Wackenhut Audit Released

Cathy Jackson, Director of the Miami-Dade Department of Audit and Management, finally released today her long-awaited audit of the Wackenhut Corp., which holds several major security contracts with the county, including the county’s lucrative contract for posts at Metrorail stations.

As reported in the Herald, the audit reveals, to no one’s surprise, that Wackenhut over-billed the county for millions of dollars worth of work that was never performed, including “ghost posts,” which went unfilled but were billed anyway to create the appearance of a fully-staffed Metrorail when, in fact, Wackenhut suffered a personnel shortage.

This much has been known – or strongly suspected, anyway – for some time. Besides the Herald, local blog Eye on Miami has featured particularly good coverage of the ongoing Wackenhut fiasco, and New Times has written several stories about the company as well.

But the real story lies in questions as yet unanswered:

- How exactly did Wackenhut get the contract in the first place? Why weren't these problems foreseen by the county?

- How long have county officials known about the over-billing, and why did it take so long to produce the audit?

- Why did Cathy Jackson, County Manager George Burgess, and Mayor Alvarez refuse to be deposed in a parallel investigation of Wackenhut being conducted by a private attorney representing a group of whistle-blowers – especially when the county itself will receive the bulk of monies won in that suit?

- What will become of the Metrorail contract if Wackenhut is unable to pay back its debt to the county?

- What will become of Alanis Security, a company which subcontracts under Wackenhut on Metrorail and which has repeatedly failed to pay its employees (New Times wrote about this in February; recent conversations with Alanis employees indicate that paychecks are still bouncing regularly).

Stay tuned,

-- Isaiah Thompson

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