Who is being served?

Oyster asked why the state of Louisiana is helping ICF “sell itself with official praise” regarding news that ICF received support in a press release from the state at a time the company has begun offering its stock for public sale.

I would add it appears the state assisted ICF in stopping the hemorrhaging of it’s falling stock. Here is the case.

ICF International is the company that is administering the Road Home program. They have done such a poor job with less than 100 people having received any money, that on Friday December 15th the Louisiana state House “sent the governor’s office a resolution, approved 97-1, directing her staff to fire ICF.”

ICF’s stocks took a significant drop as a result. An AP article from Monday December 18 at 1:48 pm ET was subtitled… “Shares of ICF International Trade Heavily After La. Considers Ways to Revoke Contract.” Details from the article…

Trading volume in ICF shares reached 1.7 million shares, compared with average daily volume of 114,704 shares. The stock fell 17.2 percent to $13.96.

At 9:14 PM in the evening of the 18th, Business Wire carried the press release from ICF titled “ICF International Receives Expression of Support from the State of Louisiana.” Governor Blanco is quoted in support of ICF in the release followed by a statement of gratitude for support by the CEO of ICF. From the release…

Governor Blanco also stated, “I share the frustration of our people and the legislature, but common sense must prevail. This is the most massive long-term recovery program ever undertaken by any state, at any time in American history. The remedy for our people, who have endured so much through Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, is to move faster, not to start over from scratch.”

“We appreciate all the expressions of support,” said Sudhakar Kesavan, Chief Executive Officer of ICF. “Our focus now, as it has been all along, is on helping the people of Louisiana and delivering a successful program.

Following that ICF’s stock stabilized and rose slightly as seen here

ifc chart

The Times Picayune reported yesterday…

Marie Centanni, the governor’s press secretary, confirmed Tuesday that the administration worked with ICF in crafting the news release.

It appears ICF needed that assistance to stop the breach. Oyster is asking the right question and the governor ought to explain.