Sunday, November 13, 2011

SEIU’s Andy Stern Hit with Latest SIGA Influence-Peddling Scandal

SEIU’s President Emeritus Andy Stern is back in the news -- this time in a lengthy investigative report in today’s Los Angeles Times.

What’s the latest scandal?  It’s new revelations about the influence-peddling that Stern and SIGA Technologies used to rig a $433 million no-bid contract from the federal government.  

Here’s the scoop: Soon after King Andy resigned as SEIU’s “President,” he jumped onto the board of directors of a pharmaceutical company called “SIGA Technologies.” During his first six months on the board, Stern pocketed 35,000 stock options and took home $116,094 in cash, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Why did SIGA want Stern on its board? Simple… because of all the personal relationships that Stern developed with top government officials while Stern was on SEIU’s payroll. SIGA, after all, was trying to win giant contract from federal officials. And Stern was happy as a pig in slop to convert his SEIU rolodex into wads of cash that he stuffed into his pockets.

So what are the latest revelations? The LA Times obtained a whole stack of internal emails, memos and records from the federal agency that gave SIGA the $433 million, no-bid contract. Here’s some of what they found:
“Cost, need questioned in $433-million smallpox drug deal.  A company controlled by a longtime political donor gets a no-bid contract to supply an experimental remedy for a threat that may not exist.”

One scientist who “battled smallpox outbreaks in Pakistan and has advised the Food and Drug Administration on the virus… called the plan to stockpile Siga's drug ‘a waste of time and a waste of money.’”

“In an internal memo in March, Dr. Richard J. Hatchett, chief medical officer for HHS' biodefense preparedness unit, said Siga's projected profit at that point was 180%, which he called ‘outrageous.’”

“In June 2010, Siga further heightened its presence in Washington by naming to its board Andrew Stern, former head of the Service Employees International Union and a frequent visitor to the Obama White House. The union is a wellspring of campaign money and volunteers for Democratic candidates.”

After a government negotiator fought SIGA’s demand for astronomical profits, SIGA used its political influence to replace the government’s negotiator with someone who would be more cooperative. A top government official then wrote a letter to SIGA’s CEO that said: "I trust this will be satisfactory to you."
There’s more… but you gotta read the article.

And that’s not all… There’s another layer of SEIU corruption that’s not even mentioned in the LA Times. It has to do with Andy Stern’s cozy relationship with Ron Perelman, a billionaire who’s one of the world’s richest people.

Perelman owns a controlling share of SIGA, as well as AlliedBarton, a giant security guard company. Observers speculate that Stern’s high-paid gig on SIGA’s board may be payback from an earlier deal between these two fat cats. In 2006, Stern agreed that SEIU would not organize 10,000 of AlliedBarton’s security guards in Philadelphia as part of an apparent sweetheart deal with Perelman… even though SEIU had been working with the low-paid guards for years to win a union.

It’s kinda like: ‘Hey, if you take a dive on these workers, the Big Boss will make sure to take care of you.’ There’s more info about this episode in an earlier post and an article by Ryan Grim, entitled “Andy Stern’s Bizarre Alliance with Private Equity and Biowarfare.”

Stay tuned for SEIU’s next corruption scandal!