You know folks maybe I was being a bit hard on Mike Fawer for bringing the Renee Gill Pratt portion of the Dollar Bill Jefferson saga to trial. Make no mistake, Fawer abrasive style will insure Gill Pratt gets the book thrown at her but the testimony this past week gives the public another good peek into the way business is conducted in the NOLA metro area thus the title of this post.
For our many readers that are not in this area who are hooked on our Jefferson Parish coverage we’ll start with a must read in the Times Picayune story Gill Pratt racketeering trial offers glimpse into inner workings of a political machine. The unbridled greed is breathtaking and provides probably the best reason for banning earmarks since it appears most of it is looted out by cronies of corrupt politicians who are incapable of making an honest living.
Next up is T-P columnist Stephanie Grace who wrote a column on the testimony of two DaimlerChrysler execs in Gill Pratt’s trial last week. This is also a must read as Grace describes the impact of these prosecution witnesses on the Judge and jury:
As a retired executive with DaimlerChrysler finished testifying last week in Renee Gill Pratt’s racketeering trial, U.S. District Court Judge Ivan Lemelle took the unusual step of thanking the automotive giant for donating a passel of vehicles to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
That Lemelle felt it necessary to voice the city’s gratitude said a lot about the appalling narrative he, and the jury, had just heard.
Appalling is just the right word here as Grace describes the brazen behavior of the Jeffersons as they evidently did not bother to hide their intent to loot the charity from DaimlerChrysler exec Roxie Thomas.
Given what the jury is hearing I again wonder what the heck Fawer was thinking bringing up the damaging grand jury testimony of Maleka Thornton as it related to Gill Pratt the boss and person. If I had to put on my Carnac the Magnificent hat and hazard a guess I suspect Gill Pratt will be taken into custody immediately after the guilty verdict.
Now lets connect the testimony of Eddy Oliver (linked above) as it regards the Jeffersons involvement in the Orleans Parish Public Schools and this jewel by the T-P’s Mark Waller, Jefferson Parish magnet school admissions rules test parents, which features the travails experienced by parent Marisa Jones in enrolling her daughter in a Jefferson Parish Magnet School. Even those the general public would perceive as insiders pay the price for systemic corruption as Mrs. Jones ironically is also an accountant for Jefferson Parish Government.
The Orleans Parish Schools and City Government did not become completely dysfunctional overnight, rather it happened over the course of a couple of decades. You look at how the Jefferson Parish Schools stack up state-wide and you see the same sort of deterioration in the quality of the services delivered. Leaches like School board member Mark Morgan, Gretna Mayor Ronnie Harris and his police chief Arthur Lawson and their cronies are the reason.