A few thoughts on last Tuesday night’s Bay City Council meeting

And since I’m well occupied with various and sundry multiple irons on the fire I’ll be as brief as possible:

  1. Ms. Hammond with the Metairie based accounting firm Carr Riggs and Ingram opened her remarks by disclosing the kind of service the firm was hired to perform and that service was an “agreed-upon procedures engagement“. If you follow the link you’ll find the service is pretty reflective of its name; the client provides the assertions that need to be tested and the CPA firm tests those assertions.  Even better is what it isn’t: An audit including, except for very limited circumstances, a “compliance audit”.So what were the agreed upon procedures that Carr Riggs and Ingram was hired to perform?  Easy folks, the US Department of Justice compliance review of the City’s Equitable Sharing Fund spells it out:

    The proceeds received and spent should be included in the City’s annual financial audit as part of the Single Audit. However, certain requirements were inadequately reviewed during prior years’ audits, and the City, as directed by the DOJ, will engage a third-party to independently review and reconcile the DOJ funds equitable sharing account.

    That verbiage is likely why the City Council voted to put the previous auditors professional liability carrier on notice of a claim.

  2. Considering no money had been expended from the Equitable sharing account reviewing and reconciling it was an easy job in taking the year end affidavits and tracing the revenues into the program. The math involves addition along with some rudimentary multiplication and division to calculate interest that should have been but was not credited to the DOJ fund.  So you spend a day on site to make the calculation while Hizzoner blows copious amounts of smoke up the ol’ derriere. The resulting presentation, which was complete with smoke still emanating from Ms. Hammond’s hiney, appeared to be more an exercise in auditioning for the 2016 audit because her remarks went far beyond the scope of her work.  As for the smoke believe you me I know first hand about it because I was literally next to her broadcasting the agreed upon procedures engagement report presentation on Periscope. Proof:
    Continue reading “A few thoughts on last Tuesday night’s Bay City Council meeting”

The streets here in the Bay turn mean and bitchy…….

If I got a nickle for the number of times someone has threatened to sue me over something I wrote here on Slabbed, I be summering at my chalet in the Blue Ridge Mountains soaking in the hot tub. To be clear I have not received any sue threats but I understand other people here in the Bay have, and over public information like municipal administrative salaries no less. This boorish behavior is ill advised on about 50 different levels.

I’ve mentioned it before, there is a 500 pound gorilla that is sitting in the room every time Mayor Fillingame claims he has “cut to the bone” or maybe better stated, there are a bunch of 75 pound gorillas that together weigh 500 pounds in the room. To this point, most folks have been trying to tackle this subject in a friendly manner, not dropping names for the most part. That changed yesterday here in comments.

Calling this what it really is, the City of Bay St Louis has a friends and family program and the Utility Fund is largely paying for it.  And if Hancock Bank thinks the people of this town should see utility rate increases so the Mayor’s buddies and family can collect a fat paycheck for much of nothing, they have rocks in their head. Sending Mr Bond Trustee to the City Council meeting acting the part of jackass did not change the resolve of the City Council to make things right and that is very encouraging folks. My best advice to Hancock Bank is to stay the heck outta cIty politics and stop interfering with a City Council trying to do the job for which they were elected.

This evening at 6:30 in the City Council Chambers, Councilman Doug Seal is holding a town hall meeting for Ward 1 residents. I hope it will be well attended. I will be there.

Stay tuned.

Jefferson Parish Councilman at large Chris Roberts sued for defaulting on SBA backed loan

Folks, a cynical man would say the reason that Councilman Chris Robert’s Quiznos sub shop defaulted on its loan is because the River Birch folks weren’t buying enough food from him but whatever the case what we do know is Hancock Bank aka Whitney Bank filed suit against Roberts in August for defaulting on his SBA loan that got him started in that line of business. Before I get to that though a reader set me another suit Roberts is involved in that has an alternate explanation for the poor performance of the sandwich shop in Badeaux v Roberts et al.

So Councilman Roberts likes to hang at the casino late into the evening but it gets better. Continue reading “Jefferson Parish Councilman at large Chris Roberts sued for defaulting on SBA backed loan”

Sop, sometimes working for you really sucks……

I do love owning a small business.  This year, if it were up to me, Christmas would be cancelled (or at least scaled back significantly). As to the person who said these words yesterday, they know they can say this to me without fear of reprisal, which means that most of the time working for me rocks, except for those times that it really sucks.

In other news TV meteorologist Nash Roberts passed away earlier this week. This is no revelation down here except for those that have been hiding under rocks as Nash was even honored with an impromptu half hour special which recounted his life on WWL TV. I feel safe in saying no other weather guy in this land approaches Nash’s level of local fame, which extends to the point of adulation but no other area of the country is as vulnerable to the impacts of hurricanes than New Orleans.

The big news yesterday was Gulfport based Hancock Bank buying out NOLA based Whitney. As with any wedding there is lots of fluffy, happy PR and the like but make no mistake that Hancock would not be doing this deal unless it were a steal.  Whitney, plagued by the lax lending standards which became the pre financial crash norm was a TARP recipient (along with Jackson based Trustmark). OTOH Hancock never left its roots as a conservative asset based lender and has emerged from the 2008 financial crash as strong as ever. The new bank will have branches stretching from Tampa Florida to Houston Texas as Hancock’s long time strategy of growing the I-10 corridor continues to pay off big. Hancock is now the nation’s 32 largest bank. Continue reading “Sop, sometimes working for you really sucks……”

Is Hancock Bank supporting Debbie Villio?

Hancock Bank Veterans and Clearview Pky

Leaving aside for a minute that Ms Villio has a boatload of legal problems surrounding her candidacy I had no idea that Hancock Bank endorsed political candidates which this sign placement clearly implies.

Steve I don’t know about Mssrs. Chaney and Hairston but Uncle Leo certainly would not have approved of such. Then again something tells me Mssrs Chaney and Hairston won’t approve once this is brought to their attention, especially given the approriate tagging of this post.

sop with h/t to a reader.

“A Benevolent Banker Whose Reputation Towers Above this Current Period of Greed and Bankruptcy and Bailouts”

As the passing of Leo Seal dominates the news today I was reminded of a recent comment left by my friend Steve in reference to Uncle Leo and the old fashioned way Hancock Bank did business in the process generating customer goodwill that will endure for a long time:

….they did more than what is in the article. Uncle Leo got them to goto the emergency operations center and hand out money to people. Nobody had ID’s or any way to prove who they were. The ENTIRE town was flooded. Just sign your name and any info you have and here is your money. NOBODY turned down for ANY reason. You see Uncle Leo gets it. They came with money in the trunks of their cars. Big money. But no security guards or guns etc. They knew us and trusted us. They made us feel like human beings.

Such was indeed the measure of the man and his bank. Uncle Leo’s generosity did not escape the editorial board at the Sun Herald either as today’s editorial makes clear:

Generations of Mississippians benefited from the life of Leo W. Seal Jr.

Generations of Mississippians yet unborn will benefit from his legacy. Continue reading ““A Benevolent Banker Whose Reputation Towers Above this Current Period of Greed and Bankruptcy and Bailouts””

Rest in Peace Leo Seal (Updated)

I mentioned last night he needed prayers (H/T Steve). Today he has been called home. Business people like Uncle Leo are born, not made and are a very rare breed. Though he slowed down a bit in his later years his passing leaves a huge void in the Gulf Coast business community.


Hancock Bank has issued a press release on the passing of Leo Seal:

An icon of Gulf South banking is gone, according to an announcement by Hancock Holding Company (Nasdaq:HBHC) senior executives. However, his legacy — an extraordinary six decades of visionary business, economic, civic, and philanthropic leadership — continues to sustain the financial services company that he led for almost three-fourths of his remarkable career.

Leo W. Seal, Jr., succeeded his father as president of Gulfport-based Hancock Bank in 1963 and continued to serve as president of Hancock Holding Company, parent company of Hancock Bank, until his death last night following an extended illness. He was 84.

“Ensuring value for Hancock Bank’s shareholders and customers and facilitating opportunities for the Gulf South remained foremost in Leo Seal’s every business decision during the past 60 years. Continue reading “Rest in Peace Leo Seal (Updated)”

A Tale of Two Mississippi Banks

I have great respect for both institutions but in this instance the contrast is striking. We’ll start with Hancock Bank via WLOX:

Hancock Bank has told the government thanks but no thanks to the financial bailout plan. Hancock Bank’s parent company, Hancock Holding announced Thursday it will not participate in ‘TARP,’ also known as ‘Troubled Asset Relief Program’ set up to help struggling financial institutions.

Hancock Bank officials say the company is one of the nation’s strongest and safest financial institutions and continues to make sound loans. Continue reading “A Tale of Two Mississippi Banks”

For Those Interested in Mississippi’s Largest Pubicly Traded Company Hancock Bank….

Thanks to Editilla at the Ladder here is a great trade journal article on Hancock Bank COO Shane Loper and how he lead the recovery of the bank’s IT system post Katrina.

“The company was totally destroyed when you talk about physical facilities and technology,” recalls Loper of Hancock Bank’s headquarters and its branches after the storm. While the bank’s 15-story building in Gulfport that housed its entire back-office support and operations systems survived, windows were blown out and a wall of the data center collapsed. According to Loper, the wind and water damage was devastating. Yet the bank knew it needed to be up and running to help residents begin to regain a sense of normalcy.

Loper and other bank staff were forced to evacuate to Tallahassee, Fla., before the storm hit, and Hancock was able to set up a temporary command center there to see the bank through the recovery. “We organized in one of our main branches in downtown Tallahassee,” Loper relates. “We ran the overall recovery from there.”

The bank’s data, meanwhile, was safely housed in Chicago at Hancock’s SunGard backup facility. “We were able to restart our core technology systems, ATM processing and card processing within 48 hours,” Loper reports. “Then we worked on bringing up the servers and branch connectivity.”

Overall, the bank spent $65 million to rebuild the tower in Gulfport that originally housed its data center and to rehabilitate some of the surrounding area. In addition, Continue reading “For Those Interested in Mississippi’s Largest Pubicly Traded Company Hancock Bank….”