I was there on business just a few weeks ago and actually know a few of the inhabitants. I mention this because the Sun Herald has a connection or two there as well as Donna Harris and photojournalist John Fitzhugh showed up yesterday at Bolton while a few folks from the investigative division of the State Auditor’s office were holed up in DMR executive director Bill Walker’s office going through his files and computer hard disks.
Naturally the rumor mill is going full tilt and I shook the tree to get the low down, which I did on an off the record basis. As the comments to Harris’ story illustrate, most everyone knows Bill Walker has double dealt most every chance he’s had while at DMR enriching himself and his cronies at the taxpayer trough for years. There was the Cedar Point land swindle involving David Harris and Ben Stone funded by the Jackson County taxpayers for instance. More recently we have Walker and DMR playing Santa Claus for Harris on a sweat heart land deal to create green space on the Ocean Springs waterfront, bailing Harris out of a previously money losing investment with taxpayer funded largess. And since the oil spill we’ve watched Walker try to get control over Mississippi’s portion of the BP fines via the DMR, no doubt with an eye towards self enrichment as that issue almost scuttled his renomination as DMR Director earlier this year.
Let’s be clear, the Investigators with the OSA are not the FBI and the OSA typically pursues civil rather than criminal remedies. That said I do not think they’ll have to look very hard to figure out what DMR is about in its new role as Santa to the politically connected. To the extent Walker is highly connected in statewide GOP circles, the fact this investigation was green lit by the powers that be is telling. Stay tuned.
So now that Dominick “Big D” Fazzio’s brother in law Mark Titus has gone down in flames left to prepare for his upcoming trial with Big D from the pokey the newest defendant in the various alleged Fazzio criminal schemes, Hendrikus “Hank” Ton has copped a plea and agreed to testify against Fazzio, whose legal plight was well summarized by his attorney Buddy Lemann as quoted by Nola Media Group’s Manuel Torres:
“The guy who saved himself more than $3.5 million faces no more than 10 years,” Lemann said, referring to Ton’s maximum possible prison sentence. “But my client, the guy who simply filed the tax returns for fees that totaled no more than $15,000, faces 50 years. It’s absurd.”
Far from absurd this is the reality that is facing Fazzio and with Ton as a witness against him things are looking bad in Big D. And with the federal grand jury closing in on Ray Ray the Chocolate Guy things are heating up as the cross hairs center on River Birch Landfill.
Nola Media Group’s Bruce Alpert wrote a whopper around 10 minutes ago on the prospects of Jim Letten keeping his job as US Attorney no matter who is elected Prez in a few weeks. I can almost hear vomit hitting the floor right now but I thought this part was the biggest hoot of ’em all:
Democrats mentioned as possible candidates for the U.S. attorney’s job include New Orleans white-collar attorney Kenneth Polite, Louisiana Democratic Party Chairman Karen Carter Peterson and former New Orleans city attorney and current Entergy New Orleans CEO Charles Rice. Polite’s interest in the office was confirmed by a person familiar with his thinking, though Polite declined comment when reached on the phone. Carter Peterson didn’t return phone calls seeking comment. Rice said he had been surprised to hear his name surface in connection with the job, and that he has no interest in the post at the minute.
I reckon it’s not too early to start talking about this folks since Slabbed fav Dane Ciolino is yapping about same.