Federal whistleblower reveals terror threat
Geoff Metcalf interviews former Customs agent Darlene Catalan

Editor's Note: In "U.S. Customs: Badge of Dishonor," author Darlene Catalan, a former special agent for the U.S. Customs Service, blows the whistle on one of America's dirtiest little secrets -- U.S. borders are still wide open, not only to human migration, but to illegal drugs and terrorist weapons. Catalan explains this is not because of lack of manpower or neglect. It's due to corruption by federal officials -- payoffs, cronyism, fraud and abuse -- who ignored Catalan's find of illegal drug trafficking. In an interview with Geoff Metcalf, Catalan discusses her book and what citizens can do to help stop corruption in border security and customs agents. Her amazing story is revealed in-depth in the February edition of Whistleblower magazine, "INVASION USA!."

By Geoff Metcalf
Q: The book is entitled "Badge of Dishonor." What do you mean by that?

A: Pretty much what it says. The Customs Service, and certainly other agencies, but the Customs Service -- the management there -- should be ashamed for what happened to the agents in our story.

Q: About four or five years ago, I interviewed another customs agent, and I wish I could remember his name. I was a big critic of NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement). One of the complaints this customs agent brought up was that just after NAFTA went into effect along the Mexican border -- where they used to see maybe one truck a week pass through with a hazardous waste label on it -- after NAFTA, they were getting over a hundred a day. He said it took the narco traffickers about two and a half minutes to figure out, "Hey, they don't have enough hazmat teams to inspect everything, so it's the cost of business -- if we lose some, we lose some, but a lot will get through."

A: Exactly.

Q: Your experience reminded me of that immediately, because you say the same thing happens with trains -- and you can get a lot more in a rail car than in a truck.

A: Exactly. And they are very difficult to search. One of the reasons is, as you said, to search these containers, you have to treat them as hazardous materials. There are really only a few places on the southern border where you can inspect these containers safely. And it costs anywhere from between $8,000 to $14,000 to pop the top on one of these -- safely -- to bleed them out and everything you have to do, and also the agents' time sitting there to do this. So what you have to do is to profile these out pretty well. We came up with a pretty good system.

Q: What is the most obvious indicator?

A: One of the big clues obviously is weight. If it is manifested as empty and there's 8,000 pounds of something in it -- hello? Then it is important to look at this car. And there are really only two places on the southern border where you can weigh these. The narco traffickers figured this out a long time ago.

Q: You start off the book with a murder.

A: Yes. Way back about 12 years ago, U.S. Customs had a congressional-level investigation going into pretty much the same managers that we were pointing the finger at for what happened to us. A private investigator/attorney that was hired by private industry in southern California that was [making similar] accusations against these managers, this private investigator obviously came up with something, and he ended up dead in his driveway -- two to the chest and one to the head. It was ruled as a robbery, yet nothing was taken.

Q: An inefficient robber?

A: Yes. And who shoots like that? Everybody knows in the law enforcement business that is the way cops are taught to shoot. So I feel, and many others feel, that murder had something more to do with than just a robbery. There is another investigation being brought forward into, again, the same managers who were involved in this. This was in southern Arizona, and there is a murder involved there. There are accusations, and they are trying to get that murder investigated. Yet it is real hard to investigate U.S. Customs.

Q: Why?

A: Because of what happens to anybody who becomes a whistleblower -- and this is not just my story; this has been repeatedly played out in the press. The Miami Herald has done a dozen stories on Customs; the San Antonio Business Journal -- I could go on and on and on. WorldNetDaily.com -- thank God for you guys. There are many stories of many corrupt investigations. When people try to investigate Customs, the whistleblowers who are either stupid enough or brave enough to come forward are pounded. Their lives are destroyed.

Q: Why is Customs any different? We've had whistleblowers in all the various federal agencies. Gary Aldrich, who wrote the forward to your book, I've had him on several times. What makes Customs so different from investigating inappropriate conduct by managers, and why are the same suspect managers still hanging around?

A: Good question. Part of the thing is look at what Customs does. Customs is the agency with the responsibility of controlling what comes into this country. That's it. They are the line of defense.

Q: Then you guys are doing a real lousy job.

A: Exactly. People confuse Customs with Border Patrol. Let me clarify something: When people think of Customs, they immediately picture the person in uniform checking their luggage out at airports. Well, that's correct also. Border patrol checks people for the most part, and U.S. Customs is responsible for these large containers -- rail, shipping containers -- that come in by the millions, that come in every day in all the ports of entry. First off, they are short handed. No. 2, when you do find a high-level investigation and try to do it, repeatedly high-level investigations have been thwarted and many times by the same managers.

Q: Let me slow you down for a moment, because I have to ask you this. It is something I thought of after I spoke to that last Customs guy. If traditionally, and let's use the trucks for an example and then we'll get to your rail cars, one vehicle a week is coming in from Mexico that has a hazmat sticker on it, and then all of a sudden it goes to a hundred a day -- that's a red flag to somebody.

A: Well, it would be a red flag to anybody with half a brain and common sense.

Q: I don't know jack about your business, but I do know that that is something you have to control. If you don't control it, you are complicit in letting bad stuff into the country. So why wasn't something done after '92, when they realized that all of a sudden there is a big new business for printing hazmat stickers?

A: Good question, and the question never gets answered. Why wasn't something done about that? Why wasn't something done when the Blue Ribbon Commission investigation was thwarted? Why wasn't something done when all us whistleblowers came forward? Those are very good questions that basically never seemed to get answered.

Q: I would assume anything that has a hazmat sticker on it has been manifested. And if it's been manifested, there is (or should be) a chain of custody on what's in it that you can track back to whoever put the stuff on there. Is there anybody who is even looking into that?

A: When you try, like I did, you get pounded. I can't sit and tell you what I know is factual on other investigations. The only thing I can speak to is what happened to us. And what happened to us was we had a high-level investigation up and running. We weren't guessing. This was in Southern California. We had a quasi-task force. This operation had received what is called OCDETF status, which is a fancy acronym for Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force. We had a federal prosecutor assigned to it, multi-agency cooperation working on this, and sure enough, our information was right. We seized a tanker car with 8,000 pounds of marijuana and 32 kilos of cocaine. We attempted to conduct the investigation subsequent to that seizure. ...

Q: It went sideways. I had to go back and reread it, because at first I thought, hey, she's just ticked off at these managers mucking up her game. I couldn't believe that this FBI guy, after you have already popped the lid on this tanker and confirmed what was inside, all of a sudden decides to pull surveillance off that tanker. Then between the time he stopped surveillance and the tanker got to where it was supposed to arrive, the bad guys show up and nobody sees them. That's nuts!

A: I know. Believe me, there's not a day that goes by that I don't pinch myself and say I can't believe this happened.

Q: Let's talk a little bit about "Operation Black Widow."

A: OK. Operation Black Widow was under the rail project. Basically, what we had found through the rail project was that in one year, approximately $11 million in "in bond" shipments were being ripped off from boxcars by these crooks. This band of crooks was also instrumental in huge methamphetamine laboratories. What they were looking for when they were jumping on these cars and looking through the contents was they were trying to steal hydrochloric acid, which is shipped trans-country. Hydrochloric acid is the No. 1 precursor for methamphetamine, and it is very expensive. If you can rip it off for free, all the better. When the rail operation was taken down, not only was the criminal investigation regarding the seizure of a large quantity of marijuana and cocaine and the investigation into the large rail yard in Guadalajara and narco trafficking, not only was that investigation shut down, but the operation involving the "in bond" shipments was shut down, too. It was all done under the rail project.

Q: What I want to move you to is Reuben's EEO complaint.

A: OK. I was a witness on his EEO (Equal Employment Opportunity) complaint.

Q: Which was about what?

A: He was Latino, and he was being totally discriminated against by our Customs manager -- his front-line supervisor. He was put in the worst kind of cars, dangerous cars, and one dangerous car after another. I kept trying to confront [the manager]. Reuben was kind of my partner. He was my office mate, and we were working all these investigations together. I stood up to my manager and said, "You've got to stop this." I am former military, so I believe in the chain of command. So I tried to use the chain of command first. But the problem was the chain of command. One of the reasons I put the EEO stuff in the book was because that is one of the reasons we didn't catch what we thought was corruption right away. At first, it was like a smoke screen. We kept thinking, "Well, they're just angry at us because of this EEO complaint," because I'm sticking up for Reuben in this EEO complaint. But very soon, other people started to say, "Hello, you guys. This is not just about this EEO complaint. It's about something else." So I put it in the book, because I didn't want people thinking we were the dumbest agents walking. We didn't recognize this right away.

Q: When did the threats start?

A: Almost immediately. It really started heating up right after I made that big seizure. You would have thought that instead of being a hero -- our team -- you would have thought we had done some dastardly wrong. Right after that seizure was when I got my rights read to me. And keep in mind: Internal affairs was sicked on us in a totally improper use of internal affairs, on all of us at one point or another, and subsequently repeatedly. Keep in mind: None of us had had anything in our background.

Q: What, if anything, precipitated this? Why did they go after you? Was it because you were a woman -- were you bitchy? What was it that set them off?

A: Good question. I don't know.

Q: I mean, you were doing good work.

A: Exactly. I was a rising star. I was even told that by other managers. I had no problems in that agency. I was a veteran agent. I had been with that agency for nine years before I became a whistleblower. I didn't even have a butt-chewing in my file. Prior to that, I had been military. I was a decorated veteran. I had nothing negative in my file whatsoever. The minute I made that seizure, my life went to hell. And because it was subsequent to me becoming a witness on Reuben Sandoval's case, we first thought they were just trying to shut me up. In which case, if that's the truth, then they went through a heck of a lot, basically committing criminal offenses -- that's called obstruction of justice. When you undermine criminal cases to slam somebody and shut them up and put them in their place or to discredit them so they won't become a witness in an EEO investigation or a civil lawsuit, that's obstruction of justice.

Q: I went back and reread that one section. It was Lawrence Evantie who pulled the surveillance on your rail car. I know guys who are working for various federal agencies who will spend months wasting time, sitting around, eating donuts and drinking coffee, just staring at something.

A: Right.

Q: Now you had already confirmed that you hit the mother lode on this thing.

A: What we were trying to do is control delivery. What good is a bunch of dope if you don't have bodies tied to it? Anybody who has ever worked a major narcotics task force knows what I'm talking about. You always do a controlled delivery.

Q: It's kind of reverse chain of custody in some ways, isn't it?

A: Well, you are delivering the load, and then you're waiting for the bad guys to come and pick it up, and then you follow the bad guys to where they are going to go, and you get everybody. It's just common sense -- good, old-fashioned investigations. And that's what we have done a million times in our investigations. It is not uncommon on loads even much smaller than this to sit on them for a couple of weeks. Crooks aren't stupid. They'll sit in a parking lot or wherever it's sitting, and they'll let it cool off. And they will do counter-surveillance to see if they can spot cops, because they don't want to be caught picking their dope up. I had all of, what, a few days, and that was it. And that was just unheard of to have surveillance pulled that quickly. My prosecutor was just livid, as was everybody else.

Q: What, if any, kind of internal investigation was conducted against him (Evantie)?

A: Nothing. Nothing has ever been done against any of these people. I even went to the FBI. What's even worse is, after that, through the rail project, the big news is the five other rail cars. We identified five more rail cars; all the bells and whistles were going off. Not only that, they were manifested as empty, yet they weighed five to nine tons each overweight. I had them set up to be pressure tested. That tells you a lot about these cars. And it's free; it doesn't cost the government anything. Pressure testing is real important. It is a big identifier. It is a big way to profile these cars out. I was ordered not to do my job. Those cars were subsequently released into the commerce of the United States, and they were never inspected.

Q: What did you find surfing through the computer?

A: After that, I went and found on the computer where we were looking at many front companies, many organizations we thought were corrupt that were involved in importing or exporting these into the United States. I had these companies on what is called a “customs hold” in the computer. When a special agent puts a hold on the computer, no one can override that computer -- now this is by Customs' policy -- without first notifying the special agent and getting permission. Second, they have to go into the computer and put their four-digit code in there.

Q: How many “customs hold” deals did you have?

A: I had over a hundred of these that somebody had been going in and overriding, and not putting in their code, and I didn't know anything about it.

Q: Hold on! Don't you have systems that flag something like that? I mean, if it requires a four-digit code to override it and they are not entering it, how can they do it?

A: They are not supposed to. There is a policy in place.

Q: OK, I understand the policy is there. But what mechanically, physically or technically permits the computer to allow that to happen? I can't access my e-mail if I don't enter my password.

A: Obviously it does, because it happened. If there is any failsafe in there, I was not aware of it. There should be. As far as I was concerned, they couldn't have done it. Yet it still happened. There are so many things that happened subsequent to that seizure that needs to be investigated. There is more than enough probable cause.

Q: Did this whole mess really escalate because of your involvement in that EEO complaint, or was that just a catalyst to feed it long?

A: I don't know. I can't answer that for sure. On some days, if I talk to some of the guys involved, they say, "Well, they (management) were so angry, they were willing to do this." But that means they were willing to risk their careers and everything. If that's the case, if that's why they did this, then that's pretty arrogant -- to know that you can undermine and torpedo criminal investigations to shut somebody up because you know you are going to get away with it.

Q: Supervisors lying in a statement.

A: Right.

Q: That's a felony.

A: More than one. You had special agents under oath. I don't know if you remember about the heroin going home overnight, violating the chain of custody, and those agents lied. We have the chain of custody from the evidence log. We have photocopies. They have already committed to lying under oath; they were reported and nothing happened to them. This agency has history -- a well-documented history -- of the "good old boy" crony system. And if you're in the good old boy crony system, you can do whatever you want, and you are going to get away with it. If you step over the line and, God forbid, you become a whistleblower, they take real good care of you. And our story is just one of many in that agency. That agency has a huge history of that. There have been numerous articles over the past 12 years of stuff like this.

Q: Don't all these big-initialed agencies have an inspector general or something similar whose primary job is to police the agency itself?

A: Treasury OIG is a joke! They did nothing. They knew all about this. Let me tell you what Treasury OIG did when we took it to them: They took all of our names and then picked up the phone and called somebody in Customs and laid us out to Customs. They did no investigation, and Treasury OIG has no teeth. All they do is investigate and then turn it over to somebody else. They cannot dish out any punishment. They just turned it over to the agency to do something about it. Well, they did -- they came after us.

Q: When did you start getting threatening mail at home?

A: It was one time, and it was subsequent to the seizure.

Q: Shut up and resign!

A: Exactly. Crystal clear -- you can't get much clearer than that. And again, there are many stories other than ours; ours is probably one of the most blatant ones. But once we became whistleblowers and became public -- in fact there, is a website we have up, CustomsCorruption.com, and we kinda put it out there as a, "Hey, if you're a Customs whistleblower, you can come here anonymously, or not anonymously." I can't begin to tell you the stories we've gotten and the people who have come forward. I guess it probably just took a few brave souls to weather the storm. Now we have people coming out of the woodwork.

Q: How long did you last once it started?

A: Before I resigned? Two years. It was just about two years that I hung in there.

Q: Some folks will say, "Hey, the bad suits got what they wanted: They forced you out. They made you resign; you didn't hang tough."

A: And sometimes, I think that, too. Hindsight is 20/20. I was concerned they were going to ruin my career. I'm going from being hero to zero, and they were making up stuff on us. They were making up false accusations and false charges, and I had had a stellar career. I thought, "If I don't leave now, they'll just keep putting more things in my file that just simply are not true." So I thought, "Hey, I've got a great resume. I can go anywhere and get a job. I've got two degrees, I've got this and that. I don't need this."

Q: What about some kind of appeal process?

A: The appeal process is a joke. The EEO process is a joke within Customs. Customs is one of the few agencies that gets to investigate itself through the EEO process and through internal affairs. That's what's wrong with that agency. Internal affairs is a built-in conflict of interest. It is controlled by the corrupt managers; they turn around and sic internal affairs on who they want investigated. If you're one of the cronies, magically you don't get investigated.

Q: Here is an obvious question. You have been harsh on some of these guys who, by your writing, have to be absolute dirt bags -- Lawrence Evantie, David Gray. Now that the book is out and all these allegations are in the public record, are any of these guys threatening to sue your butt?

A: No (laughing). Nothing! One of them has retired and moved on to a key position in the California government. The others have either been promoted or patted on the back. And if they are going to sue me, it has to be for defamation of character. What can they do? It would have to be false. Everything in the book is true, and they know it.

Q: OK, the bad aren't suing you. Are you suing them?

A: We have a federal lawsuit pending against Customs. We're in discovery right now. And there is no doubt in my mind we're going to win big-time in this lawsuit.

Q: Every litigant is confident. Why are you so sure of victory?

A: Because we have the ammunition. We have high-level witnesses. We have a federal prosecutor who witnessed a lot of this -- the retaliation, the undermining of the criminal case. She's now a judge, and she's going to be a witness in our lawsuit. It will be interesting to see how on earth they come up with some kind of defense against all of this. I was a federal agent. I did not walk out of there stupidly. We have the ammunition to back up what we say with witness testimony and documentation, and they know that. That's why they are just sitting there hoping they'll get to retirement. Why shouldn't they? Nothing has been done to these people -- they're never going to be investigated; they'll never be punished. They got away with it.

Q: When I looked at CustomsCorruption.com, I saw a name I recognized: John Carmen.

A: He's one of the whistleblowers. He was wrongfully arrested because of all this. Then charges were immediately kicked. He is part of a lawsuit, too. Those are the lengths they would go to -- sicking internal affairs on you, wrongfully arresting you. It was extremely egregious. We became the enemy of the state when we did this criminal investigation.

Q: This reads like a movie of the week.

A: People say that a lot. I've got a review on the book where they are calling it "Erin Brokovich meets Traffic." People use words like "fascinating," but when you're living it, it is not fascinating; it is dreadful. This destroyed my life, my family's life. ...

Q: And you had health problems on top of it.

A: Absolutely. People who came to my defense -- when you have loyal federal agents who see what's happening and they say, "I'm helping you out. I don't care what anybody says," and then your friends get pounded for doing the right thing, that's really hard to take. Emotionally, that's hard. I'm kind of one of those people who says do to me what you want. I'll go toe-to-toe with you all day, but when you start going after people whose only problem was they stood up and joined this investigation and tried to help me out, that was very difficult to take.

Q: Darlene, people who read your story or hear it go nuts with frustration, and they didn't live it like you. What can readers do to help? Should people bug their Congress critters about this?

A: Yes. There are two things we are very active in doing right now, and we need your help. Believe me, since WorldNetDaily went public with this, things have happened. The power of the press! Thank God! One of the reasons these people get away with pounding whistleblowers is because they can. There is no law protecting federal agents or federal government whistleblowers. There is current legislation at the U.S. Senate -- and our Senate testimony has already been submitted in writing (and hopefully, we will get to appear in person) -- Senate Bill 995. Please call your U.S. senators and congressmen and demand that law be passed. Honest cops should not be treated like this for trying to do the right thing.

Q: OK, call for support of S. 995. What else can folks do?

A: There are two congressmen that are on the Government Reform Committee, and we are hopeful they are going to be looking at this. The reason they are reacting to it is because people are calling them. Please call these numbers. These people react to phone calls, they really do. Dan Burton -- his number is 202-225-2276 -- and Rep. Dave Weldon at 202-225-3671.

Q: Do you have any additional information available to readers online?

A: Yes. They can go to Whistleblower.org -- that's the website for GAP, the Government Accountability Project.

Q: Did you have a union protecting your interests?

A: No, federal agents are not allowed to have a union. You are considered like an executive position, and federal agents do not have a union. Supposedly, there is some amendment or something that forbids it. So we had no protection whatsoever.

Q: What kind of oversight is there? Is it just the OIG, that you claim is an empty suit?

A: Yes. That's why this has continued for 12 or 13 years with pretty much the same managers involved over and over again. There is no oversight. Hopefully, now because this is becoming so public and so egregious, and because of the terrorist threat that's involved with this too ...

Q: The prospect of terrorists who want to use the rail system as a vehicle for introducing any kind of weapon of mass destruction -- they pretty much have an open gate?

A: Well, yes. Picture it -- these rail cars we're talking about are the cylindrical metal pressured tanker cars that normally carry oil or whatever. They also carry hazardous materials. Well, put in about 8,000 gallons of gasoline, 50 pounds of C4, a shape charge and throw in a thousand pounds of ball bearings just for fun -- and I say that facetiously ...

Q: That would be one big, honking mobile claymore mine.

A: You can send these a hundred at a time to a hundred different locations all within a mile of any of our landmarks. You can detonate them remotely. What we found through the narco traffickers is how they were bringing in the narcotics with just a phony ID and cash. You just go through the customer service, either on the Internet or on the phone with the railroads, and you can route these things remotely, set it up remotely, and they'll never be able to trace you. They don't need a suicide bomber. You'll never know who it was.

Q: That's a pretty dangerous scenario.

A: Seven of us, seven people sat down with the FBI two years ago and laid all this out -- the corruption, or what we thought was corruption, or at the very least, obstruction of justice, and the potential terrorist threat. Two years ago, we laid this out, and nothing has happened. I don't know what to tell you. We did our best to get something done about this, and I'm going to continue to do my best with thanks to the media and WorldNetDaily.

Q: I will understand if you waffle a little on this question, but with some of these bad-guy managers involved -- Evantie, Gray, some of the others who were alleged co-conspirators with them -- is there any intimation that any of these guys may have been on the take? Getting some kind of quid pro quo, something for turning their heads the other way or for calling off surveillance on tankers?

A: In my opinion -- and this is my humble opinion and that of many others involved in this -- why else would you do that? I mean, fill in the blanks. I never saw anybody take money or anything. But specifically, one manager had been involved in not only torpedoing this investigation, but several other high-level investigations. This person directly torpedoed them.

Q: An 8,000-pound score is a big deal, isn't it?

A: You'd think! Yes! And to have the built-in, high-level information we had to keep this going and to make numerous other seizures and really make this a huge project -- which is why the U.S. Attorney's office was all over this. The things that we identified -- this huge rail yard in Guadalajara, Mexico, owned and operated by the Arellano-Felix Cartel -- we could have really put a major dent in that cartel had we been able to continue doing our job. I personally don't think it's a coincidence that each and every time these investigations are torpedoed by the same managers, coincidentally, it's usually always the Arellano-Felix Cartel that the investigations are thwarted against.

Q: Lawrence Evantie pulled the surveillance on that rail car on which you popped the top and found the 8,000 pounds of narcotics. What was his reaction when someone said, "Hey, Larry, guess what? The bad guys visited the tanker and left some tools and split. Now we're S.O.L."?

A: I don't know what his reaction was. When I got told about that, I was at the U.S. Attorney's office with a federal prosecutor in her office when we found out about it. I got a phone call from my partner, Reuben. He said, "Are you sitting down?" I told him yes and put him on the speakerphone, and the prosecutor and I heard this. What do you do? We just sat there like, "I can't believe this." They can't do that. I don't know how many times people involved in our case outside our agency looked at me and said, "Your agency can't do that!" I felt embarrassed. I was humiliated this was going on.

I had other investigators -- the head of the San Bernardino Police Department intelligence unit that I worked with on cases repeatedly -- he'd look at me and say, "Who's corrupt in your agency?" He literally came up to me one day and knocked on my head: "Hello, McFly! This is not about your EEO case. There's major-league corruption here." That's when we started to think maybe these people are right. It's got to be something bigger than just an EEO complaint.

Q: Who is Ron Bundy?

A: Who? A lot of the names I had to change in the book.

Q: In May of '99, you had lunch with an ex-Customs agent named Ron Bundy, one of the first people you met when you were sworn in with Customs. Do you remember him?

A: Oh, yeah. I know who that is, but I have to keep his name anonymous. But he is definitely a good guy.

Q: So who is he? What's the deal?

A: He was a retired special agent that worked on cases -- Operation Casablanca ...

Q: Money laundering ...

A: Right, absolutely. He was basically and definitely a money laundering and fraud expert -- a very, very good agent.

Q: He worked for David Gray, right?

A: Yes.

Q: And what was his take on Gray?

A: That he was a weasel. Much to my surprise, he told me the whole story about one of the reasons he came back. It was because of me and one of the conflicts going on in the office -- a conflict between him and my partner, Reuben. There was a lot of jealousy going on. That was a difficult position to be in again. And he was with internal affairs and definitely in the loop and was one of the good old boys in internal affairs. He was involved in the heroin going home overnight and didn't do anything about it. We reported him, and we reported the attempted rape on him. Nothing happened. If you're one of the golden boys, pretty much in the Customs Service you can do anything you want. And that's not good.

Q: Is it still that bad now?

A: Let me say this, all this stuff happened under the reign of Ray Kelley, the commissioner of Customs. There's a new commissioner of Customs now, and hopefully this guy is going to do something. I've heard some good things about him, so I don't think people calling the new commissioner are thinking he was responsible for this mess.