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Withheld payments hit reconstruction rms


FIRMS WORKING on the New Orleans rebuild are struggling to get paid for any work done since Hurricane Katrina struck.

Consultant MWH was appointed to oversee debris and sediment clearance in New Orleans' drainage system following Katrina on two contracts worth a combined $36M.

The firm completed its work in November, but has yet to receive a cent, following a decision by the by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to review all contracts awarded immediately after the disaster. FEMA, which ultimately funds the project through the state government, has estimated the MWH work at the considerably lower figure of $19M.

The consultant is appealing FEMA's decision.

'We're not the only ones to experience this, ' said MWH Americas vice president and New Orleans of ce manager Sal Mansour.

'It's to counter corruption and everyone who got early contracts is being investigated for the potential misuse of public funds.'

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