I was actually tickled that a commenter mentioned former Mississippi Insurance Commissioner George Dale yesterday on my profile of Lafayette Insurance Company as it loosely fits with other information that has come to light in the unfolding Jefferson Parish corruption scandal. The intersection of course is the lobbying arm of law firm Adams and Reese which has a penchant for hiring crooked former pols to lobby for their big business clients. As the title implies we’ve blogged a good bit on Adams and Reese through time, especially the saga of former A&R partner Jamie Perdigao who is now in prison serving time for embezzling almost $30MM from his partners there without being caught for years. Our archival posts on this topic can be found generally here with some notable posts here, here and here.
The web of relationships that fostered the cesspool that is Jefferson Parish government cuts across the legal profession, as everyone will eventually learn as some of the best lawyers both trial and corporate form the rats nest on top of the Parish treasury. This post focuses on our old friends at A&R as one of their lobbyist, former Jefferson Parish President Tim Coulon, has repeatedly surfaced in connection with the doubling dealing that centered around former Parish CAO Tim Whitmer and his insurance brokerage Lagniappe Industries. We’ll let Paul Murphy at WWL kick start things:
Federal investigators are now reviewing subpoenaed documents from the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District, also known as the Superdome Commission.
They requested LSED contracts and insurance agreements from 2004 to 2008. That’s during a time when former Jefferson Parish President Tim Coulon served as chairman of the board and was on the payroll at Lagniappe Industries, owned by former parish Chief Administrative Officer Tim Whitmer.
Documents reveal that Whitmer’s firm had a business relationship with more than a dozen parish vendors, including Sizeler Architecture. According to public records requested by WWLTV, Sizeler also held contracts with the LSED.
Sizeler was part of a joint venture that designed repairs to the Superdome in late 2005 after Hurricane Katrina. In April 2007 the company also did the preliminary design work on a Hornets training facility next to the New Orleans Arena. And in July 2007, Sizeler worked on projects to bring the Superdome into compliance with the Americans with Disability Act.
These boards provide plenty of avenues for corruption but a day job they do not make. And where did Coulon work? Adams and Reese of course:
Adams and Reese, the largest law firm in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi, announces that Tim P. Coulon, outgoing President of Jefferson Parish, will join the firm’s governmental relations division, effective January 6, 2004. Also joining the firm is his son, Christopher “Chris” Coulon, president of The Coulon Group, a statewide lobbying firm in Louisiana.
We only thought we smelled the stench coming from A&R’s NOLA office with the Perdigao saga. Let’s review the list of non-lawyer pols hired by Adams and Reece over the past few years besides the double dealing Coulon family: George Dale, Robert Wooley, and Marc Morial to name a few.
I took a bit of heat in the blogosphere from a couple of Mississippi based bloggers that had little idea of the lay of the land in the magical and mystic locale known as N’Awlins beyond the locations of a few good eateries. I’m not interested in revisiting those old battles but I always said our blogging on Jamie Perdigao would wear well with time. I’ll end this post with a link to an old Gordon Russell article on the Perdigao RICO suit against A&R and I’ll let our readers decide for themselves who was full of it because it wasn’t Jamie Perdigao.
The firm sought a similar arrangement with Coulon after he left the presidency of Jefferson Parish, the suit says. As with Morial, the suit claims the firm saw the politician as a vehicle for currying favor with Jefferson Parish and contractors who worked with the parish.
“Almost immediately upon Tim Coulon’s arrival at the firm in 2004, he began violating the state’s anti-corruption statute and his contract with the firm by assisting firm clients with transactions and other matters before Jefferson Parish,” the suit says.
Coulon strongly denied the charge and called the lawsuit a “sign of a desperate man.”
Mr Coulon, it nows looks like Mr Perdigao has some company among his old friends at Adams and Reese in the desperation department. Could it be that Jim Letten has finally pulled his fingers out of his ears and is listening to what Mr Perdigao has to say?