NY Times reports 54 former AG’s file brief in support of Siegelman asking Court to overturn conviction

The New York Times reported fifty-four former state attorneys general filed a brief Friday supporting the appeal of former Gov Don Siegelman of Alabama.

A year ago, Mr. Siegelman was sentenced to serve more than seven years in prison for appointing a wealthy businessman to a state health board in exchange for a $500,000 contribution to a campaign for a state lottery. Mr. Siegelman had intended the lottery money to go the state’s schools.

The former governor and his supporters have contended that the money was nothing more than a routine political contribution and that there was no agreement that the businessman, Richard M. Scrushy, would be re-appointed to a board on which he had previously served. Continue reading “NY Times reports 54 former AG’s file brief in support of Siegelman asking Court to overturn conviction”

EWE & Jim Letten: Secret Deals for Guidry and Graham. Perdigao SOL

The last Edwin Edwards investigation and trial was a go for broke effort. EWE had beaten the Feds twice in court years earlier and passed into legend during his second corruption trial when he mixed drinks for bar patrons in the French Quarter with his lawyer one evening after the day’s court session had ended.

As a Hancock County guy who at the time identified himself as more of a Louisianian than Mississippian, (not an uncommon thing in Hancock County) I don’t know that I can adequately explain the public’s love affair with a man we all knew was a crook. What I do know is today, even former EWE rivals like Governor David Treen think he should be released from prison. As we dig into USA v Perdigao v Adams & Reese I’m beginning to understand why people could think Edwin Edwards was railroaded. Thanks to Belle’s monitoring of PACER we have posted Perdigao’s Amended Witness List to our Perdigao litigation page. The amendment contains exhibits including the Texas case of USA v Collins that provides some color.

To understand the explosive implications of the Perdigao’s allegations against US Attorney Letten we start with this column written in late April by Times Picayune columnist James Gill. I remember Mr Gill as a talented writer and bane of uptown bluebloods. He also boils Perdigao’s allegations against Jim Letten and Robert Guidry down to the nitty gritty: Continue reading “EWE & Jim Letten: Secret Deals for Guidry and Graham. Perdigao SOL”

Sam Friedman on Dickie Scruggs and the Courtroom as a Profit Center

The recent New Yorker article on Dickie Scruggs has been a popular subject in the blogesphere. Personally I’m suffering from Scruggs fatigue and will disclose I personally think that drama is largely over. P. L. Blake could change all that and more of course, but it is hard to see the incentive for the elderly Blake to cooperate with federal investigators at this point.

My experience has been that the best discussions I’ve seen or participated in on the topic of Dickie Scruggs and/or coastal insurance issues have been with people who work in the insurance industry that are not practicing lawyers. That is not a slap at the bar as much an admission on my part of the type people my life experiences cause me to better identify. I guess that is why some of my favorite commenters here on slabbed hail from the industry even though we don’t exactly see eye to eye on many of these issues.

This brings me to Sam Friedman, Editor In-Chief of the National Underwriter, a property and casualty trade publication with whom I’ve had the pleasure of chatting on occasion. Sam’s blog graces our selective blogroll because of his even handed treatments of these important issues. We don’t agree on the need for the HR3121 multi-peril insurance concept or whether the Bloomberg Article The Insurance Hoax was a complete hatchet job. 😉 However, Sam does recognize the insurance problems we opine about so much here on slabbed. Reasonable people can disagree and yet still work together to find good solutions to mutually identified problems. Sam is such a person. Continue reading “Sam Friedman on Dickie Scruggs and the Courtroom as a Profit Center”

Gulfport NFIP Compliance: Upon Further Review FEMA Backs Down

I highlighted the head scratching story of FEMA raising Gulfport’s Flood rating in my last Around the GO Zone post and ended it with a prediction:

it seems to me that construction that predates the new flood plain should be grandfathered. We have not heard the last of this story and I bet it includes some bureaucratic bungling on FEMA’s part.

In this case I am very happy to be right as today we are greeted with yet another follow up story by Ryan LaFontaine which tells us the FEMA letter to Mayor Warr was “premature”. Here is the latest: Continue reading “Gulfport NFIP Compliance: Upon Further Review FEMA Backs Down”

Ward, Please Come Home Safe

I’ve struggled since Wednesday whether to publicize the disappearance of elderly Alzheimer’s disease afflicted Hancock County resident Ward Buel here on slabbed but an email from a client finally tipped the decision to link the Sun Herald article. When Ward was working for another of my clients I had the opportunity to get to know him. Pre-Alzheimer’s he was a gifted project manager who could estimate and tackle the most complicated infrastructure or site prep jobs. He was completely devoted to his wife of many years and is a great human being.

I hope our readers will help his family publicize Ward’s disappearance so that we can get him back home. Continue reading “Ward, Please Come Home Safe”

Sentencing date set for Scruggs – Will justice be served?

Judge Biggers set July 2 as the sentencing date for Dick Scruggs, his son Zach, and Sid Backstrom in a notice issued today. h/t Y’all

Although written from the corporate perspective, attorney Joan McPhee’s recent comments on modern day justice provide an abundance of food for thought about the pressure to plead guilty to avoid a potentially harsh sentence.

Behind the weekly headlines of corporate guilty pleas and multimillion-dollar corporate criminal resolutions lies a back story — little known, less well understood — that challenges the core of what those headlines pronounce. In a peculiar 21st century phenomenon, guilt or innocence has become largely beside the point for corporations defending themselves against aggressive federal prosecutors and allegations of criminal wrongdoing.

How else to explain the non sequitur in the advice that seasoned white-collar counsel often give to their Fortune 500 clients: While the evidence is strongly in the company’s favor, and there are excellent legal and constitutional defenses to the alleged misconduct, the company nevertheless should consider admitting to criminal wrongdoing and entering a plea of guilt.

McPhee also wrote about the plea agreements offered the guilty that leave others to pay the price. That’s the bottom line, IMO, to the sentencing of Scruggs, his son, and Backstrom – and Patterson, as well. Continue reading “Sentencing date set for Scruggs – Will justice be served?”

Beauvoir is Back!

A symbol of our continued recovery is repaired and ready again for tourist. It has also attracted the interests of the national media. Kat Bergeron has the Sun Herald story.

In the history of Hurricane Katrina recovery, Beauvoir is a Humpty Dumpty “back together again” story getting national attention.

The restored 1852 National Historic Landmark reopens Tuesday with a public celebration and tours for the first time since the 2005 storm destroyed all but the house on the beachfront estate where Jefferson Davis spent his retirement. Continue reading “Beauvoir is Back!”

More Background on James Perdigao from the ABA Journal

We are in the process of matching up the dates contained in the government indictment of James Perdigao against those in the civil complaint. For now I’ll throw out this article from 2007 that ran in the ABA Journal on the criminal side of the case.

Before I post the article I’ll share a few things from it that strike me as strange such as Perdigao getting away with skimming Adam and Reese receivables undetected for as long as 13 years. In the world of financial fraud such time length is not unheard of but is certainly very unusual and speaks volume to the abysmal internal accounting controls that had to be in place at Adams and Reese. Simply put no one was minding the store.  Typically fraudsters also exhibit behavioral/lifestyle changes that were evidently absent in James Perdigao’s case. Of course none of this means he is innocent or guilty, rather it simply means the criminal case is unusual in respects.

It also reminds me in certain ways of a lawyer in Jackson with the first name of James and his attorney Keith Shelton who were railroaded by the justice system in Hinds county.

Here is the ABA Journal story which I retrieved from the google cache. Continue reading “More Background on James Perdigao from the ABA Journal”

The Times Picayune on Perdigao v Adams & Reese (Updated)

The tale told by James Perdigao in his racketeering complaint against Adams and Reese is simply amazing.  It contains all the elements of a first class political-legal scandal that will make Mississippi’s own Judicial Bribery case look like child’s play. We will update our Perdigao legal page later today with more filings on the criminal side of this case but first we bring you today’s inevitable T-P story on the civil RICO filing. I say inevitable because our post, inspired by a tip from slabbed’s friend Richard Trahant, spread like wildfire in the Louisiana based blogesphere.  We welcome all our of our Louisiana friends here, especially those slabbed by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Besides Katrina our states share Mr Perdigao’s former employer Adams and Reese. More on that and detail on the connections to Worldcom later. First today’s report by Gorden Russell.

In a sensational legal filing, a former partner at Adams and Reese who is awaiting trial on charges that he stole $30 million from the firm claims that the firm has had a hand in scandals ranging from the WorldCom stock fraud to the abuse of Louisiana film tax credits.

The lawsuit also claims the New Orleans firm has made a practice of hiring former public officials, including former Jefferson Parish President Tim Coulon and former New Orleans Mayor Marc Morial, and improperly using them to land clients with whom they had dealt as public officials. Coulon and Morial deny the claim. Continue reading “The Times Picayune on Perdigao v Adams & Reese (Updated)”

Perdigao v Adams & Reese: Robert Wooley You Magnificent Bastard, Welcome to Slabbed

Our readers may remember Weiss v Allstate attorney Richard Trahant occasionally stops in to chat with us. Today, he dropped by with the mother of all tips, the case of Perdiago v Adams & Reese L.L.P. et al filed Tuesday in New Orleans which we have added to our legal pages. This is a very long post but I hope our readers will take the time to read it and consider the implications of the misconduct alleged against Adams and Reese.

I did some googling and found this case had a little something for everyone and featured all the usual suspects, Edwin Edwards, indicted US Representative William Jefferson, former Mayor Marc Morial, disgraced former Orleans Parish DA (and former Clinton era NOLA US Attorney) Eddie Jordan, Robert Guidry plus a entire gaggle of local political figures. Frankly, reading the RICO complaint against Adams and Reese coupled with the news stories has me convinced this case is huge in its implications. First some background from Baton Rouge Channel 9.

The federal court case that sent former Governor Edwin Edwards to prison has a potential new can of worms. New paperwork filed in a mail fraud case lists Congressman William Jefferson as participating in a bribery scheme between former Treasure Chest Casino owner Robert Guidry and former U.S. Attorney Eddie Jordan. Both Guidry and Jordan were key players in the Edwards case…… Continue reading “Perdigao v Adams & Reese: Robert Wooley You Magnificent Bastard, Welcome to Slabbed”