Drew Broach reports on the “black hole” on Airline Drive: Another (non)Performing Arts Center update

The uncompleted Jefferson Performing Arts Center. Photo courtesy of a reader

When politicians bob and weave, it is evident they are trying to deceive and that is certainly the case yesterday at the Jefferson Parish Council meeting as councilmen Chris Roberts and Elton LaGasse took turns trying to distance themselves from their own bad decisions (and worse in the case of LaGasse) regarding the JPAC debacle, 4 years and 79% over budget and counting in the making.

We’ve covered JPAC in-depth here in Slabbed but the picture on the right allows me to reinforce a point regarding the contractor’s specious delay claims which have thus far been paid without much question and on one occasion, with the “help” of councilman LaGasse via a management override that in turn causes people to think he may be on Joe Calderera’s payroll. Before we get to the information contained picture though let’s explore a snippet from Broach’s story:

Roberts asked whether anyone is even working these days on the site, at LaSalle Park in Metairie. Public Works Director Kazem Alikhani said the job is basically at a standstill: The general contractor, J. Caldarera & Co. Inc, “is having a hard time getting subcontractors to work because they haven’t been paid in two years.”

At least part of the reason is that the parish for months has been sitting on two change orders, one for another $8.4 million, requested by the builder. Parish attorney Deborah Foshee said Caldarera has sent the parish a “demand” letter for money, signaling potential litigation.

I’ve written this before on Slabbed and I’ll write it again as it relates to Caldarera’s delay claims. Notice the crane parked at the inactive construction site?  What about the lift on the right?  Who do you think Joe Calderera is going to stick for the day rate for that stuff when he figures his next bill? A construction site that has been idle for months needs no construction equipment.

Again the NOLA.com commenters to Drew’s story wisely favor setting dynamite and cutting taxpayers losses on the project, which has now been ongoing longer than it took to construct the Superdome.  As a sage Jefferson Parish political observer told me not long ago, “when a project gets this screwed up someone is gonna end up in jail”.  The taxpayer of Jefferson Parish can only hope for justice at this point for the financial gang rape that has perpetrated upon them, to satisfy the whims of a few politically connected pests at the Jefferson Performing Arts Society.

9 thoughts on “Drew Broach reports on the “black hole” on Airline Drive: Another (non)Performing Arts Center update”

  1. Calderera, as his website brags about, is a construction expert at taking over construction sites in trouble and by using the Grey Elephant project as a storage yard to park equipment not in demand seems like a good thing to possibly allege delay charges on. It reminds me of a certain tourist attraction alleging its business failure was solely due to alleged defamatory comments and not due to other geographical factors and limitations.

    I hope and pray Calderera does file a lawsuit cause depositions need to be taken big time, especially on LargASSe, as such private civil suits open up opportunity for possible criminal charges.

  2. The pin- the- tail on the jackass/es game, i.e. what jackass/es approved and authorized all the change orders for the Grey Elephant, started last July at the Council meeting held during the annual Tampon Rodeo.


    At that meeting the M&M Sistas asked the Administration why was it only suing the original architect and not other players. I commented that the answer was the Council and Administration did not want to shoot a goose/geese that was/ were laying golden eggs into their campaign funds accounts and, as happened between Broussard and First Communication, possibly directly into private pockets.

    I described the Grey Elephant by stealing the phrase that the media had used to describe the Obama administration giving 500 MILLION to Solyndra – CRONY CAPITALISM.

    Now with the rumored possibility of one of the geese suing JP over ” non-payment ” is one of the Crony Capitalistic Geese really crazy enough to stick its golden, egg laying ass out in the open? Especially with game hunter Letten pissed off and possibly wanting to put some different meat on his table for this Thanksgiving Day feast.

    The SlabbedNation reports,you decide.

  3. Give me some of that ole time arrogance , Largass . Now you know the TP is give out free passes with this !

    Supporters of Good Government:

    Citizens for Good Government naively thought that contractors who make campaign contributions to councilmen generally do so voluntarily because they are happy with the job that the particular councilman is doing or, more likely, they are hoping to win a contract with Jefferson Parish or to get additional contracts with our government. Since contractors know that the councilmen get to choose the winners of nonbid contracts, we assumed that the contractors might think that they would enhance their chances of getting contracts with Jefferson Parish if they donated to the councilmen, even though the councilmen state that the contributions do not affect their votes. We thought that these contractor campaign contributions would normally be voluntary and not solicited, because we naively thought that some councilmen might agree with us that it would be inappropriate for them to ask a contractor who wanted to be selected for a parish contract for campaign contributions. But we were soooo wrong.
    At the November 7th Council Meeting I again praised the newly implemented Solicitation Affidavit, which currently requires contractors to list solicitations by our elected officials for campaign funds by telephone or personal contact. However, I stated that CFGG believes that for the Solicitation Ordinance to achieve its purpose, it should also require contractors to list elected officials who made solicitations using U.S. Mail and e-mail. Although the pressure on contractors to contribute to the campaigns of elected officials is not as great if the solicitation is made by mail or e-mail, it does nevertheless put pressure on them to contribute. I stated further that some of the contractors appear to be listing all of their campaign contributors as contribution solicitors. This makes us wonder if the councilmen make it a practice to solicit campaign contributions from many of the contractors to whom they award Jefferson Parish government contracts. Finally, I stated that CFGG recommends changing the Solicitation Ordinance to require the Solicitation list to include elected officials who solicit campaign contributions by mail and e-mail, as well as by telephone and personal contact. After I finished my speech, Councilman Lagasse stated the following:

    Lagasse: ?Mam, how would you like us to send these?Do you want us to deliver these to the houses of these contractors personally and knock on their door? I mean the only way we can send things out to the?out is to send them by mail.?

    Margie: We would like the contributions to be voluntary.?

    Lagasse: No Mam, no Mam.?

    CFGG disagrees with Councilman Lagasse that it is appropriate for councilmen to solicit campaign contributions from contractors to whom they award contracts. We believe that this puts undue pressure on the contractors to contribute to the campaigns of the councilmen, and we find this practice extremely unseemly.

    Margie Seemann

    Vice-Chairman, Citizens for Good Government
    (504) 912-1936

        1. Lockem ,
          You made comments about Broussards arrogance if I remember write please correct me if I’m wrong? But Broussard aint got notin on Largeass’s mouth he truly lives up to his name shit for brains !

  4. Tom, at least your words can be understood whereas after trying to listen to the words of “Extortion” I don’t believe I heard anything meaningful as I don’t know the meanings of all da’ gang, jive words.

    However, the instrumental version’s beat and sounds make me think of a old worn, scratched pressed record stuck on the same track and just going around and around with a background of repetitive scratchy, aggravating noise.

    What a great analogy for the current JP government with its repetitive arrogance of self serving, campaign funding thiefdoms with the poster boys of this aggravating noise being da’ musical duet of Chrissy ” King of Pay to Play” and his Neo-Parlimentarian sidekick, the “Prince of Pay to Play” namely El TON LargASSe.

    Let’s see if the liberal Newhouse, TP gang give these poster boys an Obamanian, free media ride which is one reason why so many JP locals scratched their TP subscriptions years ago after TP endorsed the likes of Lil’ Napoleon, Chrissy and LargASSe for re-election.

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