Putting in the fix for River Birch and the landfill's diverse ownership: Theriot's long awaited contract evaluation scheme now staffed.

I had to laugh when I read Rich Rainey’s latest installment in as the landfill turns as he chronicles the completion of the scheme Theriot and his band of idiots on the Parish Council have hatched to put the fix in for River Birch via a controlled evaluation of a flawed contracting process.  Before we get to the latest on Theriot’s dog and pony show we should do a quick review of the River Birch saga to gain clarity on what the team will be reviewing.

The River Birch landfill, majority owned by the Ward family, almost had one of their own, Fred Heebe, installed as NOLA US Attorney by George Bush back in 2002. Heebe, Jim Ward’s step-son is a member of the ownership group of the landfill and is married to Jennifer Sneed, who left the Parish Council literally months before the Parish opened negotiations with the River Birch landfill to become the parish’s sole source for waste disposal.

These negotiations resulted from a request for proposals for the disposal of tree limbs and such by disgraced former Parish President Aaron Broussard. Broussard’s contract evaluation team included a number of former parish employees now under an active federal investigation and included former Parish Attorney Tom Wilkinson and former Parish CAO Tim Whitmer. That contract evaluation team expanded the scope of their charge to include proposals for all waste disposal, such services being provided the Parish by Waste Management under a long term contract using the Parish’s landfill. It turned out Whitmer was moonlighting as an insurance agent and besides selling insurance to the Parish itself he was also selling River Birch along with a multitude of other Parish venders.

Interim Parish President Steve Theriot cancelled several Parish contracts with companies that did the “pay to play” thang with Whitmer to great fanfare but left River Birch and their curious contract with the Parish alone despite the under handed way it was let. We later found out that Theriot was a protege of former Louisiana House Speaker turned Senator John Alario. Alario had some very curious connections to the landfill as a staffer of his garnered a 4% stake in the landfill in return for Alario killing his own bill to deprive River Birch of a needed state environmental permit back in the mid 90s.

So despite all the documented problems with the River Birch contract and the less than transparent process under which it was awarded, the Parish Council is seemingly worried more about Waste Management, the company they sued late last year in order to get them out of the River Birch’s way. With that background laid let’s catch up with Rich Rainey’s reporting on the evaluation process beginning with this story from this past April:

Showing heightened wariness of ethical conflicts, perceived or otherwise, the Jefferson Parish Council has rescinded its choice of a Richmond, Va., engineering firm to examine the parish’s landmark garbage disposal deal with River Birch Inc.

The decision came after officials discovered that the firm, Joyce Engineering, did contract work for Waste Management Inc., the international conglomerate that has managed Jefferson’s public landfill for the past decade but stands to be ousted by the River Birch agreement.

“We’d just rather find somebody who hasn’t done anything with Waste Management or River Birch so that we’ll have no appearance of any impropriety and no conflicts,” Councilman Tom Capella said. “And that’s proven to be difficult because these companies are big.”

Of course the conflicts are inherent to this process due to the preferential treatment River Birch has already received compared to other parish venders that were doing the pay to play thing with Whitmer as I noted above. The public sees all of this of course, which is why there is little this confidence this process is more than window dressing.

Speaking of conflicts the process has been a long one and the council finally settled on a CPA firm, Postlethwaite & Netterville to do the contract evaluation working with an engineering firm to be selected later. That selection has been finally been made as a small firm from Texas, MSW Resources was brought on board as Rich Rainey reports:

After an exhaustive search and an unusually high degree of scrutiny, Jefferson Parish interim President Steve Theriot’s administration is recommending an obscure Texas engineering firm, MSW Resources, to help examine the plan to close the public landfill for the next 25 years.

Should the Parish Council accept the administration’s choice today, MSW will partner with accounting firm Postlethwaite & Netterville of Baton Rouge to comb through a deal that could divert almost all household garbage to a private landfill owned by River Birch Inc. The full audit’s cost will be capped at $85,000, according to council resolution.

The recommendation of MSW comes after a protracted legal battle and months of political twists that left the year-old contract with River Birch languishing.

So is the fix in with the engineers? This MSW outfit has a very recent and possibly curious history as we continue:

In a compromise, Postlethwaite & Netterville was hired on condition that it must partner with a landfill engineering firm that doesn’t have a similar conflict. That led the firm to drop its original partner, Environ of New Orleans, which also had worked with Waste Management.

Little is known about MSW. Documents from the Texas comptroller of public accounts show the company registered with the Texas secretary of state’s office on Feb. 4, about a week before it put in a proposal for the Jefferson Parish work. There is no record of MSW in the Louisiana secretary of state’s corporation database.

“I don’t know that there’s anything necessarily wrong with that, but I’d like to get more information about their longevity in business if that’s the case,” council Chairman John Young said Tuesday.

Besides these questions about MSW the devil is in the details of this process. For example exactly what criteria is the River Birch contract being evaluated? Is the bid process, which excluded Waste Management under scrutiny? Is the criteria used going to produce a desired result? Luckily for the Slabbed Nation I’m also a CPA who knows a thing or two on research and there is loads of information on landfill pricing across the region on the internet. Let’s begin with Paul Rioux at the Times Picayune circa June 2009 to obtain River Birch’s pricing:

River Birch will be paid a tipping fee of $21.50 per cubic yard for household garbage from unincorporated areas of the parish and Jean Lafitte.

That’s a dollar more than the parish currently pays Waste Management to operate the parish dump, but the parish’s overhead costs to maintain and continually expand the dump are more than enough to offset the difference, Wilkinson said.

In that story we also had Tom Capella and Byron Lee cheerleading the supposed savings from a process that excluded competition so how does that price stack up against other landfills in the south? Let’s visit with the newspaper consortium that collectively makes up Al.com and reporter Ben Raines to begin the comparisons:

For example, the landfill in southeast Alabama’s Coffee County charges a contract rate of $18.55 per ton of garbage, according to the county’s Web site. Landfills in Northeastern states such as New Jersey or New York sometimes charge more than $100 a ton. That price differential makes the South — and Alabama in particular — an attractive destination, even for garbage generated 1,000 miles away.

The Perry County Associates Landfill, owned by a Georgia company, can accept up to 15,000 tons of garbage a day and can draw from 16 states.

Yep, the entire State of Alabama is a glorified landfill, a secret us Mississippians have been keeping for far too long as we continue:

The Brundidge Landfill in Pike County can accept 7,500 tons a day. It was purchased in 2007 by TransLoad America Inc. The New Jersey company’s Web site touts the Alabama landfill as a “key destination for TransLoad’s national waste-by-rail strategic plan.”

The facility accepts garbage from Louisiana and the 26 states east of the Mississippi River. Operating at capacity, it would generate about $3 million a year for the town of Brundidge, according to information on the company’s Web site.

I wonder if this alternative was considered by the Parish and does the scope of the evaluation include running such comps? Not satisfied with this nation’s low cost landfill producer in the State of Alabama I expanded my googling and came up with per ton tipping fees for landfills in South Carolina and several other southern states. The variance in the tipping fees between the landfills is amazing in respects.

So is paying River Birch a dollar more per ton (via a bid process which excluded Waste Management and other qualified venders) over the current setup a good deal for Jefferson Parish residents? Follow the money folks and the answer becomes clear.


13 thoughts on “Putting in the fix for River Birch and the landfill's diverse ownership: Theriot's long awaited contract evaluation scheme now staffed.”

  1. OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOwweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee Since Furher TheRiot is an auditor extraordinaire “sham” himself the entire evaluation should be printed out on the internet just like he published the JP employee salaries and some of the other contracts. That way every qualified person can see how the two proposals matchup. On the previous evaluation the whole process consisted of a few point evaluations on a one page document by JP administative people( such as Wilkinson, Fos, etc.) who themselves are not garbage/trash experts other than some being garbage themselves. Could Whitmer be employed by Environ ? There is an http://www.usaenviron.com that does trash mediation work? Does anybody know the whereabouts of Tim “waldo” Whitmer ?We’re looking for you “waldo”————-OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOwweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

  2. Interesting information on Mr. Bryan Greisback who is the principal of MSW Resources out of Texas. How does this little known company from Texas win this contract? Well Mr. Greisback who used to be the Vice President of Landfill Construction and Engineering for BFI Canada and the Vice President of the Environmental Management Group which is a division IESI. IESI is a subsidiary of BFI Canada Income Fund His territory for BFI/IESI included Louisiana.

    Seems as though Mr. Greisback may have a conflict of interest here because he was in charge of IESI when this Jefferson Parish landfill contract was awarded: http://www.jeffparish.net/downloads/6614/6617-IESIGarbage%20CollectionJun292009.pdf

    As per Richard Rainey on June 30, 2009 on the IESI contract and its link to River Birch:


    “The hand-over of Jefferson’s lucrative garbage contract milled through months of negotiations and scrutiny. Competing with four other companies, IESI won the deal through its local subsidiary, Coastal Waste Services. The Texas company could make more than $91 million during the course of the contract.

    The deal runs until June 30, 2014, but the parish could retain IESI for another five years at the same terms, according to the contract.

    The agreement reached with IESI also marks the first time a hauling company has had an emergency plan in place to handle hurricanes before signing a deal with the parish. The company will be responsible for supplying workers, shelter and food for any clean-up effort, Winter said.

    IESI will spend at least six months delivering Jefferson’s waste to its public landfill in Waggaman. Come January — or possibly later, depending on negotiations — the company could switch its hauling to the nearby River Birch landfill. The council last week approved a deal that would close the Jefferson landfill for the next 25 years. Waste Management currently manages the public dump and the parish needs six months or so to negotiate an early end to that contract, Parish Attorney Tom Wilkinson has said in a previous interview.

    Winter said IESI’s contract was open to using any landfill the parish deemed fit.”

    Of course Bucktown Joe summed this up on the comments section of another Richard Rainey article on Dec. 9, 2009:

    “Posted by bucktownjoe
    December 23, 2009, 7:28AM
    The deal that needs to be looked into is the IESI/COASTAL WASTE contract to pick up household garbage in Jefferson Parish. IESI’s General Manager and crew orchestrated the deal by hiring Tim Coulan’s son as a consultant to work with Tim Whitmer. Elton Lagasse’s aide, Barry Bordelon, is also on IESI’S payroll. Ramelli Janitorial was given 14,000 homes to service to satisfy Tom Cappella, who is Bob D’Hemecort’s cousin. Bob is partners with Ramelli. Ramelli also employees Louis Congemi’s relative, Nicalosi. Byron Lee wanted Metro Disposal and Richards Disposal to get a part of the deal also, and it happened. Chris Roberts has had many big dollar fundraisers at a hunting camp owned by Coastal Waste. Aaron Broussard was paid a large commision from a local bank to sign IESI up as a customer. Tim Coulan, Tim Whitmer, Elton Lagasse, Tom Cappella, Louis Congemi, Byron Lee, and Chris Roberts, is it any surprise that IESE was handed this $200,000,000 contract? SWEEDIE, a locally owned company, was the lowest bidder and should have been awarded the contract. Jim Letton where are you? This is ridiculous! Good old Louisiana politics at work. These politicians are looking out for their best interests, not Jefferson Parish’s.”

    The Jefferson Report shows how much money IESI contributed to certain Jefferson Parish council members in 2009.

  3. I have to ask this question……..Why was the River Birch contract not cancelled when the Lagniappe connection was brought to light? Other Parish contracts with the same connection were cancelled. Why is this one so different? This question merits an answer yet the JP Council and the Theriot Administration have remained silent. In my humble opinion something still smells here and the Parish is going to great lenghts and expense to cover the odor.

  4. Supa, Jim Letten and the Fibbies could use your services. Seems they couldn’t find oil in the Gulf of Mexico if they tried (and with the help of the Slabbed nation), yet you, with a little work, have uncovered a treasure trove of corruption. God dammit, Letten, fu*#ing do something about this. I am officially angry!

  5. Iaamangry: I will be sending more videos to you tube re today’s council mtg. but don’t want u to stroke out. Sit down and have a drink before u watch.

  6. As soon as Pelican gets in from DC tonight, and after a few Rebel Yells, we will further debrief the River Birch conspiracy. The Furheur might seriously consider moving into a bunker somewhere in Marrero, and his buddy, Butch Ward’s mini-me Roberts may want to stay in DC and be first in line to make a direct deal with the Justice Department because Letten may not be around much longer.

  7. By the way, I would recommend to anyone beginning to read Sop’s continuing expose of “The River Birch Saga”, refer to his Feb 25, 2010 posting, THERIOT:Slabbing Wilkinson…the accompanying comments were illuminating to say the least, particularly Telemachus.

  8. Well Pelican and I have been commiserating about the whole River Birch bullshit in lieu of this rather suspect turn of events, I mean really the guy at this never-heard-of-before consulting firm, MSW Resources, is Mr. Greisbach ! Honestly you couldn’t make this stuff up if you tried. And believe me it’s a tell.

    deBrief, while pouring us another Rebel Yell, shouts… qu’est-ce qu’un baiseur de m

  9. The lynchpin in this entire farce from the very beginning is the Director of the Environmental Department, Marnie Winter.
    Rumor has is when she was told she was to be interviewd by the FBI she panicked and was only brought under control because Wilkinson gave her a good talking to.
    She and Katharine Costanza , her second in command, are the ones who can unravel all the strings but they too are ‘ retirement junkies’ as Whimergate says all the time. And Mr. Buller who runs the landfill has his own information, and rumor has it worked for one of the big trash firms prior to joining the team in JP.
    Those three individuas have all the dirt but have stated on numerous occasions to a number of people that they are afraid of incriminating themselves and/or losing their jobs and retirement.
    Their whining is disgusting. They cry about ‘having families to support’ …don’t we all!!!
    WHERE ARE YOU MR. LETTEN?????? Your people have had all this information for months now. They have Marnie Winter’s info, and her phone number. SHE IS THE KEY. She knows we know and that you know. We know that you know. SO DO SOMETHING ALREADY. Or does Freddie Heebe control your retirement entitlement through his influential friends in Washington DC?
    And let us not forget that DEANO BONANO’s very first job in 1994? when he started with the Parish, was Contract Monitor at the Landfill. Coincidence? I think not.

  10. OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOwweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee So councilman Lagasse’s aide, Barry Bordelon, worked for the same affliated companies that the new “wonderboy”, one man environmental super clean expert,TheRiot chosen, Bryan Griesbach worked for; namely BFI, IESI and Coastal Waste. HHmmmmmmmmmmmmm Come on Mr.Young if you want to be the new “Knight in Shining Armor”President come November you had better tell the gang that they need to get a better “smoke and mirrors” act if they are going to out fox the SlabbedNation Great work SupaSleuth and Whitmergate!!!!!!!Maybe my uncle and I can come out of hiding if Mr.Letten does his job on this recent outrageous proposal with Bryan Greasy-asswipe. OOOOOOOOwweeeeeeeeeeeeee

  11. Whitmergate,
    No one has posted any real infomation on the connection between Nancy Cassagne hiring Pam Watson ( Byron Lee’s aide) to a 6 figure income as an Executive at WJMC.Then, after Carol Smith, CEO JP Health Clinic ( Pam Watson’s sister)gets investigated for misuse of funds….Pam Watson disappears from her 6 figure position. Obviously,Cassagne is trying to cover somthing up.

  12. OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOwweeeeeeeeeeeeee Sop, Tis’ good to have you as a CPA onboard to crunch numbers submitted by the engineering firm analyzing the landfill RiverBirch contract (hopefully MSW Resources,LLC will realize now how serious the FBI and we are at getting the TRUTH OUT and Bryan will bail out before he gets a federal subpoena).I know numbers don’t lie and accounting is an exact science. However, it is the subjective analyzer who can give false numbers to an honest CPA which will result in misleading conclusions and intentional fraud.Since I have friends in the waste management field hopefully we can sniff out any false subjective analysis and report them here. That is if the “magician” TheRiot is brave enough to publish the engineering’s landfill analysis on the JP website. OOOOOwwweeee,gotta’ go its nana’ time !

  13. if you go to the IESI-BFC website there is a slideshow on the front page. one of the slides is a picture of gus bordelon with the honorable eddie price. OMG LOL.

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