RFP solves the mystery of the scatologically challenged commenter “I Smell Poop”, who was insistent that our own Harry Connick Jr. is from Weston Connecticut. Sight unseen I’ll posit Harry’s former homies are still feeling no love for the newest judge on American Idol. Those that wish to see more of Harry’s dark side should click here.
Cross motions for summary judgment on the same issue, in this case whether the former Goatherder in Chief was so busy lining his pockets with graft that his failure to lead Parish Government during and after Hurricane Katrina is tantamount to “willful and wanton misconduct” is a ballsy legal gambit folks. Yes, my own considered personal opinion is that everything Broussard did was willful and wanton, likely right on down to the crocodile tears he shed on Meet the Press. These Goatherders are excellent crocodile criers from way far back folks. Continue reading “Comment bump Wednesday: Whew doggie!”
Brought to you by Dennis Assaf and his family as underwritten by the taxpayers of Jefferson Parish and the State of Louisiana.
Behold the politically connected pests that brought the state taxpayers the Performing Arts Center boondoggle as Mini-me Roberts leaked a copy of a preliminary audit report on the Jefferson Performing Arts Society to Travers Mackel at WDSU and the I Team ran with it. I gotta get me a copy of dat report!
That said I have docs on JPAS in Slabbed’s document archives because one thing I learned going through the archival material from the Goatherderian reign of terror was Dennis Assaf and company over at JPAS were world class pests about getting taxpayer money to support their lifestyle. Throw a consummate BS artist like Aaron Broussard in the mix and them guys sparked off each other like nobody’s business. Here are a couple of examples from TheRiot era (click the pic to nab the pdf):
Speaking of the (non)Performing Arts Center boondoggle, Drew checked in yesterday with a story about Councilman Chris Roberts saying state taxpayers should sink no more money into that money pit in favor of dumping the cost on the local taxpayers. The commenters to Drew’s story seem to universally favor setting some dynamite, blowing the partially completed building up thus cutting taxpayer losses, which will total several million dollars more to complete this boondoggle. To the extent Robert’s own council aid Deano Bonano played a large role in creating the JPAC disaster we should all view Roberts’ pronouncements on the matter with great dubiety. I can say with certainty that I have lots of JPAC documents and the people associated with the Jefferson Performing Arts Society are first class pests that are also the bane of the taxpayers both locally and statewide.
From the what else is new front the Jefferson Parish School Board is bickering again though this time with an Alice in Wonderland like theme as board member Michael Delesdernier threatened to have board member Floyd investigated after he insulted the district’s CFO. Sarah Tan scored the following Delesdernier quote that I thought priceless as the man is a complete jackass:
“I’m really not interested in doing it as much as I’m interested in keeping him from attacking our people,” Delesdernier said. “Whatever works. I really feel my job is to protect the people in our system that are doing their jobs.”
Drew Broach checked in with a short dispatch yesterday about Tim Whitmer’s sentencing being postponed so he can continue his squealathon with the Department of Justice as well as sell insurance. Evidently in Louisiana it is OK for convicted felons to sell insurance while they await their sentencing.
I’d happily report that my absence meant I’ve been up to something but such is not the case over the last few days as I took a break. This does not mean I don’t have some dynamite things in store for the Slabbed Nation this week but today we do a bit of catching up.
First up is the taxpayer funded money pit also known as the Performing Arts Center. Yesterday the T-P editorial board opined the project should be completed ASAP now that the state’s taxpayers are on the hook for another $9.9MM as the project’s costs has almost doubled since ground broke on the project years ago. Adding to the confusion is yesterday afternoon Bob Ross filed a post titled Affidavit clears up confusion on change order for Performing Arts Center in Metairie that frankly added to my confusion about change order #5 to the point where I gotta call bullshit. A close read of said Legislative auditor’s report on the change order clearly indicates there was a management override involved in that particular change order, management being for CAO Tim Whitmer and current councilman at large Elton LaGasse.
To the extent Whitmer has copped a plea in the wide ranging JP Corruption investigation and reportedly knows where all the “bones are buried”, one would naturally assume he has been questioned closely about his knowledge about whether Councilman LaGasse took a kickback to ram rod that particular change order through, reportedly with no documentation, that included a massive delay claim. I want to make clear this is only an allegation but given what has surfaced about Jiff Hingle and the new Plaquemines Parish Jail such is a fair question, especially as the taxpaying public tries to figure out how a $28MM project has morphed into a $52MM boondoggle. I’ll have more on change order 5 ASAP because it is clear Mr Ross has lots of catching up to do.
Rep. Cameron Henry, R-Jefferson, on Thursday temporarily blocked the use of almost $10 million in lines of credit to build the Jefferson Performing Arts Center in Metairie, saying he wants parish officials to explain why the project has ballooned in cost. Henry asked the state Bond Commission, which holds sway over credit for hundreds of state-financed projects, to delay the reauthorization of last year’s $10 million for one month.
Parish Council member Chris Roberts said he supported Henry’s actions. Roberts said he doesn’t think the parish administration has officially settled an issue that was raised in a scathing report by the legislative auditor’s office last year on the cost overruns at the long-delayed arts center. One change order of $5.6 million was paid even though Reda Youssef, capital projects director for the parish, said he could not certify more than $2.8 million.
Let’s circle back to my post of the 16th:
I figure if I am aware of the duplicity then Mini-Me must be as well thus putting Youssef to the question in a bit over a week at the council meeting in Grand Isle. I bet the council would be happy to see Youssef refute what he told the legislative auditors and he just may since he made up some of what he told them in an effort to shift blame to people like Bolotte. I see this as impossible situation….
Folks this post sets the record for time spent in drafts and it was this latest Rich Rainey installment from the Jefferson Parish Council cesspool on the topic of JPAC and Parish Capital Projects Director Reda Youssef that dictated I find a way to adequately explain the construction disaster that has squandered millions in state tax money. Adequately explain? By now everyone knows JPAC is money pit but with all the finger-pointing it is hard (but not impossible) to identify those most responsible. The last time I linked the State Legislative Audit Advisory Council meeting on the topic I came away feeling the Legislators were lost too. Hopefully this post changes that. Now the disclaimers and disclosures.
I’ve interviewed 1 person with first hand knowledge of the project, whom I’ve granted anonymity. I also obtained some fantastic research from the Citizens for Good Government, the people who are the most responsible for having the Legislative Auditor take a peek at the project. I’m also relying heavily on my own professional expertise on this topic and yes Virginia on this topic I would qualify in a courtroom as an “expert” for I am. Finally my original idea was to compare the beat reporting by the Times Picayune that covered the various change orders with the Legislative Auditor’s report on the project but the T-P reporting does not show in Google for the most part, which is odd considering how Newhouse Management are evidently SEO freakazoids but it is what it is. That said the research I obtained from the M&M sisters compensates for this somewhat. So with the fine print filled in let’s circle back to Rich Rainey’s piece from last week:
The Legislature has agreed to shovel $2.6 million more into construction of the Jefferson Performing Arts Center, already considered by many to be a $44.7 million money pit. But Parish Councilman Chris Roberts said he is still looking for answers about an earlier payment that attracted the ire of state fiscal watchdogs.
Roberts is demanding that Reda Youssef, the parish’s capital projects director, explain why he balked at approving a $5.6 million payment in 2009 to the project’s general contractor. “Everyone is dealing with it like it’s plutonium, and no one is addressing the matter,” Roberts said. “And it’s not like it’s going to go away.”
But Parish President John Young countered Wednesday that the questions had already been asked and answered. And Youssef said he approved only half the request because the rest dealt with charges for delays, an area of project management beyond his scope.
This Rich Rainey story from late last month on JPAC is worth visiting. I belatedly mention Rich’s story as it is both topical here on Slabbed and because it came out of the blue as the JPAC debacle has fallen out of the news cycle. One thing everyone needs to do is read the Legislative Auditor’s report on the JPAC boondoggle. PDF page 26 (report page 23) of the report contains the reason there is talk about Jefferson Parish Councilman at Large Elton Lagasse role in the JPAC debacle receiving investigative scrutiny given we now know Tim Whitmer is cooperating with the Feds.