county legislator?
Having been seduced, Holt did Moliere’s bidding. He illegally inserted a
no-bid contract at the 11th hour. There was no
time for the legislature to scrutinize that deal. What was
the big hurry?
As its stands now, the FBI is investigating those issues.
The author used information from wnymedia.net, the New Orleans Times-Picayune,
and the Buffalo News for this story.