Another Jefferson Parish inside fix: Veolia Transportation’s bus bid was 10% high. Once again the taxpayers get shafted.

‘Gate’s insightful comment today on the Veolia Transportation contract can be found here. Rich Rainey’s story for the Times Picayune on this can be found here. Here is a lengthy excerpt from ‘Gate’s comment on the old Mamoulides post I made sticky today:

JE VU…River Birch…

I had commented earlier on this matter with similar feelings that I have now…I am becoming suspect when I read these quotes from Young:

“…Veolia puts Jefferson in a better position to work with its neighbors St. John the Baptist, St. Charles and Orleans parishes, which all use Veolia for their public transit systems.”

“Obviously now that we all have the same provider, we may have the opportunity to be an actual regional system and not just one in name only,” he said.

Just like the savings the Parish was going to get from awarding River Birch it’s illegal contract, we are being told what a wonderful future it will be to have the same provider as neighboring Parishes. It ain’t going to happen, you know it and I know it. Jefferson Parish Officials are notorious for not co-operating with adjoining Parishes; our politico thug pigs want it all !

THEN I READ the names that I had cited earlier…names like Gandolfi, Ward, Dwyer and Bolotte are suspect as I noted reasons in my earlier comment:

“The exact terms and costs of the deal were not immediately known Wednesday. The evaluation committee was comprised of Finance Director Gwen Bolotte, Transit Director Ryan Brown, Chief Administrative Assistant Darryl Ward, Research and Budget Director Alan Gandolfi, Assistant Parish Attorney Jeremy Dwyer, Albert Roussell with the Transit Department and Sidney Duffy with the Purchasing Department.”

AND THEN THERE’S the routine 7-0 vote by the Council Clowns:

“With a unanimous vote, the seven-member panel chose Veolia over rival MV Transportation Inc. The companies were the only two to submit proposals to Parish President John Young’s administration”

BUT IT WAS YOUNG’S LYING THAT really put my mind in gear:

“Young said that while he was unaware of the connection between Lagniappe and Veolia, he had called for a public proposal process to root out any conflicts of interest.”

This is as blatant a lie that Young has ever told. He was Councilman-at-Large at the time the Council voted to have Gruntz and Gandolfi send out letters to all Parish venders asking them to submit in writing, any connections that they may have had with Lagniappe. A report was made public at a Council meeting disclosing the names of the various vendors such as River Birch, Fleming Construction and of course, Veolia. I can’t decide who knee-jerks more to lie when confronted with the facts, Young or Lagasse.

12 thoughts on “Another Jefferson Parish inside fix: Veolia Transportation’s bus bid was 10% high. Once again the taxpayers get shafted.”

    1. At one time he was a local lobbyist for them according to ‘Gate and others. I suspect he is still connected.

      Remember the Gwen Bollotte depo in the Waste Management suit? In the River Birch contract process she rolled over very easily when it came to the brass tacks and felt her job was threatened. It is a poorly kept open secret she is not a favorite of John Young’s and he may have assumed that posture towards her for a machiavellian type of reason. I suspect it is better to have a CFO with no back bone sitting on these contract evaluation committees under certain circumstances huh?

      Jefferson Parish’s total budget is north of $400MM and pays its CFO in the very low 6 figures. In today’s world that isn’t the kind of salary that attracts the cream of the CPA/CGFM crop.


  1. There is NO DOUBT that JOHN YOUNG knew about the Whitmer /Coulon /Katz /Lagniappe/ Veolia connection. Deputy Parish Attorney Louis Gruntz and Council Research and Budget Director and Attorney Alan Gandolfi sent out over 100 letters to various vendors AT THE COUNCIL’S INSTRUCTIONS for said Vendors to respond to the COUNCIL’S SUBPOENA for any connections said Vendors had to any of the above referenced individuals and/or company. It was a huge production and THE COUNCIL including then COUNCIL PRESIDENT JOHN YOUNG knew every move Gruntz and Gandolfi were making as the result of the COUNCIL INVESTIGATION into the INSURANCE FRAUD matter involving then CAO Tim Whitmer. JOHN YOUNG IS A LIAR IF HE DENIES KNOWLEDGE OF THE VEOLIA CONNECTION TO LAGNIAPPE INSURANCE AND IF HE TOLD THE GRAND JURY OR ANY FBI AGENT THAT STORY THEY SHOULD CHARGE HIM WITH PERJURY.
    Call Gruntz and /or Gandolfi to the Grand Jury or interview either one of them…I doubt they are in the mood to lie yet again for Young. Even they must see the writing on the wall. Gruntz is retiring in May so hurry up already.

    1. In business terms the only reason this went out for competitive bid was to place a ceiling on Veolia’s price. I don’t think there was any question who was gonna win this bid when they let it out.

      John Young lying about his knowledge the Lagniappe connection tells the tale there IMHO.

      Ted Kennedy is dead; Mamo’s friends in DC that used to run interference for him are on the sidelines now. Just saying.


  2. A bunch of unconnected stuff maybe.

    Ok, Mark Spears in the JP Attorneys Office has to be related to Ike and Sonja Spears, right?

    And he’s also on the New Orleans RTA Board?

    Which also has a contract with Veolia?

    How does a guy who makes $49K at JPPA end up on the NO RTA board?

    Another factoid; Cesar Burgos, was the former head of the NO RTA. Here’s a guy, Burgos, not long out of law school, running a sketchy plaintiff practice, with no transportation experience who ends up head of the RTA. How?

    [Burgos not long after ends up leaping into buying the old City Hall annex / Pan Am Insurance building on Canal Street and the Lakewood mall in NO East from the city as a “develepor” even though he had no development experience (or do I have that wrong?).]

    Burgos is law partners with Robbie Evans, a/k/a Robert Evans III.

    Bob Evans Jr. (the father, ex parish president) was/is a Mamo guy.

    None of this is really to suggest anything or reach a conclusion, just to note these facts.

    Some of the story from the Veolia contract with RTA sounds familiar from the Picayune, comments and post here too:

    “””Veolia Transportation, a giant in the world of transit management, has received the top score in a three-way competition to run New Orleans’ crippled bus and streetcar system. …

    After the meeting, agency officials released bid documents and details of Mumphrey’s evaluations only after facing questions from The Times-Picayune about whether the private deliberations complied with requirements of public meetings and records laws.

    Sundiata Haley, the RTA’s legal counsel, said the board was within its legal authority to meet privately on the matter because the two corporate bids made reference to the job performance of current employees.

    RTA board members have declined to provide the management fees proposed by the two private companies. Transit officials say releasing the information could hamper the board’s negotiating position. The in-house group said it would not need a fee to run the system.

    Longtime RTA employees have speculated that Veolia’s offer to provide five administrators might come with a price tag in the neighborhood of $700,000. They estimated that an option by Veolia to fill eight management positions would fall in the $1 million range.”””

    [Side Note: Sundiata Haley has now been appointed to be NO’s Traffic Court judge]

    OK, let’s just guess; RTA probably had the highest bid…… hence the refusla to release the other bids.

    “Former RTA General Manager Justin Augustine, a vice president for Veolia’s California region, will handle day-to-day management of the RTA system. A New Orleans native, Augustine returned to his hometown more than six months ago to work on Veolia’s proposal.

    Counting Augustine, Veolia officials said they will fill four of five top management positions at the RTA with locals.”

    I wonder if anyone and then who in JP gets hired.

  3. This stuff always, always (well, almost) leads back….

    “In New Orleans, officials blamed a subsidiary of Veolia Environnement, another French company, for illegally discharging sewage into the Mississippi River on dozens of occasions. The president of a related Veolia subsidiary was convicted in 2002 of bribing a New Orleans sewer board member to support renewal of its contract.”

    “””Former Sewerage & Water Board member Katherine Maraldo and Michael Stump, the man convicted of bribing her, are headed to the federal penitentiary.

    The pair were sentenced Monday in Texas Southern District Court in Houston for scheming to rig the renewal of a private contract to run the city

  4. As an aside, “Robert Evans”, the former JP Councilman, “surfaced” in my Family’s batture property litigation, on the payroll of one of Gregory Rigamer’s companies. When I attempted to discover on whose behalf Rigamer’s employees trespassed on my Family’s land in the late 1990’s to survey the property, Rigamer and his partners got “amnesia” and said IN AFFIDAVITS that they “could not recall”. I call that PERJURY. Evans was and is COMPLICIT. Ashton O’Dwyer.

  5. Is Rubye E Noble the JP liason for the LA house of representatives married to the same Bob Evans.

    Evans loans to the Greek remind me that Tim Coulon was on the Board of Directors at Omni Bank after his parish presidency.

    These guys must have a handbook.

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