BREAKING: Jefferson Parish Personnel Board Investigates Broussard’s former squeeze and Judicial Candidate Debbie Villio

Folks we have dirt on Miss Villio we have not rolled out but her reported problem using her parish office as a campaign platform is the least of the sleaze we have on her. Our sources tell us the judge makers at Gautheir Houghtaling dusted off Debbie for a run at former Judge Benge’s office. The mock courtroom at the firm makes a nice setting to film commercials and we’re hearing that is exactly what Ms Villio was doing there this past weekend. Consider this a sneak preview of our coming post on so called super lawyer John Houghtaling and the firm he now runs. I’ll add our sources are very close to the hive and are second to none.

Val Bracy has the breaking story on the personnel board investigations for Fox 8:

The Jefferson Parish Personnel Board is investigating two former employees.

One of them is Aaron Broussard’s ex-wife.

Karen Parker-Broussard was being paid more than what civil service rules allowed for the job she was performing.

She was fired from the parish last month.

The other former employee under investigation is Debbie Villio. Villio used to be the Director of Inspection and Code Enforcement.She resigned on February 3rd to run for the judgeship left vacant by Joan Benge.

The personnel board is now looking into whether Villio violated a parish law that prohibits employees from being politically active.

A document from the state Ethics Administration show Villio made a donation to the campaign of Councilman Elton Lagasse last year.

Villio says her brother was asked to donate invitations from his family owned printing company.

“Yes ma’am I did fund those invitations for my brother, so he didn’t pick up the cost,” Villio said Monday after appearing in a candidate forum.

Although Villio appears to have violated the parish code of ordinances, she says she doesn’t believe she broke the law.

“I don’t see it that way…but if you see it that way we’ll let the voters decide.”

Villio says she believes she checked with Parish Attorney Tom Wilkinson before making the donation……..

Villio may also be in violation of the parish code related to a 2009 fundraiser she says politicians hosted on her behalf.

“It was all the elected officials including Chairman (John) Young and DA Paul Connick, Sheriff Newell Normand. All of the council members, assessor Lawrence Chehardy and all the chief’s of police in the parish. And they put on that fundraiser and they solicited the funds.”

Although Villio says she did not participate in the fundraiser, a document from the Ethics Administration shows she accepted two donations for the breakfast.

I’ll make a prediction that Villio drops out of this race before the election.

sop

8 thoughts on “BREAKING: Jefferson Parish Personnel Board Investigates Broussard’s former squeeze and Judicial Candidate Debbie Villio”

  1. Well Sop, I would like to believe that a person who has a grasp of reality would do exactly what one’s gut feels is right; and, that just plain common decency tells them, I’m not the one. This is not by any means, a characterization of the Debbie Villio that we have all come to know and “love”.

    This election is a crucible of the JP taxpayer/voter’s resolve. Vote for Villio, a person of the same ilk and moral bankruptcy of her supporters you have ranted about that is the SOS; or, go to the polls, and vote for any other person other than Villio.

    As I was listening to Bracy’s interview tonight of Villio, it was her interview of Wilkinson 2 days previously that I heard. That although he is the Parish Attorney, his conduct in circumventing and/or intentionally breaking the law was of no consequence. That’s how we do things. And to no surprise, Villio chimed in concert when answering a question about her illegal conduct, that’s how the Administration has always done things in the past, and she would consult with Wilkinson about such matters !

    Asked to comment on Wilkinson’s conduct as Parish Attorney, Mr. Goyeneche of the MCC, stated rather succinctly and to my persuasion on point, and I paraphrase: The political class in Jefferson Parish have acquired to such an extreme degree a sense of entitlement, that they believe and act as though the rules of law do not apply to them. In essence, that they are not only above the law, but beyond the law.

    Hearing Mr. Goyeneche’s words reckoned a quote that I still remember from school days: “Wherever Law ends, Tyranny begins” (John Locke. Second Treatise of Government). Well citizens of Jefferson Parish, you do indeed live in a state of anarchy. Each fiefdom ( DA, Sheriff, Clerk of Court, Assessor, etc) stating what the law is according what they say it is as concerns their interests .

    The fact is that Villio, while Director Of Code, participated in political activity which is specifically prohibited by Parish Law. In her parallel universe, the fact that other people (Sheriff Normmand, DA Connick, contractors doing business with her department, employees of her office and the numerous other “usual politico suspects” gave her money at a fund raiser in June of 2009 does not violate this prohibition ( I will provide a copy of her filing at a later date, or simply go to the La. election site) She says, rather emphatically, that “other people, Sheriff Normmand in particular, hosted this fund raising breakfast for her. She of course is part and parcel of the “Debbie Villio Campaign Committee”, the same entity which she filed a report accounting for the monies received on her behalf. Ms. Villio, as I have related above, tells us from the “other” world that these prohibitions do not apply to her because that’s not the way it’s been done in the Parish for the last 12 year or so.

    The arrogant participation by both the Sheriff and DA of JP, knowing that she was prohibited in such conduct is beyond contempt for the law. And all the other lawyers like, Connick, Capella, Morino, ADAMS and REESE, and on and on have no defense to this travesty.

    Tyrants prevail by resignation, free men persevere with ideals…………………………………………

  2. Actually, the report I’m talking about is from 2000 (2/27/00 TP), but it’s good to look back:

    >As their bosses were inaugurated into a final term in office, most aides to Jefferson Parish Council members received gifts of big raises, parish records show.

    Most council members increased the pay of their right-hand employees by 28 percent, with one paying his aide 40 percent more, topping out at $80,844, much to the surprise of some civic leaders.

    The salaries, which came at council members’ discretion, are in some cases twice as much as their counterparts in similar-sized local governments.

    “If statistics show that a pay increase of that size is warranted, it ought to be put in gradually, not … how many months after the election,” said Debbie Settoon, president of The Civic League of Jefferson Parish.

    Many of the raises are in addition to an annual 5 percent anniversary increase that all parish employees receive and a minimum 3 percent cost-of-living adjustment when a new pay plan was instituted last year. Parish President Tim Coulon’s top aides received no discretionary raises.

    Council members said they needed to bring salaries to modern-day standards to keep their experienced aides before term limits make them leave office.

    Councilman T.J. “Butch” Ward’s aide, Bill Townsend, led the pack among the council with a 41 percent raise, increasing his $57,454 salary to $80,844, the maximum allowed for an aide under the parish pay plan.

    Those receiving 28 percent raises include aides to Councilmen Lloyd Giardina and Nick Giambelluca, along with two aides to Council Chairman Aaron Broussard , from $57,454 to $73,328. Lowell “Sonny” Burmaster, chief assistant to the council, who is on a slightly higher pay scale, also received a 28 percent raise, bringing his pay to $84,855. Kenneth Hughes, the council’s research and budget director, also received a 5 percent discretionary raise, bringing his salary to $97,977.

    Councilman Donald Jones gave his aide a 22 percent increase, bringing his salary to $73,328. It followed a 10 percent discretionary increase in March 1999, though he received no anniversary raises. Councilman John Lavarine’s aide got an extra 10 percent on top of a 5 percent anniversary increase, bringing her salary to $63,453. Councilman Ed Muniz’s aide received no discretionary increase, with his pay staying steady at $63,343.

    Few community leaders said they had heard of the raises. They said they knew the aides worked hard and long hours.

    “It appears to be a lot of money to me … to jump somebody 27 percent, that’s a big jump,” said Terrytown Civic Association President Hank Berchak. “I don’t know anybody who gets those kinds of raises.”

    “The only word I can think of is amazing,” in comparison to how much the parish president and council members make, said Howard Bennett, a businessman and an activist in the Civic League. “I’m speechless.”

    Though the size of the pay increases may raise eyebrows, the salaries aren’t necessarily out of line, said Tim Joder, director of sponsored research and business affairs for the College of Urban and Public Affairs at the University of New Orleans.

    “I don’t think they’re terribly inconsistent with the level of responsibility these aides have,” said Joder, who conducted a pay study for Jefferson Parish 10 years ago.

    Coulon said he did not give out discretionary raises to non-civil service parish employees because it would have been too difficult to decide.

    “I didn’t think it was appropriate on my part,” Coulon said. “I’d have to pick and choose … who to give a discretionary raise.”

    Council members said the raises are making aides’ salaries comparable to the modern times. They also said the aides have little job security working under elected officials who will all be ousted in four years by term limits.

    “These assistants now are basically first mates on the ship Titanic,” Broussard said. “Their career is sinking with their boss … When do you decide the first mate merits going to an upper deck?”

    In many ways, council members argue their aides’ jobs are more demanding than some top parish employees who have desk jobs and are making more.

    Aides go to hundreds of civic meetings in a year, meet with constituents, answer complaints and stay abreast of issues for their bosses, council members said.

    “Those people work 75 to 80 hours a week. They handle major operations,” Jones said. “They do everything a council person can do besides vote and make policy.”

    Jones said running a district is like running a multimillion-dollar corporation, and pay has to be adequate to get good people.

    Ward said council aides “are working nights, weekends, floods.”

    Besides the term-limits issue, Ward said the raise he gave was justified because Townsend has been working in his office for 11 years and his salary hasn’t risen as quickly as those of other aides. Townsend did not receive 5 percent anniversary raises in 1997 and 1998, records show.

    Ward said his office costs are also the lowest of all the council offices, and he’s decided to spend money on salaries for his staff rather than other things.

    “It’s how you’re going to spend your money,” Ward said. The raise “was not an easy bullet to bite, but looking at the whole situation and looking at the amount of money spent in my office, I think it’s well spent.”

    Council members are permitted to pay their staff whatever salary they like within a certain range. Along with all parish employees, each aide received a minimum 3 percent cost-of-living raise with a new pay plan instituted last year. The plan also increased the maximum base salary for council aides from $52,716 to $80,844. Pay may go higher than that depending on years of service.

    Giardina said he based the 28 percent raise to his aide, Ronald Besson, on what other council members were doing.

    “It’s a substantial increase,” Giardina said. “But it’s within the parameters that we’re allowed.”

    Broussard said the fact that the new pay plan allowed for such big increases shows that their salaries were out-of-step with the modern world.

    Broussard said council members didn’t give raises immediately after the plan went into effect because they wanted to be sure they would be in office for another term.

    Lavarine said his conservative personality shone through when he gave a raise to his assistant, JoAnn Becnel.

    “I feel kind of bad about it because she’s almost the lowest paid and one of the hardest working,” Lavarine said. “I’ve got mixed emotions on it. I’d love to pay her the top salary, but I can’t bring myself to do it. I guess that’s the conservative nature in me.”

    Joder said government salaries in Louisiana have historically been on the low side.

    While most national government associations don’t keep statistics on council aides’ salaries, the median salary for a chief elected official in a county government with a population between 250,000 and 499,999 is $66,840, according to the International City/County Management Association. Jefferson Parish President Coulon makes $92,520 annually. District council members, whose elected positions are considered part time, make $46,260 yearly, parish administrators said.

    Coulons top aides, most of whom are on different pay scales and have more years of service with the parish than their council counterparts, are making between $60,327 and $98,266.

    In Charlotte, N.C., the mayor’s salary and benefits total $30,600, an official said. But that city’s top elected official has three aides, who earn between $32,000 and $38,000 annually, the official said. The Charlotte City Council, with 11 members, has one aide for the entire elected body.

    In East Baton Rouge Parish, a human resource analyst said council members can have two “legislative assistants,” with pay ranging from $16,635 to $28,214 each.

    In New Orleans, some council members have designated more than one member of their staff as a “legislative aide.” The highest paid aide in New Orleans makes $44,061.

    “It’s a dynamic job. You meet a lot of people, make a lot of connections,” said Ron Pursell, New Orleans City Council chief of staff. “They’re not getting rich on it, I can tell you that.”

    Joder said salaries in New Orleans are simply too low.

    “That’s reflective of the way New Orleans pays its people,” Joder said. “It’s a disaster.”

    **** Cherie Gauthier 4 (years as council aide) and Karen Parker $57,454 $73,328 28% 8 Aaron Broussard

    Bill Townsend $57,454 $80,844 41% 11 T.J. Butch Ward

    Ronald Besson $57,454 $73,328 28% 4 Lloyd Giardina

    A.J. Gilmore $60,327 $73,328 22% 3 Donald Jones

    Emile Lafourcade $63,343 $63,343 0 12 Ed Muniz

    JoAnne Becnel $54,718 $63,453 15%** 4 John Lavarine

    Edwin Voltoina $57,454 $73,328 28%** 6 Nick Giambelluca

    Lowell Burmaster, Jr. $66,486 $84,885 28% 16 The council

    *Consecutive years **Includes a 5 percent anniversary raise Source: Jefferson Parish<

    That Lowell Burmaster guy today makes……… $134,556.

  3. Can you research Villio’s connection to the FINS kangaroo court? JPPSS systematically criminalized disability issues and students ended in the school house to court house revolving door. Lots of funds for discipline, but never enough for counseling services. I do believe Ms. Villio oversaw this project. Also, counseling was outsourced after the student isolation to trailers rather then behavior plans. This resulted in a consent decree that JPPSS still does not comply with.

  4. I needed some air, and as I opened the french doors looking out toward the levee, the Rebel Yell hit me like a whirlwind. In a daze, I heard deBrief ask me whether I should write about it, you know, what it may mean, what could happen? Pelican, “Oui, oui, je sais que c’est tres grave”. Com’on man, let’s go back inside and have another drink.

    The present campaign of Ms. Debbie Villio to be elected a Judge of the 24th Judicial court, Parish of Jefferson, could be the deciding crucible Jefferson Parish Voters/Taxpayers face NOW ! They must demonstrate to the world, by voting against Ms. Villio, that we need and want to be free. Free of the stranglehold of the few incestuous political families, their friends and their cronies who continually drain the taxpayers coffers for their need of large salaries to provide for the huge retirement benefits; their need to employ their families; their need to award contracts to cronies who in turn contribute to their campaigns to insure their re-election. Until this insidious cycle ends, we, the taxpayers of Jefferson Parish will not be free, we will remain the servants of this self-serving entitlement class of arrogant and greedy politicians whose accountability is only for their interests.

    Ms. Debbie Villio’s rise up and through the web of Jefferson Parish politics takes on a myriad of paths. I will not allude to the personal. It is that she, like so many others like her, have chosen to bend, to rationalize, to “go along to get along”, and in time, to mirror the people who they depend on for their job, the amount of salary, the benefits and hopefully their support for an elected office such as the Judgeship Ms, Villio is currently running for.

    Ms. Villio’s transgressions have been laid on the slab here previously. In my opinion she is both morally and ethically challenged, not to mention her total contempt for the law, but not of the powers that be.

    Ms. Villio filed a financial report, “Committee To Elect Debbie Villio” for monies received from a “breakfast fundraiser” on her behalf. This fundraiser was staged in June of 2009 while she was still Director of Code for Jefferson Parish. The Personnel Rules of Jefferson Parish specifically prohibit “any” political activity by an employee of the Parish, to wit Ms. Villio. As we have heard her “other worldly” rationalizations in the past, she proffers this for the fundraising event: That it was Sheriff Normmand who hosted this fundraiser, not her. Well ok, except the reality is Ms. Villio, you were there; you had the invitations prepared; the checks were made out to you; and you made the report to the proper agency. Are we missing something here ? And not only did you choose to violate the Personnel Rules, the very same authorities who should monitor such illegal conduct, instead donated, Sheriff (donated $2500) and the DA (donated $1000) and thus facilitated your blatant disregard for the rules.

    Alright get me another drink deBrief, we’re going to need it, so we can go over this “usual suspect” donor list that Ms. Villio so graciously provided us with.

    Put in context that Ms. Villio is Director of Code, an all encompassing web of commercial developers, property owners, contractors, lawyers, surveyors, engineers and hangers on that her department has jurisdiction of. Here are names of some of the contributers ( aside from the obvious conflicts of the Sheriff and DA which I have mentioned previously) listed below:

    ALLSOUTH CONSULTING ENGINEERS, INC. $500

    ASBESTOS ABATEMENT CONTRACTORS, INC $1000

    BETA TESTING & INSPECTING LLC $1000

    BLUE WILLIAMS $1000

    C BUD TAULLI CONSTRUCTION INC $500

    CDM $500

    CAPITELLI & WICKER $500

    CARLO MUSSO $2500

    CAUSEWAY LLC $1000

    CHARLES CUSIMANO lll $500

    CHIEF STEVE CARAWAY $500

    CIMINI & ASSOCIATES $250

    CONNICK & CONNICK $500

    COOGAN & COOGAN $300

    CORRECTHEALTH, LLC $2500

    COULON CONSULTANTS $500

    DIGITAL ENGINEERING $500

    ELLIS ENGINEERING LLC $500

    ELTON LAGASSE $1000

    FAVOT AND SHANE $500

    GEORGE CELLA lll $1500

    GREGORY C RIGAMER & ASSOC. $500

    HAMID R. ALIZADEH $500

    HARTMAN ENGINEERING $500

    I. WILLIAM SIZELER $500

    IESI CORPORATION $500

    IRPINO LAW FIRM $1000

    JAMES A HATCH $1500

    JOHN STUMPF, JR $1000

    KATHY CUSIMANO $500

    KEN HOLLIS $500

    LAGNIAPPE $250

    LAUREL COMMUNICATIONS $1000

    LOULAN PITRE JR $2500

    MARINO CRIMINAL LAW $500

    MICKEY O CONNER $500

    OHIO MANAGEMENT LLC $500

    PPE PROPERTIES LLC $500

    PARSON & SANDERSON INC $500

    PEPPER AND ASSOC. INC $1000

    PIPEWORKS PLUMBING 7 DEMOLITION $2500

    R.M.DEVELOPMENT CORP $1000

    RATHBORNE COMPANIES EAST LLC $500

    SAMUEL E SCHUDMAK lll $500

    STRATEGIC PLANNING ASSOC. $500

    TEMPLE PROPERTIES LLC $2000

    TERESA MUSSO $2500

    TERRY R MC CARTHY $500

    W.J.BLOECHER COMPANY $1000

    WALTON CONSTRUCTION CO. LLC $1000

    The list above is not complete, but is indicative of “business as usual”. The voters of Jefferson Parish need to decide whether this is the kind of business they can no longer afford.

  5. I have been in litigation for a year now trying to get a bar open in an area with other bars, in a building that used to be a bar, and for which all permits and licenses were approved by the state and parish, and right as the parish approved the liquor license- I have the occupational license- I received a letter from Villio revoking my zoning because of parking. Lagasse’s appointee on the Appeal’s Board for Code Enforcement jumped up and down like Rumplestiltskin, frustrating the other members until the second hearing, where one holdout gave in and we lost in a 3-2 vote. (There more members, but one member jumped up and left right as our case was called, and another was absent, which seemed suspicious to me at the time.) I don’t know if she targeted me personally or if Lagasse has some issue with me, but I am somewhat known in the community and wouldn’t doubt it. Maybe if I had kissed Broussard’s ring or contributed to Villio’s campaign my bar would be open right now, but neither of those atrocities was EVER going to happen.

  6. Rangersgirl: Submit a Public Record Request ( get the form from the Parish Attorney’s office ) asking for all docs related to your address. Especially ask for any and all emails between Villio and any Councilmember(s) you suspect were in opposition to your permit. If there was a particular individual or civic group in opposition ask for any emails between Villio, any councilmanic folks and that individual or civic group. You have to be given the info or any explanation why you are not being given the info within 72 hours. If it is too expensive for you to pay to copy they have to let you review everything and just pay for the copies you want. Technically they need to tell you the moment you submit the PRR when within 72 hours you can see the docs but realistically all that happens is they always tell you a time 72 hours from when you submit so no point in even asking that question. Then go through the docs carefully. Read each one and try to determine if the thread of the emails is incomplete and if so demand the entire thread. Time consuming but has been known to pull up some fascinating info. Good luck, you are not the only one claiming to have been railroaded by the ICE Queen and her minions.

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