It has been close to a month since Mark Titus stopped in with us to tell his side of things in USA v Titus and since then he has reported to prison at the Oakdale Federal Correctional Complex, likely at the Detention Center facility there. I mention this because Mark and I continued communicating, albeit off the record, until the day he reported to prison last week to pay his debt to society. Since I have a small bit of experience seeing the impacts of incarceration first hand I’m not naturally disposed to throw rotten tomatoes at anyone headed to the pokey, especially on a 5 year sentence when such is considered in light of the extremely lenient plea deals cut by Tim Whitmer and Tom Wilkinson, both integral players in the landfill monopoly scheme at the heart of the Jefferson Parish corruption scandal.
For those of you that are new a bit of history is in order. In September 2010, armed with search warrants, the FBI raided the corporate headquarters of the River Birch Landfill. Slabbed followed along with the related litigation in what I consider some of my former partner in blog Nowdy’s finest work on Jefferson Parish corruption. Among the documents nabbed included “evidence of other crimes”. One of those other crimes was a scheme to defraud construction company Garner Services of one million dollars. The two named conspirators in this scheme are Titus and his brother-in-law Dominick “Big D” Fazzio, who also happens to be the Chief Financial Officer of the Landfill. That business association has been the bane of Titus’ existence ever since and lacking the means to fight a strong government case against him Titus cut a plea deal and wore a wire on his brother-in-law. The transcripts of those conversations leads one to the natural conclusion Titus thought his brother-in-law was in the mafia.
Fazzio has vigorously defended himself against those charges, and in a bad twist for Titus, Assistant US Attorney Sal Perricone was outed by Fred Heebe for posting comments about the case on NOLA.com and Jim Letten’s office was recused from the cases tainted by Perricone’s online activities including the case and plea deal with Titus. The events since have their roots in the Perricone debacle. Continue reading “Mark Titus on my mind…….”
Somewhere in the back of my mind I recall Ed Garner being a Jackson County guy. I remember seeing the federal subpoenas related to Mr Garner’s new pool and recall seeing the names of three Mississippi businesses listed in those subpoenas. Those documents are buried deep in Slabbed’s document archives. I’ll see if I can dig them out later.
Speaking of DC, this tweet from WDSU’s Blake Hanson is well worth circling:
CNN: Sources say U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder may be in New Orleans in the next few hours. @wdsu
“And now with Broussard and company doing what they’re doing they don’t need Fazzio anymore,” Titus said, according to the transcript. “Cause Broussard’s gonna … he’s gonna be the man on the inside. He gonna be f–king doing whatever the f–k he can to save his own soul.”
BrousStar must be hogging the limelight eh? And what of Ed Garner??
Garner, who was supposed to testify in the hearing Wednesday, did not show up. His attorney, Eric Hessler, said Garner was in Brazil on a business trip. But Hessler revealed that, had he been present, Garner would have invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and that he plans to do so in any future proceedings in this case…..
“When you have poisonous snakes to your right and poisonous snakes to your left, it’s better to move slowly,” Hessler said.
Judge Ginger granted Team Fazzio’s motion for an evidentiary hearing related to alleged prosecutorial misconduct in his and his brother in law Mark Titus’ prosecutions. For Titus this would be round 2. Round 1 before Judge Lemelle did not go so well despite the fact Ed Garner, owner of Garner Services, spoke up on Titus’ behalf. Manuel Torres has all the skinny on the latest developments including some decent legal analysis over at nola.com.
Manuel Torres at NOLA Media Group has the latest on Titus:
Aiming to stay on the offensive in the River Birch probe, federal prosecutors are preparing a new indictment to pile on additional charges – and perhaps add new defendants – as early as Thursday, according to court testimony and sources close to the probe.
Mark Titus, who was sentenced Wednesday to five years in prison on a conspiracy charge, is likely to be charged in the superseding indictment, said his attorney, Jimmy Ardoin. In court, Ardoin revealed that prosecutors have given him notice of their plans to file a new indictment soon.
At least that was the way WDSU TeeVee spun today’s Fazzio hearing on his motion to dismiss the charges against him. Luckily for everyone, Paul Rioux from the T-P was also there and he gave a good account of the hearing’s subject matter, Fazzio’s allegations of prosecutorial misconduct against Team Letten. Here is a snippet:
Berrigan has previously said she isn’t sure the June 3 meeting between prosecutors and Fazzio “passes the smell test.” She called the meeting “pretty disturbing” and used the same phrase to describe transcripts of the recorded conversations in which Titus repeatedly implored Fazzio to get a new attorney and cooperate in the River Birch investigation.
However, Berrigan also has said she didn’t see “any inherent misconduct” in using the fraud case to pressure Fazzio to cooperate in the investigation of his employer.
Our readers may remember Judge Berrigan holds fondness in her heart for Tulane U, Bad Faith Insurance Companies, and hard-core criminals. Based on her prior remarks, I can’t imagine Big D will get far with his motion to dismiss.
Buddy Lemann does not come cheap folks and he is a top shelf criminal defense lawyer. Today River Birch’s Dominick Fazzio ditched the federal public defenders office and brought in Buddy and his son to mount his criminal defense. To borrow some slang from the Slabbed legal team, Lemann is not the type of lawyer that is afraid to try a case. I’ve found Lemann to be aloof and egotistical in my limited observations of the man plying his trade but he is also possessive of more than enough skins on the wall to make the demeanor stick. Paul Rioux has the skinny for the T-P.
Hiring Lemann means Dominick Fazzio plans on fighting this to the bitter end folks IMHO. While Lemann is a fantastic criminal defense lawyer I do not think he will be able to stop Big D from being crushed by DoJ.
Late last week Judge Ginger made it official folks, Dominick Fazzio’s legal fee agreement with Team Heebe/Ward/River Birch Landfill made it impossible for him to get unconflicted legal representation. The good news is Big D gets federal public defender Sam Scillitani as his new lawyer, at least for the time being. The federal public defenders office did a great job with our own AROD against USA Letten’s trumped-up threat charges against him so Big D is in competent legal hands for now.
This one has all the signs of a first class crushing. I’ll note sentences like the one I think Big D will end up with qualify such felons for places like the prison in Marion Illinois where solitary confinement is the rule more so than the exception. The deleterious mental impacts of solitary have been well documented:
In addition, solitary confinement often resulted in severe exacerbation of a previously existing mental condition. Even among inmates who did not develop overt psychiatric illness as a result of solitary confinement, such confinement almost inevitably imposed significant psychological pain during the period of isolated confinement and often significantly impaired the inmate’s capacity to adapt successfully to the broader prison environment.
It is both tragic and highly disturbing that the lessons of the nineteenth century experience with solitary confinement are today being so completely ignored by those responsible for addressing the housing and the mental health needs in the prison setting. For, indeed, the psychiatric harm caused by solitary confinement had become exceedingly apparent well over one hundred years ago.
I hear even the Dapper Don, John Gotti ended up smearing his own feces on himself from the bad mental impacts of solitary before he died at Marion Illinois. File that one from the penthouse to the shithouse files.
If Big D is gonna win this case he will not be able to coordinate his legal defense in the Garner fleecing, with a supposedly uninvolved party in Team River Birch Landfill. My new prediction is if Fazzio does not roll over, not only will he be crushed in the Garner Services scam he’ll get a double dose when he is prosecuted with Jim Ward and Fred Heebe down the road.