There is a stereotype that people here down in the deep south are illiterate racist dumbasses that is sadly reinforced by the charlatans from the area we elect to higher office such as Texas Gov Rick Perry. Appearances are often deceiving though as there is actually plenty of homespun wisdom that belies the stereotype such as that found on ‘Gate guest post on Lafitte Mayor Tim Kerner. The people here know they are electing crooks to office, at least the minority that are engaged politically. It is accompanied by a sense of helplessness that nothing will change the system so you pick the pol that pays the most attention to your pecuniary needs knowing it means making a bargain with the devil. IMHO this is also what turns off the majority of the voters – you know the ones that stay home every election day.
I mention all this because the fallout from Paul Rioux’s blockbuster story on Robinette taking payola from Fred Heebe could not be ignored on the backside of the long labor day weekend and judging from the comments left in the paper and the sentiments expressed in the blogosphere the locals know Garland is still trying to blow smoke up our collective ass. Watching this scandal play out on the Tee Vee news was fun last night. My expectations were low to begin with and frankly they were not exceeded with one exception as the majority of the coverage was along the lines of what appeared on Gambit’s website in a bland journalistic recitation of Garland’s prepared remarks that really lent no insight to the continued bullshit coming from Team Garlandfill. The exception was Kim Holden’s report for Fox 8 which had that bland recitation part but also contained the insights of a real estate specialized lawyer in Marx Sterbcow. For those that like connecting dots Marx is the son of Arthur Sterbcow. Arthur of course made the news last year when he was canned from Latter & Blum after he assisted the T-P in exposing some problems in property tax assessments in Jefferson Parish crossing Lawrence Chehardy (and Dutchie Connick) in the process. The Sterbcows know their real estate and Holden was smart to get reaction from Marx because Garlandfill’s story has problems as I predicted when I said he was better off not saying anything (because once you get on the slippery slope of lies and buillshit there is only one place for the crap to flow). Here is a snippet:
According to Robinette’s attorney, the loan from Heebe was backed by a vacant lot Robinette’s wife, Nancy Rhett, owns in Tchefuncte Club Estates in Covington.
FOX 8 searched St. Tammany Parish Clerk of Court records and did not find any legal documentation to show the property was used as collateral.
Local real estate attorney Marx Sterbcow says it is highly unusual, given the amount of money involved.
“Typically, 90 percent of the time, it is recorded and there is a mortgage, but if you are dealing with family or friends, it may not be recorded. That is not the way you really want to do things,” Stebcow said.
FOX 8 also learned in February, the vacant lot owned by Rhett was transferred to her LLC, just months after Robinette was questioned by federal investigators about the $250 million loan.
Sterbcow calls it an added layer of protection.
“When you put a piece of property into an LLC, it becomes a separate entity, separate and apart from the personal assets,” Sterbcow said.
There are implications here that Garlandfill nor his lawyer Dane Ciolino evidently ever considered and it was Pres that laid it out bare in comments this morning:
So let me get this right Garland….you take out a $250k loan (unsecured since its not recorded in Courthouse) on a lot in you & your wife’s name. Then you transfer the lot into a LLC owned by your wife. Seems to me that the $250k loan was extinguished because the property was transferred from them personally to a new entity (the LLC). Unless there is some papertrail that says that Heebe was okay with the LLC transfer and Heebe still has interest in the property then this was a $250k cash giveaway. He doesn’t have to pay back the $250k legally unless there is an addendum to allow the transfer to take place.
That’s right folks, no recorded mortgage means that loan is secured by nothing. And while Ciolino points to the time frame between Garland’s bashing of the Old Gentilly Landfill and Heebe’s payola to Robinette that does nothing to eliminate the fact extending an unsecured interest free loan is a sweetheart deal and from all appearances was Garlandfill’s bone for being a good stooge for Heebe and Team River Birch. And of course none of this counts the sweetheart property tax assessment on Garlandfill’s wifey’s lot. What we saw yesterday was pure spin folks and not very good spin at that, but as our readers no doubt notice our posters that actually practice in the legal profession do not have much professional respect for Ciolino’s capabilities as a lawyer. Slabbed has none for his sense of legal ethics.
So now that we have identified the bullshit we should also examine what other plants in the media are saying. Normally we’d turn to Clancy Dubos for this honor but we’ve yet to hear from him but there is always Jeff Crouere and Steve Sabludowsky of Bayou Buzz for that so let’s check it out:
On Jeff Crouere’s radio show this morning, when questioned about this controversy, I said that we should wait until we know more about the facts before we judge this matter and that Robinette would be talking about it during his morning show.
I also said we need to know more details about the transaction such as if there is a paper trail. We also must know the time relationship between the comments and actions taken by Robinette against Gentilly and the communications regarding the loan and the consummation of the loan itself.
Numerous callers on the WGSO radio show criticized me and opined that Robinette had engaged in payola or some sort of payback. That appears to be the overwhelming comments after the NOLA article.
This is a classic tactic Sabludowsky uses, trying to convey the need to keep an open mind on a subject where there is more than enough information to form an informed opinion. Granted it is a better approach than the one he used back in 2006 to defend Greg Meffert and Mark St Pierre as he left himself a bit of wiggle room but at best the perception Garlandfill created is terrible. With documented payoffs to Henry Mouton as the backdrop here is there any question why a man who was helping advance Team Heebe’s cause on the radio got a sweetheart deal on the back-end of the bashing.
Something tells me there are more details that will emerge. For instance a reader noted last night that Paul Rioux’s original story indicated that Robinette went above and beyond on this issue becoming a defacto lobbyist for River Birch going so far as to visit the Times Picayune in person in a futile effort to steer their coverage of the Old Gentilly Landfill. It is frankly damning.
Jeffrey at Library Chronicles joined me in posting the link to file a FCC complaint on this matter as it appears Garlandfill very well could have broken the law. We gotta make some noise folks to make a difference. Jim Letten got what he wanted as Robinette is neutered and will be unable to shill for Team River Birch when the indictments hit as his credibility is shot. But that still leaves the problem in place and we can’t have paid hidden agendas on the public airways.