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Report finds abuses by Katrina firms

Published May 5, 2006

WASHINGTON - While removing enough debris to cover Britain, contractors working on hurricane recovery have overbilled the government in a $63-billion operation that will only get more expensive, according to a House report.

Mileage claims were overstated to get extra fees, debris was mixed improperly to inflate prices and companies sent bills twice for removing the same loads, Democrats on the House Government Reform Committee said.

Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., who compiled the report for the hearing on Katrina contracting, also said layers of subcontractors drove up costs.

The committee chairman, Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., said Congress approved more than $63-billion for disaster relief and that recovery expenses could top $200-billion.

Davis said many contracts were awarded without competition. Officials at the hearing said these contracts are being replaced.

The U.S. Army Corps of Enginees said hurricanes Katrina and Rita left 87,000 square miles of debris in Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas, Texas, Mississippi and Florida.

[Last modified May 5, 2006, 08:45:36]

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