Jim Brown: A New Superdome to get a Superbowl? Come on man!

Friday, May 30th, 2014
Baton Rouge, Louisiana

A New Superdome to get a Superbowl? Come on man!

There is a great deal of whining going on down in the Crescent City over the loss of the 2018 Super Bowl. Many New Orleanians who were part of the bid process felt they were far and away the front-runners to host the big game for the 11th time. After all, the year would be the city’s 300th anniversary. It turned out that the rest of the NFL couldn’t have cared less. There might have been some sympathy towards New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina in allowing the 2013 game to be played there. But a Super Bowl in New Orleans in the near future seems like a real long shot.

To win the Super Bowl, a city needs a new state of the art stadium that costs well over $1 billion. Minneapolis, which won out over New Orleans, spent that, and so did Atlanta, which seems a cinch to get the bid in 2019.

Old wounds no doubt came into play when opposing cities lobbied for their town, and then quietly undermined the New Orleans effort. Forbes Magazine referred to the blackout during the 2013 game saying outage would hurt the city’s future chances. And gouging hotel prices were also used against New Orleans. During the last game played in New Orleans, average room rates skyrocketed on average more 300%, with some hotels exceeding 590%. And the hotel, motel tax is one of the highest in America.

But it’s the stadium. You just gotta have a new stadium to hook a Super Bowl bid-right? And the drums are already sounding for the State of Louisiana to pony up a billion or so in an effort to bring the big game back to the Crescent City as soon as possible. Local TV station WWL raised the question in a headline that read: “Does New Orleans need a new stadium to land a Super Bowl?” And one commentator at the state’s largest paper, the Times Picayune, lamented: “Saints owner Tom Benson needs to start planning for a New Stadium…New Orleans will not have a chance in hell with all other cities having brand spanking new stadiums all hoping for one chance to host the Super Bowl.”

So does New Orleans need a new stadium? Sure, if the public dollars are unlimited and the taxpayers don’t mind continuing to paying through the nose. The current Superdome is just a few years away from a $350 million renovation. That’s all taxpayer money. Continue Reading…………

Hammerman takes a shot at Nino….

The bards say that Justice Nino is especially close to Judge Marty, who so capably presided over the questioning of Gordon Russell and John Simmerman in USA v Hankton. Given the totality of the situation, I wonder if this is an exhibit of the whose ox is being gored but it is really bigger than all that.  Self dispensation is a nice job perk:

DMR State Pleas and Trudy Fisher dominate the news here on the coast

DMR because yesterday 3 former employees pleaded guilty to felonies and Trudy Fisher because of the local rumor mill fueled by at least one OIG report.  We start with Ms. Fisher:

Head of Mississippi environmental agency to resign ~ Jeff Amy

And of course it was Jeff’s story that Anita Lee and I chatted about before we entered the courtroom for the DMR plea hearing before Circuit Court Judge Roger Clark yesterday in Biloxi.  I was disappointed in not being able to use Twitter, especially since still photography was allowed inside the court room per the court’s own rules.  Those rules were written before the rise of social media and it shows.  Nonetheless, when the court’s bailiff comes out two times before the start of the hearing to let everyone else know they better turn off all their electronic devices it behooved those assembled to heed the good word.

Let’s start with Anita’s story for the Sun Herald:

3 former DMR employees plead guilty, sentenced ~ Anita Lee

She does a good job recounting the events of the hearing, where Tina Shumate was clearly the boogie man de jour.  After Larsen’s attorney made some statements regarding how Shumate allegedly treated Larsen when he tried repaying the travel over payment, Shumate’s lawyer Tim Holliman’s reaction upon hearing Team Larsen’s statement tells me her story will beg to differ.  We’ll see.

What Anita’s story does not say is what I am going to cover because it is clear to me that Continue reading “DMR State Pleas and Trudy Fisher dominate the news here on the coast”

Speaking of people that need to submit resignations…..

And here is today’s local news roundup.  We start with the legendary boozing constable, Tony Thomassie, who is harmless enough, except for the boozing while on tower and long rumored badge selling:

Embattled constable sues Jefferson Parish court for not using his services ~ Chad Calder

Next up things are not looking too good for the home team:

Bankruptcy trustee seeks sale of Brennan’s name, assets ~ Jaquetta White

Turns out that like Slabbed, Gordon Russell, John Simerman and company rake their muck the old fashioned way:

Reporters: FBI agents didn’t provide information of Telly Hankton’s probe ~ Manuel Torres

So this was, in reality, a fishing expedition for a reporter’s sources.  Gordon and John actually visited the FBI over on Leon C. Simon and signed into the official log documenting they were there, a truly cloak and dagger action if I ever saw one.   These guys do not need me to tell them how to best meet with the FBI but all the Hankton defense team did was reinforce a lesson with me on never meeting with the FBI at the FBI HQ on Leon C. Simon because you have to sign a log when you enter the building.  I’m glad to see the G men did not do anything stupid like two certain former US Attorneys.

Moving right along from the victory lap department, we have this on Team Ray Nagin: Continue reading “Speaking of people that need to submit resignations…..”

When I suggested resignation, I did not mean the hospital board…..

File this one under too little, too late:

DA Walter Reed resigns as outside legal counsel for St. Tammany Parish Hospital ~ Heather Nolan

Like I said earlier, I expect a Peter Galvan type outcome here. The only question in my mind is whether or not I excoriate resident talking head / lickspittle Rafael Goyeneche for drawing distinctions between Paul Connick’s outside gig that profits off Parish contracts and Reed’s. I’ve been leaning towards not but I’ll add Rafael has not burnished his rep by carrying DA Connick’s water. Just sayin’.

Ummm, just take a victory lap, you deserve it

Most of the time there is a story behind the story you see on the Tee Vee News or read in the newspaper (IE the backstory) and that is the case with the following from Hammerman:

Appeals Court denies BP’s effort to keep claims payments stopped ~ Hammerman

I think I see a nugget in David’s story that tells me he is signaling his knowledge or at least is on the right track.  I like that.

The person responsible for the above reads this site, sometimes even sharing some insight. I have not covered the BP settlement litigation beyond the very early days.  Luckily for everyone, Jason over at American Zombie has tackled this immensely complex subject and has done a very fine job with it, better than the New York Times and certainly far better than the gasbags at 60 minutes. Here are two very recent must reads from AZ:

DHECC – Lionel Sutton Interview Part 1 – Corps Constructors

DHECC – Lionel Sutton Interview Part 2 – how the “go-to guy” became the fall guy

If State Farm is the true pinnacle of hard nosed corporate litigants then BP does not stand a chance here with the peanut gallery alone. You gotta love the PSC for being wise enough to see the genius in an idea from a member of the public that happens understands Federal Court Practice like few others. Now take that lap.

In other news, South Mississippi’s fluffer Congressman comes out of hiding

And folks he takes credit for fixing the disaster he created in Biggert Waters. The jackassery simply does not get any better IMHO:

Palazzo touts accomplishments, fight for flood insurance, against Obamacare~ Paul Hampton

Moving right along I smell “Big Dawg” and from the smell of ’em I think he has been cavorting with skunks:

Political play could block Zurich Classic from moving to new City Park golf course ~ Jeff Duncan

Nothing against Dunc as he is a decent enough sports writer but this story should have gone to someone else at NOLA. Just sayin’. Speaking of crack, seasoned journalists:

New details emerge in Jaren Lockhart’s murder and dismemberment case ~ Paul Purpura

I’m personally very leery of jailhouse confessions. Now from the bad days just got worse for Ray Ray the former Chocolatier:

Federal judge orders Ray Nagin to forfeit $501,201 ~ Gordon Russell

Finally, speaking of Gordon:

Reporters, FBI agents to face questions Wednesday at Telly Hankton hearing ~ Manuel Torres

For those that were worried about the slow DMR news cycle….

I have it on the best authority that business will be picking up rather dramatically and I plan on being at ground zero when the muck begins to fly later today. Meantime we have Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood joining State Auditor Stacey Pickering in an incredible display of asshatitude per Paul Hampton’s recap of Judge Schloegel’s contempt order against Pickering, Hood and company.

“General Hood curiously stated it might be very embarrassing for a chancery judge to be admonished by a federal judge should the assistant U.S. attorney charge the chancellor with obstruction of justice and contempt of a grand jury subpoena,” Schloegel wrote about the phone call. “General Hood’s hypothetical regarding criminal charges against the undersigned chancellor and other remarks reinforced General Hood’s clear intent not to seek to mitigate the contempt of his client, the auditor, and furthermore, raised questions of his own role, the role of the Attorney General’s Office and the role of the defendants and their employees in the issuance of the federal grand jury subpoena and the wrongful removal of the records from state court jurisdiction.”

It gets better because Pickering, while denying public records to the Sun Herald and coming across like a fool last December at the court hearings on the related litigation stopped woefully short in his investigation into DMR wrongdoing in favor of crushing a few lower level employees that now stand accused of padding their travel by a few hundred dollars a piece. Biloxi Blues summed it up nicely in comments: Continue reading “For those that were worried about the slow DMR news cycle….”