How to Make a Quick $88 Million, Scooter Store Style
Editor's note: Last week we told you we'd have the second half of the Hotel Occupancy Tax story in this issue. We're going to hold off one more week on that because we got clearance to run the following earlier than expected.
A few weeks back we promised some big Scooter Store news for you. And Daddy don't make promises he can't keep. So here it is. Your BIG SCOOTER STORE NEWS: They got caught stealing. Again. And if you think you've heard the whole story, reconsider that. By the time you finish this column you'll learn something that KGNB and the Houston-owned Herald-Zeitung have known for years but have neglected to mention during this latest fiasco - and you're going to lose your mind over it.
We agreed to politely wait until CBS News ran their story before jumping in on this one, but the cat's out of the bag now, and if you thought the $4 million The Scooter Store had to reimburse Medicare with back in 2007 would keep them on the straight and narrow, well the United States Government disagrees, because the Feds just nailed them again, this time for close to $20 million.
It seems that, according to CBS and the aforementioned Feds, the Store has been cheating Medicare. Again. And employing all kinds of unsavory tactics to coerce doctors into writing prescriptions for unqualified patients. The government says the deception adds up to a $108 million dollar take between 2009 and 2012. The Scooter Store maintains its innocence. And who are we to question that? I mean, it's not like they have a track record of Medicare fraud...
As previously stated, they've settled for a $19.5 million penalty. The problem is that the US Government is letting them keep the other $88 million auditors say they stole, and nobody knows why. Not even Congress. Senators Herb Kohl (D-WI) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) are hounding Medicare for that answer. My guess is that the Feds knew that they're dealing with The Most Corrupt City in Texas ™, and everyone just acknowledged that this is business as usual. After all, the last government official to get in the way of a Texan's ambition had his brains scattered as a fine mist over the Stemmons Freeway at 90 miles an hour. #1963
Let's keep in mind that while the Scooter Store was raking in tens of millions in illicit cash, that they were also merrily requesting and accepting millions of dollars in New Braunfels sales tax funds - that's your money - through the City's 4-B Board. And this is where it gets... awkward.
You see, the President of the City's 4-B Board, which gave the Scooter Store those millions of our dollars, is Tim Zipp. Who's Tim Zipp? Well, he's a Senior Vice President... at the Scooter Store. He's the guy that's in charge of Medicare Compliance at the Scooter Store. He's right in the belly of the beast on this one. Savor that fact for a minute. Mmm... tasty.
Yep. The same guy that runs the one department at the Store that keeps getting nailed for fraud is the same guy in charge of the committee that uses our tax dollars to issue sweetheart checks to big companies that operate here. Like Silver State Helicopters (now deceased). And The Scooter Store (on life support). WTF
And as your blood boils over that bit of news, let's not forget that our beloved community pillar Bob Krueger (D-TX) accepted million of tax dollars, funneled through the Scooter Store, to act as a lobbyist for the Store while his wife, Kathleen, sat on our own City Council, and while 4-B, which answers to that Council, was busy delivering fat stacks of wampum to the Store.
Bob currently collects multiple taxpayer-funded pensions for his work as an ambassador and his time the US House and Senate. But hey, you keep on grinding it out in those two or three jobs you're working just to keep your kids fed - and of course contribute to Bob's pensions. It's cool. He's worth it.
You're going to see and hear reactions from a lot of people in the next few weeks. Keep this in mind while they're talking: Anyone unwilling to admit we've been had by this gang is in on the deal. Watch for those that defend this situation and see them for what they are - a cog in an iniquitous machine. Stand up to those people. Ridicule them. Mock them. Demand their resignations. And don't ever forget who they are.
As for us, the TX Citizen is formally calling for the immediate removal of Tim "Tip of the Iceberg" Zipp from the New Braunfels Industrial Development Corporation (4-B). His remaining in charge of 4-B is exactly the kind of shenanigan that earned this town the title of The Most Corrupt City in Texas ™. Resign Tim. Hang your head in shame and get out. I mean, my gods, I'm embarrassed over the condition of my lawn... I don't know how I could live with myself being part of something like this. And it's a national story now - it goes beyond this column. Keep the money. Keep everything. Just get the #### out.
Hey, remember how much fun it was watching the "Reverend" Jim Bakker get hauled away in handcuffs and tears when he stole all that money from his church and nailed Jessica Hahn? Oh man, those were good times. I'm not saying anybody's going to jail over this stuff, because, after all, this is New Braunfels, but if anyone does, we'll have a camera there to capture the moment.
Now rest assured, the attack mobs will be out trying to keep people from reading this with threats of boycott or worse. Stand tall. Be ready to tell them to #### off. Make sure everyone you know knows about this story. It's on our website at txcitizen.com. Copy and paste it into Facebook. Spread it on, as it were.
We have been attacked mercilessly over the last week for declaring New Braunfels The Most Corrupt City in Texas ™. I invite anyone to tell me exactly why we're wrong.
See the CBS News piece by logging on to cbsnews.com and searching for "Scooter Store". It ain't pretty.