In the weeks and months since former Jefferson Parish CAO Tim Whitmer resigned, federal and state investigators have been pouring over his documents and computer files. Whitmer left his job in January. Records revealed that his private insurance company, Lagniappe Industries and his associates were doing business with parish contractors and vendors.
Interim Parish President Steve Theriot told Eyewitness News, information just surfaced, linking another handful of companies to Whitmer through another insurance company the THT Group. THT is the partnership between Whitmer, former Jefferson Parish President Tim Coulon and the late Maurice “Hippo” Katz..
“We had about five or six of those who procured their insurance from a vendor not related to them, but unbeknownst to them their commissions were being shared to THT,” said Theriot.
Theriot says the new names came from Whitmer’s computer which was seized by investigators. “On Mr. Whitmer’s computer there was information about THT which I guess Lagniappe was doing business as THT that names of companies who had not previously been disclosed were being recorded as having commissions earned,” said Theriot.
The parish council has already terminated some contracts with companies that “knowingly” bought insurance policies from Whitmer’s companies. Theriot says that may not be the case with the vendors that recently turned up on Whitmer’s computer. “They’d done business with another company who in turn was giving commissions to THT,” said Theriot. “The person who bought the policy has no knowledge of it.”
Theriot would not reveal the names of the vendors or the company splitting commissions with THT.
View the video and read the rest of the story at WWLTV.com.
The Jefferson Parish Council has mailed 404 letters — one to every company making money on a parish contract — in a new effort to map the extent of former chief administrator Tim Whitmer’s private insurance business with the government and its vendors…
The effort has already coaxed one more parish contractor to disclose its arrangement with Lagniappe Industries, the agency Whitmer owns with his wife, Dawn, Deputy Parish Attorney Louis Gruntz said. He said Beta Testing and Inspection, a construction inspection firm, confirmed it did business with Lagniappe, making it the eighth parish contractor known to be connected to Whitmer or his associates. Seven companies were previously identified by the news media or parish officials.
Federal investigators are digging deeper into the scandal in Jefferson Parish. The feds sent two subpoenas requiring the parish to turn over extensive information on the red light cameras as well as payroll discrepancies first reported by FOX 8.
Federal prosecutors want employment records for two current Jefferson Parish employees and four whose jobs were eliminated after the parish uncovered what could possibly be payroll fraud.
Earlier this year, after a Fox 8 Investigates report revealed payroll discrepancies in the Parish Attorney’s Office, the parish eliminated the positions of Sportscaster Ken Trahan, Karen Parker, who is the ex-wife of Aaron Broussard, and Constable Tony Thomassie.
Bracy’s story is so packed with details that it’s difficult to summarize – so I’ll give you a sample and you can follow the link for more details:
After a six-hour drive, I was ready to call it a day when I pulled in my driveway this evening – but that was before I checked email and found a thoughtful reader had sent a link to the Newsweek story, Big Easy Money: In Louisiana, the nation’s most corrupt state, fraud is just good entertainment.
In the wake of New York Gov. David Paterson’s latest scandal, The Economist said “Dysfunctional Albany … is frequently cited as the nation’s worst state government—a title for which there is intense competition.”
We at NEWSWEEK are fans of competition, so seven of our staffers made the case for states with which they’re intimately familiar. Here Newsweek.com foreign editor Adam Kushner argues for his home state of Louisiana.
The challenge for my home state of Louisiana is not how to prove its mettle in the corruption stakes, but how to compress, into a few homely paragraphs, a raft of evidence that would crash your browser…
Follow the link and read the full story with Newsweek’s version of the picture.
I can’t count the times I’ve said or done something and later thought “I can’t believe I said that” or “I can’t believe I did that” – often enough to remember the miserable feeling that follows realizing you’ve made a mistake. I can’t imagine how much more miserable it must be to make a mistake and realize you’re among the “cast of characters” in the story of corruption in Jefferson Parish. However, it would not surprise me to learn some of our readers know that feeling well.
Confessing and apologizing to the person I’ve offended is the only relief I’ve found for my “foot in mouth” induced misery. Fortunately, it’s not a crime to make a thoughtless remark. Unfortunately, the many of the mistakes we read about in news stories and blog posts about Jefferson Parish are far more serious.