Paul Rioux at the Times Picayune checks in today with a report that is masterful in its nuance as Team River Birch has the full court PR press on and one again they manage to put egg on their own face as well as the Parish, specifically Public Records. There is lots of fodder for discussion in Paul’s lengthy story but since I am time strapped I’m going to focus in on 2 items the first being that thanks to Steve Theriot and John Young it appears Jefferson Parish no longer has a cohesive, functioning public records department. Taken a step further I’ll add Paul conveys the obvious without saying it as it certainly appears the Parish Attorney’s office is simply an adjunct legal department for Freddie Heebe, Jim Ward and the River Birch Landfill. This snippet illustrates that point:
River Birch obtained the notes and other parish documents about the draft study Monday through a public records request and in turn provided them to The Times-Picayune. Parish attorneys denied a similar request by the newspaper for the preliminary study in December, citing an exemption in the state’s disclosure law for documents prepared “in anticipation of litigation or in preparation for trial.”
I will point out that normally newspapers are big on access to public records so the silence on the major problems with public records in Jefferson Parish, well reported here, means the T-P sucked on it in silence for at least the past 3 months. I’ll add that while Jefferson Parish was stonewalling the Times Picayune while giving it all up for Freddie Heebie they also continue to retaliate against the whistleblowers and John Young is ass deep in it right along with his political blowbuddy Tom Capella and their puppets Peggy Barton and Louis Gruntz. As long as the Parish Attorney’s office, at the behest of elected officials work for the River Birch Landfill instead of the taxpayers expect to see more such clusterfucks as the many Paul Rioux details today.
Finally, while Paul takes some criticism in comments on today’s story I think it is misdirected as he factually poked major holes in River Birch’s line of bullshit as spouted by Team Shills Loren Scott and Glenn Smith. My own take is when someone feeds you a story like River Birch did Paul and the spin is debunked in the subsequent report such fact is very meaningful.
The second item is the P&N report revisions. As a practicing CPA I’ll add the way I conduct my practice is that anytime a complex calculation is required in an engagement it pays to involve as many knowledgable eyes as possible in the process so the correct result is obtained. It is simply good business practice. Along those lines I am not surprised P&N met with the professionals at Yenni to hone their results, specifically Marnie Winter and Rick Buller, two Parish employees that were largely cut out of the loop when Tom Wilkinson, Aaron Broussard and Tim Whitmer were pushing through the shit house deal with River Birch back when.
This brings us to Loren Scott, an interest conflicted hired gun economist that shills for River Birch. He doesn’t have much to work with here so the attacks on P&N are somewhat expected I’ll grant, but the man is either a complete fool or completely corrupt advocating silliness on behalf of the River Birch Landfill and this leaves aside the fact his wife benefitted financially from underwriting the health insurance sold by Tim Whitmer to entities like River Birch. Times must be tough for rent an economists these days but the beating the man’s reputation is taking these days must mean Freddie and the boys are paying him well. One of the Times Picayune’s own commenters well sums up the entire sad state of affairs:
Let’s see: Loren Scott’s wife is CFO of Blue Cross LA who did the underwriting for Tim Whitmer’s insurance schemes.
And the Parish has never produced a copy of the River Birch contract.
And River Birch will provide no drafts much less the final version of their report.
And Dutchie Connick’s and Bill Sirmon’s consulting contract with River Birch is not even discussed much less made public.
And the TP could not get the P&N report when it came out.
But someone at JP is feeding River Birch all the information it needs.