NEW ORLEANS — David Hammer's investigation into the Sewerage and Water Board's plumbing department led the FBI to raid that department just hours later.
The reports laid out a complex web of self-dealing, in which Sewerage & Water Board plumbing inspectors, city gas inspectors and contractors use each other's licenses and inspect each other's jobs.
The reports had an immediate and powerful impact on the Sewerage & Water Board and on an ongoing federal corruption probe. In addition to the nearly unprecedented FBI raid of government offices, the Sewerage & Water Board suspended the two top officials identified in the WWL-TV report. The city also suspended their contractor's licenses, along with those of other gasfitters who were involved. A city permitting official was forced to resign. The state board regulating contractors revoked the contractors' licenses, too. And the Sewerage & Water Board executive director acknowledged he had not understood the "enormity" of the issues until WWL-TV's stories and promised a full investigation. He also agreed to overhaul the Plumbing Department to make it more accessible and user-friendly.
Here are the stories from Hammer's investigation "Hidden Dangers."
- Main Article and 3-part TV videos:
- FBI raid coverage:
- City inspector resigns, loses licenses:
- Suspended SWB official's permits altered: /article/news/investigations/suspended-swb-officials-permits-licenses-altered-wwl-tv-investigation/289-07d8ed65-4f1f-4b93-90ac-738dbd1d6cf1
- S&WB director didn’t realize ‘enormity’ of problem: