Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Frances Townsend Earned Job with Baker Botts

President Bush's former Homeland Security Adviser joined law firm Baker Botts. Frances Townsend started as corporate partner. She'll head a new practice group called Global Security and Corporate Risk Counseling. What's her record of managing corporate risk (while supposedly serving the public interest)?

While U.S. Gulf Coast residents endured in the aftermath of a devastating hurricane, Fran flew to Saudi Arabia to deliver a letter. On her return she completed the White House Lessons Learned report on Hurricane Katrina. She omitted any mention of Memorial Hospital and its 34 patient deaths. Nor did she cite Memorial's two corporate parents, Tenet Health and LifeCare Hospitals. Tenet owned Memorial and rented a floor to LifeCare, a long term acute care company. LifeCare patients comprised 24 of the patient deaths, Tenet was responsible for 10. Whose risk was managed by Fran's omission?

Weeks before landfall, The Carlyle Group purchased LifeCare Hospitals. While LifeCare and Tenet allowed patients to simmer for five days in hellish, toxic gumbo, HCA helicoptered patients from its dead facilities. Thirty four people died in the wait.

The Baker in Baker Botts is James A. Baker, III, long associated with The Carlyle Group, LifeCare's owner.
Does a favor here, warrant a hiring there? Did Baker Botts come up with LifeCare's laughable defense, suggesting patients became wards of the federal government when evacuation teams set up in the New Orleans area?

A year after Fran left out Tenet Health's role in dozens of patient deaths, John Ellis "Jeb" Bush joined the Tenet Board.
Does an omission now, result in a board appointment later? Despite years of asking elected officials and investigatory bodies, my questions remain unanswered. The first post with my concerns is over three years old. Maybe, I should call Harry Markopoulos.

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