For those of you that think a structure specifically designed as a theater has any real commercial value with the design flaws this place comes with better think again as there is a very limited market for such specialized structures, especially building with below grade infrastructure that will perpetually require expensive flood insurance coverage. And completing this project is only throwing more good money down the toilet considering Caldarera wants another $8.4 million to simply crank the project back up.
The prudent choice, as James points out, is to buy some dynamite.
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.
Let’s take these news stories from the PACER beat in reverse order. First up is Gordon Russell’s story about the latest defense filing in USA v Titus, which included remarks from Slabbed favorite Dane Ciolino of the Loyola Law School. Essentially Titus is claiming there was a verbal sidecar to his plea deal with regards to the forfeiture provisions among other things. Having watched the crushing of Jamie Perdigao a few years back I don’t think this latest motion from Team Titus is going very far.
Moving right along Judge Head took little time in denying Broussard’s motion to postpone his trial per this story from the PACER beat filed by Drew Broach. Judge Head, like the rest of us watched the latest installment of the Aaron Broussard cancer special on the TeeVee and found the assertions in Team Broussard’s delay motion filed by attorney Robert Jenkins to be a bit lacking on the fact side since no affidavits were submitted by either Broussard or more important his doctors. Even worse is the persistent street talk that crushing Broussard and Wilkinson is simply a prelude to rolling up Jim Ward and Fred Heebe so Aaron isn’t even star of the show which is potentially worse news for the unrepentant drama queens that are the Goatherders.
That said I’ll put on my Carnac hat and predict Eric Paulsen at WWL TeeVee will try one more time to prettify his friend with another prostate cancer special on the Toolman show like the one he treated us to earlier this year. For added dramatic effect perhaps Broussard will break down and cry like a crocodile such as he did in September 2005 on the national TeeVee between telling whoppers on Meet the Press.
Finally I watched the last Parish Council meeting and was happy to see the Times Picayune’s Bob Ross picked up the $325,000 taxpayer funded donation to JPAS, which can no long collect the tax that was previously dedicated to the organization, locally famous as a cesspool of nepotism. Left to their own devices the folks at JPAS would singlehandedly bankrupt Jefferson Parish with the boondoggle Performing Arts Center leading the way. Times are tough in Jefferson Parish as teachers are losing their jobs so my feeling is if JPAS can’t fund themselves then they need to close the doors and I say that as a patron of the arts here in Mississippi.