Litigation ain’t easy: A Heather Hilliard / SRHS v KPMG update

Ramon Antonio Vargas tells the story behind the story of a determined litigant in former Jefferson Parish CAO Heather Hilliard and her two and a half year journey to justice for the New Orleans Advocate that is good reading as another news story originally broke by Slabbed New Media (here and here) completes its cycle through the news. Looks like I’ll need to shake the tree to see what is happening these days up on 10 at Yenni.  😉

Moving right along in other litigation news, it does not appear KPMG is very scared of the lawsuit that Kevin Holland and company at SRHS filed against the audit firm late last week per April Havens.  I really don’t want to throw any wet blankets on this legal matter but based on the wording in the complaint, I think the only people that will make any money from the endeavor will be the lawyers.  I strongly suspect we’ll be seeing a 12(b)(6) motion asking for dismissal from KPMG and the reason such a motion stands a good chance is actually found in the 2013 Audit Report prepared by Horne CPAs in several places but I will highlight two places, the first on pdf page three of the report.

Management’s Responsibility for the Financial Statements

Management is responsible for the preparation and fair presentation of these financial statements in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America; this includes the design, implementation and maintenance of internal control relevant to the preparation and fair presentation of the financial statements that are free from material misstatement, whether due to fraud or error.

You would assume someone that has been in a senior management role at SRHS for as long as CEO Kevin Holland would understand these things but my experience is when the shit hits the fan, the stuffed suits typically pretend they don’t know jack while trying to cover things up and this is indeed the route senior management at SRHS has been taking since last March. Preserving talking points seems to be the paramount concern at SRHS these days and the public money being thrown at the KPMG lawsuit endeavor will be both copious in amount and represent a good example of the wasting of assets, all while management at SRHS tries putting the screws to its own retirees.

Here is the second place that I mentioned and it is on the very last page of the audit: Continue reading “Litigation ain’t easy: A Heather Hilliard / SRHS v KPMG update”

Looks like I was in the wrong courtroom yesterday…..

The business world always slows down in advance of the Christmas holiday so yesterday I took advantage and headed to US District Court in New Orleans and a major pretrial hearing in the Heather Hilliard civil suit against Jefferson Parish. The hearing was attended by all the finest people but before I get to that the following is spreading like wildfire in the NOLA legal community:

Judge berates lawyer in OPP case as new jail’s opening is delayed again ~ Jim Mustian

The judge also raised concerns Wednesday that the sprawling jail litigation has become “overlawyered,” noting Gusman now has two private law firms handling the case, while Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s administration also has engaged two firms. The city remains actively involved in the litigation because state law requires it to pay for inmate care.

Williams, of the firm Gauthier, Houghtaling & Williams, has joined attorney Blake Arcuri and the Usry, Weeks & Matthews firm in providing legal services to the sheriff. The city, meanwhile, has relied on Harry Rosenberg, a former U.S. attorney who works for the firm Phelps Dunbar, and Ralph Capitelli, of Capitelli & Wicker, in addition to the advice of City Attorney Sharonda Williams.

The mounting legal fees are being doled out even as the city and the Sheriff’s Office continue to fight over how to spend limited resources on changes at the jail. “The taxpayers are paying for it at the end of the day,” Africk said.

It’s not clear why Gusman decided to hire a second law firm, though the sheriff has faced a torrent of litigation prompted by OPP’s violent conditions, even apart from the consent decree proceedings.

Spokespeople for Gusman and Landrieu did not respond to questions Wednesday about how much the Sheriff’s Office and city are paying the attorneys.

Its only money after all folks. Maybe Judge Africk remembered this: Continue reading “Looks like I was in the wrong courtroom yesterday…..”

Heather Hilliard litigation reveals the many sides of Parish Prez John Young….

And it is only right that Slabbed reveal those sides given that I broke the coverage of management team turmoil in the Young Administration back in January, 2012 which was joined almost immediately by the big media outlets in NOLA.  The story went straight down into the gutter with tales of workplace sexual harassment that used terms like “Thong Thursday”, “Booty Call” and “Ass Chaps” in reference to certain female employees or official acts involving them.

Employees resigned under duress and eventually the female employee that brought the original complaint, Heather Hilliard, was terminated.  She then filed suit against Jefferson Parish, ultimately hiring Bobby Truitt to represent her.  This story’s time in the sun has mostly passed but just like with Bay Tech I kept a watchful eye on PACER and I have a doc from earlier this week in the case that I gotta share.  But then today an Easter egg came in the form of the deposition of a member of John Young’s security detail that is simply priceless and it is there we begin as Slabbed explores the many sides of Parish Prez John Young:

There’s 365 days to a year, 30 days to a month, whatever, 12 months to a year, however you want to look at it. John Young’s got 365 dispositions, okay? One for each day, so pick a day.

I can’t imagine this witness we be seen by the defense as being helpful to their cause as the former bodyguard felt like John Young did not treat his security detail with respect: Continue reading “Heather Hilliard litigation reveals the many sides of Parish Prez John Young….”

I hear Heather Hilliard has a new lawyer: Jefferson Parish Omnibus

Folks don’t get mad, get Slabbed.  I’m not certain why Ms. Hilliard changed counsel midstream but I certainly think she nabbed a fine lawyer. Newbies can find vital background here and here plus generally here. It is another example of a Slabbed scoop on the Jefferson Parish beat.

I’ve had a few things in my inbox on this and the Broussard flood suit for well over a month that need examining. Plus this Jefferson Parish hospital deal has people talking and they are not talking about the extensive coverage afforded to Councilmen Chris Roberts and Ben Zahn by NOLA.com and the Advocate or the quality of care provided by the various competitors to the deal. I’ll see if I can get something semi coherent together on that issue while I have a sliver of time to spare. It sounds like classic cesspool politics based on what I know at present.

The latest email blast from Jefferson Parish Citizens for Good Government came late last night. Speaking of Ben Zahn:

Supporters of Good Government:

The Jefferson Parish Council will meet this Wednesday, September 18th at 10 a.m. on the West Bank at the General Government Building. As we have been doing at every council meeting for the past three years, Citizens for Good Government will again present information from our Campaign Contribution Table shown below. The information which we present is summary information which supplements the contractor campaign contribution information read aloud by Council Clerk Eula Lopez. We have factually and precisely identified the entries in our table as total campaign contributions of at least $1,000 made during the PAST FOUR YEARS to our councilmembers by contractors and subcontractors on whom the Jefferson Parish Council is scheduled to vote at the next council meeting. The contractors and subcontractors in our table were obtained from resolutions in the Agenda for the council meeting and from the affidavits attached to the online Agenda Items. Continue reading “I hear Heather Hilliard has a new lawyer: Jefferson Parish Omnibus”

Adventures in Jefferson Parish Leadership Fails. John Young and his ghosts plus Barry Bordelon sticks the tab on the taxpayers plus Sheriff Noodles on hot seat

Whew folks that is a mouthful! I am pleased to announce Slabbed will remain on the Jefferson Parish beat as there is never a dull moment in the “aorta of corruption”! First up is Parish Prez John Young.

After studying this millage renewal thing for a few weeks I now draw 2 conclusions:

  1. There is a critical mass of people that will not vote for any new taxes for the local politicians and their cronies to squander and loot. (See below)
  2. Last week’s emergency council meeting on the failure of the Jefferson Parish water and sewer millage renewals, disgraceful as it was with all the itinerant grandstanding, is mostly John Young’s fault.

Say what?  Is Slabbed blaming John Young for the defeat of the renewals?  No.  His fault is a lack of leadership. Clancy DuBos explains for Gambit:

Instead of admitting he dropped the ball, which is what a real leader would do, Young repeatedly tried to deflect blame onto others, including the parish’s bond counsel. He also claimed that his administration mounted a bona fide effort to educate voters about the millage. That was simply untrue. All in all, Young’s performance during and after the “campaign” was a classic, and classless, display of political cowardice.

Drop the ball or not Young threw his own people under the bus last week. Bad form, very bad form indeed. Speaking of bad form even John Young and Clancy DuBos would be forced to admit I called this whole Richard Hart disaster from wayyyyyy far back. Let’s review with this snippet from my first post on the topic:

Next up is deputy chief operating officer Richard Hart. Hart, John Young’s #3 man in the Parish pecking order came to the Parish from his gig as executive director of the state Department of Agriculture and Forestry and is credited for helping pick and poach Chris Cox from the US Attorney’s office for the #2 spot in Team Young. I mention Hart because some of the birdies are telling me he is the new administrator that most reminds them of Tim Whitmer in terms of being a ruthless snake in the grass. The birdies tell me that Hart has a checkered background that makes him a most worthy candidate for further exploration here on Slabbed so I’ll float the balloon and see if our readers can fill in some blanks.

And then less than a year later Slabbed broke the bad news: Continue reading “Adventures in Jefferson Parish Leadership Fails. John Young and his ghosts plus Barry Bordelon sticks the tab on the taxpayers plus Sheriff Noodles on hot seat”

Former Young Administration CAA Heather Hilliard files suit against Jefferson Parish

I guess it is only natural my email inbox got a workout late yesterday afternoon after Former Young Administration CAA Heather Hilliard filed suit against Jefferson Parish since Slabbed trail blazed the subject of Hilliard’s battles with Young’s former Deputy COO Richard Hart. In fact Slabbed was there in early 2011 with news that Hart was widely considered a snake in the grass reminscent of self admitted felon/POS Tim Whitmer by my peeps at the Yenni Building months before Hart’s name surfaced in the mass media.  So along those lines when open hostilities commenced Slabbed was again there “first with the most” and the story crossed into the mass media.

I would like to make one small request of Team Hilliard now that Slabbed is picking up coverage of the lawsuit: Ditch the watermark. Click the pic to get the 10 9 page pdf:
Hilliard v Parish of Jefferson Doc 3

The Jefferson Parish Personnel Board bitch slaps the Young Administration

Based on what I’ve seen dating back to 2010 I personally think Jefferson Parish Personnel Board Chairman John Combe must be smoking some good stuff to write a letter to all classified Parish employees asserting the Personnel Board is independent of Parish Government. This letter has its roots in the termination of Heather Hilliard last week IMHO. Rich Rainey had a short story in yesterday’s T-P on this topic as well.