Thursday, April 17, 2014

Crime in Our PEU World

Consider two contrasting news stories.  The first involves a common laborer taking liberties at the soda refill counter.

Christopher Lewis, an on-site construction worker, said he didn't know refills at the VA Medical Center in downtown Charleston came at a price, and Wednesday, during his lunch hour, he was originally slapped with federal charges. The ticket was issued by the Federal Police Force at the VA Medical Center in downtown Charleston after Lewis refilled his soda without paying the $0.89. A hospital spokesperson on Wednesday called it a "theft of government property."

"Every time I look at the ticket, it's unbelievable to me,” Lewis said on Wednesday. “I can't fathom the fact that I made a $0.89 mistake that cost me $525."

Lewis is now out of a job. According to a hospital spokesperson, signs are posted in the cafeteria informing patrons that refills aren't free. Lewis says he never noticed the signs and admits he had refilled his drink without paying on other occasions. He says after he went back for seconds on Wednesday, a man who identified himself as the chief of police, stopped him.

"As I was filling my cup up, I turned to walk off and a fella grabbed me by the arm and asked me was I going to pay for that, and I told him I wasn't aware that I had to pay for that."

Lewis says he tried to pay the $0.89 right there, but wasn't allowed to. He says he wasn't given the chance to pay the cashier either.

"I never had an option to make right what I had done wrong."

He says he was taken to a room, given the $525 ticket for shoplifting and told not to return to the property.

The other story has a corporate Vice President taking construction liberties.

A high-ranking manager has been fired from a construction firm that's playing a key role in reconstructing service areas on Connecticut highways after he improperly obtained more than $50,000 worth of improvements to his home, the firm alleges in a lawsuit.

David J. Papandrea of Old Saybrook was fired March 3 by Centerplan Construction Co. LLC of Middletown – after the company discovered that he "utilized his control over and access to confidential information to implement a fraudulent scheme whereby he obtained free labor, materials, and construction services for his residence," Centerplan alleged in a suit filed April 8 in Middletown Superior Court.

Papandrea also has established a public profile as a Democratic political operative at both the state and national levels. He served as a key staff aide for state Senate Democrats' majority caucus until several years ago, and was active in Democratic legislative campaigns.

He's also friends with Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who helped him become a $5,000-a-month fundraising consultant to the Democratic Governors Association , which helps elect and re-elect Democratic governers. The DGA has paid Papandrea's consulting firm, DJP Strategies LLC, at least $120,000 from January 2012 through December 2013, public records show.

Centerplan's CEO, former Democratic state Rep. Robert Landino, said in an interview last week that he knew Papandrea through state politics, but hired him three years ago because Papandrea had held a responsible position with another construction company.

No criminal complaint has been filed, Landino said, adding that he hopes the matter can be resolved without that occurring
There's justice and "just us."  The greed and power class talk the former but play the latter.

Researchers concluded that US government policies rarely align with the the preferences of the majority of Americans, but do favour special interests and lobbying organisations.
This how former Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa) and Rep. William "Cold Cash" Jefferson (D-La) end up on the same side of health care legislation favorable to the dialysis industry.

Our world has politicians Red and Blue.  Both love PEU. 

Economic elites and organised groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on US government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.

Research confirms what many of us already knew in our gut.

Update 4-20-14:  President Obama's "Just Us" Department overlooks serious financial crime while common folk face charges from a new litany of offenses.