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Not doing all that well in this dog-eat-dog economic world? Well, that’s probably your own fault. If you were an on-the-ball capitalist with a penchant for both privatization and taking advantage of privatization, you could be stuffing your pockets just like Monarch Staffing, Inc., a business 40% owned by State Senator Mimi Walters and her husband, is doing, by following these two simple rules:
(1) Bill prisons to send out medical contractors — doctors, nurses, dentists, pharmacists — to work on prison sites.
(2) Don’t pay the contractors in a timely matter, if at all.
Do you see how easy it is? And if you were a wealthy Republican State Senator and former party nominee for State Treasurer, where you lost by the largest margin of any statewide Republican candidate in the year of a Democratic sweep, you could get away with it too!
Following the lead of the LA Times, Joseph reports that the Walters’ prison staffing firm is regularly stiffing its contract service providers — to the point where they’re now getting dragged into court. (It’s enough to make this plaintiff employment attorney’s eyes mist up at the very thought.) One such contracting pharmacist (who may be unfamiliar with the concept of a class action) is going after them for $4900; another contracting dentist lays claim onto $14,500; others complain in the Times about a total of $120,000 or more in back pay due. One dentist is out $6600 and has been paid about $1000 of it, with the rest to be paid in $1000 interviews. (Is Mimi having, um, cash flow problems? Are these de facto personal loans to her company filed with the FPPC?)
But that’s not actually the worst of it. Being a conniving businesswoman who cheats workers is one thing; throwing one’s weight around as a Senator to get money from the government is another!
Late last year and early this year, Sen. Walters staff called prison officials to inquire about a claim Drug Consultants had filed with the California Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board, contending that the state had underpaid for its services. The commission approved a $74,400 payout to Drug Consultants in February.
Emails unearthed by a records request filed by the Times revealed that a staffer in Walters’ office called multiple prison officials about the claim. One email said that her office was calling “almost every day” for information.
Prison officials have said Drug Consultants received no special treatment, despite the calls from Walters’ office. They also have said that the both of the Walters’ companies have been paid for their services.
If that’s the case, the subcontractors say, then where is our money?
Look for this one to get worse, by which of course I mean more entertaining to watch, before it gets better. The people who are being stiffed by Monarch and its subsidiaries could probably use a good lawyer. I would be inappropriate for the task, having written this article, but I know a great lawyer who would probably have great interest in this case: Steve Young, who is running against Walters for the new 37th Senate District seat.
I know that some people have doubted Steve’s ability to win because the district is disproportionately Republican. Put together Democrats and people who are sick of this type of dirty dealing by politicians, though, and it looks to me like Steve’s chances are improving.
Good thinking by Californians in not electing Senator Doctor Stiffer as State Treasurer in 2010. It was a wise move then; it’s seeming like an even wiser move now!