Let’s chat about the media and Aaron Broussard’s relationship with First Bank and Trust and tie a few things together. Part 1

OK folks it is time to come clean, sort of anyway.  Since late July I have been publishing documents courtesy of my fictional “gabby cousin Slabb O’Leak” that really did not come from him.  😉  Actually some of y’all may have noticed some redactions that are beyond my control but suffice it to say that I have found a literal pot o’ gold of Aaron Broussard personal information, between 80,000 to 90,000 pages of information in fact, including documents like the ones between Broussard and First Bank and Trust that I posted Friday.

I’ll add indeed verily I promise I have every reasonable expectation that there is lots of Goatherder jackassery contained in Slabbed’s Pot o’ Gold and I expect soon to publish full, unredacted versions of the various ownership agreements in ventures Broussard peddled such as La Ferme D’Acadie, Cerro Coyote and perhaps even Rauda House.  Slabbed has learned in the course of its exhaustive and ongoing investigation these documents were previously unknown to the investigative community, a defect I personally cured.

Here at Slabbed the tenets of my investigation follows one rule and one rule only: Follow the money.  Following money plays to my strengths and I have 425,000 reasons to follow the trail in its entirety and frankly I’m content to let the aftermath sort itself out.  Along those lines on Friday we introduced Joe Canizaro to the Slabbed Nation.  Joe is a Biloxi native made good from doing real estate development and is likely a hecto-millionaire somewhere in Tom Benson’s zip code.  Both have papal appearances on their resumes though Benson actually got the pope to genuflect and kiss his Saints Superbowl Ring. Lest I digress because unlike Benson, Canizaro had the power to have Aaron Broussard conduct business for First Bank and Trust on Parish Letterhead.  At the time Broussard was on the Board of Directors of FBT.

But in the course of my inspection of these documents there is another story line that I began developing last month that has since come into very sharp focus and that would be the story of the media, specifically how they handed the then unfolding scandal in Jefferson Parish, the second most populous parish in Louisiana and the most populous of the 7 parish NOLA Metro area.  In particular we examine the TeeVee stations today, which cover events like the Red Dress run in NOLA for charity in-depth, but never have a reporter to spare to cover Parish council meetings.

So folks are there fluffers in the NOLA press corps?  Does the local journalism scene have anyone that actually tries to do a good job?  The answer to both questions is yes.  I’ll let you guys make up your own minds but the contrast in the following documents is stark IMHO:

Eric Paulsen ~ WWL TeeVee

Paul Murphy ~ WWL TeeVee

Paul Rioux – The Times Picayune (Before Theriot’s luncheon with Ashton Phelps)

Drew Broach – The Times Picayune (After Theriot’s luncheon with Ashton Phelps)

Val Bracy – Fox 8

Val Bracy #2 – Fox 8 (March 5, 2010)

It is important we keep an eye on the timeline as here we are to early March 2010 and Val Bracy was still a big girl handling her own job as an investigative reporter for Tom Benson’s Fox 8.  I noted later that month Lee Zurik took over handing chores like contacting Jefferson Parish Government signing an email following up on a Val Bracy PRR as Chief Investigative Reporter.  I thought that a bit odd considering that he could not go on air and report anything as his no compete with Channel 4 was still in place in mid March, 2010. Let’s circle that for now.

We also need to keep in mind that Theriot sent the Assistant Parish Attorney in charge of public records home by March, 2010 claiming said assistant Parish Attorney, Anne Marie Vandenweghe was blogging on company time on from her Parish issued computer.  This is very important since responses to public records requests after Vandenweghe’s suspension and subsequent reassignment to the property division were best described as non responsive, as Jefferson Parish government lost all semblance of transparency in what has turned out to be a futile effort to stop the flow of damning information regarding the systemic corruption in Parish government.

With that set up we must again examine how the Parish computer system viewed using the internet, at least unfiltered as a heavily redacted document indicates that everyone in the Parish was blocked.  The email chain regarding the use of the internet by the Parish Attorney’s office indicates this became a job performance issue as well.  This discussion began around January 20, 2010 and continued through the day Anne Marie Vandenweghe was sent home.  It also makes clear the Parish was monitoring internet use and had the means to block sites like Slabbed and the Times Picayune, effectively blocking anyone from using their Parish computers to comment online to news stories.  It also calls into question Steve Theriot’s first public statements on the matter of the suspension of Ms Vandenweghe, which he cited her for playing on the internet as the reason for her suspension. Then again we already knew TheRiot was a lying sack of shit but this brings me to a larger point involving the Parish, the media and public records requests.

You see folks I have lots of examples of what the media were looking at in those early days of what we now know as the Jefferson Parish Political Corruption Scandal besides Val Bracy’s PRR 0200-10.  For instance Val was very busy doing what I call gum shoe journalism as this PRR circa 12/31/2009 indicates. By then she had developed some excellent sources in Jefferson Parish, those sources cultivated no doubt by the trust she earned actually reporting the facts, where ever they led.

Sources familiar with the media scene at the Yenni Building around that time described for me a media free for all, one that was not developing original reporting though. Rather everyone in the media was busy trying to figure out and then rip off leads reporters like Val Bracy were following as a copycat mentality evidently ruled the day in media circles.  On the finance boards such group circle jerks are described using terms like herd as in “feeding the herd”.  My experience is no good due diligence aka original reporting comes from the herd but it is what it is.  It is clear from my review of these records Val Bracy was leading the pack which in turn explains why her reporting for Fox 8 on the topic of Jefferson parish corruption was so damn good, too good in fact from a job security standpoint.

And when Bracy was wasn’t following the money she was following the shady businesses owned by the perpetrators like CWC Gaming, for which her PRR to the Parish came up empty.  Rich Rainey was also trying prior to TheRiot’s lunch with his publisher, chasing leads related to Aaron Broussard’s son Troy for instance.  And then there is Cherreen Gegenheimer from the 10th Floor that traveled the world on the taxpayer’s dime as she was the topic of several PRRs.  Her defiant interoffice response and email from Lee Zurik following up on Val’s initial “no response” from Greg Giangrosso, who inherited the job from AMV after her suspension are telling. As I said earlier after AMV was sent home transparency in Parish Government died at the hands of Theriot hacks like Giangrosso.

This brings us to the final PRR we must examine in part 1 in PRR 0200-10 which Val Bracy sent in regards to Aaron Broussard’s relationship with First Bank and Trust.  My mind is open to the possibility it was chasing this lead that ultimately led to her termination from Fox 8.  To set things up Val was developing leads she generated from her sources in Jefferson Parish but she was not the only Fox 8 employee working PRRs at Yenni as Lee Zurik was also doing investigative work using his own sources.

Slabbed has spoken to former parish employees with knowledge of the media’s interaction at Yenni in early 2010 that indicated there were some member of the media that appeared to be moles for certain of the players to the sprawling investigation, Fred Heebe being the main mole sponsor.  This is not a stretch folks since we now know Garland Robinette was a Fred Heebe/River Birch Landfill shill so it is certainly possible there are others.  I’ll add at this point that Bracy’s sources which have spoken with Slabbed since her termination indicate to the person they do not trust Lee Zurik.  Worth noting is Zurik evidently did not develop any storylines from his early work for Fox 8 and who occasionally, albeit very rarely, visits Jefferson Parish Government with his famous investigations.

So what was Val Bracy’s PRR 0200-10?  Simple folks a birdie must have told her to dig into Broussard’s relationship with First Bank and Trust because she did in spades and evidently hit gold.  What she may not have known at the time was FBT was wrapping up their long-standing relationship as Official Bank of the New Orleans Saints, a business relation since taken over by Whitney Bank. The first page of the above PDF describes what was found as Cindy Roth sent the following email to Anne Marie Vandenweghe:

Anne Marie.

I have a personal file on Mr. Broussard re FBT. as he was a Board Member of that Bank. There is lots of very personal info, i.e. (redacted) — do you want that?

So what did you not see on Fox 8 after that PRR was returned? Simple folks, I posted it Friday as Aaron Broussard the Parish prez and Aaron Broussard, Inc. are indeed a “difference without a distinction” as Joe Canizaro rented the Office of the Jefferson Parish Prez for a relative pittance, at least from outward appearances.

But there is more to this story folks because Broussard’s relationship with FBT is far more extensive than Joe Canizaro writing letters to then Governor Blanco for AB and it leads us to some very interesting places.  This will be fodder for part 2.

I’d like to close this post by pointing out something the media seems to be taking for granted but it meaningful to me because earlier this summer Slabbed picked up an interesting new reader that initially showed interest in some very specific posts like this one and this one and to roll that part out let’s visit with the FBI and their latest press release on the Broussard superseding indictment:

The case is being investigated by agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation with the assistance of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations and the Metropolitan Crime Commission.

Typically when I see the IRS CID folks pop up in an investigation there is a money laundering component though abusive tax shelters could also attract their attention.  I’d like to direct everyone’s attention to the following DoJ document, related to their 2013 budget:

Using John Doe Summonses to Track Down Owners of Unreported Offshore Accounts

The Tax Division is assisting the IRS in attempting to obtain more information about United States persons who maintain undeclared foreign accounts. This assistance primarily takes the form of obtaining court authorization for the IRS to serve John Doe summonses — a summons issued to obtain the identities of unknown taxpayers — and in petitioning for judicial enforcement of the summons.

At the centerpiece of the Division’s current efforts is the John Doe summons served on the Swiss banking giant UBS, which does business in the United States. In United States v. UBS, AG (S.D. Fla.), filed in July, 2008, the Tax Division successfully obtained court approval for the issuance of a John Doe summons to UBS seeking the names of U.S. account holders with undeclared accounts. The approval and issuance of the summons generated worldwide publicity. When UBS failed to comply with the summons in full, the Tax Division in February, 2009, filed a petition to enforce the summons.

The filing of the enforcement action, and the attendant pressure on the Bank and the Government of Switzerland, resulted in an historic settlement, signed on August 19, 2009. This agreement has dealt fabled Swiss bank secrecy a devastating blow. The agreement has put in place a government-to-government process that should yield information on thousands of U.S. offshore account holders who have high-value accounts in UBS. The agreement also provides a method for the United States to obtain similar account information from other Swiss banks. In addition, the agreement should serve as a template for US government actions taken in connection with banks from other countries.

Stay tuned as Slabbed continues following the money in part 2 of this series.


37 thoughts on “Let’s chat about the media and Aaron Broussard’s relationship with First Bank and Trust and tie a few things together. Part 1”

  1. And we have COULON on the Board at Omni Bank … the templat is the same … inside politico connections= inside deals … all at the taxpayers’ expense or the insiders’ benefit …

      1. Omni was involved with the Community Reinvestment Act and JP Finance Authority that’s the money to follow, and the draw for Coulon. HUD OIG typically stays away from auditing since the banks are under the auspice of the FDIC. Parish bond money programs and soft money programs are poorly run and suspiciously over funded beyond need in the Home CDBG budget. My suspicion is the unused money is commingled at the end of the year into other accounts and the reason for Mr. Lawson appointment as a known good fellow who has skeletons of his own to hide.

        After government reforms in Jefferson Parish swept him off the public payroll two years ago, Jimmy Lawson is back. Along with former state Gaming Control Board member Jackie Berthelot and Registrar of Voters Dennis DiMarco, Lawson joined the Jefferson Parish Finance Authority’s board of trustees in January.

        The Finance Authority, which meets about once a week, helps manage loans through local lenders for homebuyers wanting to live in Jefferson Parish. Board members collect a $150 per diem for each meeting. In 2010, the most recent year of the board’s finances that the state legislative auditor has published, the parish paid its members a total of $52,650. Lawson’s predecessor, Anthony Cash, made $6,000. DiMarco’s predecessor, Bucky Lanning, made $8,700, and Berthelot’s predecessor and nominator, Templet, was paid $4,950.

  2. recall FBT was issued a cease and desist a couple years ago and at last count had not re payed the millions in TARP money they accepted. funny that a GOP big wig like joe c. would not pay back TARP money.

  3. How many media outlets updated the Trout Point Lodge story to show they did not prevail in their cyber libel case?

    1. Canadian? To this point none. I sent a press release out last night in case any of them are interested in telling the story honestly.

      No one down here ran the NS judgment and to this point have remained silent on Slabbed prevailing in the SPEECH Act case.

      I’m undoing all the search engine blocks, etc that resulted from that specious Canadian injunction as I write this. That way when Sheri get curious as to what is happening in Southern NS with her friends Charles Leary and Vaughn Perret she can get the straight skinny instead of phony baloney PR

    1. There is a website that had most all of the dirty deeds research done well before Zurik did his reporting on same.

      It is a worthy topic but he is no trail blazer there.

      Val Bracy was recently in the news herself. I know for a fact she pushed herself to the limit reporting on Jefferson Parish in her last year at Fox 8. Being a TeeVee reporter/single mom is no easy task.

      1. Unfortunately the website didn’t deal with other related shennanigans involving associates of the three govs as well as the three govs themselves.

        See, Zurick had the opportunity to tie together certain threads – and refused to do so.

        And one result of Zurick’s “ferret” role has been to chill good sources. Indeed, given the lack of action by Lettenthemoff’s gang, recources who say WTF, why bother – the public suffering as a result.hat Iio

    1. Click on the link below and you will get to read a real intelligent comment by Parish Deputy Attorney,Ross Buckley.


      Buckley evidently has his head up the ass of President John Young who has a totalitarian fetish not only to control the Personnel Board but reduce civil service protection over non-patronage jobs.

      Buckley’s thoughts were reported in the Advocate’s story,” Civil Service Issues vexs Jefferson Parish Board”:

      “At a recent meeting Deputy Parish Attorney Ross Buckley complained that the parish lost out on a top-notch legal secretary because of the testing”

      After Buckley’s 70 I.Q.statement there should be testing for all Parish Attorneys before they are hired.

      Wonder what official this ” top-notch”,flunky secretary knew who couldn’t even pass a simple civil service test.

      Did I tell Slabbed that john Young also wants to be able to solely contract out all the vendors that the Council now sends contract solicitations to along with their friendly letters for campaign contributions.

      John, please crap out Ross Buckley immediately before he embarrasses you anymore in the media and please have him tested in D.C. by V.P. Biden’s psychiatrist.

  4. I remember Val Bracy published a story on May 5, 2010 (“FOX 8 investigates Serpas NOPD history”), in which she quoted Mitch Landrieu on the subject of why he hid that history from his own police chief search committee:

    “Landrieu says the team was not given a copy of the public integrity file. He says it wasn’t information the team needed to know before making its decision.

    ‘I’ve looked at that file. That file basically said that that really wasn’t a problem. That file is available to all of you, I mean some of you have made a public records request, you’re welcome to it. You’re welcome to analyze it and you’re welcome to deal with it but from my perspective that’s not a disqualifying factor,’ said Mayor Landrieu.”

    I made a copy of the story on April 28, 2011, which was fortunate as it vanished from the Fox site shortly thereafter. But Ms. Bracy was making herself inconvenient in both parishes, it seems. 🙂

    1. She went out sporting a sack not seen since in TeeVee land.

      She obviously reads us. I hear Benson has her in golden handcuffs. It could have been a far worse fate.

      1. At the scale Benson can afford to pay, I believe those are called “bangles”; they count as jewelry, and you can rattle them to show approbation (often called for in Benson’s employ). It’s still ten thousand pities she’s silenced, but you mentioned her circumstances– very different from Garland’s.

        I have to wonder whether she did more damage by shutting it, because she did such good work, than he did by talking, but I can’t say I don’t understand her choice. You may receive an offer yourself, you know. 🙂

        P.S. Re “in the news”: And very poorly worded news at that. I think I have the sense of this (“a Sept. 30, 2006, incident involving a custody confrontation with her husband’s ex-wife, Val Bracy, a former FOX8 television reporter who was pregnant at the time she turned up at her Algiers home”), but I had to read it several times to grasp it.

        1. Indeed they are.

          With Zurik coming in she knew her days were numbered on the investigative beat. So on her way out she set a high bar of what could be done.

          All it takes is a few good sources and a slighter larger collection of seasoned, savvy local minds to help place the info into its proper context. And some sack because there will be blow back.

          I don’t hold the bangles against as her circumstances are vastly different from Garlandfill, who strongly appears to have never had an honest day on the Landfill beat.

          1. Those turds over at nola.com have made it so that I don’t want to waste my time post anything substantive. Think about the folks on the Broussard, Wilkinson, Whitmer grand juries. It is a slow, deliberative process. How infuriated must they be when they weigh testimony and evidence on dozens of counts and indict, only to have the Govt. cut a “slap on the wrist” deal? I’d love to hear from one of the grand jury members.

        2. BTW The first offer I got was $15 per original substantive post and $7 per reply. That was in 2005 on the finance boards. I rang it up and figured that worked out to around $90K/year for a part time job.

          Of course I would have been promoting sleazy pink sheet issues like HERE. I turned it down.

          You know when I started the bloggy thing I’d tell people that I’d come from finance and their eyes would glaze over.

          I figured if I was worth $90K/year evergreen there I could have many times that in impact via public service. Nobody outside of finance understood though.

          TheRiot was in over his head from day 1. He was too arrogant to understand that basic fact. Ditto for Broussard and his band of Goatherders.

          1. Seems to me Zurik hasn’t measured up, unfortunately, but if he’s been told to stay away then that would account for the lack of substantive production. Re the $90K: Good heavens, that does sound appealing. I agree on the multiplied impact, but it’s MUCH harder to find a source of remuneration for doing the right thing. 🙂

            Finance is fun, though; I took a few AIB courses when I was working at banks (some from accountants, even!), and found that quite entertaining. I remember taking an elementary accounting course from the guy who ran the cash vault at the downtown First Atlanta bank, and he was a hoot– we had to use manual ledger sheets to learn double-entry bookkeeping, which got the point across quite effectively. Change one number, and the resulting chain of edits would consume half a bottle of Liquid Paper. :_)

        3. Absolutely– the jury is treated like a series of inanimate components used in the process of assembling an indictment, and to discover that one’s forced labor had been as good as discarded because it had been compelled in the service of a political maneuver rather than as a genuine contribution to society would be maddening.

          I think Letten knew his time was short, because the outing of Sal prompted an internal investigation and it was clear from the five years of comments plus the hit-and-run what had been going on over there, so his primary interest was in concluding the cases rather than pursuing them properly. So that was an aggravating factor, but one which in no way excuses the outcome.

  5. Luckily the day job provides enough daily bread. I started out on 4, 6 and 13 column pads along with ledger sheets. Thank goodness that didn’t last long.

    1. DAY job? Good grief, I have no idea where you find the time. Amazing performance, Doug– I can’t imagine how difficult that is to keep up with both. Thank you for doing it. :_) P.S. What was your favorite early spreadsheet program?

  6. It would be interesting to see whether FBT loaned money to politically connected persons or entities and, if so, whether those politically connected persons or entities met FBT’s objective standards for loans.

  7. Lightning K: Loans?, Loans?, Did you say Loans? Now you are hitting on da’ G spot bro’ and if you would allow me to stimulate a little I might help you reach yo’ slabbing investigative climax.

    If you were in JP in da’ early 80’s Enterprise Federal on da’ westbank was virtually seized by political cronies for the specific purpose of crony loans( Bob Evans had a big play in it and he had federal contacts to help him allege defects in the previous private owners’ operations thereby allowing him to take it over and later to protect him from federal prosecution when his bank under his direction failed due to misappropriated loans).

    Many of those Bob Evans supervised and directed loans went bad causing Enterprise Federal become part of the huge,nation wide savings and loan failure and bailout by the FDIC in the mid-to-late 80’s.

    I gauruntee’ dat other SlabbedNation commenters in da’ JP political know would verify what I am saying and may know more about those Enterprise Federal crony capitalistic loans and what specific cronies received them.

    If it happened on da’ westbank why couldn’t it happen on da’ eastbank?

    In regard to FBT loans I’d bet that as a BOARD member Lil’ Nap could easily recall which politico cronies may have received sweet heart loans and their names would not be strangers to da’ public.

    Come on slabbers lets keep dis’ rhythm going and maybe with a little help from da’ feds we could help Lightning intensify his brilliant investigative foreplay and perhaps all could shout ‘BINGO’.

  8. Doug, oh yeah Doug, oh yeah, oh yeah, mo’ mo’

    Hospital ? Doug talk mo’ of dat’ dirty talk in my ear bro’ me gettin’ excited

    How about you Lightning, you getting dere’ ?

  9. Yeah, Yeah, mo’ mo’- but Bama’ be so far from East Jefferson Hospital- Beach, what Beach, where?

    uck oh, when me have to tink “hard” on how dem’ be connected done feeling less and less excited.. can’t tink’ and stay up to

    Lightning, how bout you bro’, you keeping it going or losing it wit to much tought’?

  10. Gotta’ say dis’ quick while da’ tought is still dere’.

    In da’ Nagin indictment and comments on NOLA.com there is rumor dat’ City of New Orleans participated in some federal loan application for Businessman “A” to build theater in NO East.

    Me do believe dat’ same “A” man build one in Jefferson very close to da’ Yenni Building so do dat’ mean dat’ Jefferson participated in a federal loan dere’ too?

    And I seem to remember dat’ Broussard had free tickets for all da’ parish workers to go see
    da’ movie, “The Passion”, in dat’ NO east theater.

    Somebody help me stay “Up” on all dis’

  11. Well, all I can say is that I hope the feds are reading this blog and getting ideas. If there is any hanky-panky in FBT loans, that would a violation of any number of federal banking laws. I don’t know how much of that would be revealed in the public record responses that Doug has. We may only be able to sit on the sidelines and speculate.

  12. I’m feeling cited’ again Lightning with Presario “stripping” down and revealing da’ weird naked details of dat’ manage da’ tra transaction .

    Could dis’ be da’ definition of “financial intermediary” real estate flipping and was everything legit in terms of exchange of da’ proper monies stated in da’ official judicial recordations?

  13. http://www.deltacomputersystems.com/TEMP/PDFWEB/AL05/AL05/J0854/J0854550.PDF

    The people who bought the property from GSA Beach Condo LLC took out a mortgage on the property for $196,000.00 in 2010.

    Aaron Broussard loaned GSA Beach Condo LLC $397,135.50 on Jan of 2008.


    The Request for Notice of Seizure against Aaron Broussard on Oct 31, 2003 from Omni Bank.


    Aaron Broussard refinances the property in April of 2007 for $399,000.


    And three months later GSA Beach Condo LLC buys Aaron Broussard out by purchasing the property and taking a loan out on for $397,135.50.



    Price History
    Date Description Price Change $/sqft Source
    04/16/2010 Listing removed $314,900 — $321 Systems Engineering, Inc.
    02/21/2010 Listed for sale $314,900 — $321 Systems Engineering, Inc.
    12/19/2009 Listing removed $314,900 — $321 Systems Engineering, Inc.
    07/09/2009 Listed for sale $314,900 — $321 Systems Engineering, Inc.

  14. Presario: I tink we done need a real estate lawyer and sales purson to plain’ exactly what the flippin’ happened in regards to multiply sales, multiply loans, refinance and confusing Gulf Shores transactions tween’ Lil’ Nap and some East Jefferson Hospital employees.

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