A regular commenter on Slabbed, ‘lockemuptight’ recently shared this rather pointed insight:
“…Despite the fact that the parish is still on the hook for a $55 million loan from FEMA the Council will spend the very last penny of public taxpayers money to protect their political thief-doms and to continue the solidarity of the council conspiracy. A conspiracy dedicated to the monopolization of certain parish contracts by certain campaign rich, parish contractors . Why not, it seems to be the newly, voter accepted Mafioso style of politically privileged capitalism.”
There are many avenues that campaign contributions to the Jefferson Parish Politico Mafioso take. These contributions almost always guarantee business with the Parish, whether engineering and/or architectural services; contractors of buildings, streets and other infrastructure; consultants for any number issues such as garbage or IT are almost universally heavy contributors to campaigns. However it is the millions and millions of dollars in legal fees paid to lawyers and law firms outside of the Parish Attorney’s Office that remains under the radar, and consequently mostly unknown to the public. In this matter there is no transparency!
And what else should we expect when we, the taxpayers of Jefferson Parish, had a Parish Attorney for over 14 years, the miscreant Tom Wilkinson, performing the duties of a bag man for the Parish Council members, Parish President and Parish Administrative officials. It is and always has been understood by the lawyers who contributed and continue to contribute heavily to these Jefferson Parish Politico Mafioso, that said contributions are their assurance of getting a piece of the pie by being appointed ‘OUTSIDE COUNSEL’. Wilkinson, as Parish Attorney and when confronted with a legal matter concerning Jefferson Parish, will be best remembered by all for his consistent and expected exclamation:
“… fuck ’em…let ’em sue … ” !!!
These few lawyers have been given ‘carte blanche’ to bill liberally as it relates to hours and rates; and all with the unanimous vote of a rogue Council in ‘Executive Session’. They are basically the same Merry-Go-Round of names, year in and year out, recommended by either the Council (or one of its members), the Parish Administration, or Parish Attorney or a combination thereof. The decision to litigate the indefensible (or not); competent representation or not; win or lose their bill was paid and Wilkinson would be ‘knock, knock, knocking’ on the back door of that lawyer (or firm) to collect the ‘quid pro quo’.
The charade of reform when John Young was anointed Parish President after seven years as a voting Council Member, has not altered the continued appointment of the ‘same old same old’ (SOSO) campaign contributor lawyers. The following list, documenting pay periods from 2007-2009, is proof positive of this practice:
(NOTE: payments of the HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS paid to the Connick firm on an annual recurring basis is not included in this graphic)
All one has to do is correlate the names on the list above with the names on any of the campaign contribution disclosures by Elected Officials for Jefferson Parish, and… BINGO!: it is clear the ‘quid pro quo’ practice is pervasive, particularly as it pertains to the Parish Council Members, the Parish President and most certainly the Jefferson Parish District Attorney, Paul Connick!
The fact that these Politico Mafioso use the all-engrossing subterfuge of the Public Meetings Law labeled ” Executive Session” to cloak their abuse of the system, is all the more reason to believe that their appointment process and even the necessity to appoint outside counsel, is tainted.
So just how and what do these favored consigliere DO when supposedly representing the ‘best interests’ of the citizens of Jefferson Parish? They ‘DO’ exactly what they are told to do by the Jefferson Parish Politico Mafioso, that’s what THEY ‘DO’… giving little or no thought legal consequences or economics of the litigation.
Let’s examine some past and present litigation to help bring the point home: The Jefferson Parish Politico Mafioso doesn’t care about the merits or costs of any litigation…what matters is who is going to be appointed and how much their fees will be so that the ‘QUID PRO QUO’ is facilitated …
1) BLUE, WILLIAMS … the infamous NAZI CASE … their attorneys fees to DEFEND THE INDEFENSIBLE was $102,000 … Simon’s settlement amount is $95,000 less atty’s fees…this after FIVE YEARS of “litigation” !!!
2) GAUDRY, RANSON (Michael Peytavin) … why River Birch of course … read this and weep:
And we have now the most recent abuse:
3) PHELPS, DUNBAR … We have all read of the $100,000 plus billed to again DEFEND THE INDEFENSIBLE … The Jefferson Parish Politico Mafioso’s relentless pursuit to discredit the singularly courageous whistleblower Anne Marie Vandenweghe … at this time a futile appeal by Phelps, Dunbar has been lodged with the La. Supreme Court to overturn the definitive 5th Circuit Court of Appeals reversal (3-0) of the Gretna Mentality’s poster-boy 24th JDC Judge Ross LaDart’s ridiculous and juvenile judgment … hell add another $20,000 Dollars … the Clown Council and Connick’s punk Young don’t care … it’s not their money … and to think these amounts of legal fees haven’t even begun to factor in the HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS OF LEGAL FEES Phelps, Dunbar will bill to defend the Parish against Vandenweghe’s recently filed Federal Court lawsuit … AND JEFFERSON PARISH WILL LOSE…TRUST ME.
Since I began writing this essay, Public Record Requests have been submitted for updates of the amount of monies paid to outside counsel to include not only the name of cases, but the amounts paid for particular portions of the proceedings, e.g.: Motion for Continuance, Motion to Dismiss, etc, etc … here’s what was received in response:
I will tell you that the response above is the segue to Part 4: The Jefferson Parish Politico Mafioso, in concert with their wanabe gumbas, the State Legislators of Jefferson Parish, under the absolute orchestration of Louis Gruntz, Deputy Assistant Parish Attorney, all of whom have no equal in their disdain and desecration of the Public Records Laws and Public Meetings Laws of the State of Louisiana …they are the agents of the Jefferson Parish Politico Mafioso’s subterfuge!
(NOTE: Though not the focus of the foregoing article, the Jefferson Parish Attorney’s Office has a budget hovering around several million dollars, which includes the Parish Attorney and many of the assistant PAs being paid in excess of $100,000 each per year. So the QUESTION remains: Why is this office not staffed with competent and professional lawyers so as to make the appointment of outside counsel UNNECESSARY?… The ANSWER: Because this Jefferson Parish Politico Mafioso have incestuously long filled this office with incompetent political hacks, family, friends or cronies and the cronies’ family, friends and cronies. Ad nauseum. The appointment of Tom Wilkinson as Parish Attorney lowered the bar to a level conducive to the corruption and devolution of Professional Ethics resulting in the disreputable state of the Jefferson Parish Attorney’s Office. And, he was not alone in lowering that bar.
WHOAAAAAA!!!… Stop the presses Sop…surprise, surprise…I have just received a more detailed list of the names of outside counsel paid in 2010 and through July 12, 2011. While it includes the amounts paid and the names of the particular cases to which those amounts were billed it fails to disclose the details as to the specific Pleading or Time Charged to prepare same, e.g. Motions, Exceptions etc. The sizable amounts that these most familiar campaign contributor lawyers are being paid may astound you and I would be remiss not to make this an addendum to the original article.
1) BURGLASS & TANKERSLY… a staggering total of $1,956,696.30 … round out to TWO MILLION DOLLARS !
- Chicago Property vs A Broussard …
- Performing Arts Center Litigation … $316,961 … WTF???
- Hurricane Katrina Road Damages … over ONE MILLION DOLLARS, in fact
- Alario Center Expansion Project
- Terrytown Playground Gym
- New Second Parish Court Bldg
(***note that between 01/01/2006 thru 12/31/2009 they received fees totaling $1,600,000 involving LVI Environmental Services … in addition to $50,000 re the Maureen O’Dwyer case; and assisting Parish in a lawsuit, $50,000)
2) COLVIN LAW FIRM … over a $150,000 in fees relating to the Sela Road Right of Way Acquisition
3) BLUE, WILLIAMS…again … running up hours like in the Simon vs Kerlec case, to bill Tens of Thousands of Dollars on these two cases … Kiana Geautreaux vs Redflex Traffic and Barry Sevin vs Parish of Jefferson
4) And most curiously this case, Terrence Lee vs Jefferson Parish, which has fed fees to two of the usual suspects:
- Phelps, Dunbar … $69,323
- Carl N. Finley … $42,043
- McQuaig & Associates … $1,860
- Gaudry, Ranson … $1,269
This “NOOSE” case (white robe, rope tied in a lynch knot to a whipping post), like the NAZI case (Simon being greeted by the stiff arm Hitler salute and addressed as a ‘Dago Jew’) were unconscionable acts of hate speech, workplace harassment so vile as to make any reasonable man sick to his stomach) … the Jefferson Parish Politico Mafioso voted to DEFEND THE INDEFENSIBLE and in these cases alone thereby cost the taxpayers HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS in legal fees and damages!!! There is no way of knowing how many more of these types of cases were filed, defended and paid for with taxpayer dollars in total disregard of merits, morality or money.
This marauding gang, The Jefferson Parish Politico Mafioso, not only possesses arrogance beyond the pale of reason and common decency, they are truly maniacal and menacing.
Slabbed commenter Whitmergate is a member of Citizens for Good Government.
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