August 14, 2012, - 11:35 am
At a time when the nation has over 8% unemployment and Homeland Security’s largest agency, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), is broke, top ICE leaders–at the behest of its Obama-appointed leader are in Houston partying and living it up on your dime. As I write this most of ICE’s top officials, including its Obama-chosen director, John Morton, are either en route or are already in Houston for 2-3 days of partying to celebrate the retirement of Houston’s retiring ICE Special Agent in Charge, Robert Rutt. While Rutt is well-liked and respected by his agents and colleagues, many ICE officials I spoke with are wondering why ICE leadership is spending government funds to fund the airfare, hotel rooms for 1-2 days, and open bar and festivities for at least 20 ICE Special Agents in Charge, when ICE cannot balance its budget, is cutting 700 positions (including 500 ICE Special Agents), and is parking agents’ cars because it cannot afford gas, oil changes, and maintenance. One ICE Agent, Michael Unzueta, is being flown in from Rome, Italy, where he is the ICE attache. It’s a reverse “Roman Holiday” for him. Is it just a coincidence that this big party is taking place today–of all days–the 30th anniversary of “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”? Just askin’. I mean, these days, ICE has a Spicoli-style atmosphere.
Sources say that some of the ICE traveling party, including Obama’s Morton and Islamo-pandering Michigan/Ohio ICE Special Agent in Charge Brian Moskowitz a/k/a “Abu Moskowitz,” arrived in Houston yesterday. (He is leaving Detroit for Houston at summer’s end, and his demoralized agents are cheering from the rooftops that he will be leaving Detroit to demoralize agents, pander to extremist Muslims with terrorist ties, and seek extramarital chicks in Texas.) The big party with an open bar takes place tonight and the ICE officials–about 30 of them–will be staying the night and living it up, courtesy of you. The agents and officials will be chauffeured around Houston by ICE Special Agents in government vehicles, and government-reimbursed taxi service will be available at the end of the party for guests. The open bar begins tonight at 6:00 p.m. A number of career ICE agents who’ve contacted me about the event are dismayed at this party, which they aptly term, “waste, fraud, and abuse.” If Obama’s hand-picked ICE chief, John Morton, cannot balance the ICE budget, if he is cutting ICE agent positions, and grounding agents because he can’t afford to repair and gas up their vehicles, how can he afford this confab? Agents estimate that the event and all of the associated salary, travel, lodging, and per diem costs, could be close to $100,000. While you might say that’s a drop in the bucket, it could pay for car repairs, gas, and oil changes for the hundreds of government vehicles ICE grounds every day, due to budget constraints, making it impossible for agents to do their jobs. It could pay for an ICE Special Agent’s salary. View the invitation to the event. There is a nominal cost of $20 per person, which won’t even begin to cover the cost of the event. Hawaiian shirts are the encouraged attire!
And that is on top of John Morton’s and his Chief of Staff, Suzy Barr’s (of sexual-harassment-against-male-agents fame), many trips to England over the last few years on your dime. Agents say John Morton was born in Ireland, and sources say he uses the Great Britain trips to visit family.
Notes one agent:
On Tuesday, August 14th at 6pm at the Saint Arnolds Brewing Company, Second Floor, 2000 Lyons Ave. Houston, Texas a retirement party will commence for Robert P. Rutt the Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the Houston office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Expected to attend will be John Morton, Director of ICE, James Dinkins, Executive Associate Director for Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). Also expected to attend will be Janet Ayala, Assistant Director for HSI
who supervises all the Special Agents in Charge positions nationwide and various other SACs and law enforcement leaders. It is not known if Morton’s Chief of Staff Suzy Barr will attend.
All of the high ranking HSI personnel will be traveling to Houston from around the country along with one individual who is confirmed to attend coming from as far away as the Attaché Office in Rome, Italy.
It is believed based on previous reports, some of the managers attending the function have used government funds to travel to retirement events in the past.
For the past month, the party has been planned by SAC Rutt’s staff, coordinating the location and receiving fees. It is speculated that SAC Rutt is or will be an investor in the Saint Arnold’s Brewing Company but that has not been confirmed.
For the past few days, top management at the Houston HSI office identified street agents and supervisors who were assigned large government owned SUVs. Orders were given to use the SUVs to transport Headquarters’ personnel and dignitaries to and from the airport and hotel and the party venue. Special Agents and Supervisors will be driving the SUVs for this personal after-hours event. The agents will not be on the clock nor paid, some feel pressured others volunteered. Regardless, the use
of government transportation for a private function is not allowed. It is not known how many will use government funds to provide air travel to Houston, but based on past experiences, a number of them will be claiming to “have meetings.” This is possible as each SAC has control of their individual travel budgets.
There will be three hours of free alcohol (beer) served, it is unknown if attending personnel will be driving government vehicles after consuming alcohol or required to be on standby for driving duties only. Remember they are not on the clock, nor can they be assigned to drive a government vehicle while not officially working.
This is the second such event this year. In late June of 2012, former Assistant Director for HSI Michael Holt held his retirement party in Birmingham, Alabama. This function was also well attended by some of the same members of ICE leadership. It is believed that many in attendance used government funds to travel to the retirement venue, some took “personal days” but the government funded the air travel.
The most common reason given to travel to these functions again is that they are “attending meetings.”
I know that some of the ICE officials in attendance, such as Leigh Winchell and Robert Webber (who is retired), are good guys and well-liked. As is Mr. Rutt, who is entitled to a retirement party, and my purpose here is not to rain on his parade after a long, respected career in law enforcement. But to fly top ICE officials from around the world to hang out and drink is ridiculous, given the bankrupt financial status at ICE . . . not to mention the tough Obamaconomy around America. On the other hand, with Obama and his cronies (such as Morton) eschewing immigration enforcement–ICE’s primary stated mission (it’s the “I” in ICE), officials need something to do with their time, right?
Here is the partial guest list of those who arrived Monday, according to one agent (note that HSI, or “Homeland Security Investigations,” one of ICE’s new “branding” names, but all of these people are the ICE officials):
John Morton, Director of HSI
Brian Moskowitz, SAC Detroit/ New SAC Houston
Robert Webber, Former SAC HSI Houston
Kumar Kibble, SAC Denver, former Deputy Director HSI
Michael Unzueta, Attaché HSI Rome Italy
John Connolly, Deputy Assistant Director HSI
Traci Lembke, Assistant Director HSI
Leigh Winchell, Assistant Director HSI
Janice Ayala, Assistant Director Operations HSI
Lev Kubiak, Director Intellectual Property Center Director
Bradford Bench, SAC Seattle
Claude Arnold, SAC Los Angeles
Raymond Robinette, SAC San Antonio
Raymond Palmer, SAC New Orleans
ICE agents say that most of the same officials will all be in San Diego, next week, for the International Association of Chiefs of Police convention, where ICE will be holding a leadership conference. The party could have been held then, sparing most of the expenses. But, instead, it’s a “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous”-esque event, courtesy of you. Cheers!
Artwork by David Lunde/Lundesigns
Tags: Houston, ICE, Immigration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, John Morton, party