Rotten eggs in the bunny-basket of news – Allstate, River Birch, Chinese Drywall plus a sniff of Congress…

Better check the eggs carefully this year! If the news thus far this weekend is any indication, a sniff test is needed.

Allstate tossed a rotten egg at Commissioner Chaney.

Allstate is again asking for an increase in homeowners’ insurance rates. “They’re not going to get a 44 percent increase unless the court gives it to them,” State Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney said of the insurers’ latest submission.

Without discounts, Chaney said the latest increase could amount to a 48 percent increase for some customers with Allstate Property and Casualty Insurance Co. In January, Allstate withdrew an increase after Chaney’s rejection. Submitted as a 59 percent increase, Chaney said it would have amounted to a 65 percent increase for some customers.

“I’m never pleased with huge rate increases, and I review them extremely carefully,” Chaney said…If the commissioner doesn’t respond to the rate hike, it would go in effect in 30 days. Chaney, however, said he won’t let that happen. He plans to ask the insurer for more information.

If Chaney follows his usual practice, he won’t surprise the Clarion Ledger reader that commented:

Watch this one. They have filed for a 44% increase ,which will be refused and then they will file for an increase of over 15% and it will be approved. Just watch it and you will see what will happen.

The bunny at the Times Picayune hid a special egg for Congress in the Opinion section and tried to put a new color on River Birch egg – but there’s not enough dye to cover the truth hidden between the lines in the graphic:

That deal is now a subject in a wide-ranging federal criminal investigation of Broussard’s administration. The inquiry began with disclosures that Whitmer’s private insurance agency, Lagniappe Industries, was selling policies to government agencies, parish employees and companies seeking parish work, including River Birch. Whitmer and Broussard resigned in January; Parish Attorney Tom Wilkinson resigned March 4.

Whitmer’s motive for cutting the public landfill’s budget is unclear…River Birch attorney Billy Gibbens said in a written statement that Heebe’s company did not collude with Whitmer in 2008 to obtain the landfill contract.

“River Birch had no discussions with Tim Whitmer about Jefferson Parish’s budget proposal for Waste Management’s contract in 2008 or at any other time,” he said. When asked if any River Birch associate had spoken with anyone within Broussard’s administration before Whitmer’s budget order, Gibbens said, “The answer is no.”

Of course, River Birch didn’t need to have a discussion when it had others to do the talking.

Whitmer’s decision to cut the landfill budget fits into a timeline that began with the resignation of Heebe’s wife, Jennifer Sneed, from the Parish Council and culminated when the Parish Council approved the agreement with River Birch…

Now with the Waste Management contract in litigation, the River Birch contract on hold and federal investigators subpoenaing records of the agreements, the council has ordered a review of the financial benefits of the River Birch deal. Three environmental engineering firms applied to do the work, but the council has extended the search to drum up more interest from auditing firms.

The Easter Bunny sends a chocolate egg to the reader who followed the sniff and commented:

Whitmer/Coulon sell River Birch insurance; Jennifer Sneed resigns from Council 1 month before Whitmer sets up Waste Mgm’t Contract cancellation by not budgeting; Parish was spending $5,000,000 per year, but now will pay a minimum $6,300,000 per year to Sneed/Heebe. We’re supposed to believe this saves us $23,000,000? As close as Sneed and Whitmer are, does anyone believe they didn’t discuss this?

Good news , bad news in the basket for those with Chinese drywall. The good news is they’ll find out if any of the smell is coming from eggs of Easters past – and the bad news is they’ll find out when they follow the recommendation of the Consumer Product Safety Commission and gut the interior of their house:

The guidelines say electrical wiring, outlets, circuit breakers, fire alarm systems, carbon monoxide alarms, fire sprinklers, gas pipes and drywall need to be removed.

“We want families to tear it all out and rebuild the interior of their homes, and they need to start this to get their lives started all over again,” said Inez Tenenbaum, chairwoman of the commission, the federal agency charged with making sure consumer products are safe.

About 3,000 homeowners, mostly in Florida, Virginia, Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana, have reported problems with the Chinese-made drywall, which was imported in large quantities during the housing boom and after a string of Gulf Coast hurricanes.

More later as the basket fills.

5 thoughts on “Rotten eggs in the bunny-basket of news – Allstate, River Birch, Chinese Drywall plus a sniff of Congress…”

  1. The WHITMERSTEIN THEORY of River Birch was the equation Wilkinson applied in breaching Waste Management’s contract:

    M (money) + M (monopoly) = M>M>>M (much more money)

  2. River Birch has been covertly lobbying the take over the Parish landfill for years. If anyone really wants to dig deeper, they can go back and look at how Jefferson Parish adopted the M-4 zoning classification and applied it to properties surrounding the landfill in Waggaman. This classification prohibited anyone from opening any landfill, transfer station, recycling center, or related solid waste use in any otherindustrial and unrestricted zoning classification. Guess who owned almost all of the property in the new M-4 Zoning classification? You got it…………..The Wards, Heebees, River Birch. This set the groundwork for the establishment of this monopoly.

  3. On September 23, 2008, the JP Administration, namely Tim Whitmer, sent the Council a budget which lined $468,000 for payment to Waste Management for one month of 2009.

    On November 22, 2008 while attending a JP council meeting, Mr. Whitmer says in referring to the garbage issue: …”for lack of a better word, we’re going on a fishing expedition and seeing what we can catch.” As though on board a fishing boat with Mr. Whitmer, Fred Heebe replies that this is the opening we’ve (River Birch) has been waiting for.

    On June 24th the Council voted to close the JP dump. The River Birch contract would be $6.4 Million a year, and projected to save JP $19 to $23 Million over 25 years. Councilman Capella chimed in accord that this deal would result in “significant long term savings.” Tom Wilkinson represented to the JP Council and the public that the total value of the contract would be $160 Million. No one ever talks about the revenues from methane gas being loss with the Cytec deal; the amount of attorneys fees incurred by this breach of contract; or what amount of damages the Parish may be liable for if Waste Management prevails.

    After reading Mr. Rainey’s most recent TP article, I recalled the interview Val Bracy, Fox News 8, had with Mr. Wilkinson, and did some archival research.

    As early as 2004 the JP Council had sanctioned a committee to discuss garbage. Mr. Wilkinson and Councilman Byron Lee were among the participants. Mr. Wilkinson admits that the “non-appropriations” clause was fully discussed as it relates to terminating Waste Management’s contract. Having been confronted by Ms. Bracy with copies of the minutes of meetings that state unequivocally this subject being discussed, Mr. Wilkinson says: “there may have been a move by certain council members to see if there was a way to redirect the revenues from millages to another department. Get out of the contract with Waste Management under the ‘non-appropriations’ clause…and I know I looked back at ’04 as to whether or not there was something we could do to invoke the clause…”

    Mr. Wilkinson then tells us that Waste Management did not fulfill their contract after Katrina, failing to pick up twice weekly during the first two weeks in the aftermath of the storm. That’s it he reasons, the breach of contract needed to get River Birch through. He admits that Waste Management has the legitimate defense of “force majure”, but what about the garbage ? Seriously you don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

    What we further learn is that the non-appropriations clause can be implemented in good faith without liability to JP. Ms. Bracy then asks if it was good faith not to fund the Waste Managements contract ? Mr. Wilkinson replies: “Well I believe based on the savings, the Parish would have a good faith basis to invoke it’s ‘non-appropriations’ clause…” Ms. Bracy then asks Mr. Wilkinson who figured out what the cost savings would be. Mr. Wilkinson states that the committee (he, Alan Gandolfi and John Fos) did that internally, further admitting that no accountants had been involved ! This is also the excuse being used by Mr. Theriot to hire a consulting firm to study what these incompetents didn’t do professionally in the first place ! I hope the limits of these three lawyers’ malpractice insurance can cover some of the taxpayers’ loss.

    Mr. Wilkinson teeters from the figures of 3% to 10% relative a CPI index/added cost as to how larger volumes of garbage could effect that rate. I’ve chosen an average of 7% over the 25 year period to be fair. So instead of the $160 Million dollar figure Mr. Wilkinson was so eager to flim-flam the taxpayers with, a more accurate amount would be $460,554,558 MILLION DOLLARS(about a half a BILLION DOLLARS) And we can only guess what a MONOPOLY is worth.

    The most telling inquiry is when Ms. Bracy asks Mr. Wilkinson why the Parish decided it didn’t want to do business with Waste Management anymore ? Mr. Wilkinson replies: ‘It’s NOT a question of NOT wanting to do business with Waste Management anymore. WE WERE PRESENTED WITH A PROPOSAL…”

    On October 2, 2009, Mr. Whitmer directs Ms. Bolotte to only budget $468,000 for Waste Management’s account for 2010.

    On November 4, 2009, the JP council votes to approve full funding of Waste Management’s contract for 2010.

    On November 4, 2009, Mr. Rainey of the TP publishes the first of many articles to follow disclosing Mr. Whitmer’s secret illegal insurance dealings with parish entities and contractors.

  4. Footnote:

    On December 16, 2009, Tim Whitmer resigns.

    On January 8, 2010, Aaron Broussard resigns.

    On March 4, 2010, Tom Wilkinson resigns.

  5. CORRECTION: Mr. Whitmer resigned January 4, 2010.

    ADDITION: In an article Mr. Rainey wrote for the TP February 22, 2010, Marnie Winter, JP Environmental Director, (who was voted a non-voting status as a member on the infamous River Birch Committee by the voting members, Tom Wilkinson, Alan Gandolfi and John Fos), stated for the record that: “…they (WILKINSON, GANDOLFI AND FOS) did not consult any outside analysts with expertise in engineering, municipal waste or finance.”

    And now Alan Gandolfi (Research and Budget Director for the Council) an appointee of the JP Council, is chairing the Inspector General Committee ? What a slap in the face to Jefferson Parish taxpayers/voters. And to add insult to injury, Louis Gruntz (Deputy Asst. Parish Atty.) is another appointee by the JP Council, the very same person who has manipulated members of the Louisiana Legislature to further limit access to public records. And yes, there are other appointees who may poise a potential conflict of interest which will be discussed later.

    Apparently the members of the JP Council ALL graduated from the SGT. SCHULTZ FINISHING SCHOOL FOR POLITICIANS… they know nothing !… they know nothing about nothing !… and they choose to know nothing about nothing !

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *