Slabbed takes the regulatory challenge part 1: Lets rap.

Dedicated to a reader. I’m off to buzzards roost and will check back later. (h/t Russell)

Friedrich Hayek, Nobel-prize winning economist and well-known proponent of free markets, is having a big month. He was last seen rap-debating with John Maynard Keynes in the viral video above, (in which Hayek is portrayed as the sober voice of reason while Keynes overindulges at a party at the Fed). His 1944 book, “The Road to Serfdom,” provided the theme for John Stossel’s Fox Business News program on Valentine’s Day.

It all began with a dime drop to Raphael. Slabbed takes a look back at the unfolding Jefferson Parish political corruption investigation

As I compiled my notes for this post and along the lines of my affinity for applied mathematics I was reminded of the Butterfly effect, a concept based in Chaos theory which underpins several of the concepts expressed by Nassim Taleb in his two books.  I have alluded to the fact that we had an idea as to the origins of the current investigation into Aaron Broussard and I threw Bill Hubbard in the mix as one of the candidates in my post, Let’s talk Prisoner’s Dilemma which included a reader poll asking which rat our readers thought was squealing to Jim Letten:

For reasons I will not go into at this point (as such is another post), I’ll add a player that has not been connected to the ongoing investigation that I think is connected in former St. John the Baptist Parish President Bill Hubbard. So the question is simple, assuming the feds have the goods on Tim Whitmer, Tim Coulon and Aaron Broussard and knowing they have Bill Hubbard by the balls who, if anyone, is squealing to save their own skin?

Looking back I should have included combo answers as another member of the gang is talking to Jim Letten IMHO but my vote, for Bill Hubbard, was reflective of the fact that he squealed first and that is the fundamental concept behind Prison’s Dilemma. Today we’ll explore the basis for that opinion as I reveal the court case that we think lead to Raphael and the Metropolitan Crime Commission getting that tip. Lets start with the editorial from today’s Times Picayune that finally convinced me it was time to tackle this subject:

But corruption, like tango, often takes two. For every official who takes a bribe, there’s someone willing to pay it. Those private citizens and contractors who abet corruption are as much of a cancer as the officials themselves.

So it’s good to see federal prosecutors targeting an alleged accomplice of former St. John the Baptist President Bill Hubbard, who resigned in September when he admitted to soliciting and receiving a combined $20,000 in bribes from parish contractors.

Prosecutors said one of those contractors was Ray Davezac, owner of Davezac Consulting Engineers, who allegedly paid a $5,000 bribe to Mr. Hubbard. Mr. Davezac’s firm earned thousands of dollars in parish work granted during the Hubbard administration, and the parish appropriately has canceled those contracts.

Mr. Davezac last week told a magistrate judge that he is innocent of the bribery charge and a trial has been set for April. Continue reading “It all began with a dime drop to Raphael. Slabbed takes a look back at the unfolding Jefferson Parish political corruption investigation”

The Advocate lends background on Hugh Sibley’s unshareable need

After I published yesterday’s post on the arrest of prominent class action lawyer William H “Hugh” Sibley a reader sent me some court docs from Louisiana’s Eastern District that lent some needed context to why an otherwise highly successful class action lawyer would allegedly become mixed up with Mexican drug runners. The answer is simple – massive debts.  Before I get to David Mitchell’s comprehensive article in today’s Advocate we’ll start with the court docs I was sent yesterday evening and Mr Sibley’s $1.3 million dollar unpaid debt to Harrah’s:

On February 2, 2004, this Court rendered a judgment in favor of Harrah’s and against William Hugh Sibley (“Sibley”) in the amount of $1,357,332.50, plus late fees $203,599.86 together with interest accruing from the date ofjudicial demand until paid, attorney’s fees in the amount of $8,775.92, and all costs of these proceedings, as fully set forth in the record of the captioned matter (the “Judgment”).

Harrah’s desires to re-examine Sibley upon all matters pertaining to assets and liabilities, estate or property, pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 69(a) and La. Code ofCiv. Proc. Ann. art. 2451.

The time for appeal of this judgment has run, no appeal has been taken, and the judgment has not been satisfied.

To secure payment of the Judgment, Harrah’s perfected a UCC security interest in certain contingency fee agreements held by Sibley or The Sibley Law Firm in the following legal actions:

1. In Re: Bayou Sorrel Class Action, USDC, WDLA, Civil Action No.6:04CV1101;

2. Noretta Thomas and Demetrice Butler, each indiVidually, and on behalf of all others similarly situated versus A. Wilbert & Sons, 1.1. C. and XYZ Insurance Company, 18th IDC – Parish of Iberville, Suit No. 55,127 and all consolidated matters, Division B;

3. In Re: New Orleans Tank Care Leakage Fire Litigation, Civil District Court Parish of Orleans, Suit No. 02-13675;……

Harrahs was unable to collect from those legal settlements over the next 4 years when they took Mr Sibley back to court last year. Continue reading “The Advocate lends background on Hugh Sibley’s unshareable need”

News from the Louisiana Class Action Front: Prominent Lawyer arrested and charged in drug conspiracy case

This case has a little something for everyone. (h/t Mr. NAAS) The Baton Rouge Advocate tells the story of the arrest of William Hugh Sibley on money laundering and drug conspiracy. Looking at the people he is allegedly hooked up with the implications are stunning.

A Greensburg lawyer involved in several high-profile, class-action lawsuits has been arrested on charges he was part of a multimillion-dollar conspiracy since September 2002 to launder drug money for international cocaine traffickers, federal prosecutors said in court papers.

Federal prosecutors in Houston accuse William Hugh Sibley, 62, of Greensburg, of using bank accounts to hide drug proceeds and of accepting, counting and distributing drug proceeds for the ring that distributed “multi-kilogram” cocaine shipments, court records show.

The ring’s reach extended into Mexico, Venezuela and the United States and is headed by Alejandro Flores-Cacho, who remains at large, federal prosecutors in Houston said…….. Continue reading “News from the Louisiana Class Action Front: Prominent Lawyer arrested and charged in drug conspiracy case”

AIG and CV Starr: The Spies Who Shagged Us

They knew which factories to burn, which bridges to blow up, which cargo ships could be sunk in good conscience. They had pothole counts for roads used for invasion and head counts for city blocks marked for incineration.

They weren’t just secret agents. They were secret insurance agents. These undercover underwriters gave their World War II spymasters access to a global industry that both bankrolled and, ultimately, helped bring down Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich.

Newly declassified U.S. intelligence files tell the remarkable story of the ultra-secret Insurance Intelligence Unit, a component of the Office of Strategic Services, a forerunner of the CIA, and its elite counterintelligence branch X-2.

Though rarely numbering more than a half dozen agents, the unit gathered intelligence on the enemy’s insurance industry, Nazi insurance titans and suspected collaborators in the insurance business. But, more significantly, the unit mined standard insurance records for blueprints of bomb plants, timetables of tide changes and thousands of other details about targets, from a brewery in Bangkok to a candy company in Bergedorf.

“They used insurance information as a weapon of war,” said Greg Bradsher, a historian and National Archives expert on the declassified records.

I am reminded of those war tactics today and the bodyguard of lies that have been so carefully constructed over the years to conceil some ugly truths about the insurance business. At slabbed we’re firm believers in knowing our adversaries and this story from the archives of the LA Times gives excellent background on the orgins of AIG. Continue reading “AIG and CV Starr: The Spies Who Shagged Us”

About that State Farm Shredder Truck……

By the Spring of 2006 I had settled my insurance claims and we began planning the rebuilding process that continues to this day. The practice was overloaded with work as my flooded out construction clients were booming with rebuilding related business. I still remember that day in the late spring of 2006 when Steve called my cell phone, “The shredder truck is at (the State Farm) office”. He told me he had noticed the truck there more than once.  This office like all State Farm offices in Bay-Waveland were flooded out just 7 months before.

By March of 2006 State Farm had denied most of the claims for wind coverage where there was also flood damage. In that instance, State Farm would have also previously adjusted the flood claim and paid it. This detail is worth noting now because it is important to the concept of “double-dipping” where an insurer gets to take credit for NFIP payments even if it over apportioned total damage to NFIP (more on that a bit later).

As featured in the 4th video clip of the CNN special by Kathleen Koch featured in our memory lane post, by March of 2006 angry policyholders were picketing local State Farm offices. Steve had noticed the shredder truck at one and given what had happened to the policyholders since the fall of 2005, drew the only conclusion his experiences with State Farm would let him. They were destroying evidence in advance of the litigation. To memorialize the event he bought a disposable camera and took some pictures of the truck. He gave them to Zach Butterworth. Continue reading “About that State Farm Shredder Truck……”