You speak out and we break your legs. The Jefferson Parish way of doing business via fear and intimidation on display as Latter & Blum fires Arthur Sterbcow.

Couresty of American Zombie

No one that lives, works or conducts business in Jefferson Parish is immune as this story posted last night on the Times Picayune’s website by Becky Mowbray illustrates:

Arthur Sterbcow, the public face of the largest real estate firm in New Orleans, was terminated as president of Latter & Blum, Inc./Realtors Tuesday for providing information to The Times-Picayune about assessment values and home prices in Jefferson Parish for a story published on Sunday.

The information, known as broker price options, showed a 14 percent gap between home sale prices and property tax assessments made by Jefferson Parish Assessor Lawrence E. Chehardy.

Going in, seasoned Jefferson Parish observers understand it takes a certain amount of testicular fortitude to report the story. The lack of sack exhibited last night on Fox 8 about Debbie Villio’s political fund-raiser illustrates that fact. When it comes to getting out the story, the local media becomes an enabler when they bow to threats and intimidation. I suspect that is why Jim Brown opined during my short interview with him last Friday night on WJBO in Baton Rouge along the lines that it takes a Mississippi guy to blow the lid off the corruption in Jefferson Parish as we continue:

“The issue involved the articles in last Sunday’s Times-Picayune regarding assessments. Arthur supplied BPO’s to the Times-Picayune to show disparity in the assessors’ assessments,” Merrick’s e-mail reads. “Needless to say, the last people on earth we need against us are our assessors. Latter & Blum was cited throughout the articles as the source of the BPO’s. The assessors wanted to know, “why in hell is Latter & Blum doing this”?? I am in the process of mending fences. Latter & Blum should never have been involved in this matter.”

I’m the kind of guy that lives life on my feet rather than my knees so such quotation causes me to completely lose respect for the real estate agency, which also has offices on the Mississippi coast.

It is worth noting there is only one assessor in Jefferson Parish, a double-dealing politico we have mentioned a few times in Lawrence Chehardy. Our readers may remember disgraced former Parish President Aaron Broussard’s daughter-in-law Norma worked for Mr Chehardy at his law firm before she was inflicted on the general public by DA Paul Connick. The folks at Chehardy Sherman quickly de-Nornma’d their website when we pointed out that despite being gone from the firm for years she was still listed as an attorney there. As we found out with Tom Wilkinson and Mr Chehardy it is OK for so-called fulltime Jefferson Parish officials to have side law practices.

We live under no illusions here at Slabbed that should Jim Letten’s office take out the good ol’ boy network via indictment (rumor has it there are currently 38 sealed indictments but time will talk there), the New Orleans media will suddenly sprout a backbone and do some serious reporting on this subject.

As I wrote this post I was reminded of Lutheran Pastor Martin Niemöller, a man of uncommon bravery that was jailed for resisting the nazis. He wrote the following poem for a speech he gave in 1946:

First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak out for me.

Finally we’re past overdue for giving Dambala over at the American Zombie blog a shout out for being a voice in the wilderness over the corrupt doings in the New Orleans metropolitan area. If it wasn’t for courageous bloggers like him and many others covering what the media likes to call “niche issues” most all the bullcrap that goes on over there would remain unreported. You can feed on our brains anytime my man. Of course he does not mince words concerning the spineless coward that runs Latter & Blum:

Fuck Latter & Blum

Fuck them very much.

Aye Captain and very well said.


10 thoughts on “You speak out and we break your legs. The Jefferson Parish way of doing business via fear and intimidation on display as Latter & Blum fires Arthur Sterbcow.”

  1. From a reader:

    There is a new book out called Googled, by Ken Auletta. In it there is a great discussion about how Google was changing the way to determine advertisements and how to calculate those costs. The data was actually telling the customer hat wanted to place an ad what type of return he was getting on the placement. No longer was the ad sales guy able to give the smoke and mirrors description on how well the ad was going to do and doing. The customer could actually get the answer on whether he is spending his money wisely on ads.

    The advertising guy upon having his uh-oh moment lashes out at Google, and says,

  2. Another reader tells me to go easy on Fox 8 as they have plenty of backbone when it comes to this scandal. Given the behavior of the overall NOLA area press corps (to this point Fox 8 being the exception) with regards to this scandal I would like to think that which happened last night will be fully aired. If it is I’ll have absoltuely no problems eating my words as written above and giving out props where earned.


  3. I’m FEELING your blog. AZ’s shout out put it on my radar/bookmark fave list now. Can’t wait to go thru your archives. Thanks for going out on the limb for the people.

    1. What a mid afternoon upper Red. We’re glad we agree with your blogging tastes. AZ is the heavyweight in NOLA and his endorsement is much appreciated. We are currently toxic at the Picayune these days. I’m told some of our more enthusiastic readers have been banned from there for linking us. If what we are hearing is true about some of the doings in JP there may be a good reason for that, time will talk.


  4. Let’s not forget Fox 8 is owned by the Benson’s.

    The local news establishment can downplay blogs such as AZ, but there’s no doubt that they are reading them. Just ask Lee Zurich. The Anderson Cooper of New Orleans has a lot to owe, in my opinion, to these blogs. Some of the initial stories he “broke” were things these bloggers were digging into. Not knocking Zurich; I like the guy and his work. Plus, any guy that can make fun of his own caterpillar eyebrows is a winner in my book.

  5. Yessir ya’betcha, I have NOT been BANNED from, but will be DAMNED if they will post any of my comments with a link to slabbed…at least as regards slabbed’s Jeff Parish Coverage. I usually have not problem leaving full links there and do it often out of, say, about 330 comments so far?
    I mean, it was fast and complete pulling of the comment, and then no posting. I may have 1 left on that L&B Firing article that they missed.
    T-P protects their advertisers no lie.

  6. Editilla: Don’t feel alone. The egregious conduct of the Times Picurnose EB Editorial staff is tantamount to obstruction of justice and civil rights violations. They will protect certain folks to the bitter end. Theirs or the certain folks , whichever comes first. TP is passe. No one really believes them anymore and as for the hard copy I have my friends collect all they can find each spring to mulch my beds. I have been banned from bigger and bettah, dahling. Semper fi.

  7. One would have to think that the telephone call from Lawrence Chehardy to Robert Merrick could be traced by the feds. Merrick with the email language that has now been widely reported clearly was engaged in some sort of extortion attempt by a public official. Anyone else think the firing will result in criminal charges by the Feds? Chehardy must be livid with Merrick for the email and the hard to refute paper trail now.

  8. The legs of this story are healed and off and running as we learn of piglet Chehogy’s leaving office. Tongues are wagging and rumors have taken off exponentially, and so I’ll share some gossip to churn over during the week-end.

    Personally, I recall talking to a colleague on that Monday Sterbcow was pounced. He is a personal friend of Sterbcow, so I naturally wanted to know what was Sterbcow going to do about this. Was he going to sue, what ? Apparently Mr. Sterbcow is very wealthy and had decided that a lawsuit would just be an aggravation to him and has not to date filed suit to my knowledge. But now I wonder, did he decide to get back another way, like filing a complaint with the FBI and/or the US Attorney’s Office ? Certainly Mr. Sterbcow has legitimate cause considering the comments by Merrick that Chehogy was upset with the criticisms so Mr. Sterbcow had to be fired; just like that ! I later learn that Merrick is involved with Chehogy and friends in business deals all over JP. A Fed investigation seperate and apart from Broussard et al ?

    Then there’s the always talked about scenario that Broussard has given up everyone on anything he can remember to stay out of jail, his real fear. However wouldn’t having Chehogy’s’ law partner Ellis act as Broussard’s attorney preclude that possibility ? Conflict of ethics, please !

    What gives credibility to any of the above is the old saying: pigs don’t voluntarily leave the trough, they get slaughtered. We’ll see.

    Then there’s the rumor that Chehogy is inheriting some $13,000,000 from a mysterious benefactor, and now is off to spend more money with his family. OK, except he’s got plenty money, the same family and should have left us years ago. This is bizarre, and I ask myself so what if it’s true ? I told you it’s getting crazy.

    And what about all the rigmarole his mouthpiece blabbered about ? Confusion of how the timing of the PROPOSED resignation would effect a future election date; would the Governor intervene at Chehogy’s behest to accommodate the plan ?; who is Chehogy going to name as Deputy Assessor to take his place in the interim, a position he had not filled before. Questions, questions, so may convoluted questions.

    Press release after press release of a bunch of mumbo-jumbo in hopes of distracting us from being critical of the play, the plan, the real deal: appointing some political hack to maintain his influence and control while everyone is presumedly all eyes and ears and money on the Parish President’s race. The appointed one will then become be dressed up as the incumbent, and voila, anointed to JP Assessor! And the names I have heard rumored… well let me throw one out there to gag on… Chris Roberts. Yep, history could be the trump card for this one…the Heebe-Ward gang have long been an ally of the old man, and consequently the son. And if my memory serves me true, Fred Heebe was, if not the best man, a groomsman in Chehogy’s wedding. Everyone knows Roberts can not win a Parish Council-At-Large seat, or for that matter Parish President. The solution, put Butch Ward’ mini-me in charge of the property stuff, they own a lot of property. Bada Bing !

    I was going to end this with a very ugly French insult, referencing the reprehensible and repugnant conduct displayed by Chehogy and his father, in essence spitting on the American flag and graves of Americans who have died for the ideals of a democratic election process, free speech et al by gaming the system to have the son elected by such a disgraceful sham, but I’ll pass for now.

    Have fun…

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