The taxpayer funded leeches at Jefferson Performing Arts Society in the news……

Brought to you by Dennis Assaf and his family as underwritten by the taxpayers of Jefferson Parish and the State of Louisiana.

Behold the politically connected pests that brought the state taxpayers the Performing Arts Center boondoggle as Mini-me Roberts leaked a copy of a preliminary audit report on the Jefferson Performing Arts Society to Travers Mackel at WDSU and the I Team ran with it. I gotta get me a copy of dat report!

That said I have docs on JPAS in Slabbed’s document archives because one thing I learned going through the archival material from the Goatherderian reign of terror was Dennis Assaf and company over at JPAS were world class pests about getting taxpayer money to support their lifestyle. Throw a consummate BS artist like Aaron Broussard in the mix and them guys sparked off each other like nobody’s business. Here are a couple of examples from TheRiot era (click the pic to nab the pdf):

JPAC Theriot

and

JPAS Theriot

Mackel’s quotes several passages of audit speak in his two part series as there are evidently credit cards galore, unsubstantiated charges and worse but I can boil the “preliminary” findings down to a single concept that explains it all:  Mr Assaf treated JPAS like it was his personal piggy bank. Always the drama queen Assaf laid it on thick for Mackels:

Assaf questioned the timing of the I-Team’s story.

“It hurts a lot. It really does,” Assaf said. “So, I wish you would wait until we’ve had a chance to absorb it.”

The first member of the Slabbed Nation to get me a copy of that preliminary audit report gets to pick the song for next music post.

24 thoughts on “The taxpayer funded leeches at Jefferson Performing Arts Society in the news……”

    1. Prince: Excellent post. Well, with Young freezing all monies to JPAS there will be no future acting roles for Young, at least not at the JPAS anyway.

      I’m sure if Broussard was still a viable politico we would have seen his stage debut instead of Young.

      Slabbed revealed Lil’Nap used to take pride in shipping costumes to his many costume theme parties out of state. Didn’t he also incorporate several performing/stage companies?

      Lil’ Nap would have been great in “The Goat Farm”, a political parody of the famous allegorical novel,”The Animal Farm” by Orwell criticizing the Soviet revolution.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_Farm

      Remember how Napoleon reorganized the animal farm appointing a ruling committee of pigs with Squealer as his mouthpiece(Whitmer) and blamed the storm destruction of the windmill on a scapegoat( emergency man Maestri).In “The Goat Farm” parody Squealer in the end does a lot of squealing too.

      Hope Assaf reads this post and considers the political parody, “The Goat Farm” as the opening play in dat big ass elephant , da’ JPAC, on Airline . Dat is when it done been opened.

  1. Maestro Assaf always seemed like a con man to me. c’mon maestro, have all these years of toiling away in a high school lowered your standards? no self respecting maestro would be caught dead in an olive garden or logan’s roadhouse even if it was on the cuff.

  2. Jefferson Performing Arts Society
    11 hours ago
    Dear Friends: As you might suspect, I am extremely upset and quite pissed at WDSU for that those two hit pieces on JPAS which aired tonight. Tomorrow, I will post the links to these “news” reports here on Facebook, on the JPAS Facebook page as well as our website and will send it out to our 27,000 e-newsletter subscribers. The whole world will learn the truth about this awful episode. Soon we will post the entire draft report, along with our response to each and every allegation. We have absolutely nothing to hide. I asked the little “Lee Zurich wannabe” reporter Travers Mackel to wait till we had the report and could see what was in it. He got the report 5 days before we did and wanted to come right away to my office for an on camera interview. Why would a member of the media be sent the report before we would be sent it? I said I had nothing to say until I saw the report and could share with my board of directors. Then he showed up Thursday unannounced with a camera lady expecting a “gotcha interview”. I promised him after tonight’s board meeting that I would have something for him to report. He said he would wait. Instead WDSU began advertising on Saturday that they had “a full report” on JPAS’ financial issues. Travers showed up with his camera lady and was interviewing our patrons at the Full Monty. Thanks for the free advertising Travers. I should have just gone into the theatre and ignored him but I thought I could reason with him and appeal to his sense of fair play and decency. Wrong. How naive I am. Travers is a pathetic young man trying to make a name for himself at the expense of JPAS. I promise you that while some sloppy handling of credit card receipts has been uncovered there is no fraud, no theft and for those of you who know the talents of my wife and daughter – no nepotism. Shame on WDSU and for the trash who leaked the report to them. This is what I get for 35 years of dedication to the arts, Jefferson Parish and to a new performing arts center. Stay tuned. This ain’t over by a long shot.

    1. I’m not ready to go there just yet (con man). Assaf makes some valid points, and he should be given a better opportunity to defend himself. Then, if it pans out, they can light him up.

      But what I saw in Mackel’s report was pure ambush. In fairness, let the guy read the report and give a response. It might be a bullshit response, but be fair about it.

    2. Dennis Assaf has dedicated his life to providing theatre for the community. Travers Mackel is attacking Dennis and JPAS without fully researching the story to get to the truth. All Travers is thinking about is himself and he thinks he’s uncovered a big story. He’s just trying to make a name for himself, but when the truth comes out the only thing Mr Mackel will be remembered for is his TRAVESTY OF JUDGMENT in trying to destroy the good name of Dennis Assaf, a man of great honor and integrity.

      1. If I may be so bold.
        It appears there is a parallel between Assaf and Broussard. Either could be caught driving the nails in Christ’s hands on the cross and they will have their defenders.

        IJR

  3. JR: I assume the alleged Assaf message you posted was sent to the 27,000 e-mail JPAS members.

    His alleged comment of, “This is what I get for 35 years of dedication to the arts, Jefferson Parish and to a new performing arts center.”

    Should have read, “…to a old, decaying, over budget by 27 MILLION, non-performing arts center.”

    And his alleged statement, “Shame on WDSU and for the trash who leaked the report to them” is typical from a “35 year” politico’s onion peeled back.

  4. the maestro is too much. to refer to anyone as a “wannabee” is rich coming from a guy who runs plays in a high school auditorium. little lee zurich (sic) LOL. i would have expected a theater professional to put on a better act in front of the camera.

    1. Methinks Maestro attended the Trout Point School for Media relations. He is right about Mackels being no Lee Zurik because Zurik would never tackle a scandal of this size in Jefferson Parish.

      But I have an idea how Maestro can salvage JPAS’ finances, pay for JPAC and get off the taxpayer teat. Do a stage rendition of S.O.B.!

      It is no secret that Julie Quinn is a big supporter of the Performing Arts in Jefferson Parish and JPAS. Cast her in Julie Andrew’s role as Sally Miles.

      Yes, S.O.B. is a bit more adult that Maestro and company have done in the past but charge $300/ticket and run the show for a couple of months and I guarantee JPAC will be paid for cost overruns and all. Quinn isn’t doing much these days and the exposure could be just the ticket for rejuvenating her political career.

  5. CONGRATULATIONS TO DOUG: Your new media license statement seems to be working miracles as the TP gave you a hattip to your allegation that Mini-Me leaked the JPAS audit to his favorite peep at WDSU

    http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2013/02/jefferson_performing_arts_soci_1.html

    Looks like da’ King of Pay to Play in JP in addition to checking his big campaign deposits at 5 AM might also be doing a lil’ #1(leaking) in his 4G terlit to WDSU too.

    He sure do have some good political pottie habits.

    1. Tell me the journalist and I’ll tell you who leaked them in JP 😉

      We have our spats but NOLA and Slabbed will continue to be congenial competitors.

  6. The audit also noted some irregularities in how the performing arts society classifies and pays employees. It found that some individuals were listed as both employees and independent contractors. Fikes also found that the group lacked contracts for some contractors and hired some of Assaf

    1. In a surprising finding, the comparison between the previously quoted excerpt and the actual document is now possible. From the draft audit report page 7:

      “Employee Time Reporting

      FINDING:

      The JPAS Employee Handbook contains specific rules for personal and vacation leave, based on tenure of employment. For example, employees with over five years of employment with JPAS are entitled to fifteen paid vacation days per calendar year and days cannot be carried over from year to year.

      However, JPAS does not follow this written policy because JPAS does not monitor personal and vacation time. Per the Executive Director, employee use of personal and vacation time has never been an issue and has not been tracked since Hurricane Katrina.

      RECOMMENDATION: We recommend JPAS follow their written policy regarding personal and vacation time. Under the policy as written, the Executive Director’s month long trip to Italy would not have been allowed.

      1. I did not reply to Prince Charming yesterday because I wanted to see the report though I could have written the reply yesterday.

        These matters are true-false type things. Assaf and his organization do not deserve another penny of taxpayer money.

        1. Either the Executive Director went on a month long trip to Italy or he did not. Then again, it might have been 28 or 36 days…

          With respect to JPAS paying members of the family of the Executive director the draft audit states (on page 6):

          “Related Party Transactions

          FINDING:

          Several members of the Executive Directors family have been paid performers at JPAS productions on multiple occasions. There was no documentation that anyone other than the Executive Director, who chooses performers and sets their compensation, approved these related party transactions. Further, several JPAS employees have also been hired by JPAS as contract employees to perform acting and stage management roles.

          RECOMMENDATION:

          We recommend that JPAS develop a policy to ensure that the board is aware and documents approval of any related party transactions.”

          Maybe this should be covered by a conflict of interest policy? Perhaps by the written conflict of interest policy which is claimed to exist on the most recent IRS Form 990 filed by JPAS?

          Section B. Policies.

          12a Does the organization have a written conflict of interest policy? Form 990 shows “Yes”

          12b Are officers, directors or trustees and key employees required to disclose annually interests that could give rise to conflicts Form 990 shows

        2. I’m all about facts and evidence. And at this point, it ain’t looking good for Asaaf. But here’s one of the problems with cutting off funding: there are many kids in JP who build their summers around these JPAS programs. These are good, solid camps for kids and the resulting productions are very good. If funding were cut, the first thing to go likely would be the kids programs because they don’t generate as much revenue as the “adult” plays.

          The last two Parish Presidents have been intimately involved with Asaaf’s group, so it is not as if he has been out there on an island, operating with no supervision. Indeed, these staggering pay-raises had to be approved.

  7. rff: Go rfp, and keep moving and dancing with your analysis to get oxygen to your flames son as we squirt Zippo lighter fluid on you to keep you burning bright.

    http://youtu.be/T7HwU16uuxs

    Sounds like Assaf’s father was a self made man and hero while with his son there appears to have been a “Failure to Launch” to self sufficiency.

    Been nursing on the Parish’s tits a tad bit too long and through too many Administrations.

  8. Hey Doug,
    Speaking of “entertainment.” We are in desperate need of a new music video. The Sugar Ray video is long overdue for a replacement.

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