Wednesday, September 3, 2008
EVELINE HERFKENS: UN's Solution of Dutch Politician at $1 a Year Could Cost $100,000 in "Subsistence Allowance," Tudor Hotel Games
By Matthew Lee - InnerCityPress.Com
UNITED NATIONS, September 2 -- Eveline Herfkens, who wrongfully took $280,000 from the Dutch government for luxury housing while ostensibly working for the UN's anti-poverty Millennium Campaign, announced last Friday that rather than return any of the money, she will work for the UN for one dollar for a year. While to many her refusal to return the money is scandalous, particularly when compared to the UN's decision to prosecute a lower-income mother in Brooklyn who erroneously received money from the UN, even her penance is not what it appears. Tuesday at the UN, Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's Deputy Spokesperson Marie Okabe about Ms. Herfkens "dollar a year" position, whether it was appropriate and what work she will do. Video here, from Minute 18:39.
Ms. Okabe referred the question to the UN Development Program, whose spokesman Stephane Dujarric Inner City Press asked to "please state what work Eveline Herfkens will be doing for UNDP, whether it is full-time, and what benefits beyond the stated one dollar a year she will receive."
Late on Tuesday, Dujarric responded with a statement that
"UNDP management is pleased to announce that it has accepted an offer from Eveline Herfkens to work as a Special Advisor for the Millennium Campaign. Ms. Herfkens will work as a consultant on a $1 per year salary basis as of early September for a 12 month period."
Regarding benefits, he told Inner City Press that "as with any other staff member, she will receive DSA when on official business." DSA stands for Daily Subsistence Allowance, which for the UN in New York is fully $378 a day, $620 a day if the staff member stays in for example the nearby Tudor Hotel. Click here for UN's DSA schedule, ST/IC/2008/44, which Inner City Press is putting online.
At this most expensive rate, to which Ms. Herfkens has shown she feels entitled, her "dollar a year" could cost the UN $133,680. At the cheapest rate, she would cost the UN $57,450. Some penance.
Analysis: the UN's murky disclosure of how and how much its officials are paid would never be accepted under Security and Exchange Commission or other applicable rules. Salaries are under-reported, without including so-called "Post Adjustment" or DSA. Recently, UNDP told Inner City Press that how much it insures its officials for, and if families of victims of the December 2007 bombing of the UN in Algiers have been paid, "is a confidential matter for each person." Then UNDP discloses, in response to a question, that Herfkens' supposed dollar a year in fact includes DSA. We will continue to ask how much and when she is paid, given the claim that her arrangement somehow makes up for her wrongful receipt of $280,000 from a government while supposedly working only for the UN.
Footnote: speaking of the Tudor Hotel, several Inner City Press sources have noticed another UN Assistant Secretary General, Jane Holl Lute, going in and out of the location, on 42nd Street east of Second Avenue. These sources wonder if she, or other long-time full-time UN officials, still live in hotels and collect the UN's generous Daily Subsistence Allowance. Given the difficulty of getting any answers from Jane Holl Lute about her documented involvement in steering a $250 million no-bid contract to Lockheed Martin for Darfur peacekeeping camps, it has not yet been feasible to get this question answered. But we will get to the bottom of the use and misuse of the UN's DSA.