Naturally, Val Bracy had the story, Feds widen investigation in Jefferson Parish:
(h/t Fox 8 )
Federal investigators are digging deeper into the scandal in Jefferson Parish. The feds sent two subpoenas requiring the parish to turn over extensive information on the red light cameras as well as payroll discrepancies first reported by FOX 8.
Federal prosecutors want employment records for two current Jefferson Parish employees and four whose jobs were eliminated after the parish uncovered what could possibly be payroll fraud.
Earlier this year, after a Fox 8 Investigates report revealed payroll discrepancies in the Parish Attorney’s Office, the parish eliminated the positions of Sportscaster Ken Trahan, Karen Parker, who is the ex-wife of Aaron Broussard, and Constable Tony Thomassie.
Bracy’s story is so packed with details that it’s difficult to summarize – so I’ll give you a sample and you can follow the link for more details:
- Thomassie said during an interview earlier this month that he’s embarrassed and hurt by his name surfacing in connection with a scandal, he says had nothing to do with his work. “I went to a meeting with Aaron Broussard and Tom Wilkinson and that’s when I was offered a part-time job and they told me ‘you gonna be listed as a paralegal working under Code Enforcement under the direction of Debbie Villio.'”
- The subpoena asks for everything related to the camera contract, including all communications between Broussard, Whitmer, Wilkinson, council members and their staffs, Wagner, Murphy, the committee that wrote the proposal for the deal and parish contractor Charlotte Burnell…
- Interim Parish President Steve Theriot also eliminated the $12,000 a year position of part-time Parish Attorney Steve Mortillaro…Mortillaro says former Parish Attorney Tom Wilkinson was his supervisor and that he was not required to come into the office.
- The feds also asked for employment documents on Kernan “Skip” Hand. Hand was hired by former parish CAO Tim Whitmer last September as an Administrative Hearing Officer…
- The subpoena also asks for the employment records of Chereen Gegenheimer, an administrative assistant to the parish president who makes $106,000 a year…
Rafael Goyeneche of the Metropolitan Crime Commission gave Bracy her perspective on the latest developments:
“I think that there is a lot of information that the federal authorities already have that they’re pouring through right now and this is just a logical extension of them following up and independently verifying maybe some of the information that was provided to them by various individuals that have first hand knowledge,” said Goyeneche.
“They’re looking at not just the initial three or four names that surfaced but now we’re seeing more and more names,” said Goyeneche.
The subpoena asks for everything related to the camera contract, including all communications between Broussard, Whitmer, Wilkinson, council members and their staffs, Wagner, Murphy, the committee that wrote the proposal for the deal and parish contractor Charlotte Burnell.
Goyeneche told Bracy the feds weren’t “fishing” – which is a safe bet the way a virtual fountain of information is flowing “deep and wide”.