A bit over eight years ago Slabbed appeared in the local cyber scene as a blog dedicated to covering the wind-water insurance court battles when a nice lady from central Mississippi the world would later know as Nowdy and I met at the Cracker Barrel in Hattiesburg and made common cause to tell the coast’s story from a local point of view. In the time since we witnessed the Scruggs prosecution and it’s use as a hammer against people who had lost their homes to Hurricane Katrina. Nowdy would later describe the phenomenon as “JustUs” and it usually reared it ugly head in the Mississippi judicial system when massive amounts of money were at stake.
Yesterday, thanks to a bombshell legal filing at the Mississippi Supreme Court, JustUs again reared its ugly head here on the coast with news that the major players in the Chancery case Almond v Singing River et al, were holding a meeting in which the Plaintiff’s counsel in Almond were excluded. Less than three hours later an order staying Almond was entered by special Judge Breland Hilburn one day before motions on his recusal from the case were to be heard.
Ms. Almond and around two hundred other Singing River retirees have been deprived of their day in court thus far in favor of a forced settlement that saddled the scandal ridden pension plan with an unqualified trustee whose main qualifications appear to be his political connections. To add to the Alice in Wonderland like quality we have Jackson County Board of Supervisors pretending they are not a full partner in the Singing River disaster yet the county is paying the legal fees of the politically connected lawyers that helped caused the Singing River disaster.
For the Singing River retirees that are being lined up like sheep before being herded to the financial chop shop, the events of the past month must be absolutely maddening. Worse yet for morale is the punditry advocating for a settlement that sweeps possible illegal acts under the rug while the largest single group of retirees are cut out from access to the legal process all while a proposed compulsory settlement is allowed to advance before Judge Louis Guirola in US District Court.
We’re sitting on several tips here at Slabbed some of which resulted from the visit Nowdy and I paid Saturday to the hive in Jefferson Parish. One tip that stands out is how one or more pedophiles skated in criminal court due to the connections they enjoyed in Parish government. What I don’t know is whether the Montz case is related to Tim Coulon being caught on FBI surveillance tape begging crooked Judge Bodenheimer’s for leniency for his perverted kin. I’m hoping the Slabbed Nation can tell me if parish Attorney Tom Wilkinson’s representation of Montz, a sexual offender that skated, is related to Coulon’s tape recorded conversation with Judge Bodenheimer. In a way the unfolding political corruption scandal is the child of Operation Wrinkled robe which exposed corruption of epic proportions in the 24th Judicial District Courts. Let’s review by visiting the Wiki entry on disgraced former Judge Ronald Bodenheimer:
Ronald Bodenheimer was a judge in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, convicted of various federal charges resulting, in part, from an FBI probe called Operation Wrinkled Robe. Bodenheimer spent more than three years in federal prison, additional time in a half-way house, and was released on September 21, 2007, to serve the remainder of his term under probation under house confinement.
Representing the paralegal in Bayou Sorrell is Donna Grodner who recently turned in LJ Hymel and plaintiff’s counsel Lewis Unglesby for conducting an ex parte communication. The Baton Rouge Business report used comments from a defense counsel in the same litigation to imply lawyer Donna Grodner had done something illegal capturing the inside job on tape while not commenting on the propriety of the ex parte communication.
History will record Slabbed was there first with the most with our original post on this topic almost one month ago. You folks from Baton Rouge should not take comfort in the fact that your paper did not have the guts to report this after Lewis Unglesby did what he does best in showing his fanny to the powers that be. There are reasons the public does not trust the media.
The Baton Rouge Business Report has the story (second one down) including a quote from Lyman Thornton, a fine lawyer that is now first assistant U.S. attorney in Baton Rouge. Here at Slabbed we trust Mr Thornton to pursue the interest of justice in this matter.
The Baton Rouge legal community is abuzz since attorney Donna Grodner alleged that ad hoc judge L. J. Hymel and attorney Lewis Unglesby engaged in ex parte communication, which ultimately led the former to recuse himself from class action litigation in January. Ex parte communications are conversations made without the knowledge of all involved parties in a legal matter. The alleged conversation was heard via telephone in a case of “pocket dialing”: A phone call was unintentionally made to Grodner from attorney Ralph Fletcher’s cell phone moments before the alleged conversation took place. Grodner says she reported the incident to the proper authorities, but the U.S. Attorney’s office would not confirm or deny any investigation is ongoing. “We receive information from the public on a regular basis,” says Lyman Thornton, first assistant U.S. attorney. “Once we receive that information, we do not comment or speculate on any future action.” Continue reading “Slabbed updates the Baton Rouge rump ranger trio: The traditional media joins us at the Cedarcrest class action party. Commenc”
There are times that we get tips that simply defy description. This one comes courtesy of a proverbial buttcall via Baton Rouge Lawyer Donna Grodner. The names should be familar ones to the Louisiana legal community.
Through an odd series of events involving a “butt call”, Judge Hymel was found participating with Lewis Unglesby in what may be described as an “ex parte” communication on the case. An “ex parte” communication occurs when an attorney has a private conversation with a sitting judge about litigation over which the judge presides. It was reported that the phone conversation was taped.
Attorney Donna Grodner whose office was the inadvertent receiver of the “butt call” commented as follows, “This explains a lot of what has been going on in this case. Although I had a feeling something was going on – I could never put my finger on it. I am sorry for the delays this will cause in the litigation, which has already been strung out too long by these individuals.”
Rafael Goyeneche of the Metropolitan Crime Commission that is. Thanks to a reader, we have a second Perdigao complaint to the MCC that was sent around a week or so after the first one on traffic court judge and Adams and Reese Partner Ronald Sholes. This one involved another Adams and Reese partner Donald C Massey, who according to Mr Perdigao would sit in for Mr Sholes as Judge Pro Tempore to keep the Adams and Reese ticket fixing machine going:
Pauline Warriner and I recently filed a lawsuit in federal court on behalf of James Perdigao (Civil Action No. 08-3570, U.S.D.C.-E.D.LA) in which Mr. Perdigao alleges, inter alia, certain wrongful and improper “fixing” of traffic tickets by Hon. Ronald J. Sholes, Section D of New Orleans Traffic Court. The complaint also alleges that because Adams and Reese, L.L.P became so dependent on this method of resolving traffic citations, it put forward another partner to serve as judge for Section D on those days which Judge Sholes could not sit on the bench. Although the lawsuit alleges this partner served as Ad Hoc Judge, we now understand that this partner, Donald C. Massey, served in Judge Sholes’ absence as Judge Pro Tempore. On behalf of Mr. Perdigao, this letter is to request that your office investigate this matter as a potential violation of the judicial canons by Judge Massey. You may recall that on June 10, 2008, I requested a similar investigation on behalf of Mr. Perdigao for Judge Sholes.