Oct 10, 2005
Navigant Consulting, the company that was hired to "turn around" the King/Drew hospital near Watts, has been caught with its hands in the cookie jar.
An investigation by the Los Angeles Times found that Navigant had double-billed for plane tickets and charged the county for first-class travel, luxury car rentals on weekends and trips unrelated to King/Drew. Navigant's top manager at King/Drew, Kae Robertson, for example, charged the county for a $2,425 round-trip flight between Rochester, New York, and Washington, D.C., with no stop at Los Angeles. She also billed the county for a $1,088 Hawaii trip, which was for another client. A $1,588 ticket to Florida was billed twice. And the county was charged $548 for a flight Robertson never took.
Instead of taking the train or driving, one nursing consultant flew the 150-mile distance between San Diego and Los Angeles every week, spending nearly $700 each time in airline and cab fares. Navigant consultants routinely upgraded their flights to first class and their rental cars to luxury. A Navigant executive defended these charges, saying: "Such expenses are routinely accepted in the private sector."It's true. And that's exactly why it's a big lie when we are told that services at King/Drew hospital would be provided "more efficiently" and even "less expensively" if they were turned over to private enterprise – which would run a hefty profit on top of such extra expenses!