Folks we’ve passed from the ridiculous to the completely over the top as my phone and email in box are getting a heck of a workout this morning. Let’s start with my comment to last night’s post that tied a few things together:
We’ve been told item #84 passed unanimously. We’ve also been told that Interim Parish Attorney Peggy Barton fired assistant Parish Attorney Steve Mortillaro.
Ms Barton seems quite the interesting character as I’m told civic activist Margie Seeman used my post to challenge councilman Chris Roberts on agenda item #84 which would allow the Parish President Theriot to explore the possibility of bringing in-house the legal services that are provided by outside lawyers. The warning flag was contained in my post on the Tuesday Night Massacre where Deputy Parish Attorney Louis Gruntz referred to Tom Wilkinson as his client. Parish residents following the situation saw the resolution as a way to open the door to allow the Parish Attorney’s office to represent the recent offenders before the Personnel Board.
That said I did not do agenda item #84 complete justice so we need to again circle back to a question/comment left by Telemachus on last night’s post:
Question about Resolution 84, what does that mean? Does it mean the Parish Attorney’s office is about to take on civil stuff now done by firms like Chehardy, Sherman or Connick’s firm? I’m guessing not? It means the in-house work relates to clean-up relating to the mess left by the in-house people themselves, so that the in-house is really now in the out-house?
The answer and a whole lot more comes courtesy of Unslabbed who was obviously in attendance:
Margie Seemann (a woman of many talents not the least of which is QUESTIONING the use of her tax dollars) asked to address the Council on Item #84. Council Chair Young suspended the rules to allow her to do so and she immediately related your post re #84 and asked if Slabbed was correct about what the Item could mean. Chris Roberts retorted he had no idea what Slabbed was but that all was well, patted her on her head and thought she would go away. The tenacious Miss Margie persisted to the point of seemingly reading from your post and asked if the Connick law firm had a conflict with all the outsourced work they already perform for the Parish ( some estimates say to the tune of a cool $1M per year) via the Risk Managment/Workers Comp work they do. Roberts replied it was not the DA Connick who did the work and then quickly punted to Pegs Barton the interim Parish Attorney. She’d already been slow to respond on a prior question and proceeded to on this one to say Roberts was right that it was not the DA. Miss Margie insisted it was Connick and Connick and that the DA was involved. Barton backed down and more gobbelty-gook spewed from her about the DA being only a minor partner in the firm or some such foolishness.
Connick and Connick is of course named partially for DA Paul Connick. Now I’m not certain what Legal Ethicist Dane Ciolino would have to say about all this but there seems to be a vastly different definition of the term conflict of interest in Louisiana compared to the rest of the country. For instance I can not imagine any other place that would allow full-time government employees and supposedly full-time elected officials to have second day jobs working for law firms that also have their government employer as a customer of the firm’s legal services. In this case it is worse because isn’t DA Connick is supposed to be investigating illegal activity in his jurisdiction rather than making money defending workers comp claims. Does anyone else see the potential for abuse beyond the obvious conflcit of interest? Suppose in the course of defending the Parish Mr Connick’s firm suspects a worker has faked an injury to ride the system. From my vantage point as a laymen it would seem the DA would have to punt the case. I think this takes the concept of just-us justice to an entirely new level.
Just when you think things could not get any more ridiculous or brazen the crooked miscreants that run Jefferson Parish Government kick things up another notch. The FBI is certainly interested in all of this as I was also told there was an agent in attendance today.
In trying to make sense of all of this behavior a reader that is a life long parish resident explained it best saying something to the effect that this type of double-dealing is all these ethically challenged cretins have ever known, pointing out that some, such as little Baby Butler and the Connicks, were literally born and raised in that environment. Fortunately for long-suffering Jefferson Parish residents Jim Letten was raised a bit differently. By all accounts he is gentleman steeped in the tradition of Ignorantia legis neminem excusat. So while we now better understand the socially deviant behavior, we feel equally comfortable it will not be excused by the federal authorities.
Slabbed reports you decide.