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FEMA inspectors had criminal records

April 25, 2005 at 12:53 PM

MIAMI, April 25 (UPI) -- Some Florida congressmen are dismayed by reports the Federal Emergency Management Agency hired convicted criminals as housing inspectors.

Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla., told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel FEMA's most public function appears to be "corroded with undesirables."

"It creates a serious structural deficiency and calls into question the integrity of the whole system," Foley said.

"There is just simply no excuse for this," said Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla.

The newspaper had reported Sunday it had uncovered the names of 133 inspectors and managers and found that 30 of them had criminal records. Seventeen had criminal histories at the time they were hired and at least four lost their jobs for arrests after they were hired.

The U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs is investigating FEMA for allowing itself to become the victim of fraud -- most of it in Miami -- when it paid for damages after Florida's four hurricanes last year.

The Senate committee said in a statement, "the concerns raised by the Sun-Sentinel are alarming."

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