Watch it or John Young will steal your thunder – “add insult to injury”!

I was ready for a good Friday story and thanks to a reader, I’ve got a good one featuring none other than Jefferson Parish’s very transparent John Young:

More than a month after prosecutors dropped charges that he stole copper from a Jefferson Parish construction site, Russell Hartline was finally being released from jail Thursday when he was startled to see his mugshot on TV news reports.

Parish President John Young had held a news conference touting the arrests of Hartline and four others accused of stealing from the parish as examples of his administration’s crackdown on illegal and unethical activity.

But the theft charges from Hartline’s Oct. 21 arrest were dropped Dec. 9, though he remained in jail until Thursday because of a paperwork error.

“It was like adding insult to injury,” Hartline said Friday. “Just as I was finally getting out of jail on charges that were dropped a month and a half ago, I saw my face plastered all over the TV news.”

Young’s office had not responded late Friday afternoon to an e-mailed question about why Hartline’s case was highlighted after the charges had been dropped.

Young’s “crackdown” cracked up! But that’s what happens when you try to steal thunder. Meanwhile Mr. Hartline is not amused:

Accused of stealing nearly $6,000 worth of copper pipe and wire from the Jefferson Performing Arts Center under construction in Metairie, Hartline had been booked with two counts of theft and possession of stolen property.

Hartline’s public defender had argued in court filings that evidence against him and a statement Hartline made to investigators were obtained illegally.

A spokesman for the Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s Office did not return a call seeking comment on why the charges were dropped.

Cases against the other four theft suspects spotlighted at Young’s joint news conference with Sheriff Newell Normand are pending, according to court records. The alleged thefts range from $100 worth of dog food taken from the West Bank animal shelter to $125,000 in fraudulent charges by a parish contractor.

Although Hartline’s theft charges were dropped Dec. 9, he remained jailed because records incorrectly indicated he faced charges in an unrelated theft case that had also been dropped. A commissioner’s court judge noticed the error Thursday morning and ordered Hartline released, according to court records.

Hartline said jailers were processing his release papers Thursday evening when his arrest was featured in news reports on jail TVs.

“Everybody in the jail was looking at me and saying, ‘I thought the charges were dropped.’ When they came to release me, I thought they were going to re-book me,” Hartline said. “It feels like my name has been rubbed in the dirt.”

But after 92 days in jail, Hartline, who lives in Slidell, said he’s trying to focus on the bright side.

“I’m going out to eat with my family,” he said. “I’m trying to put this all behind me.”

Don’t know where Mr. Hartline ate but it would take one mighty fine meal to soften John Young’s blow.

3 thoughts on “Watch it or John Young will steal your thunder – “add insult to injury”!”

  1. A bit off-subject, but I note that NOLA.COM is up to its old tricks on the post of Feb. 2nd JP council review to be between “competing” solid waste economic reviews: To whit; their blog solicits comments to Paul rioux’s report…. but their syncophant system won’t accept!

    Starting to think the only comments published there they write themselves. I do know ms-vile, et. al. isn’t often allowed comment!

    Thank you SLABBED!

  2. What about the HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of DOLLARS, quite possibly MILLIONS of DOLLARS of payroll fraud facilitated by Wilkinson and Barton ? And to be sure Whitmer and Broussard played a part. When are these co-conspirator miscreants going to arrested and prosecuted for their criminal conduct in:

    1) the paralegal debacle that not only includes Karen Broussard, Trahan and Thomassie, but those additional individuals who were recently fired as we find out that they too were being paid para-legal scale wages although they lacked the certification of a para-legal. All of the people were paid in the excess of HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS of dollars that they were not entitled to. Many of these people held those positions for years and years. Wilkinson was the Parish Attorney and Barton was his first Asst PA assigned as administrator of para-legals.

    2) the Assistant Parish Attorneys who were not duly qualified electors of Jefferson Parish, a requirement mandated by the JP Charter to hold such a position, number significantly through the years Wilkinson was Parish Attorney. Again Barton, as his first Asst PA, was given the responsiblity to supervise all other Asst PAs. The illegal wages paid for at least the 14 years Wilkinson held the position of Parish Attorney is in the MILLIONS !

    3) And lets not forget Debbie Villio whose retirement benefits were kept in tact even though she resigned, only to have Whitmer alter the records so that her time spent running for office would not interrupt the continuous service requirement. She was also a part of the Thomassie para-legal fraud.

    Young needs to be hammered as to why Piggy Barton is still in the Parish Attorney’s office; and why isn’t she being arrested and prosecuted for theft !

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