Yesterday Ben Myers broke the news of Jefferson Parish Inspector General David McClintock’s first report since he founded the Jefferson Parish Inspector General’s Office and man is that report a doozie. I chucked at George Amato’s comment to Ben’s story, which I completely concur.
The bottom line is the report is so bad my suggestion is that the taxpaying public would be better served if the Parish Council simply eliminated the various Parish departments and employees that hand out these taxpayer funded grants that are subsequently looted, take the $53.5MM of tax money they are determined to squander and simply put it on a silver platter at the intersection of Veterans and Causeway so the general public can at least get a shot at taking some of the bounty. Not only is such a more democratic method of squandering tax money the squandering can be done without the accompanying overhead. In any event here are the low lights from IG McClintock’s first report:
Last week the Louisiana Legislative Auditor released its report related to the reasons Anatola Thompson resigned from her Parish of Jefferson job, a story Slabbed broke back in September. Tom literally let the cat outta the bag last month at the Parish Council meeting, after being prevented from doing same by being forcibly removed from the prior Parish council meeting. The streets of Good Government are indeed mean streets at times.
If I could sit down with former US Attorney Jim Letten in a completely candid conversation one of the first questions I would ask would be somthing like “Jim, Byron Lee was served up to you on a silver platter about nine different ways, why in the wide wide world of sports didn’t you take him?” One of those ways Lee was served up was right here on these pages in fact. To line things up we begin with today’s NOLA.Com feature story by Andrea Shaw on the Investigative Audit’s release:
Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera said his staff launched the special investigation of Thompson Thibodeaux after turning up clues to its activities during financial reviews of West Jefferson Medical Center, the Parish Council, the public Jefferson Community Health Care Centers organization and the non-profit Jefferson Sports and Scholastic Foundation. The health clinics and sports foundation, run by Lee’s political allies, received parish money under his direction while he was on the council.
Take state sen. Yvonne Dorsey-Colomb, for example, who happens to be a principal in an organization which is on the hook for some $300,000 under Kennedy’s new persnickety regime. It turns out that The Colomb Foundation is a non-profit run by her husband Sterling Colomb, Jr., and it was begun as a tribute to his mother Verna Colomb, who died of breast cancer, and his adopted sister Dene’ Colomb, who was tragically murdered by Baton Rouge serial killer Derrick Todd Lee. The foundation says its principal mission is to promote breast cancer awareness, as though nobody in the private sector is doing that without getting government dollars, and it says it puts on an annual cancer walk, an annual health fair and an annual teen summit – apparently for that purpose. We couldn’t find anything on the web site about any of those events actually taking place, and a Google search for them didn’t yield anything either. In fact, here’s a sample of what you’ll find on the site’s “calendar“ page…
Back in 2010 Jason Berry over at American Zombie coined the definitive phrase for the phenomenon Scott now describes: “Conprofit“. Here in Mississippi let’s all join hands and say Mississippi Marine Resources Foundation three times fast. Different scam, same concept.
ENRON used off balance sheet special purpose entities or (SPE in accounting lingo) as a major vehicle for much of the criminal activity that occurred DMR director Bill Walker created an off books foundation that sucked all manner of tax dollars away from DMR’s mission to support the boats Walker used to wine and dine everyone on the taxpayer dime and lord knows what else.
Governor Phil should well remember from his time as State Auditor that in 1992 the Governmental Accounting Standards Board issued GASB Statement 14, The Financial Reporting Entity under which Billy Walker’s Private Foundation certainly fell. Yet here is Walker with his own private slush fund buying millions of dollars of fishing boats and lord knows what else and no one knew anything about it. The question ladies and gents is what does this say about the level of oversight at these state agencies? Simple folks, despite Governor Phil serially saying for years at speaking engagements “In God we trust, all others we audit”, nobody was auditing his coast based political cronies at DMR, or even worse if someone did audit them there is an audit failure of massive proportion. It is just that bad folks but we already know all this from months ago.
And all those days ago seeing where this would end up was too predictable:
On 13 May 1998, the trial court dismissed for failure to state a cause of action the petition1 for preliminary and permanent injunction filed by Dwayne Smith, Wilson Morton, et al against John D. Johnson, Dianne Dumas, et al, arising out of a dispute as to the identity of the board of directors of the Ninth Ward Housing Development Corporation (NWHDC). The trial court noted in its reasons for judgment that petitioners’ proper remedy was a writ of quo warranto or of mandamus. There is no indication that this judgment was appealed.
NWHDC and two of its purported officers and directors, Smith and Morton, on 7 July 1998 filed a petition for writ of quo warranto by ordinary proceedings, bearing # 98-11785 on the docket of Civil District Court for Orleans Parish. NWHDC, Smith and Morton contend that Smith and Morton are the only duly elected directors of NWHDC and seek a declaration that the following have no legal right to the directorships nor offices in NWHDC claimed by them: Jon D. Johnson, Dianne Dumas, James Johnson, Richard Caiton, Claude Mitchell, Lester Mornay and Charles LePage. The record does not contain a request for or return of service on any of the defendants.
On 24 August 1998, Caiton, individually and as an officer and director of NWHDC filed a petition for writ of quo warranto against Smith and Morton, seeking a declaration that Smith and Morton have no legal rights to the offices they claim in NWHDC. This case bears # 98-14858 on the docket of Civil District Court for Orleans parish. Caiton requested service on Smith and Morton through Smith, as counsel of record in # 98-11785. A Sheriffs return in the record shows personal service on Smith on 16 September 1998.
Although there is no evidence that he or any of his co-defendants were served, Caiton answered the petition in # 98-11785 on 25 August 1998. On 27 August 1998, Caiton filed a motion and order for security for costs. At some time between August and 15 October 1998, the two cases were consolidated. Smith and Morton obtained a continuance of a hearing set in the consolidated cases. The trial court heard testimony on 10, 12, 17 and 18 November 1998 and rendered judgment in favor of Smith and Morton on 23 December 1998.
Even better will the “robust” news operation at Times Picayune join the blogs in vetting potential candidates? Having all those bodies does no good if the editors won’t publish their stories. If you folks from New York reading this blog want to know the secret it is called having a sack.
Hat tip Patrick and Ricardo in comments. The WDSU link and the NOLA.com report. Worth noting was Johnson’s pivotal role in gaining Diana “Conprofit” Bajoie her interim seat on the NOLA City Council. Johnson’s predecessor in that council district was none other than Cythina “Landfill” Willard Lewis. These people all shared Mayor Half Moon’s political support.
A cursory google search shows the Lens broke this story back in January 2011 (and their link to their original reporting today – new link here) as the nimble new media again provides the investigative legwork, a role newspapers used to fill.