Last month we highlighted the first investigative report on three judges in Jefferson Parish with a penchant for giving former Parish President Broussard legal work as a curator while he was serving as Parish President. Bigad Shaban at Channel 4 has kicked things up a notch by focusing in on one judge, Glen Ansardi and frankly the stench emanating from the hive is beginning to smell worse than three day old road kill in July.
At first blush I thought this was a Broussard family re-run as we find out that besides being DA Paul Connick’s main girl prosecuting traffic tickets and DUIs Norma Broussard also is in the notary business courtesy of Judge Ansardi. Then we are introduced to a new player in the Jefferson Parish Nepotism game, Judge Ansardi’s daughter Jennifer.
Evidently DA Connick’s attitude toward traffic enforcement is something along the lines of so what if a few schmucks die on the road because an incompetent fluffer is in charge of traffic violations so long as everyone on the inside gets their slice of the pie. When this is said and done it is my hope these miscreants are sentenced to attend the funeral of a 5 year old killed by a drunk driver so that maybe they’ll understand the depths of their greed driven depravity.
I threw props yesterday to Fox 8 and the Times Picayune for their investigative coverage of this unfolding scandal. With last night’s investigative report Channel 4 is letting everyone know they are not going to be a shrinking violet when it comes to this story. Before we get to the video embed lets highlight some of the key points from the transcript that accompanies Bigad Shaban’s report starting with some background on curatorships:
Most know Broussard as the now former leader of the state’s largest parish. Some at the university of New Orleans remember him as a political science professor. But according to documents obtained by Eyewitness News, Broussard actually had 185 other jobs while parish president, little known jobs called ‘curatorships.’
“When something comes before the court and someone out there has an interest in it, like a piece of property or amount of money in dispute, and that person can’t be located the court appoints a lawyer to represent the absent party,” said Eyewitness News Political Analyst Clancy DuBos.
And Broussard was that lawyer 185 times in the 6 years he was parish president. At a cost of about $500 per curatorship, Broussard was able to add more than $90,000 to his already six-figure parish salary. As for where the money comes from to fund curatorships, that all depends on the specific court case. In real estate matters, for example, a curator would be paid through a portion of the proceeds from the actual property in dispute or through court costs that the losing party is forced to pay.
“Normally [curatorships] are handled by young attorneys,” said Rafael Goyeneche, leader of the New Olreans based watchdog group the Metropolitan Crime Commission. “It’s a way that young attorneys, particularly solo practitioners, can go out and get some experience and begin to make some money.”
Next the report highlights all the insider double dealings as we continue:
Of the former parish president’s 51 curatorships in 2009, more than half, came from Ansardi—a longtime friend and former law partner.
“I don’t think there’s a prohibition against him doing that,” said Mike Ellis, Broussard’s attorney. “Judges will usually pick somebody they’re familiar with and do a good job, I hate to see anything sinister tied into that.”
“I think that when you look at the volume of appointments made by Judge Ansardi it raises an issue as to whether or not those appointments and the quantity of those appointments would constitute a violation of the Judicial Cannons,” said Goyeneche.
According to Louisiana’s Code of Judicial Conduct, “a judge shall not allow family, social, political, or other relationships to influence judicial conduct….a judge should exercise the power of appointment impartially and on the basis of merit.”
Less than a month before Ansardi took the bench early last year, he sold his 4-year old notary business to Aaron Broussard’s daughter in law, Norma Broussard.
The cost? Just $10 and “other valuable consideration.”
As for whether that business deal had anything to do with Aaron Broussard’s long line on curatorships, that’s yet to be answered. Ellis never responded to requests for information regarding the sale and Ansardi did not respond to Eyewitness News’ request for an interview.
I don’t understand why Judge Ansardi wouldn’t be proud to discuss his associations with Channel 4 if everything were completely above board but the report gives us a clue about why he may have kept his mouth shut:
As for Broussard, he shares even more connections to the judge.
Ansardi’s law firm scored more than $237,970 In legal work from Jefferson Parish between 2005 and 2006, all while Broussard was president.
And Ansardi’s firm earned even more, nearly $700,000, during the same time frame from the city of Kenner–the deal dates back to when Broussard was the Kenner mayor.
And Broussard’s nonprofit group, The Aaron F. Broussard Community Service Foundation, lists Ansardi as a Director and Secretary-Treasurer.
The connections continue with Broussard’s law firm contributing $1,050 to Ansardi’s 2008 campaign for judge.
And Ansardi’s daughter, Jennifer Ansardi was a lobbyist for Jefferson Parish government from 2003 to 2009.
All lengthy layers now peeled back–revealing finances and friendship and the connections in between linking a recently resigned parish president, a district court judge, and a little known, but lucrative, line of legal work.
Our readers can view the entire piece below. – sop