“I can unequivocally state that all members of the administration of West Jefferson Medical Center were shocked to learn of the involvement of both Mr. Coulon and Mr. Whitmer in this insurance scandal” – Peter Butler Jr to WWL TV’s Paul Murphy.
As Nowdy joked offline in our informal editorial board round robin today, “the population of Jefferson Parish is almost “20-25% of entire state of Mississippi…God knows how much larger the JP population would be if those in the landfills were counted!” The skeletons are staggering even by Mississippi proportions and those that followed the Scruggs saga know Louisiana has no strangle-hold on systemic corruption but the politicians and their cronies in the New Orleans area take that corruption to new heights. As an observer of the goings on in New Orleans from just over the state line I howled with laughter many years ago after a federal bankruptcy judge joked that the difference between Mississippi pols and those in Louisiana was that in Mississippi the brown paper bag had a bottom. Simply put this is a target rich environment. Continue reading “Pigs love mud and the greedy little piggies at West Jefferson Medical Center are in up to their necks. Slabbed unifies Whitmer, Lagniappe, the Hospital and River Birch Landfill.”
I can’t count the times I’ve said or done something and later thought “I can’t believe I said that” or “I can’t believe I did that” – often enough to remember the miserable feeling that follows realizing you’ve made a mistake. I can’t imagine how much more miserable it must be to make a mistake and realize you’re among the “cast of characters” in the story of corruption in Jefferson Parish. However, it would not surprise me to learn some of our readers know that feeling well.
Confessing and apologizing to the person I’ve offended is the only relief I’ve found for my “foot in mouth” induced misery. Fortunately, it’s not a crime to make a thoughtless remark. Unfortunately, the many of the mistakes we read about in news stories and blog posts about Jefferson Parish are far more serious.
Tom Wilkinson, Jefferson Parish’s embattled top attorney, was placed on paid administrative leave today, interim Parish President Steve Theriot said. Theriot said Peggy Barton will be the acting parish attorney. He wouldn’t comment further on Wilkinson’s suspension.
“It’s a personnel issue,” he said. “I don’t want to put myself or the parish in a (bad) position.”
A reader observed to us offline last evening in advance of the Fox 8 report on the Jefferson Parish Personnel Board, this entire affair is taking on a Nixonesque quality. Before I link Val Bracy’s excellent report that ran last night at 10 we first must visit with a comment made by Whitmergate that brings events into a sharper focus:
Mr. Wilkinson’s transgression being that as a parish employee he engaged in prohibited political activity, in particular, conducting the affairs of Tim Coulon’s political committee in and from the East Bank Yenni parish building. deBrief and I yelled with delight; then cursing as Asst. Parish Attorney, Mr. Louis Gruntz mumbled about the due process of his client; all too reminecient of Mr. Broussard’s overly zealous plea for Mr. Whitmer’s due process. Which segues into the ethical question, who exactly is Mr. Gruntz’s client ? Mr. Combs, a gentleman lawyer from the Jones, Walker law firm and an independent appointee by both the Loyola and Tulane Law Schools to the Board opines that he is at a lost as to why Mr. Gruntz is lawyering up for Wilkinson, his boss ? Which again begs the question, who is Mr. Gruntz representing ? The Parish Attorney’s office is mandated to represent the citizens of the Parish of Jefferson, through it’s duly elected officials, the Parish President and the Parish Council.
As the very politically incorrect but apparently connected Tin Lizzy might say, “Indeed my good man, indeed”. With this part so well set up by Whitmergate let’s visit with Val Bracy and Fox 8:
Jefferson Parish attorney Tom Wilkinson is one of three people the parish personnel board is investigating.
The board is looking at his actions as well as those of Aaron Broussard’s ex-wife and a current candidate for judge.
People are plain mad at the political class these days, after all who isn’t mad after being snookered by self-serving double-dealing politicians such as Chris Dodd, Max Baucus, David Vitter or Dick Shelby all of whom recommend people for important government positions such as US Attorney. With the election of Barack Obama in 2008 we found out here in Mississippi that the duty of recommending people for such jobs then falls to the House members when both senators are in the party out of power.
Back in the year 2000 the kingmaker in Louisiana was Billy Tauzin, at least for the southern part of the state. For now, lets circle that fact as Slabbed explores why a succession of US Attorneys failed to clean up the systemic corruption in New Orleans for years ending with the now disgraced Eddie Jordan. Jim Letten on the other hand has enjoyed far more success, so much so that the Republican Letten has stayed on to serve the Democrat Obama due to the popular outcry in favor of keeping him on. People everywhere yearn for clean and above-board government and Jim Letten has delivered it. But as a reader reminded us, it was almost business as usual back in the day. A Baton Rouge Advocate story from February 3, 2002 as memorialized by the National Organization for Women fills in the gap:
Acknowledging there is a previously undisclosed allegation of abuse, a Louisiana Republican congressman said Saturday the FBI has completed an expanded investigation of the U.S. Attorney-designee of Fred Heebe of New Orleans and cleared Heebe of all allegations that he abused three women.
96 – 97 – 98 – 99 -100! Time to open your eyes Magistrate Shushan!
Liberty Mutual is “It” and the game is hide-and-go-seek and see if Branch can find you. Two new entries of the docket show how the game is played. The first is an Order issued by Magistrate Shushan:
Considering the foregoing Ex Parte Motion to Seal Pleading (“Motion”) filed by Defendant Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Company (“Liberty Mutual”), IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Liberty Mutual’s Motion be and is hereby GRANTED. The Clerk of Court shall designate Record Document Nos. 387-2 and 395 as “Confidential”, and seal said pleadings.
Sop linked the motion granted by this Order in his post Evidence of bad faith is not a trade secret. Hidden in a footnote for those who seek to find was Liberty Mutual’s admission the documents it wanted to seal had been given to Branch in fall 2009 – but, never fear, “Liberty Mutual is in the process of re-bates labeling its production, and will provide all parties with a new set of documents labeled “HIGHTLY CONFIDENTIAL.”
Personally, I’d never trust anyone who thought it was possible to “re-bates” a label.
There is no shortage of controversial and often puzzling happenings in Louisiana to write and comment about. One of the more challenging things about writing only a weekly column is how to pick and choose. No problem in Iowa or Oklahoma. But the Bayou State just bleeds with bountiful topics involving Louisiana personalities (I guess including yours truly) that cry out for commentary and, often, ridicule. So where to begin?
Our list starts with last week’s courageous announcement by a Lafayette state representative that it’s time to get real tough on drug dealers. He has introduced legislation to be considered by the Louisiana Legislature next month to completely prohibit the selling of illegal drugs from 1000 feet to 2000 feet around schools, playgrounds, day care centers, churches and public housing units. Yes, you read correctly. No ILLEGAL DRUGS! So it would be illegal to sell ILLEGAL DRUGS? Come on man!
How about the major announcement by the Baton Rouge public library that they will provide free wireless Internet access to library users? The public library is supposed to be the synergy, the epicenter of information flow in any community. Yet they are just offering free Wi-Fi? Every coffee shop and many businesses, including a number of car washes and oil change centers, have offered free internet services for years. Kids in remote villages in China and India have widespread free use of Wi-Fi. In states out west, routers have been installed in school buses and free Wi-Fi is available to kids as they travel to and from school. And the main public library, in the city that houses two major universities, is just making free Wi-Fi available? Come on man! Continue reading “Jim Brown on Common Sense in Louisiana Government”