Jefferson Parish District Attorney Paul Connick, Jr.: A mantle of malfeasance. A guest post by Whitmergate.

When DA Paul Connick, Jr. was asked whether or not his private law firm of Connick and Connick, being allowed to continue to receive millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money now that he was DA of JP, was a conflict he was quoted as saying:

“My job is to follow the evidence…I will not be influenced or deterred from doing my job as District Attorney by any client or anything to do with the private law firm…….. “

Really? And yes he offered up a toilet paper opinion from the morally bankrupt Louisiana Ethics Committee (so named at that time) that opined Connick’s moonlighting is OK. I continue to find it truly disconcerting, if not downright disgusting, that so many of these elected and appointed officials need to be told by someone else that’s it’s legal to do something that is ethically and morally wrong.

We have interim Jefferson Parish President Steve Theriot selling property to West Jefferson Medical Center while he served as Chairman of its Board. And then there is Mr Theriot’s daughter Wanda’s facade of not earning fees from Coastal Securities where she is employed although she is present at the meetings in which Coastal is interacting with a Parish Board. What about Parish council member Elton Lagasse’s Barry Bordelon doing work for a company that contracts with the Parish because he “only” represents the same company outside of JP. Tell me Mr Bordelon, in which Parish is the City of Gretna located? There is much more of this political hypocrisy that is deserving of illumination at a future date as is the collective corruptive collusion of the Ethics Commission (now presently named). But let’s get back to Mr. Connick’s particular hypocrisy.

Mr. Connick, you sir are a liar! And your refusal to prosecute Tom Wilkinson, Debbie Villio and Elton Lagasse, all of whom have violated the election laws of the Parish of Jefferson and the State of Louisiana, is proof positive of your intentional and/or negligent malfeasance as Jefferson Parish DA. Blinded by your boundless arrogance and greed, you have further insulted the taxpayers of Jefferson Parish by your unlawful financial donation to the recent judicial campaign of Debbie Villio, and you too should be prosecuted.

It seems that at almost every instance you are asked what are you going to do about this person or event that concerns itself with the present corruption scandal, your knee-jerk BS answer is that you’re cooperating with the US Attorney’s office. Let me remind you Mr. Connick, you were elected DA of Jefferson Parish, not Mr. Letton. It is not your job to take cover under Mr. Letton; nor should Mr. Letton be allowed to give you cover. And it has been your obligation and duty for as many years as you have been in office to enforce the laws of this Parish and this State as it pertains to wrongdoing by public officials in your jurisdiction. You have disobeyed and dishonored your oath of office. The truth is your failure is unconscionable; your abominable conduct has nurtured this present culture of public corruption in JP. Mr. Connick, it as though your office is a petrie dish where these virulent strains of people within Parish Government find substance for the continued growth in their pursuit of an agenda of greed and power to satisfy their need to be re-elected; all done with total disregard of the rules and laws that govern their behavior, in fact, base contempt for law and order.

Prior to you being elected DA, your firm’s doing Parish work was no different, but still suspect, like any other politically connected firm such a Burglass and Tinkersley, etc.; firms whose appointments are rationalized by their playing the game of tit for tat, contributions for legal fees, in essence, quid pro quo. It is your being elected DA, a position which you voluntarily choose to run for, that sets your firm apart, and is the basis of this hypothesis: Your failure for all these years to investigate and/or indict and convict any elected and/or appointed official in JP in light of the information that has been exiting for years and ignored by you; the same information now being revealed publically as the Federal investigation continues, is akin to a protection racket. The very fact that you have refused to investigate the facts surrounding the illegal appointment of Theriot as Parish President as a result of the Parish Council’s blatant violation of the open meetings law speaks volumes of your continued protection of these individuals as they go on about their illegal ways of conducting the Parish’s business for the benefit of their campaign contributors. One could argue that this continued arrangement of your personal law firm being paid while your DA equates to the necessary elements required in both extortion and bribery. In other word, RICO!

It is generally accepted in the application of the RICO laws that even though a government agency cannot be named as a defendant person under RICO, a government agency may still serve as the enterprise through which a defendant engages in a pattern of racketeering. Any governmental agent extorting persons “under color of authority” is participating in the conduct of the governmental entity’s affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity. Governmental entities may also be an enterprise if they are a passive instrument through which the racketeering acts are committed, advanced or concealed, or a governmental entity may also be a victim enterprise, e.g., if outsiders were operating or managing the affairs of the enterprise through bribery, for example. Being named as an enterprise, however, does not expose the governmental entity to any liability.

DA Connick wants us to believe that the monies paid by the Parish to his personal law firm are not going into his personal pocket. Such egregious parsing of words! He further exclaims, that regardless of any criticisms of this arrangement, his firm “will continue to practice and to do Civil Litigation for Jefferson Parish.”, which is a belligerent and supercilious assertion, Mr. Connick. What makes you so certain I wonder?

I suggest that by your refusal, for whatever reason, to investigate and/or prosecute the wanton criminal conduct of elected and/or appointed officials in Jefferson Parish, you have crossed the Rubicon toward your fall from grace and office.

So, Mr. Connick, next time you go to Manresa intending to further fine tune your hypocrisy, do us a favor, pull out your bible, go to the Book of St. James, Chapter 5, verses, 1-3, contemplate this reading and pray for an epiphany:

Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you!

Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten.

Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you, and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days.

As a brother in Christ, I pray for you. Amen and Amen.

As a taxpayer in Jefferson Parish I demand justice. Fair and impartial justice!

Slabbed commenter Whitmergate is a member of Citizens for Good Government and is a resident of Jefferson Parish.

Slabbed welcomes all points of view on the topics we cover. Our readers can submit guest columns to Sop whose contact information can be found here. While we allow anonymous comments on the blog, guest columnist must submit a verifiable name and contact information in order to be published.

29 thoughts on “Jefferson Parish District Attorney Paul Connick, Jr.: A mantle of malfeasance. A guest post by Whitmergate.”

  1. Whew, let it rain.

    Did anyone notice this caption on the nola version of the TP reL the substitute assessor that will be coming in?: “Lawrence E. Chehardy, center, first filed for election as Jefferson Parish assessor in 1975, three minutes before the end of qualifying for the seat held by his father, Lawrence A. Chehardy, right. This time, state Sen. John Alario said, ‘The people will get to make that determination.’ The Chehardys were photographed in August 1975 with Jefferson District Attorney John Mamoulides.”

    That’s a Rainey story and I realize he likely does not pull or write the photos or captions but it sure seems like someone at the TP is dropping between-the-lines hints because they just can’t, aren’t allowed, to just come out and say certain things.

    Mamoulides, Marcello, Clancy, Lee, Gauhier and Murphy, ot all goes back doesn’t? Aren’t JP’ers living in some vestige of a bygone feudalism, gone everywhere else, like some kind of tiny duchy still surviving in 1800’s bohemia?

    Why Broussard’s firm does not get mroe attention I’ll never know, they advertise online that they represent at least two JP credit unions, who knows what else. Can you imagine the impact of having Broussard’s firm represent you as a client vs. JP? Game over if so, you win. How often did that happen? How many contractors did his firm represent?

    Does Connick’s firm represent any contractors? Well?

    How about Cappella? Didn’t he come from a law firm, his brother’s? Who are their clients and do they ever go up vs JP or work for them?

    “Of counsel” – boy that’s a hell of a term, that’s how Connick gets around it all, right? No worries here, folks, you see he has no conflict, he’s just “of counsel”. He receives money from the firm and brings money into the firm and his name carries heavy weight in any case his firm is involved in, but gee that magical ethical string just can’t be found.

    Not by the sheriff, not by the DA (of course), not by the attorney general, not by the state ethics board (where the heck are they???), not by anyone.

  2. And the name of the firm is Connick & Connick. Last time I checked, the only lawyer in the firm named Connick is Peter. So, who is the other “Connick”? Oh right, the other named partner is the “of counsel” DA. It’s kind of like Spears & Spears. Not only does the Spears firm retain the misleading title (Sonya has been a judge for years), but their letterhead also still reflects the name of Tammy Stewart, who became a juvenile court judge over a year ago.

  3. BTW : Chehardy et al be ON NOTICE that
    any non-election selection must be transparent and have input from the voters via Open Hearings, Submittal of credentials of possible Interim Assessor etc

    We ARE WATCHING you all like hawks.

  4. OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOwweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee Mr.Connick, how about your lack of prosecution of the massive payroll fraud which happened and is probably still happening in the JP Attorney’s office, the very office in which attorneys are mandated to interpret and supposively opine if and when parish laws/ordinances have been violated ? Namely in the paralegal “playground” fraud where salaries for paralegals(true ones have graduation certificates from accredited colleges) were given to Broussard’s wife, Ken Trahan, Antonine Thommie, and Steve “Wrinkled Robe Escapee” Mortillarro; all of whom hold no such certification and most never did any- notta – none – zero – PARALEGAL WORK !!!!!!!!! Then recently as exposed by the Citizens for Good Government we have the persecution of Mr. Lonnie Robinson who as a whislteblower was transferred immediately and then just last week it was revealed the Parish Attorney did no objective investigation into the fraud he was trying to expose. Then there was the intentional destruction of Jefferson Parish files( criminal violation of La.Sec.of State rules) in Mr. Robinson’s office to prevent him from using those files to prove his whistleblower case. And how about the fact that for the past 4 years not one parish councilperson has submitted an ordinance required statement( stating his vote was not influenced by campaign contribution) submitted to Clerk of Council, Ms.Lopez, whenever any parish councilperson votes to give a contract to a company or entity who has contributed to that councilperson’s campaign.How can the entire council chronically violate such ordinance at every council meeting and know that they feel immune to you prosecuting them ? Where is your concern, investigation and prosecution of all the above exposed fraud? Your silence on these matters is an pure and truthful indictment of the lack of intergrity and character of the office you now hold. OOOOOOOOwweeeeeee

    1. Old saying , you reap corruption you will sewer it for your wrongdoing you Will be exposed when you lease can see it that what I Love about the almighty God, because man is spiritual blind because they want to follow world and not God that why man always get in to trouble by following man in this world. So do right thing Mr. Connick in life that Almighty God give to us to do rightness in this world you will feel better in life with oath you took in law.

  5. OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOwweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee Oh, forgive me Mr Connick I forgot you did clean up your office when you fired your asst. DA, Mr. Burke, who admitted taking commissions from Mr. Whitmer’s “little” insurance scam named Lagniappe. But only after it was exposed through outside sources and not by you or any in house investigation. OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOwweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

  6. By the way, when Connick was elected he made the D.A.’s office “full time” which caused all of the assistant district attorneys under John Maumolides’ (sic), the out going D.A., to quit. The story was that their civil practices were very lucrative and the upgrade in salary to 40,000.00 as a full time d.a. was a mere pentance of what they were making as part-time district attorneys.

    Interesting that Mr. Connick did not give up his practice.

  7. Game, set and match (it is the time of Wimbeldon) to the doubles team of Messrs. Sock Puppet & NRB. Points well made and accurate. I guess I never contemplated on the hypocrisy of Mr. Connick in asking his subordinates to give up their private practices, but in his failure to do so. Wow!

    Car 54 (aka Jim Letten and his sidekick, Chuck Plattsmier), where are you?

  8. Thank you Whitmergate for your outstanding input. Again, what is hiding in plain sight is the most overlooked! Please keep up the good work and I will remain on the edge of my seat. To become complacent is to submit to the activity that has been the standard set so long ago. ENOUGH ! Let the heads roll, and I will relish in the satisfaction of the exposure of the so called elitist that are elected for service of the citizens of our parish, Yours and mine.

  9. I am continuing to research all things DA Connick and hope to post on an array of topics from the blatant racism of his office; his close too association with the Burke and Kass Family, which trickles down to Whitmer, and Parish construction contracts; and of course the particulars of crimes by JP elected and appointed officials he has to this date failed and/or refuses to prosecute; and an opinion as to why his holding office as DA is a substantive conflict to his personal law firm receiving legal fees from ANY public entity.

    Here are a few random notes for the time being:

    1) Mr. Connick was re-elected on October 4, 2008 without opposition. What’s curious, due to the fact that there was no campagin to incur any significant expenses in 2008, he raised $405,975 dollars in 2009 (99%), and for what? Well he spent a total of $222,324 dollars of campaign funds in 2009 (98%) when there was no election. He and mini-me Roberts just spend as long as the usual suspect contributors give. In fact he surpassed Roberts by some $32,000 Dollars, and that’s without a float and tractor.

    2) And who were some of the contributors to Mr. Connick campaign fund: PP Broussard, Asst. Ronnie Burke, Danny Martiny, Capella’s Law Firm, B&A Ins (Lagniappe), Sheriff Normand and the Chehardy Law Firm. And you wonder why these people run around doing whatever they please.

    3) But wait Mr. Connick believes it is as gracious to give as it is to recieve. He contributed from his campaign fund to Sheriff Normand and of course the infamous Debbie Villio. And you ask why this trio of law breakers are not prosecuted ?

    One reason the judiciary in this state is morally bankrupt, particularly the 24th JDC and 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, is because DA Connick was a member of the Judiciary Commission of Louisiana from 1992-1996; Chairman in 1995. This is the same Commission that overseas ethics for the bench ! This is the same DA who believes that his protection racket is ethically sanitized.

    God help us because DA Connick won’t.

    Auvoir

  10. Hey whitmergate, one thing I’ve heard is that the Burkes and Connicks are cousins and that an older now bygone Burke ran the same public insurance scheme with Harry way back in the day in Orleans, and that that oepration merely got moved over to JP eventually.

    Any truth to that?

  11. Here we go, fotrmer Orleans Assessor Ronald Burke:

    From the 5/10/97 TP:

    “””An insurance agent who claims former Gov. Edwin Edwards and others killed his business with the state after he spoke to the FBI can go forward with a 1994 suit naming Edwards as a defendant, a federal appeals court has decided.

    In the suit, Cary Griffin, formerly an independent contractor with the Columbia, S.C.-based Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Co., says he spoke with the FBI about having to split commissions with New Orleans Assessor Ronnie Burke ‘s brother.”””

    “””That means the three-year-old suit will proceed in a Baton Rouge federal court with Edwards and Laborde as co-defendants with Burke; his brother Gary Burke, owner-operator of B&A Agency Inc., an insurance brokerage; Fringe Benefits Management Co.; Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Co.; and others. Gary Burke was listed as Colonial’s manager in New Orleans.

    Griffin says that over a six-year period, he developed a good business relationship with state workers.

    But, Griffin contends, the defendants required him to share a third of his commissions on insurance sales to state employees with B&A between April 1992 and June 1993.

    Assessor Burke supported Edwards in his successful 1991 campaign for governor and served on Edwards’ transition team.

    During transition meetings, according to Griffin, “methods of steering the state employees’ payroll deduction insurance business” to B&A were discussed and implemented “as patronage for political support.”

    After complaining to the FBI, Griffin said Colonial in effect canceled his contract in May 1993.”””

    “””Griffin’s lawsuit seeks damages and reinstatement of his contract for state insurance accounts.”””

    6/9/99 TP:

    “”””Former Commissioner of Administration Raymond Laborde testified Tuesday that he disregarded the advice of an expert consultant in 1992 and approved a contract with political allies of then-Gov. Edwin Edwards.

    Despite his own reservations about the deal, Laborde said he agreed to let Colonial Life Insurance sign a subcontractor agreement to enroll state employees in a group benefits program. The contract , which was not put out for public bid, gave one third of commissions earned by Colonial agents to a partnership of three Edwards’ allies who promoted the deal during two meetings with Edwards at the Governor’s Mansion. The partnership comprised former Orleans Parish Assessor Ronnie Burke , his brother Gary Burke and Maurice “Hippo” Katz, a politically connected New Orleans insurance agent.

    Laborde’s testimony came on the second day of a trial in a lawsuit filed by Colonial agent Cary Griffin against Edwards, Laborde, the Burkes, Katz, Fringe Benefit, Colonial and several executives with the insurance companies. Griffin has accused Edwards and Laborde of conspiring with the insurance companies to steer the contract to Burkes and Katz. The deal cost him $500,000 in commissions, Griffin claims.

    Laborde testified that he initially was against the contract because he feared it would lead to criticism from companies that bid the year before on the main contract for the insurance program, which was awarded to Fringe Benefits Management Co. Seven days after writing a letter to Edwards advising against making the deal, Laborde said, he changed his mind. Laborde said he decided to change his mind because he had not heard complaints about the arrangement. He also noted that Edwards had asked that he “assist” the Burkes and Katz in their efforts to secure the sub-contractor agreement.”””

    6/10/99:

    “””Former Gov. Edwin Edwards testified Wednesday that his involvement with a contract granted in 1992 to three of his political allies amounted to little more than a five-minute meeting at the Governor’s Mansion before he delegated the matter to his administration director.

    Edwards is facing a lawsuit by Baton Rouge insurance agent Cary Griffin. The suit accuses Edwards of conspiring with his commissioner of administration, Raymond Laborde, to steer a lucrative insurance contract to a partnership comprising three of Edwards’ allies. The partners are former Orleans Parish Assessor Ronnie Burke , his brother, Gary Burke, and Maurice “Hippo” Katz, a politically influential New Orleans insurance broker.

    Edwards acknowledged meeting with the Burkes and Katz. But he said he had nothing to do with working out details of the contract , which gave the Burkes-Katz partnership one-third of the commissions on state business earned by Colonial Life Insurance agents.”””

    “””Laborde testified Tuesday that he initially opposed the deal offered by the Burkes and Katz because an expert consultant recommended against it. Under the proposal, the Burkes-Katz partnership provided more than 60 insurance agents to help enroll state employees in a program that allowed them to buy insurance with pre-tax dollars. In return, the Burkes-Katz partnership got one-third of commissions earned by their agents and by Colonial agents already working on state business, including Griffin.

    Griffin says the deal cost him more than $500,000. He’s asking for damages from Edwards, Laborde, the Burkes, Katz, Fringe Benefit Management Co. and Colonial. Fringe Benefit held the main contract to administer the state’s insurance benefit plan and agreed to hire Colonial and the Burkes-Katz partnership as subcontractors.

    Laborde testified that seven days after voicing his objection to the deal, he changed his mind because he had not heard any complaints about the proposed contract from Colonial’s competitors.

    In testimony Tuesday, Gary Burke portrayed Griffin as a malcontent who refused to seize an opportunity to make more commissions by soliciting insurance sales during meetings organized by the Burkes and Katz partnership.”””

    By the next day, June 11, 1999, the day after EWE testified on teh stand, the case had settled.

    Wow, the gang’s all there: B&A, Hippo Katz, EWE, Burke.

  12. Say, who remembers this little tidbit?

    The Kitchen Cabinet of EWE???

    From the 7/14/01 TP:

    “”””In a private dining room at Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Metairie, top public officials and union leaders from the Jefferson Parish school system sat down over lunch March 16, 2000, to hear a sales pitch. Kevin Dermody, a young financial adviser from Naperville, Ill., handed out packets of information and then, using a large-screen projector as a guide, made his case to take over a $10.5 million tax-deferred investment program for school employees.

    More than a year later, officials would blame Dermody for losing almost half the plan’s assets and leaving employee accounts in such disarray that it’s uncertain how much money remains and how the rest of it vanished. But on that day in March 2000, in the dim, wood-trimmed room on the restaurant’s second floor, there were no foreboding signs.

    To Martin Marino, School Board president at the time and one of six school system officials in attendance, Dermody, 30, seemed to give a polished, professional talk. Union President Joe Potts said Dermody’s offers to cut expenses and improve services sounded appealing.

    “It was a business lunch,” Superintendent Elton Lagasse said. “I think that happens in business every day.”

    Two months later, the School Board gave the job to Dermody in what appeared to be a routine 7-0 vote.

    Now, however, after getting suspended by the company he represented, Dermody has resigned. The National Association of Securities Dealers is investigating, and a School Board attorney says the FBI has begun making inquiries. School officials have frozen all employee accounts in the program that Dermody managed and have accused him of plowing the money into unauthorized, risky and potentially fraudulent investments. They’ve hired lawyers and a nationally known accounting firm to try to make sense of the records he left behind.

    Jack Martzell, an attorney for Dermody, says his client did nothing wrong. If somebody did indeed mismanage the money, Martzell said, it must have been someone else in one of the various firms involved in the investment program.

    “This is going to be an investigation with a long tail on it,” Martzell said. “Everyone is diving for cover.”

    In the meantime, the 1,200 employees who put their money into the program are left with little more than questions about what happened to their investments, about how the School Board went about retaining Dermody and the firm that introduced him at the Ruth’s Chris lunch and about a politically connected local insurance agent who played a key role in bringing that firm to town.”””

    “””For a decade, the board had been using First Financial Capital Corp. of Houston as its “third-party administrator” of optional employee benefits. The program worked like this:

    Employees could have the school system deduct money from their paychecks to pay for benefits of their choosing, such as cancer, life and disability insurance and various investment plans to supplement basic state-provided benefits. The school system turned over the money on a regular basis to First Financial. First Financial then sent the money to the dozens of companies that provided more than 80 benefits plans. Many of the benefits providers had been screened by First Financial before getting approved by the School Board.

    But in 1999, the School Board decided to put the third-party administrator contract out for competitive proposals.

    Lagasse said the decision was part of a comprehensive process in which the board was re-evaluating all its service contracts , many of which it hadn’t visited in years.”””

    “””The move to put the contract out for proposals was approved in a unanimous School Board vote Aug. 18, 1999. Some board members now are second-guessing that decision.

    “First Financial had given us a decade of trouble-free service,” board member Gene Katsanis said. “The employees liked them. It’s a mystery to me how it happened.”

    To fee or not to fee

    Four companies submitted proposals for the contract , including First Financial and JeHe Inc. of San Antonio, the company that eventually won the job and brought in Dermody.

    JeHe was not licensed in Louisiana at the time it submitted its proposal, but the man who alerted JeHe officials to the Jefferson opportunity had long-standing political and business ties in the state.

    That man was Gary Burke, a local manager for Colonial Life and Accident Insurance Co. of Columbia, S.C., and brother of former Orleans Parish Assessor Ronnie Burke . Burke and another local Colonial representative who sells policies to Jefferson school employees, Maurice “Hippo” Katz, are frequent contributors to political campaigns, and both were identified last year by federal prosecutors as members of former Gov. Edwin Edwards’ “kitchen cabinet” of friends, aides and campaign contributors.

    Colonial has written disability, cancer and other insurance policies for Jefferson school employees for more than two decades, including the 10 years that First Financial was the system’s third-party administrator. When First Financial took over in 1989, it planned to re-evaluate all the benefits providers. But Colonial was held in such regard by school officials that they instructed First Financial to continue working with the company and not to bother re-evaluating it, First Financial President Randy Uselton said.

    With the School Board casting about for a new third-party administrator in 1999, Burke called JeHe and suggested it apply. He even delivered JeHe’s proposal to the school system.

    First Financial, meanwhile, had grown concerned about the prospect of losing its contract . In 1999, the company and its officers contributed at least $1,125 to the political treasuries of board members Katsanis, Marino and Laurie Rolling Hagan. With the contract going out for proposals, company officials called board members to see if they could change their services in order to keep the job, Uselton said. They didn’t get answers that satisfied them, and they were surprised when the contract suddenly slipped away, he said.

    JeHe’s founder and president at the time, Richard Fennema, said he had no political connections in Jefferson but relied on Burke.

    “I didn’t get too involved in the politics on that,” said Fennema, who sold the business this year. “I’m assuming that Gary did the politicking. That’s my understanding.”

    Burke later would speak in favor of JeHe to the Pointe Coupee Parish School Board when the company unsuccessfully sought business there in October 2000. But in Jefferson, Burke said he didn’t call any board members on JeHe’s behalf, although he said he might have mentioned the company casually to some Jefferson officials when he encountered them at meetings or social functions.

    JeHe, Dermody and a Dermody firm called Emerald Investments gave no money to School Board members in 1999. In 2000, the year JeHe and Dermody started working in Jefferson, they gave a total of at least $3,000 to Marino, Barry Bordelon, Chris Roberts and Ray St. Pierre.””

    “””A key difference between First Financial and JeHe was their fee-charging practices. Because neither the board nor employees pay fees to the third-party administrator, the administrator makes its profits by charging benefits vendors to whom it directs the paycheck deductions.

    First Financial required vendors to share 30 percent of the sales commissions they earned. Thus, the more school employees signed up and the more money they contributed, the more First Financial made. JeHe, however, offered to charge a flat fee of $1 a month for every employee in the school system regardless of how many participated and how much money they put into their benefits plans. The school system has about 7,000 employees.

    For vendors such as Colonial, Fennema said, the set fee offered by JeHe is much more lucrative than commission sharing because they can increase their sales to employees without having to pay more to the third-party administrator.

    Katz agreed, saying, “I did like the idea that no commissions had to be shared.”

    But Burke said the commission/fee debate made little difference to him. Because Colonial for decades has signed up school employees for insurance plans, he said, it is unlikely to increase its business there. That means that under a commission-sharing arrangement, Colonial’s payments would practically be a set amount, anyway, he said.

    JeHe received its license to operate in Louisiana on Sept. 16, 1999. Six days later, the School Board awarded it the third-party administrator contract in a 5-4 vote. Voting for JeHe were Barry Bordelon, Marino, Roberts, St. Pierre and Karen Barnes. In the minority were Hagan, Katsanis, Libby Moran and Charlie French.

    ‘A young, energetic guy’

    Soon, JeHe opened an office at 3340 Severn Ave. in Metairie, in a suite with internal doors connecting to a joint suite of Colonial and a Burke-owned company called B&A Insurance. Officials with both companies said the close proximity helps them process Jefferson school employee requests.”””

    “””Having bested First Financial for the contract to administer employee benefits plans, JeHe also ended First Financial’s work selling an American United investment product under what is known as a 457 tax-sheltered savings plan. Fennema said he could not reach an agreement with First Financial regarding a fee arrangement.

    It was difficult locating an expert to take over, Fennema said. But he eventually heard about Dermody through an insurance contact in Texas. Fennema said Dermody came highly recommended from the company he represented, Tower Square Securities Inc., based in Hartford, Conn. A report from the National Association of Securities Dealers shows that Dermody began his career almost a decade ago and that the association has never taken regulatory action against him.

    “He seemed like he knew what he was talking about,” Fennema said. “He passed all the sniff tests with me. He was a young, energetic guy.”

    The lunch meeting at Ruth’s Chris was convened so Fennema could introduce Dermody to key school system officials who would help decide whether he should be given the responsibility of handling the money that employees put into the 457 plan. In attendance were Marino, St. Pierre, Lagasse, Personnel Director Ronald Ceruti, board attorney Jack Grant, former Chief Financial Officer Frank Davis and Potts, the union president.

    John Wilson, who now owns the Louisiana branch of JeHe, also attended. So did Burke, who said he was asked to go because he is established in Jefferson and would have been able to act partly as a liaison for the Texas JeHe officers who did not know many people locally.

    Dermody repeated his presentation at a School Board insurance committee meeting May 24, 2000. During the full board meeting that immediately followed, the board waived its rule that it must give 72 hours notice to take an official action, then approved Dermody in the 7-0 vote, with Bordelon and Hagan not voting. Judy Colgan had replaced French by that time.

    In the several months that followed, Dermody took control of the 457 plan money. He gave a presentation on his progress to the School Board on Aug. 2, 2000, but otherwise attracted little public attention.”””

  13. Telemachus, you are to be commended once again for your continuing efforts to enlighten all of us concerning the abominations of the past. The sad part is, these historical revelations reinforce what we have come to accept: the raw and undeniable truth in fact of how imbedded corruption is throughout all of Jefferson Parish’s political institutions. The School board has and continues to be the cesspool of all things wrong, and insurance premiums have made this political decadence viral. From the School Board to the Council, generation after generation of abhorrent individuals who are bought and sold by the contractors, insurance peddlers, lawyers and usual assortment of family, cronies and friends.

    The same names, if not the same individuals, turn up over and over again. The Connicks tagged along with the Burkes, partner up with Katz, Coulon and Whitmer; Lagasse and his Barry Bordelon are named over and over again connected to almost every suspect deal imaginable, whether it be while at the JP school system or now on the Council.

    It seems as though there is no real hope of change, certainly not by the political thugs; the public appears to have no real desire to reform as evidenced by percentage of voters registered who actually vote.

    And I can wonder why after talking with Pelican earlier this morning. deBrief went to some kind of breakfast discussion about what an Inspector General does and why such an office could prove to be the necessary oversight to alter and end the course of the same old same old here in JP. He was there primarily to visit with some old friend from US Atty days who is now IG for Philadelphia. The IG from NO was there also. All in all, Pelican conveyed that it seemed to go over well, and left him with a positive feeling, at least until he spoke to me.

    After I asked who were some of the JP elected and appointed officials, I wished I wouldn’t have. Alan Gandolfi and Louis Grutz ? These two guys are ID’s for what’s wrong in JP government. And to make matters worse and further insulting, they were appointed by Theriot as the Parish’s representatives on this committee to study if an IG office should be established ! Yea, right, only if someone from the political thugs circle of miscreants is chosen.

    This is just another sham by these arrogant, retirement junkie clowns, to try to quiet down the angry citizens who have had enough of their hypocrisy and sense of entitlement. Pelican tells me the names of some of the other usual suspects…John Young etc,etc,etc…I just had to hang up. I was livid as I remembered that another recent faux ethics scam was already in progress. A self-appointed “Ethics Committee” comprised of Theriot, Roberts, Capella, Gonzales and the black widow, Lee-Sheng have reviewed applicants for the same but re-named overpaid assistants on the 10th floor who now Theriot’s appointments and not Broussard’s.

    I thought to myself…qu’est-ce qu’un putain de situation !

  14. OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOwweeeeeeeeeeeee Dear Car 54(FBI and Letten): After reading the above post by Telemachus quoting the Times-picayune article 7/14/01, it is evident that a similar corrupt history is about to repeat itself in JP again and with similar political names involved. The FBI investigated and prosecuted a finacial advisor,Kevin Dermody, of an insurance company named JeHe in the early years of the new miilenium.The JeHe insurance company was not incorporated in La. at time it filed its insurance proposal(Telemachus, T/P quote para.18). School insurance proposals were invited when Elton Lagasse,then Superintendant of JP schools, stated he thought “re-evaluating” school board contracts was a good idea(para.13). The President of JeHe, a Texas firm, stated he knew no one in politics in JP, but relied on local politically connected,Gary Burke(para.23& 24).Barry Bordelon and Chris Roberts, then members of JP school board, voted in favor,a 5-4 vote, to give insurance contract to JeHe. Voting to give the work to JeHe was Barry Bordelon, now current aide to JP councilman Lagasse and Chris Roberts, now current JP councilman. Six days after contract was approved JeHe incorporated in La. and then rented office in JP but its “internal” doors connected to Gary Burke’s company, B&A Insurance, and with Colonial Insurance.The President of JeHe brought in financial advisor Dermody who the board appoved 7-0 .Years later Dermody was fired and approximately 4-5 million was loss by the school teachers and employees.And in 2000, the year JeHe and Dermody started work in JP,they contributed $3,000 to Barry Bordelon, Chris Roberts, and others. Now lets fast forward to the present time. The JP Council, suddenly within (3) days of JP President Broussard’s resignation and despite great public outcry, appoints by vote of 6-0 President Theriot, who soon states he wants to “re-evaluate” some contracts one of which is the 25 year, $160,000,000 – $500,000,000 estimated valued River Birch landfill contract.In February, 2010 three firms apply to re-evaluate River Birch contract. One certain firm formed and incorporated in Texas less than 7 days before submitting its proposal to re-evaluate River Birch is MSW, a one man company with no prior work history and not incorporated in La.. The two other firms are ruled out for conflicts of doing business with Waste Management or BFI. Theriot recommends MSW and Councilman Young before voting with other 6 councilpersons in favor recommends that President of MSW sign an affidavit swearing he has done no work for BFI or Waste Management( note there was no requirement that required MSW President to swear he did not have inside connections in La.,to River Birch owners or associates or their friends,, council and/or aides or friends thereof ). Resolution with affidavit (an attempt of smoke and mirrors to convince citizens of transparency) passes 7-0 on June 9,2010. Now I ask you, do you think you should interview and ask the President of MSW a few questions like who informed him about the Theriot re-evaluation of River Birch contract all the way in Texas, the corporate office location. And who he has communicated with in La.,any communications with any owners of , associates or friends representing River Birch, or with any councilpersons,their staff or anyone in JP administration. I would encourage you to do so now, so that you will not be later investigating another crime of fraud perpetrated against the citizens of JP just as financial advisor Dermody did to the JP school employees and hardworking teachers in the 2000’s. Come on Car 54, if you need a push my uncle and I are pretty strong monkeys, save JP before it is too late. OOOOOOwweeee

  15. And the answer: Wait, is that Elton Lagasse’s BARRY BORDELON’s footprints on the MSW’s Griesbach ?

    Lagasse…vas te faire encule…Bordelon…vas te faire encule

  16. Whitmergate, re: this: “””And I can wonder why after talking with Pelican earlier this morning. deBrief went to some kind of breakfast discussion about what an Inspector General does and why such an office could prove to be the necessary oversight to alter and end the course of the same old same old here in JP. He was there primarily to visit with some old friend from US Atty days who is now IG for Philadelphia. The IG from NO was there also. All in all, Pelican conveyed that it seemed to go over well, and left him with a positive feeling, at least until he spoke to me.

    After I asked who were some of the JP elected and appointed officials, I wished I wouldn

  17. Telemachus, the meetings are purposely staggered as to cause confusion as to where and when. On one occasion. many of us were at the Yenni Building for a morning meeting only to find out accidentally by seeing Gruntz trying to rush to the elevator to avoid us, that the meeting was cancelled. We were told that HE GOT AN E-MAIL FROM GANDOLFI stating that there would not be enough committee members in attendance to have a meeting. No public notice, and of course no public apology ! And yes, an absolute violation of the PUBLIC MEETINGS LAW. So what ! Gandolfi knows DA Connick’s go after him for this flagrant violation, not to mention the arrogant insult to us the citizens.

    This is the list I have (it may have changed, who knows) 1)Bureau of Governmental Research JANET HOWARD, clueless 2) Metro Crime Commission, RAPHAEL GOYENECHE, missing in action 3) East Jefferson Civic Assoc., ALTON WILSON ? 4) West Jefferson Civic Assoc. L. CARMADELLE, been around 5) Jefferson Business Council, RIC SMITH, Omni Bank conflict 6) Jefferson Chamber of Commerce, TOM MEYER, not construction but “financial services” like School stuff ? 7) JP Research and Budget, ALAN GANDOLFI, Wilkinson lackey and conflict 8) Parish Attorney’s Office, LOUIS GRUTZ, 29 years gatekeeping and conflict.

    This will correct my previous statement of only 7 members, due to the fact that I forgot Goyeneche who usually is not present (I think he lives in ST. Tammany and that may be the reason).

    As with all things similar to this side-show for public consumption staged by the public Officials here in JP, it will end up being either bastardized for their benefit with one of their cronies being appointed or have some underhanded maneuver like tying the financing of the IG Office to a tax vote.

    Jim Brown may be right, the Feds should come in and take over if only to give the citizens some breathing room. The corruption culture continues to hold the course.

    1. Hi Roxann, not to minimize your remark as we’ve had some extraordinary postings to Slabbed through the years but Holy Jumpin’ Jehosaphat!!!!!

      Please keep us posted.

      sop

  18. May I pose a rhetorical question on what many believe to be the “holiest” day of the year (even the Gambling Houses in Jefferson Parish closed on Good Friday – the ONLY day of the year on which they closed, unless forced to do so by CROOKED politicians and “lew enforcement”): Why is Ms. Rapach’s patrimony of the least bit of interest to “The SLABBED Nation”? Isn’t this a “personal” matter between her and whoever her “Daddy” may be? End of conversation, as far as I am concerned. Ashton O’Dwyer.

  19. Actually Ashton if Roxann is right she just confirmed something I was told a long time ago about Mr Connick.

    sop

    1. Honestly, I agree with Ashton …

      It’s none of Slabbed’s concern one way or the other… Additionally I find it very inappropriate for this person to have commented about her PWT personal business on my guest post …

      This is not only wierd … It doesn’t smell right…

      1. I emailed her yesterday, no response. You’re the guy I was waiting to hear from so the comment is gone.

        sop

  20. This may have been a set up to discredit this blog and/or provide a trumped up libel claim. Stranger things have happened to Slabbed and American Zombie when they previously exposed the corruption in South Louisiana.

  21. Having re-read the comment thread between myself and telemachus, it would seem reasonable that the FBI and the Justice Dept in DC take another look at Mr. Connick and the JP Council’s RICO activities …

    And there is this continuing pattern of corrupt practices by LargeA$$E and his bagman, Barry Bordelon and architect Gendusa … from the JP School Board days through now, the JPPAC …

    Come on people … this is not rocket science … this level of corruption could not have existed without the DA of Jefferson Parish, the Atty General of Louisiana and the US Atty of the EDLA either turning their heads or colluding with the corrupt MFers in the first place !!!

Leave a Reply

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