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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

NOAA fisheries enforcement corruption finally gets attention, millions in graft diverted for NOAA personnel personal use, travel, 'rewards'

9/24, "Feds find abuse of power in prosecuting fishermen," Newsday by Mark Harrington released the latest in a series of reports finding fisheries lawyers and enforcement officers abused their power in prosecuting fishermen and dealers like (Warren) Kremin, who lives in Rockland County. Among the most recent charges were
  • cases of excessive fines and prosecutions that all but mandated costly settlements.

"The problems identified by the inspector general are unacceptable, were allowed to persist for too long and will end on my watch," Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said Thursday in announcing a series of measures to end the abuses.

For Kremin, whose business partner committed suicide and

  • who lost his grandfather's business, Joseph H. Carter Co., at Fulton Fish Market, the revelations were only the start of making things right.

His case was settled for $150,000 but he wants a new trial and restitution. "I would like to see justice prevail," he said.

Last month, at a meeting arranged by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) at the Shinnecock Commercial Dock in Hampton Bays, Kremin detailed his story to Jane Lubchenco, who heads the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

  • Friday, Schumer sent a letter demanding that Kremin's case be reviewed by a special master appointed by Locke to review allegations of past abuse.

"The inspector general's final report is a shocking indictment of the way fisheries enforcement agents were running roughshod in the Northeast region," Schumer said Friday.

In the new report, one fisherman explained the alleged tactics of an unnamed fisheries attorney pushing a settlement.

"[He] said that if you don't pay $27,000 right now, if you want to go in front of one of my judges, you'll be paying $120,000 to $140,000.

  • I settled for 25,000 bucks. I was scared to death.
  • They wouldn't give me the boat back."

Bonnie Bradie, executive director of the Long Island Commercial Fishing Association, which supports the local industry, said it was about time federal regulators listened to fishermen's complaints."We've been screaming for years the enforcement is unfair and prejudicial," she said.

  • The National Weather Service Employees Organization, which represents the federal workers, (NOAA, ed) called the report "flawed and politically motivated" and the workers "scapegoats."

"The attorneys did their jobs. They enforced the laws, assessed penalties according to NOAA's guidelines

*continuing, Newsday): "But locals attest to the findings. Mark Phillips, a Greenport fisherman, says he was hit with a $100,000 fine 20 years ago for fishing over the Canadian border, a charge he easily refuted with satellite records.

  • Still, it cost him $5,000 for a lawyer to fight the charges, which were dropped.

"The $100,000 fine would have put me out of business," he said Tom Kokell, a Northport fisherman hit with a $120,000 fine and a license suspension for overfishing fluke in 2007, ultimately settled for a $65,000 fine

  • but near insolvency forced him to stop making payments.

"If regulators don't listen to congressmen and senators, who are we kidding," Kokell said.

  • "Nothing's going to change. You just get so disgusted."
####
  • comment to Newsday article

""connorsmom -- The feds are doing this because they can --

####

  • Through NOAA,

the Obama administration has implemented a 'stock market' for fishermen, 'shares' of fish must be 'bought, sold, or traded.'

"a fisheries law enforcement system that has been found by the
  • U.S. Commerce Department's own Inspector General’s office to have subjected the fleet to
  • vindictive treatment and excessive fines used by the agents and lawyers to finance
  • foreign travel and daily operating expenses.

The longtime federal fisheries police chief, Dale Jones was put on paid administrative leave in April following the first report by Inspector General Todd Zinser,

  • but Jones remains on the NOAA payroll to the tune of $150,000 a year.

"We will be lining up to protest law enforcement abuse of funds, the blatant arrogance and abuse of Dr. Lubchenco and her ENGO (environment non-government organization) driven agenda, the continued employment of Dale Jones and every other abuse our regulators have punished our industry with over 33 years of corruption and egregious behavior,"

  • the organizers said of the protest in a prepared statement."...
6/28/10, "Getting help from the press," Gloucester Times, Nancy Gaines, Lubchenco founded a group to train global warming scientists to use media to shape government policy. NOAA built a $49 million slush fund obtained by pressuring fishermen which the federal employees used for their own enjoyment, travel, personal vehicles. This is on top of their $5 billion budget. No one has been fired or even punished for the crimes. Obama's NOAA chief Lubchenco will not allow it.
  • (In a recent investigation of NOAA, the US Inspector General was met by a lack of cooperation from NOAA counsel Lois Schiffer, a Lubchenco hire).
9/27, American Thinker on NOAA proceedings, nice to have some of the corruption acknowledged, but it appears nothing will change, criminals will continue to be paid on behalf of chump US taxpayers. Obama's NOAA chief Jane Lubchenco did not attend the meeting:
  • AT, "Dr. Lubchenco did not attend the meeting with Secretary Locke.
Why not? I have been told on good authority that Dr. Lubchenco has repeatedly told members of Congress that she takes direction from President Obama. She did release a statement supporting the Fact Sheet.

(Commerce) Secretary Locke may be a lame duck. If so, where does that leave his commitments?"

We are scolded that we are bad, must shut up and throw our hard earned money out the window on the off chance that millions of terrorists will like us better. That even if they burn our money, we must still shut up. And whom does the US government strangle, whom do we put out of business in an open crime with unapologetic thugs still on the payroll?
  • American fishermen. And plenty of people think this is fine and view themselves as the 'compassionate' ones. ed.
Above photo of Scottish fishermen who are also being eliminated by bureaucrats who never have to worry about their next paycheck or about making a profit. Or even about being honest. from BBC article, 9/30/10.

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