Telemachus lends context to the now infamous Dutchie Connick memo and enables Slabbed to roll out Ron Maestri. Part 1, important background information.

Folks, if there has been one piece of information disclosed to us that has survived the test of time to this point, it is that multiple Jefferson Parish politicians have personal stakes in seeing River Birch succeed.  This factoid was disclosed to Nowdy and I very early on in this unfolding saga and was reinforced by the John Alario / Dan Robin litigation with River Birch that we ran across and reported on in March 2010.  To make a further connection, one straight into Jim Letten’s office, we must first begin with Telemachus’ comment left yesterday on my last major post on Waste Management which placed the Dutchie Connick memo into context.

To further set things up I think we all need to understand the Dutchie Connick Memo is evidence that has come to light because of the Parish’s suit against Waste Management and comes straight from the “Dutchie file” kept by Waste Management.  What’s new is that coupled with the depositions we recently published, we can now see the River Birch scheme was hatched way back in 2004. If I were a betting man, I’d lay money that Jennifer Sneed Heebe knew when she ran for re-election in 2007 she would not finish the term. She wasn’t the only one either IMHO and that is where Telemachus hits pay dirt for us by bringing in the name of the now interim tax assessor, Ron Maestri. Before we get to Ron let’s start with Telemachus:

Have we thought about this memo enough?

Why is Dutchie important?
Why?

He had been a campaign manager for DA Connick and had faced off vs Chehardy – no love lost there.

October 2004 – the first putsch to install River Birch, from the 10.13.04 TP:

“””Waste Management, a national company that now holds the contract, and the Harvey-based River Birch Inc. are facing off over a council resolution that could open the door for competitive bids on the contract at least five years before it is set to expire.

Waste Management has held the contract since 1998 to run the 700-acre Jefferson Parish Sanitary Landfill at Waggaman, parish administrators said. Under current garbage volume estimates, it is set to expire in June 2009. But parish and company officials said Waste Management began lobbying the administration in August for a six- to 12-year extension.

Officials with River Birch, which operates a 238-acre landfill nearby, said they saw Waste Management’s move for an extension as an opportunity to begin discussing the landfill contract. They are lobbying council members to launch a process to seek competitive proposals, perhaps ending Waste Management’s contract prematurely.

The issue is placing the council in a bit of a political pickle. Since taking office in January, council members generally have sought competitive proposals on long-term deals. But some members are worried about the parish getting sued if it ends Waste Management’s contract ahead of time.

“I’m in favor of going out for proposals at the appropriate time,” Chairman ********John Young said. “We have a contract in place, and I don’t know if it’s good business practice to cancel contracts for no reason.” “””

Ok – look at that again. It’s October 2004. JOHN YOUNG IS OPPOSING OPENING UP THE CONTRACT TO BIDS.

********John Young, the Chairman, was holding up the River Birch entrée.

From the same article:

“”””But Councilman Byron Lee, who is sponsoring today’s proposal, said he wants to make clear that the council won’t simply extend a lucrative contract with Waste Management without seeking proposals. Lee said he is not looking to end Waste Management’s contract early.

“This is just so we can stop the lobbying and make it clear we’re going to look for offers,” Lee said.

According to parish officials and both companies, there has been plenty of lobbying already.

Waste Management, which council members said opposes Lee’s resolution, is being represented, among others, by James “Dutchie” Connick, brother of District Attorney Paul Connick Jr. Young was an assistant district attorney under Connick before being elected, with the chief prosecutor’s help, to the council.

Young said Dutchie Connick ’s role is not a factor in his position on the landfill contract. “Not at all. It’s just as if they had somebody else lobbying. I have to look for what’s best for the parish, (and) there are a lot of things under the surface here that are still in question,” he said.

Waste Management also has lobbying contracts with Adams and Reese, which employs former Jefferson Parish President Tim Coulon. Chuck Dees, area vice president for Waste Management’s southern group, said Coulon is lobbying for the firm in other local governments but not Jefferson Parish. State law prohibits Coulon from lobbying Jefferson officials until January 2006, two years after he left office.

In addition, a former Waste Management lobbyist, Barry Bordelon, is now chief aide to Councilman Elton Lagasse. And Bordelon’s predeccesor at Waste Management, Bobby Bourgeois, is now a deputy chief administrative assistant in Parish President Aaron Broussard’s administration. “”””

Now let’s look at the Dutchie memo again:

“Mr. Whitmer further advised that Mr. Broussard was not happy with the way Waste Management treated Bobby Bourgeois and River Birch was a good partner and known in the community.”

I really hate to sound conspiratorial, but is this euphemistic?

Bourgeois has already left WMI at this point. How was he not “treated” well by April 2004? In what way would they not have treated him well? Well, according to the TP he was “laid off.” Wonder why that happened.

But River Birch is now “a good partner” (when did that happen?) which is “known in the community”? Partner in what? Which community?

There are two other sticklers here:

One is Jennifer Sneed’s role and occupying of a Council seat even though she is conflicted out. Per a 1/14/09 TP article, by *that time the ONLY council member Dutchie had said he had met with was….. Sneed’s replacement, Ron Maestri, who of course was appointed.

The other is Coulon’s inability to (at least *openly*) lobby his former council-mates until January 2006.

Again as of 10/14/04 Dutchie is still with WMI.

By 1/13/05, Dutchie is still representing WMI. Even though the TP reports that Both firms enjoy close ties to Jefferson officials, and their lobbying had put council members at odds with each other over one of the parish’s largest service contracts,” the Council votes 6-0.

So we see there WAS a split council, but the split is not reported. Any guesses on the split? Here’s betting Young was on the opposite side of lee.

Yes, again the TP reported, “Young opposed efforts to end Waste Management’s contract before 2009, but said his position was not related to his connection with the Connicks.”

Of course not.

By 5/24/05 Dutchie is still WMI’s man. By Bastille Day (7/14) 2005, that is still the case.

At 4/28/08 the TP has it as “Waste Management, which has held the Jefferson contract for almost a decade, has been represented in recent years by James “Dutchie” Connick, brother of District Attorney Paul Connick Jr. …” Sounds like WMI still has Dutchie in the fold.

But wait: By January 14, 2009, the TP reports, “River Birch has been lobbying for the deal, which it has sought for five years. James “Dutchie” Connick, company employee and brother of Jefferson District Attorney Paul Connick Jr., has met with at least one council member, Maestri, to explain the proposal. ******Before joining River Birch a ****few years ago, Connick worked for Waste Management, which currently holds the contract to manage Jefferson’s landfill.”

Now, again, the Dutchie memo: “Mr. Whitmer further informed me that Mr. Broussard was inclined to retain the services of River Birch Landfill to operate the Jefferson Parish landfill. Mr. Witner further informed me that Mr. Broussard discussed with representatives of River Birch your role with Waste Management. Mr. Whitmer stated that Mr. Broussard wanted me to understand that River Birch was willing to retain my services in a similar capacity that I presently service with Waste Management.”

Of course at some point, not only did Coulon switch sides, heck he was getting paid nice little commission checks for selling {ahem} insurance. Of course, “insurance” is a very good word for it. In way maybe that’s what Dutchie was selling – insurance that the contract would get squeezed through.

Obviously, by the time the contract came around for a vote again there was NO INTERNAL OPPOSITION and certainly not from JOHN YOUNG.

So it looks like two questions arise:

1. – WHEN, EXACTLY, did Dutchie Connick get hired by River Birch; and

2. – Exactly HOW MUCH was he paid?

See the Dan Robin story previously posted here by this excellent blog for speculation on just how that works.

I also find it interesting that AFTER 1/14/09 the TP does not mention Dutchie again. Wow, wonder why? It calls to mind this snippet:

“”” Bolotte acknowledged in her deposition that despite her sense that the River Birch deal was being rushed through, she didn’t question why.

“Couldn’t figure that out. Didn’t want to figure it out,” said Bolotte, who serves at the pleasure of the parish president. “You know what I’m saying?” “”””””””””

Yeah, folks at JP reported to Whitmer/Broussard and folks at the TP reported to Peter Butler.

****************************************

Just a bit of a follow-up here, from the 11/7/04 TP, there was a story that Mayor Ray Nagin and Charles Rice had purchased trash cans from WMI, to the following tune:

“””According to Charles Rice, Niche representatives had demonstrated the cans, purported to be bomb proof, to him and other city officials. Along with the antiterrorism feature, the cans also contain four panels to display advertising.

City officials were impressed, Rice said, and so far have ordered Waste Management to buy 600 from Niche Marketing, using money donated by private companies to the mayor’s “Imagine It Clean” campaign. The cans, which are not manufactured by Niche, cost $750 apiece, for a total of $450,000, Rice said.

…. Technically, Waste Management has bought the cans at the city’s direction, and then been reimbursed by the city, Rice said. A similar process was used for 508 new cans, costing $675 apiece, in the French Quarter and along St. Charles Avenue.

Waste Management bought those cans through Celtic Distributors, a company run by James “Dutchie” Connick, who is a lobbyist for Waste Management and also is the brother of Jefferson Parish District Attorney Paul Connick Jr. In that case, city officials apparently did not order Waste Management to buy cans from a specific vendor.

Rice added that when Marc Morial was mayor, the city was buying cans through Waste Management that cost $1,000 apiece, so the new cans represent a substantial savings.

Chuck Dees, area vice president for Waste Management, said his company had purchased a large number of concrete-based cans, adorned with the “Mayor’s Clean Team” logo, for $490 apiece through Dutchie Connick . The company also bought a smaller number of fancier cans for the French Quarter at $840 apiece under the direction of the Morial administration, Dees said.

The Nagin administration did not respond to questions about which cans cost $1,000 apiece.”””

Now I want you to think about what a sweet, sweet deal Dutchie must have had there at WMI.

Imagine what it took to pry him away.

For further reference, you may want to recall your prior piece from a while back about lobbyist Dan Robin, paid by the Wards to get John Alario to influence legislation of the sort that would have killed the landfill.

From the Baton Rouge Advocate: “Robin wants Ward to honor a contract that promised Robin a 4 percent interest in the landfill, or about $4 million, if the legislation was defeated.”

It turns out that the feds had Robin bugged…. but Ward did NOT go down. It was written off as a shakedown…. but oddly there is no news report of Robin actually being convicted.

This sham of a scam of a scheme was set at $160 million over 25 years. If the wards were willing to pay Dan Robin $4 MILLION, how much would they pay Dutchie Connick to switch sides and unblock that logjam called JOHN YOUNG???

{Disclaimer: this all pure theory and pulled from TP and Baton Rouge Advocate news reports in the public realm}

18 thoughts on “Telemachus lends context to the now infamous Dutchie Connick memo and enables Slabbed to roll out Ron Maestri. Part 1, important background information.”

  1. SOP, thanks. Just one more snippet of info you might be interested from The Jefferson Report:

    “According to the Louisiana Board of Ethics, ****James Connick Thomas of Terrytown registered as a lobbyist for River Birch in January of 2009 and pulled down somewhere in the neighborhood of $50,000 to slightly less than $100,000 during the preceding year. William Jewell Sirmon of Terrytown is listed as well, making the same amount of dough.”

    http://thejeffersonreport.com/?p=1339

    {And by the way good luck figuring out who “James Connick Thomas” is, but if he’s real there’s no way he’s not related to James “Dutchie” Connick, right? If he’s real, because there seems to be no public record of him in the rags.}

    Also, maybe you’ve seen it by now but Celtic Distributors is owned by:

    “JAMES T. CONNICK”

    {Let’s guess what the “T” stands for}

    And Richard *Burke*

    Registered Agent is William Peter Connick

    Those three also own something called “Celtic Property Investors”

    It’s all addressed at 2746 Marietta Ave., in Kenner, whatever that is, and registered agent for both is at Connick & Connick.

  2. And this was the deal with Dan Robin:

    “Ward, who is president of River Birch Inc., signed a contract with Robin on June 1, 1995.

    He agreed to pay Robin $50,000 if the legislation was defeated. If River Birch got all the necessary permits to build the landfill, Robin would get a 4 percent interest in the project.

    At the time, that 4 percent interest was estimated to be $4 million, but today is more than $10 million, Butler said.”

    Butler being Albert Ward, Jr.’s attorney, Peter Butler.

    – From the 1/16/00 Baton Rouge Advocate

    Here’s guessing that James T[homas] [“Dutchie”] Connick had a similar deal. The $50,000 starting figure sure looks familiar.

  3. The more I learn about the goings-on in Jefferson Parish, the more it appears that the power struggle is not “good guys vs bad guys”. Instead, it appears to be between different “bad guy clubs” with the notable exception of the Divine M&M sisters and their good government club.

  4. I’ll make cognitive leap at this juncture: that all of the “speculation” posted here by Telemachus, Sop, myself and many others of the SlabbedNation is sufficient evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that the collusion between and amongst the principals of River Birch and JP Public Officials (elected or appointed) is in fact a criminal conspiracy designed to award River Birch an illegal landfill monopoly. PERIOD !

    I further submit that all parties who were and are particpants in this conspiracy should be subject to both criminal and civil RICO proceedings. PERIOD !

    I also believe that the FBI, like myself and many others, are wondering why US Atty Letten has failed to indict anyone to date relative to the River Birch criminal conspiracy…all he need do is present the conduct of unethical and illegal actions of former Parish Atty Tom Wilkinson in facilitating River Birch’s goal…to obtain an illegal landfill monopoly by any means. PERIOD !

  5. Is it possible the feds are waiting until the end of the civil proceeding by WM before bringing any indictments?

  6. This is just an example of how absurd the arguments are against the feds search now before Berrigan:

    Dutchie Connick (whose Legislative Expenditure Report has not been turned in, nor has William Sirmon’s) is shown on the LA Ethics Administration as being located on 3rd floor of the River Birch Building.

    Ok. But his phone number (and Sirmon’s) is shown as 504.362.4647. Which is the number for “Fred Heebe Investments.”

    So basically the “lobbyist” for River Birch is Fred Heebe Investments.

    What’s more, you might recall that the TP put out a report on screwey assessments put out by JP’s esteemed Hon. Assessor Lawrence Chehardy. Welll guess who comes in at ******Number 4 on the list of ****greatest difference between Assessed Value versus Sales Value? Why it’s one James T. (“Dutchie”) Connick at a whopping $310,000.00!

    Now, there’s the reason why everyone *thinks Chehardy had Sterbcow canned but then there is here the *real* reason Chehardy had Sterbcow canned.

    http://media.nola.com/politics/other/jefferson-home-sales-tp-sample.xls

  7. I’m really sorry for posting so much, but I absolutely cannot believe this s**+.

    I just looked up the TP’s newspaper report on the Chehardy assessment scandal, AND THEY DID NOT EVEN MENTION WHO THE PROPERTY BELONGED TO!

    “Keith Macke, who also lives in Gretna , described a similar scenario with a property at 164 Commerce St ., near his house. It was assessed in 2008 for $340,000, then sold in April 2009 for $650,000.

    Macke’s house at 172 Commerce has a $258,700 assessment. But he said it is much more modest than 164 Commerce, which he describes as one of the ********fanciest dwellings on the street with a covered vehicle bay, pool, columned porch and French doors and windows.

    Also, he said, 164 Commerce had not previously sold since it was built about a decade ago. But he said that does not necessarily mean the assessment should have been much higher.

    “That’s a touchy topic,” Macke said. “You can assess it at a value, but unless you’ve got a buyer is the assessment true?” “””

    That’s from the 2/28/10 TP report, entitled, “JEFF HOME ASSESSMENTS AVERAGE 14% TOO LOW”

    http://www.nola.com/news/t-p/frontpage/index.ssf?/base/news-14/126734283045820.xml&coll=1

    – Now, that property is shown in the above XL link from nola.com (TP) ‘s own site. They KNEW who this property belonge to.

    By the way it will liklely surprise NO ONE TO LEARN THIS PROPERTY IS LOCATED …… {Drumroll}… TIMBERLANE! That’s right, the Ward’s own development that they did via Shadowlake (or Willow).

    Now even getting past all that, given the description of the property one has to next wonder if it’s really worth ***just $650,000.

  8. Guys, I feel like I need to apologize again because I am not done.

    In the sale shown on the nola.com spreadsheet (which is actually the 3rd biggest Assessment favor doled out by Chehardy, not the 4th as I had it) the name is shown as “James T. Connick Sr. and Jean K. Connick.”

    So, what is the “K” in Jean K. Connick?

    It’s Jean KASS Connick, as in (from the 12/19/09 TP):

    “”””Private brokers working with Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard’s top administrator made almost $15,000 in commissions in two months by managing health insurance policies for six companies with interests in lucrative parish government contracts, newly disclosed records show.

    The contractors are the latest additions to an expanding list of businesses and public agencies connected to Lagniappe Industries, the brokerage co-owned by Broussard’s chief administrative officer, Tim Whitmer, and his wife, Dawn. Among Lagniappe’s agents are Tim Coulon, the former parish president who promoted Whitmer to the No. 2 job in parish government, and Maurice “Hippo” Katz.

    Two e-mail exchanges between Tim Whitmer and Coulon, one in October 2008 and another in February this year, outline how Whitmer split commissions among the brokers. The e-mails, which the parish attorney’s office released in response to a request by The Times-Picayune, don’t show whether Tim Whitmer made any commissions, but they suggest he helped manage the books for the team from his parish office. The e-mails came from both ***his personal America Online e-mail account and his Jefferson Parish account.

    The disclosures add new pressure on Whitmer, who is under a federal criminal investigation for his private insurance work with public agencies and contractors. Broussard placed Whitmer on paid leave this week. But Whitmer plans to retire Feb. 1, less than a month after the Parish Council is scheduled to hold a rare disciplinary hearing into his conduct.

    Broussard has admitted doing $5,000 in legal work for Lagniappe and referring business to the company. But he said Friday that he didn’t know Whitmer was working for Lagniappe from the CAO’s parish office.

    “As a matter of parish policy, there’s no periodic review of parish e-mails,” he said.””””

    “”””Whitmer’s e-mail tallies actually mention 14 companies from which Coulon, Katz and Dawn Whitmer collected more than $28,000 in October 2008 and this past February. Six of the companies are known to be parish contractors. It’s unclear whether any of the other eight has a business relationship with parish government; after an initial e-mail exchange with a reporter for clarification late Thursday, neither Coulon nor the Whitmers would comment on the newly released public records.

    Four of the six parish contractors have not been identified as doing business with Lagniappe until now: subsidiaries of Veolia Environment, Fleming Construction Co., Kass Brothers Construction Co. and Hubbard Enterprises, owned by former St. John the Baptist Parish President Bill Hubbard, who pleaded guilty in September to bribery charges.”””

    “””The Whitmer e-mails also list $1,890 in commissions for a health insurance deal with Kass Brothers of Harvey.

    Kass has a two-year Jefferson Parish contract worth as much as $6 million to repair concrete streets and two contracts worth about $1.5 million each to prepare the site for Parc des Familles near Lafitte and to repair sidewalk and driveway aprons. The contracts were competitively bid, with Kass being the low bidder, parish records show.

    **********Kass President ************Jean Kass Connick said Katz began selling her company health insurance in 2004.

    “I know Hippo Katz is the agent of record and Dawn Whitmer serviced the account,” said Connick, sister-in-law of Jefferson District Attorney Paul Connick Jr. “I didn’t realize we were with Lagniappe.”

    It’s common practice for companies to buy insurance policies through intermediary brokerages such as Lagniappe or Coulon Consultants. In many cases, however, it’s unclear which brokerage is involved because individual agents might be affiliated with more than one brokerage.

    Connick said Kass Brothers pays $14,000 to $15,000 a month in premiums for coverage from Coventry Health Insurance, an underwriter represented by Lagniappe’s agents. The commissions are negotiated between the insurance company and the agents who sell and service the policy.”””

    ***************

    So:

    – Note Whitmer was using a personal AOL account.

    – AGAIN the TP takes extra measures NOT TO MENTION (James T.) Dutchie Connick.

    – So not only was (James T.) Dutchie Connick – the lobbyist for River Birch – pulling down his lobbying contract ($50,000 + X% of the $160 million final contract value?) he is through his wife via community & Kass Brothers sending money BACK to Whitmer, Coulon and Burke.

  9. After reading Telemachus’ summary of Dutchie’s exploits I remembered seeing a Guilliot Sanitary Supplies full page ad in a local publication with pictures of all of the sales team and other employees that included their years of service. One of the employees’ last name was Connick.

    I recall thinking at the time that this must be a regular guy unlike the rest of the high profile family.

    I haven’t been able to locate the advertisement but Guillot Sanitary Supplies is listed as a contributor to John Young’s campaign on The Jefferson Report http://thejeffersonreport.com/?p=795.

    Im not sure if the Guillot saleman and James T Connick are one and the same but one thing is clear, Dutchie and the rest of the Parish band of racketeers are cleaning up.

  10. Paul Johnston, entitlement junkie and professional politician, also former mayor of Harahan and now , once again, on the Harahan Council priming for a run at the Jefferson Parish Council, worked for Guillot.
    Maybe he can clarify who the Connick is in the Guillot woodshed.

  11. And low and behold this parochial Clown from Harahan Paul Johnston, wants to be in the Big Show, in the Circus with the JP Council of Clowns. Well he will fit right in with the likes of Elton LaAss.

    You think that this poster child of a retirement junkie gives a shit that we the taxpayers will have to pay for a special election in the event he wins?…God forbid… No ! It’s not his money.He ran for a 4 year term on the Harahan Council and took an oath of that office upon winning in the election. For Johnston, or any one else for that matter, to run for another office while holding another elected office is just another example of election fraud. This is the kind of crap the voters need to stop from happening over and over again.

    Guilliot…Connick…Johnston…Harahan…Young…Mosca…Hmmmmmmmmm !

  12. Elton LargeAss just lost his Barry Bordelon yesterday…maybe Johnston can take Bordelon’s place and start learning the art of deceit and corruption on the Parish level.

Leave a Reply

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