Sam Friedman on Dickie Scruggs and the Courtroom as a Profit Center

The recent New Yorker article on Dickie Scruggs has been a popular subject in the blogesphere. Personally I’m suffering from Scruggs fatigue and will disclose I personally think that drama is largely over. P. L. Blake could change all that and more of course, but it is hard to see the incentive for the elderly Blake to cooperate with federal investigators at this point.

My experience has been that the best discussions I’ve seen or participated in on the topic of Dickie Scruggs and/or coastal insurance issues have been with people who work in the insurance industry that are not practicing lawyers. That is not a slap at the bar as much an admission on my part of the type people my life experiences cause me to better identify. I guess that is why some of my favorite commenters here on slabbed hail from the industry even though we don’t exactly see eye to eye on many of these issues.

This brings me to Sam Friedman, Editor In-Chief of the National Underwriter, a property and casualty trade publication with whom I’ve had the pleasure of chatting on occasion. Sam’s blog graces our selective blogroll because of his even handed treatments of these important issues. We don’t agree on the need for the HR3121 multi-peril insurance concept or whether the Bloomberg Article The Insurance Hoax was a complete hatchet job. 😉 However, Sam does recognize the insurance problems we opine about so much here on slabbed. Reasonable people can disagree and yet still work together to find good solutions to mutually identified problems. Sam is such a person. Continue reading “Sam Friedman on Dickie Scruggs and the Courtroom as a Profit Center”

Gulfport NFIP Compliance: Upon Further Review FEMA Backs Down

I highlighted the head scratching story of FEMA raising Gulfport’s Flood rating in my last Around the GO Zone post and ended it with a prediction:

it seems to me that construction that predates the new flood plain should be grandfathered. We have not heard the last of this story and I bet it includes some bureaucratic bungling on FEMA’s part.

In this case I am very happy to be right as today we are greeted with yet another follow up story by Ryan LaFontaine which tells us the FEMA letter to Mayor Warr was “premature”. Here is the latest: Continue reading “Gulfport NFIP Compliance: Upon Further Review FEMA Backs Down”

Ward, Please Come Home Safe

I’ve struggled since Wednesday whether to publicize the disappearance of elderly Alzheimer’s disease afflicted Hancock County resident Ward Buel here on slabbed but an email from a client finally tipped the decision to link the Sun Herald article. When Ward was working for another of my clients I had the opportunity to get to know him. Pre-Alzheimer’s he was a gifted project manager who could estimate and tackle the most complicated infrastructure or site prep jobs. He was completely devoted to his wife of many years and is a great human being.

I hope our readers will help his family publicize Ward’s disappearance so that we can get him back home. Continue reading “Ward, Please Come Home Safe”

Beauvoir is Back!

A symbol of our continued recovery is repaired and ready again for tourist. It has also attracted the interests of the national media. Kat Bergeron has the Sun Herald story.

In the history of Hurricane Katrina recovery, Beauvoir is a Humpty Dumpty “back together again” story getting national attention.

The restored 1852 National Historic Landmark reopens Tuesday with a public celebration and tours for the first time since the 2005 storm destroyed all but the house on the beachfront estate where Jefferson Davis spent his retirement. Continue reading “Beauvoir is Back!”

More Background on James Perdigao from the ABA Journal

We are in the process of matching up the dates contained in the government indictment of James Perdigao against those in the civil complaint. For now I’ll throw out this article from 2007 that ran in the ABA Journal on the criminal side of the case.

Before I post the article I’ll share a few things from it that strike me as strange such as Perdigao getting away with skimming Adam and Reese receivables undetected for as long as 13 years. In the world of financial fraud such time length is not unheard of but is certainly very unusual and speaks volume to the abysmal internal accounting controls that had to be in place at Adams and Reese. Simply put no one was minding the store.  Typically fraudsters also exhibit behavioral/lifestyle changes that were evidently absent in James Perdigao’s case. Of course none of this means he is innocent or guilty, rather it simply means the criminal case is unusual in respects.

It also reminds me in certain ways of a lawyer in Jackson with the first name of James and his attorney Keith Shelton who were railroaded by the justice system in Hinds county.

Here is the ABA Journal story which I retrieved from the google cache. Continue reading “More Background on James Perdigao from the ABA Journal”

The Times Picayune on Perdigao v Adams & Reese (Updated)

The tale told by James Perdigao in his racketeering complaint against Adams and Reese is simply amazing.  It contains all the elements of a first class political-legal scandal that will make Mississippi’s own Judicial Bribery case look like child’s play. We will update our Perdigao legal page later today with more filings on the criminal side of this case but first we bring you today’s inevitable T-P story on the civil RICO filing. I say inevitable because our post, inspired by a tip from slabbed’s friend Richard Trahant, spread like wildfire in the Louisiana based blogesphere.  We welcome all our of our Louisiana friends here, especially those slabbed by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Besides Katrina our states share Mr Perdigao’s former employer Adams and Reese. More on that and detail on the connections to Worldcom later. First today’s report by Gorden Russell.

In a sensational legal filing, a former partner at Adams and Reese who is awaiting trial on charges that he stole $30 million from the firm claims that the firm has had a hand in scandals ranging from the WorldCom stock fraud to the abuse of Louisiana film tax credits.

The lawsuit also claims the New Orleans firm has made a practice of hiring former public officials, including former Jefferson Parish President Tim Coulon and former New Orleans Mayor Marc Morial, and improperly using them to land clients with whom they had dealt as public officials. Coulon and Morial deny the claim. Continue reading “The Times Picayune on Perdigao v Adams & Reese (Updated)”

Perdigao v Adams & Reese: Robert Wooley You Magnificent Bastard, Welcome to Slabbed

Our readers may remember Weiss v Allstate attorney Richard Trahant occasionally stops in to chat with us. Today, he dropped by with the mother of all tips, the case of Perdiago v Adams & Reese L.L.P. et al filed Tuesday in New Orleans which we have added to our legal pages. This is a very long post but I hope our readers will take the time to read it and consider the implications of the misconduct alleged against Adams and Reese.

I did some googling and found this case had a little something for everyone and featured all the usual suspects, Edwin Edwards, indicted US Representative William Jefferson, former Mayor Marc Morial, disgraced former Orleans Parish DA (and former Clinton era NOLA US Attorney) Eddie Jordan, Robert Guidry plus a entire gaggle of local political figures. Frankly, reading the RICO complaint against Adams and Reese coupled with the news stories has me convinced this case is huge in its implications. First some background from Baton Rouge Channel 9.

The federal court case that sent former Governor Edwin Edwards to prison has a potential new can of worms. New paperwork filed in a mail fraud case lists Congressman William Jefferson as participating in a bribery scheme between former Treasure Chest Casino owner Robert Guidry and former U.S. Attorney Eddie Jordan. Both Guidry and Jordan were key players in the Edwards case…… Continue reading “Perdigao v Adams & Reese: Robert Wooley You Magnificent Bastard, Welcome to Slabbed”

Here is Something for Our Beef Plant Readers to Chew On

Belle alerted me that lawyers for This Facility Group filed a motion Tuesday seeking a subpoena of Community Bank’s records on their business dealings in connection with the failed beef plant. The filing strikes me as routine but the part I found interesting is that despite a loan guarantee by the Mississippi Development Authority, Community Bank experienced some heartburn with the management of the project by Missississippi Beef Processors LLP. I found this quote on page 2.

Despite the State guarantee, the bank refused just a few months later to fund the first construction draw due to concerns over the management of the project.

My experience is this would be highly unusual as the loan was essentially risk free for Community Bank yet here we are at the earliest stages of the project with red flags flying. I can’t imagine the politicians sending tax money down an obvious black hole without getting a brown paper bag in return. It will be most interesting to hear why Community Bank refused to fund the first draw on a guaranteed loan.

Against this backdrop we fast forward to the 2008 Mississippi Senate campaign for Trent Lott’s old seat. Continue reading “Here is Something for Our Beef Plant Readers to Chew On”

The Allstate Challenge, Victoria Pynchon and “Insured”

In our April Report I disclosed our most popular post of all time had nothing to do with insurance, rather it was about an ill advised You Tube video put up by a Gulfport resident asking for money. I’m pleased to report that has since changed as our Allstate Challenge post from April entry has shattered the previous record. We still get referrals from Victoria Pynchon’s highly rated Negotiation Blog to this day.  My wondering why we experienced a spike in referrals from a 6 week old blog entry lead me to a recent comment left there by the user insured that members of the slabbed community can certainly relate:

If you haven’t experienced first hand one of the worst nightmares you can imagine then your understanding is peripheral. When you have nothing but the clothes on your back and a policy of insurance that protects shareholders and company profits more than the insured the answer is you are not protected at all.

That sentiment certainly resonates here on the Mississippi coast along with the feelings of betrayal and anger toward many insurance companies felt by “McKinsied” policyholders. Continue reading “The Allstate Challenge, Victoria Pynchon and “Insured””

Around the GO Zone in 60 Seconds: Catching up with the Commish, FEMA and the Sun Herald (Updated)

I’m severely pressed for time this morning so I’ll lump everything that caught my attention in one post so I can head out to my three county coastal tour today.

First off is an oldie but a goodie. Commissioner Chaney must be thinking I missed one but I didn’t. I had to put off the wind pool commission cut news as I was prepping to hit the State Farm agent’s place for pre-memorial day festivities:

Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney said he expects to approve an operating plan today for the state wind pool that will lower the commission agents collect for writing policies and expand credits for building to stronger standards.

Chaney fought to lower the agent commission from 15 to 10 percent for renewals and to 12 percent for new business. “It’s not a lot of money, but it will enable the wind pool to build some reserves,” Chaney said. By accepting lower commissions, Chaney said, agents are contributing to lower costs for policyholders.

Good on you Commish and we certainly appreciate the help. Continue reading “Around the GO Zone in 60 Seconds: Catching up with the Commish, FEMA and the Sun Herald (Updated)”