It

As Dambala at American Zombie puts it, New Orleans area politicians looting charities is the “art of the con profit”.  The scheme is now a time-honored one in the Dollar Bill Jefferson crime family: Steer government earmarks to a charity under the effective control of the politician doing the steering and then loot the money out on the back-end. In Jefferson Parish Councilman Byron Lee’s case, people have been looking and then some for several months and the verdict is in as the man appears in dire need of a criminal indictment.  We’ve been hearing rumors for weeks now that is exactly what has happened. Before we get to the latest I think we should review Lee and his history with affiliated con profits:

We begin with the River Birch landfill, since all corruption roads appear to lead straight back to Team Ward/Heebe’s massive real estate holding in Waggaman, purchased in the 1960s from Carlos Marcello. As part of the settlement involving the permitting process in the late 1990’s River Birch agrees to pay $70,000 per year for 10 years to the 3rd Jefferson Parish Council District to fund community projects in the area impacted most by the landfill. I’ll add landfills and corruption seem to go together in Jefferson Parish like white on rice and it contains a major political component.

Enter current 3rd District Jefferson Parish Councilman Byron Lee, a corrupt sack of shit that has been twice duly elected by the voters despite the fact he sold them out. Once he assumed control of the annual payments he began steering them to not for profits affiliated with him. None of this was a secret yet Lee was reelected in 2007 as Louisiana voters once again shoot themselves in the foot. The spending trend was unmistakable.

More recently we profiled a curious land donation to Lee’s non profit by Chris Roberts and Larry Sisung in part 1 of this series that we’ll circle back to in due course. However I’d be remiss if I did not mention the Jefferson Sports and Scholastic Foundation was not the only not for profit with nefarious connections to Lee as the Jefferson Community Health Care Centers also had massive problems uncovered in its operations earlier this year via legislative audit. It appears Lee learned well from Ike Spears and the grandpappy of ’em all Dollar Bill Jefferson. In the ultimate irony Spears is one of the NOLA area lawyers State Farm uses to defend the numerous bad faith coverage cases that are routinely filed against the Bloomington Illinois multi national insurance giant.  Our experience here at Slabbed is the Farm prefers to use as politically connected hacks for local council as it helps when their bad behavior hits the court house steps.

The Legislative Auditor’s office was not done with Lee though as they also took a looksie at his Jefferson Sports and Scholastic Foundation in response to the street talk about it being a scam. In a report released yesterday the Legislative Auditor issued about as damning an indictment as they could on how Lee ran his con profit. This bit of news circled the internet at light speed yesterday, especially after Paul Rioux broke it Monday evening for the Times Picayune.  In the latest update Byron Lee’s attorney, Ike Spears had a few comments for the record:

In a written response to the audit, Lee’s attorney, Ike Spears, called the payments “negligible” and said including them in the audit was “improper, gratuitous and well beyond the scope of a legitimate legislative audit.”

As a CPA who spent a career auditing including a number of years auditing local governments here in Mississippi I’ll add Spears is grasping at straws trying to create a straw man that will extract his ass outta the massive trouble its in.  Spears was a close confidant to Dollar Bill Jefferson as well as political ally to Lee and Lee’s blow buddy, Congressman elect Cedric Richmond.  Spears wife Sonja is currently under federal investigation for payroll fraud as she abandoned the bench in NOLA for Beantown yet curiously decided to continue her paycheck from the local court system despite being long gone. From all appearances, Spears has some money problems to go along with his family’s legal troubles and we hear the quality of his representation of State Farm is deteriorating as the pressure is no doubt taking a toll on the man.  Speaking of pressure, financial and otherwise it appears Lee has some of his own as Channel 4 chipped in on this topic last night with a video report I’ve embedded below the quote from the related print story:

The audit points out that Jefferson Parish Code Enforcement imposed liens on property in Westwego owned by the Jefferson Sports and Scholastic Foundation. The audit found the foundation owed the parish $11,230 for cutting grass and removing debris for the period from August 2007 to the end of 2009.

Since then, Eyewitness News has learned that the parish has filed an additional $2,444.87 in liens against the foundation for taking care of that property. That brings the total owed by the foundation to the parish for grass cutting and debris removal to $13,674.87.

In addition to that, just three weeks ago the federal Internal Revenue Service imposed a tax lien of $873.97 on the Jefferson Sports and Scholastic Foundation.

Lee has some financial obligations of his own he has apparently not met. Tax records reveal that he owes the City of New Orleans thousands of dollars in delinquent property taxes.

City documents show delinquent tax bills for four properties totaling $3,576.48. City records also show Lee’s business, Maxima Group Investments, owes $1,896 in delinquent property taxes.

In addition, Jefferson Parish mortgage records reveal that the IRS has hit Lee’s Maxima Group Behavioral Services Corp. with a federal tax lien worth more than $306,070 in federal taxes.

[vodpod id=ExternalVideo.976573&w=425&h=350&fv=]

And of course those grass cutting bills levied by Jefferson Parish Code enforcement leads us back to Part 1 of this series, Larry Sisung and Chris Roberts who no doubt are highly aware of the questions being asked by investigators concerning Lee’s business dealings as they relate to his con profits. Also implicated is State Representative Girod Jackson III, who our own Telemachus added a good bit of color about on the role he plays in the extended Dollar Bill crime family:

About Rep. Girod Jackson II {Redux}:

More fun:

{FB Poster (no, not moi)} to Walt Bennetti on or around 11/11/10: (ClickJefferson.com): “What about fictitious companies such as Diversified that got a$ 50k payment from the parish ‘on the fly’ post Katrina?” 3 hours ago ·

LOOK WHO CHIMES IN!

********Chris Roberts: “… who is Diversified? Send me some info.”
– about an hour ago

{FB Poster (no, not moi)} “Chris, I will have to look it up in my old emails and forward a copy to you. Very interesting information.”

So, who IS DIVERSIFIED???………………….

Broussard says he tapped *******Councilman Byron Lee to find a contractor who could distribute food and other supplies alongside the Maryland National Guard. Because most of the calls were coming from Lee’s 3rd District, Broussard says he asked the councilman for a minority contractor to serve its relatively high concentration of black residents.

The $1 million contract, signed Sept. 7 and modified in December, went to ********Diversified Ventures, a Marrero company that is not listed in the telephone directory and does not have a Web site.

Its president, ********Girod Jackson III, is a former manager at Pioneer Resources Management Group, a cable installation company managed by Lee. Jackson also contributed $500 to the councilman during the 2003 election cycle, according to state corporation and campaign finance records.

Like all major events in greater NOLA this entire affair is multilayered as another of our commenters unwittingly hints at with this observation:

According to WDSU check records relating to a payment made to the Jefferson Sports and Scholastic Foundation were missing from Parish files, notwithstanding a Preservation of Records Notice from Jim Letten. The WDSU report was incomplete and did not address whether these records were found, who had access to the records, and what was contained in the records that someone wanted to keep from investigators.

The WDSU report was incomplete in a respect though it essentially kicked off the coverage of the legislative audit findings on Lee’s con profit even if it did not mention the report in the story. I suspect WDSU was both tipped and sourced by John Young’s office and we covered it in spite of that fact.  I suspect Young got a heads up on what was coming in the latest audit of Lee’s non profits and Parish docs related to the legislative audit that have evidently gone missing provide good ammo against Jefferson Parish finance director Gwen Bolotte, who is not one of Young’s favorites in his new administration.  I hope it is not lost on anyone all this happened with Lee and his looted taxpayer earmarks under Young’s watch as councilman at large. The fact is the missing records are not really missing in one respect as the bank would also have a copy of whatever checks were issued to Lee’s con profits. I do not see where Bolotte has anything to gain by helping a pig like Lee but politics is sometimes a very nasty business.

What we have here folks is another tenticle of the ongoing federal political corruption investigation into Louisiana’s largest metropolitan area.  Lee knows he will soon be indicted thus is new found fondness for hiding behind Ike Spears.  Lee’s problem is that Spears has law enforcement problems of his own.  And now with Cedric Richmond’s ascent to congress he becomes a  much juicier target indeed.

Dambala has coverage of this over at the American Zombie as does Click Jefferson  and Fox 8 (Nowdy highlighted Miss Margie’s comments last night).  As Dambala correctly points out his original reporting on NOLA style charity looting by Cedric Richmond has reached critical mass and the main stream media is now smelling blood.  We’re hearing that Lee will be the first to be indicted. No doubt we’re not alone hearing that chatter.

sop

22 thoughts on “It”

  1. There is apparently a huge out cry for help here in JP.

    Help in rooting out public corruption. We have the MCC a non profit

  2. And, Bobby Jindal continues to impose massive budget cuts on education and health care. Hey, Bobby, when you have the time to stick around and look at the huge budget problem in our State and possible solutions, cut the freaking earmarks that are doled out to crooks like this guy and Cedric Richmond-type people. I’ll bet if you cut all the taxpayer fleecing for non-profits and other pet legislative projects, you could actually balance the goddamn budget. Policy wonk, my ass!

  3. Inspector Clouseau, are you kidding me. He would’nt come out of his roooom to handle this foul crap. Our most cracker- jack crew has been this A.M. overcome and pinned down here in Lee’s office by toxic landfill like fumes and biting flies. There is an unidentified slime oozing from Lee’s desk draws, his executive chair seat reveals recently deposited fecal excrement and his paper shredder is backing up in reverse spurting out mutilated Doral Country Club receipts and e-mails to a G.Jackson. We’re putting out a request for all available ex- BP employees to report in masks/ full gear ASAP to prevent an evacuation order. P.S. This is much worse than the recent microwave popcorn event that caused the Gretna building evacuation.

  4. So Whitmer & Wilkinson sing like canaries and the target is another black politician. All I can hope for is that just as Wilkinson was the lynchpin to bring down Heebe, Butler, Broussard et al Byron Lee will deliver the final blow. Always attack the weakest link and considering Byron knows intimately how it feels to be the Uncle Tom in that racist hellhole called Jefferson Parish he is that weak link. FBI will break him, squeeze him and then look for the next weakest link in the group Byron gives or is ready giving them. Immunity for testimony: the gift that keeps on giving. Ask Cleo Fields. Cannot wait for Edwin to get out and learn how to blog!

  5. Kudos go to unslabbed . Letten must be in heaven, the black JP Political Official has been outed. Councilman Lee will complete the corruption clean-up circle he’s been waiting to announce on the Courthouse steps for some time now. Yes folks, once Lee is prosecuted and convicted and sentenced to a jail lacking a golf course, Letten will proclaim, with a straight face, that corruption on all levels of Jefferson Parish Government has been weeded out: from the local (Bolar, Gretna City Councilman and black); the State (Shepard, State Senator and black); and now a JP Public Official (Lee, JP Councilman and black).

    That’s it, corruption over; and not one white JP Public Official, either elected or appointed, was indicted, prosecuted and sentenced to prison for stealing us blind !

    DA Connick, with the cover of the US Atty, and Letten himself have succeeded in protecting their own: the white politico entitlement class of retirement junkies for years to come !

    In closing, I will quote the mantra of the newly elected Parish President John Young, which now applies to the taxpayers, as well as the employees of Jefferson Parish: “Keep your head down and stay in your own lane” ! In other words, work so you can pay your taxes; shut up and stop complaining. We have to do our retirement time, provide raises for ourselves and our family and extended family of cronies and campaign contributors.

    What are ya’ll whining about, Jefferson Parish is a great place to live. Wee, Wee Wee !

  6. I fully agree with “Bayou” that the Metropolitan Crime Commission is ineffectual. Can ANY reader of SLABBED identify ONE recent (say in the past 5-years) expose by the MCC that the MCC was responsible for “on its lonesome”, as opposed to being interviewed on TV AFTER someone else broke the story, and being asked opinions about the story (As if their opinion about already-reported corruption makes any difference). Hey: Goyeneche, YOU ARE AS USELESS AS TEATS ON A BULL, and you know PRECISELY what I’m talking about, you worthless piece of shit! As for “the Jefferson Parish Inspector General”, not yet nominated or confirmed, I want to remind everyone that Jefferson Parish is a political subdivision of the State of Louisiana. The State obviously had some interest in the River Birch settlement proceeds “given” to Councilman Byron Lee; otherwise, there wouldn’t have been an audit by the State Legislative Auditor. Well, guess what? In addition to the existence of “The Attorney General of the State of Louisiana” , who “Bayou” correctly says is “missing-in-action” on this one (see infra), the State of Louisiana also employs a full-time Inspector General with a large Staff, including a General Counsel, Investigators, etc. Query: Has the Legislative Auditor made his Audit Report available to either the Attorney General or the Inspector General? Are these arms of government every bit as “useless” as Rafael Goyeneche and his Metropolitan Crime Commission? Now my theory about why we won’t see any branch of State Government do anything about any of this: Byron Lee is a Negro, and “The Black Legislative Caucus” won’t stand for it. (Can you imagine the uproar if a white legislator organized “The White Legislative Caucus”?). It’s going to be Letten (SPIT!) or no one. Ashton O’Dwyer.

  7. EUREKA! Did you all know that Byron Lee is Derrick Sheppard’s cousin? I’m NOT making this up. Birds of a feather. Ashton O’Dwyer.

    1. And you win today’s prize Crystal as your comment is spot on to a conversation we had after Muni court in NOLA today. We were searching for how Carol Smith fit in and we knew she did but could not recall the connection. Thanks for filling in that blank again for us.

      Telemachus well said.

      sop

  8. The American Zombie used to speak about the 4 walls that went around Nagin until he was finally boxed in.

    I don’t know who’s in thw box here, but *somebody’s getting enclosed, and I don’t think Byron Lee is the end game here, do you?

    Though I’m sure they’ll be glad to bag him with the rest of the pigeons.

    You have:

    – The Lagniappe scandal

    – Nova Scotia

    – Post Katrina contracting

    – Technology

    – Non (Con) Profits

    – River Birch

    – Redflex

    – Redman Gaming

    They’ve got evidence from the days of the EWE investigation, from JP district court, from the Canal Street brothel, from Bill Jefferson.

    Folks, if Nagin is caught in a box I think this is a purse sein net.

    The USA has what, 30, maybe 40 attorneys? They have Orleans; the St. Tammany bs; they have Danziger, they have the post-Katrina shootings (RIP). – I think right now their priority is cleaning up the NOPD and there may be more to come out of that. But when they are done with that they will turn to other things, and you can be sure that call to prioritize that case came from DC.

    And I’m sorry but if the black pol was all they were interested in Morial and Nagin would have gone down a long, long time ago.

    Meanwhile what I recall is a couple white judges in St. Tammany and St. Bernard, a white councilman in StT, Eddie Price, Hubbard, the judges in JP (except for Green), all white, white, white.

    The Jeffersons, yeah, but seriously…. do you *really need a racial motive there? And let’s face it, they were the priority, and Shepherd was part of that. And that crossed parish lines. As does this.

    The Jeffersons moved what went down in Orleans, in every way, in every day. Ike Spears is just a vestige of that. Now my question is who are the Jeffersons of Jefferson? The Wards? The Sneeds? Alario? Mamoulides? You tell me.

    And the Orleans tech stuff? Whooo-wwhee. That is some major league tarpon.

    And as for JP – where the heck would *you* start? Once you bust somebody they will all be scrambling like rats. And they are just as plentiful.

    I wouldn’t envy their job, they have got some serious, serious, work ahead of them.

  9. Everything corrupt in Jefferson Parish that has surfaced since August of 2009 beginning with the revelations by AMV that something wasn’t right about the River Birch Contract, seems to always be centered around THE facilitator of corruption, TOM WILKINSON !

    FIRST, let me congratulate CrystalClearCassange for the name chosen to legitimately criticize the fraudulent hiring of Coulon’s kneebending pissant lackey, and Broussard’s co-signee CAO on millions of dollars to Hubbard for God knows what, NANCY CASSAGNE !!! As I have written before and am writing again, her being hired as the Director of WJMC was and still is criminal. She did not have, and does not have now, the minimum qualifications for that position other than what her brother-in-law Wilkinson designed for her. And what was her reward for being the political whore that she is: getting paid over $400,000 a year to keep her mouth shut (pun intended). Everyone connected to Cassagne being appointed as Director of WJMC should be indicted, prosecuted and sentenced to jail, bar none. Then either the Parish of Jefferson or a Taxpayer Citizens Group should sue all Parties concerned to recover all monies payed to Cassange while acting Director as a result of this fraudulent contract.

    SECOND, let me address Bayou’s concerns about Wilkinson’s kneebending co-conspirator in payroll fraud, PEGGY BARTON !!! So let me understand what Connick’s punk Young has done. He has knowingly re-appointed Barton, whose conduct was at the direction of and in concert with her boss Wilkinson, to illegally cover-up the payroll fraud of para-legals under their supervision, in particular, Karen Broussard, Thomassie, Trahan and others. That Young re-appointed Barton with the knowledge that she altered the public records, with the assistance of Deano Bonano, to reflect that those named para-legals were not under her supervision when in fact they were. And Young, having made a public proclamation that any one employed by Jefferson Parish should live and vote in JP, re-appointed Barton, who along with Wilkinson, knowingly employed individuals as an Asst Parish Attorney who were not “electors” of Jefferson Parish as required by the Jefferson Parish Charter. These non-electors are now and have been Asst Parish Attys throughout Wilkinson’s tenure as Parish Attorney and Barton as his 1st Deputy Parish Attorney. Like in the Cassange case above, I want justice; a suit should be prosecuted to recover all illegal salaries paid to any person employed as an Asst PA illegally !

    Ces connards sont une honte putain !

  10. just out on Nola.com..Young will announce the “A” team tomorrow at the Yenni Building.

    He choses Chris Cox,( who just resigned from the U.S. Attorney’s office) as Chief Operating Officer..(the #2 guy in Young’s administration).

    Guess the rest of the varisty team will be announced tomorrow…

  11. Does anybody remember when Tim Whitmer left his CAO job with the Parish to take the Council Research and Budget position so that he would not have to spend so much time at work? Perhaps he was already feeling the pull of private public enterprise.

    Then Finance Director Nancy Cassagne was more than willing to assume the CAO position for Broussard.

    When the WJMC CEO position became available Cassagne was more than willing to assume the job and salary.

    Tim Whitmer had a change of heart and a healthy salary increase and went back to his CAO position. Budget Director Bolotte was more than willing to assume the Finance Director position for Tim and Aarron. It was then that Whitmer and Coulon were able to open Lagniappe for business. The River Birch swindle was on. Payroll fraud, no problem.

    If it weren’t for Hubbard’s indescretions whose company had recieved a whopping in excess of $50 million in drainage contracts for Jefferson Parish after Hurricane Katrina we’d still be stuck with Aarron, Tim and Tom Wilkinson.

    Consider that the West Jefferson Medical center board has been filled by the likes of Steve Theriot, Jim Ward, and Fred Heebe. It is surprising that River Birch doesn’t have a landfill in Marrero.

    What in the world is Jim Letten to do?

  12. Well, well, well…why am I not supprised ! And you people think I don’t know what I’m talking about. What did you say ? A recent U.S. Attorney, Chris Cox, “just resigned” to take the position as COO ! NO history of operational governmental skills, BUT seeking a Jefferson Parish salary envied by all those FBI and US Attys who have been part of the investigation. Does anyone but me sense a CONFLICT OF INTEREST here?

    Letten must be ecstatic…all he has to do now is convict Byron Lee and it’s all over.

    Believe me, NOT ONE, and I mean NOT ONE, white Jefferson Parish Public Official, elected or appointed, will be indicted, prosecuted and sentenced to prison to account for the corruption they have inflicted upon the taxpayers of Jefferson Parish.

    Wee, wee, wee…As our new Fuheur, Connick’s punk ‘johnnie boy’ Young says, “Jefferson Parish is a wonderful place to live…just keep your head down, stay in your own lane, stop whining, and PAY YOUR TAXES ! “

  13. I can hardly finds words in English or in French to describe the neverending spin that these Jefferson Parish politico thugs continue to project to deceive the public. We all know that Connick’s punk, ‘johnnie boy’ Young, is and has been part and parcel of the ‘Grand’ scheme of things here in JP, to maintain the status quo, whether it be River Birch, the Parish Attorney’s Office, or the protection of favored retirement junkies.

    Proof postive of the charade by Young, projecting the opposite of what he is, playing the Sgt. Schultz role stating, “I know nothing!”, tonight we read his latest effort to deflect from his complicity and collusion in the corruption in Jefferson Parish Government:

    “Times-Picayune,

    Federal prosecutor to be Jefferson Parish President John Young’s top aide
    Published: Tuesday, November 16, 2010, 10:00 PM
    Richard Rainey, The Times-Picayune

    In Part,
    Formerly a certified public accountant with the Arthur Andersen firm, Cox worked for Young in District Attorney Paul Connick Jr.’s office in the 1990s before moving on to the Justice Department. He has been part of U.S. Attorney Jim Letten’s violent crimes unit, specializing in gun and drug cases. He was not involved in the continuing federal investigation of the Broussard administration, Young said.

    And in part,
    While not disclosing his pick for parish attorney Tuesday, Young said Peggy Barton, who has held the post since Wilkinson resigned in March, will return to her position as an assistant Parish Attorney.

    I truly am in a state of anomie…

  14. to quote a line out of an ole Steve Martin movie: “the phone books are here !” ..”the phone books are here !”

    It’s out on Nola.com, Young has announced his varsity team for his administration.

    the phone books are here….! !

  15. Ha, just realized…. Chris Roberts used to work for Larry Sisung.

    2/5/00 TP:

    “To say Jefferson Parish School Board member Chris Roberts has been busy is an understatement. In December, he was elected the board’s vice president after barely a year in office, he finished work on his bachelor’s degree in marketing and he got engaged. He also has a new job.

    Roberts, 22, is working for former Jefferson Parish Schools Superintendent Larry Sisung at Sisung’s investment firm. While the company has been successful at winning a variety of public business, it has no contracts with the School Board, Roberts said. He checked.

    He said he’ll be dealing more with investments, 401Ks and the like, not bonds, which are another part of Sisung’s business.

    Roberts previously was finance manager and owner-partner of Rainbow Oldsmobile. He’ll graduate from Our Lady of Holy Cross College in May.”

    Elsewhere he might have been mentioned as a partner in Rainbow Chevrolet too.

    I’m not knocking the American spirit and entrepreurism, Horatio Alger and all that but…. This is a pretty remarkable rise for a Holy Cross College student… typically to but into a dealership one would have to have some money. Did this guy really scrimp and save and plug every dime into a dealership partnership or two by the time he was 21? Or does he have some familial (& bank account) or other ties that made this possible?

    It was posted here opreviously, but can someone recall… isn’t he related to the Wards somehow, or someone similar? Nephew? Something like that?

  16. They bought him from the cradle. I’m watching Seeman/Baird read his obnoxious campaign contributions to him right now. Those women have the ultimate cojones.

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