The Louisiana Board of Ethics won’t further pursue a conflict-of-interest case involving state Rep. Rick Gallot.
The board has decided it won’t appeal to the Louisiana Supreme Court an ethics adjudicatory panel decision that the board took too long to prosecute charges against Gallot, a Democrat from Ruston.
An appeals court earlier this month refused a request by the ethics board to review the decision, saying the board doesn’t have the right to appeal under the new system of ethics laws.
The ethics board had filed seven conflict-of-interest charges against Gallot involving his legal representation of a company in business dealings with Grambling State University and the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors, on which Gallot’s mother serves.
Next up is a pair of the Times Picayune editorials that tackle subjects we have profiled in the incestuous giving of curatorships and the River Birch Landfill in editorials well worth the read. First up is River Birch:
Of all the Jefferson Parish contracts marred by the Broussard administration’s scandal, none is as large as the $160-million landfill deal with River Birch Inc……………..
The 25-year deal, which has yet to go into effect, requires the parish to close its dump near Waggaman and send garbage to the adjacent River Birch landfill. The Broussard administration said that would save Jefferson as much as $23 million and extend the life of the parish-owned landfill.
The problem is that the man who oversaw the contract’s negotiations, former chief administrator Tim Whitmer, also had private business on the side with River Birch’s parent company through an insurance firm Mr. Whitmer co-owned. Federal investigators are probing whether any laws were broken in awarding the landfill contract……………….
So far so good and giving credit where it is due the T-P identifies several flaws with the original selection process as we continue:
Mr. Theriot seems to have a healthy skepticism of the landfill deal, and that’s a good attitude. The parish, after all, was represented in the negotiations by officials who did not consult outside experts in municipal waste, engineering or finance.
The interim president also said the capacity of the parish landfill is limited because its state permit allows piling garbage to only about a third of the height allowed by River Birch’s permit. Yet, Mr. Theriot said, the Broussard administration apparently did not consider seeking to raise the limit in the parish landfill as a possible alternative to the River Birch deal.
Mr. Theriot also expressed concerns about who would pay for maintenance costs on the parish landfill while it’s shut down. Even more worrisome, he wondered whether political or environmental opposition could prevent Jefferson from reopening its landfill once the River Birch deal expires 25 years from now.
These are good questions. Unfortunately, neither Mr. Broussard nor the Parish Council raised these issues as they considered the landfill contract last year.
Of course the Parish council didn’t consider those issues because at best they were asleep at the switch or worse counting the graft at the table. It is worth noting that in most locales landfills are a monopoly of sorts and when the government is involved in permitting such lucrative businesses with no competition graft usually follows.
Finally the editorial on curatorships, a topic we have blogged on extensively here at Slabbed:
Last year, most of Mr. Broussard’s appointments came from 24th Judicial District Judges Robert Murphy, Patrick McCabe and Glenn Ansardi, all of whom have political connections to Mr. Broussard.
Critics, who rightly maintain the parish presidency is a full-time job, are criticizing Mr. Broussard’s outside legal work. Mr. Broussard has described the parish presidency as a part-time job. That’s ludicrous. Anyone who thinks that such a large government can be run part-time should look at the mess Mr. Broussard left behind.
Other Jefferson Parish officials with personal or political ties to the district judges also have benefited from curatorship appointments. Councilman At-Large Tom Capella has received 47 appointments since 2005, most from Judge Hans Liljeberg, who was a law-school classmate of the councilman. School Board Member Mark Morgan handles delinquent parish taxes thanks to an appointment by Judge Ellen Kovach, Mr. Morgan’s former School Board ally. Debbie Villio, a former parish official and current candidate for a district court seat, got 80 curatorships from former Judge Martha Sassone. Ms. Villio had worked in Ms. Sassone’s judicial campaign.
Not having a law against murder does not mean murdering someone is simply an issue of ethics or morals. Follow the money folks and you will be set free.