Jefferson Parish judge finds JEDCO emails are public documents ~ Paul Purpura
Several of my peeps, very well placed in the JEDCO community, are urging me to send a PRR on the Henry Shane-Lucien Gunter email flap for Slabbed New Media. I also happen to know a public records expert or two….maybe even three. With that in mind I and others are wondering what makes Judge Ansardi’s decision in Shane v Parish of Jefferson a “first of its kind” ruling. My understanding is there is a ruling out of the LA 1st Circuit directly on point. First of its kind in the 24th JDC/LA 5th Circuit maybe, but the jurisprudence is there. I wish Paul had elaborated more on that as I have a heightened curiosity on this general topic.
With that said and now that certain redactions are in order per Judge Ansardi, I’ll share that the most vexing thing in my expansive PRR on the bad old days during the Goatherderian reign of terror last year was this exact issue. Ken Krobert at the Parish Attorney’s office and I would politely agree to disagree and move along but I was well aware that certain redactions were going to be applied to the documents.
In fact this is what made this whole Henry Shane – Lucien Gunter email thing smell to me was the fact that Team Foshee has absolutely no problem telling Slabbed no on this issue. In fact I submit they have every incentive to do just that as being seen cuddled up too closely with Slabbed would be frowned upon by the 5AM Potty Krewe on the Parish Council. The fact I got my docs, with certain redactions, proves the Parish Attorney is committed to following the law which is why the gang on 7 greenlit those emails between Gunter and Shane to begin with. I hope the taxpayers can recover the costs of defending these frivolous suits from Team Shane.
So a fair read of the Judge’s decision would mean that if Shane said in emails that certain potential candidates were eliminated from consideration due to race, color and/or creed those names would all be fair game. Or is his ruling confined to declared candidates? The devil is in those details. I know this folks, this is how the public ended up with Pat Tovrea on the School Board.
That’s right folks, in proverbial smoke filled rooms paid for by the taxpayers but for which serve the self interest of the politically connected. I mention this because Paul Purpura has the skinny on Judge Glenn Ansardi blowing a bunch of smoke about whether private citizens using public accommodation such as email servers to conduct private and potentially illegal activities is somehow exempt from the Louisiana Public Records Statute. It is the biggest bunch of BS I’ve heard in quite some time outta the Gretna Courthouse, now nationally infamous in the aftermath of Operation Wrinkled Robe and the Impeachment of Tom Porteous as one of the worst cesspools of corruption in the country.
Worth noting is Fred Heebe’s legal team is representing Henry Shane trying to keep these specious communications secret, while simultaneously suing multiple people associated with the Heebe prosecution for defamation just one Parish over. What the public will find are that the two most abusive Jefferson Parish School Board members, Pat Tovrea and Michael Delesdernier are Henry Shane tools who used JEDCO to push their campaigns for office according to sources speaking with Slabbed on the condition of anonymity.
Not mentioned by Paul is the fact that some of those 9000 apartments and at least one Shane condominium are here on the coast so if he is buying politicians in Louisiana it is a safe bet he’ll export the model here as well. It should be lost on no one that when these self interested misers are done screwing up their communities in Louisiana they inevitably end up over here on the coast because no one wants to live in the cesspool, not even the ones that created and financially benefited from it.
Now Paul did something I was asked not to do several months ago and he threw a nice hat tip to the gang up on 7 at the Yenni Building so I sense opportunity:
Broach initially sought the e-mails from JEDCO. After JEDCO declined, Broach sought them through the parish and filed a public records request with the parish attorney’s office. Assistant Parish Attorney Kenneth Krobert concluded the e-mails were releasable but gave anyone else with interest time to object. That’s when Shane intervened.
I’ll add Ken is one heckuva nice guy and a consummate professional possessive of a temperament well matched to the trade. He is a Kenner guy made good that is well respected by the Slabbed legal team and this despite the fact he came from an insurance defense firm. He was kind enough to share some of those older experiences with me which was nice as Slabbed’s initial focus was the post Katrina policyholder court battles with insurance companies. In return the gang got to see life through the eyes of a new media guy on a mission. Continue reading “Conducting the peoples business in the shadows: JEDCO case illustrates how business is conducted in Jefferson Parish”
I got a bat signal from my all things JEDCO source, who was amused that Lee Zurik went after ye ol’ TBL and former executive director Lucien Gunter stiffing the taxpayers for a few drinks. The big story is in the emails Metairie based developer Henry Shane is trying to cover up what sources describe as JEDCO engaging in partisan political activity with respect to the last set of Jefferson Parish School Board elections. This would be illegal/prohibited on two different levels.
I’m told Shane’s relationship with Jefferson Parish Councilwoman Cynthia Lee Sheng and the comprehensive ordinance on Fat City business zoning is also very fertile ground for exploration.
Lee better be careful because he is tip toeing awfully close to station owner Tom Benson’s social network.
Speaking of Tom Benson I am hearing tales of Benson’s Superbowl party at City Park a couple of weeks back that involve our own Magnum. Tighten up dude.
It has been around a year since we’ve featured Jefferson Parish School Board member Pat Tovrea on these pages and I guess it must be something about the summer solstice that causes ol’ Pat has to act the part of a June jackass instead of school board member each year since he was elected but it is what it is folks.
Pat, welcome back.
In our coverage of Jefferson Parish Government we’ve run across the name of former Jefferson Parish CFO Gwen Bolotte a few times, normally with me expressing the opinion she needed to be fired for not doing her job as Parish Finance Director. I termed her a doormat in fact and that is a good description of her job performance in both the Performing Arts fiasco and the Parish’s ham handed dealings with Waste Management in trying to cancel the contract with them so that the Parish’s garbage could be hauled to the River Birch Landfill at considerably more costs to parish residents. I mention this because Bob Ross has a curious story in today’s Times Picayune that allows John Young and Chris Roberts to capitalize on Bolotte’s departure for purely self-serving public relations purposes. Roberts using this issue is particularly sickening given he employes the Master of Disaster Deano Bonano as a council aid at a nice 6 figure salary despite Bonano deserving the same fate as Bolotte. Instead Roberts recycled him from John Young’s chop shop. First lets visit with Ross and his story for the Sunday Picayune:
Bolotte’s decision is more troubling, Roberts said, given her position as chief financial officer in Parish President John Young’s administration.
“Gwen is a CPA. She has a fiduciary duty to hold her ground in certain situations. I would expect our CFO — and I’ve told this to John already — that if she’s put in a compromising position that she knows may or may not be in the best interest of the parish, that she make a decision to stand up and say: ‘We have questions about this and I’m not comfortable, and we need further documentation.'”
Turning a “blind eye” to Whitmer’s order, as Roberts described Bolotte’s reaction, was not in Jefferson’s best interests. “That’s a real problem,” he said. “How many time have you heard her say over the years, ‘I was instructed to do that by my superiors.'”
Young generally agreed with Roberts’ assessment.
“Hindsight is 20-20, but if she had questions, she shouldn’t have processed the check,” he said recently, before Bolotte announced her retirement. “I can tell you this: We made sure Gwen knows that nothing will be paid without proper documentation. That will not happen again. Also, nothing will be paid without accounting doing the proper checks and balances.”
Both men act as if there was not an existing policy to never pay expenses without documentation in Jefferson Parish and of course there was and is such a policy. Continue reading “The Times Picayune tackles a topic that has appeared here many times: A why Gwen Bollotte should have been fired years ago update.”
Well folks I thought Mississippi voters were the most accomplished at shooting themselves in the foot but I think I’ve changed my mind and Jefferson Parish School Board member Michael R. Delesdernier is the reason.
Like the City of Kenner, Jefferson Parish Schools are a cesspool of corruption separate from the big show in Parish Government. That said, the school district, one of the lowest rated in the entire state has also proven itself something of a proving ground for assorted miscreants such as Chris “Mini-me” Roberts, Elton Lagasse, Julie Quinn etc etc etc that aspire to take their double-dealing to the larger stage at the Yenni Building and beyond. Against that backdrop it should come as no surprise the current school board includes a thug in Pat Tovrea and a certified asshole in Delesdernier.
I mention this because there was school board election in Jefferson Parish last year and a slate of “business people” were put forward as the solution to all that ails the poorly performing school district. In Delesdernier case he unseated long time incumbent Judy Colgan and it appears the people in JPS District 8 have been suffering the results ever since. I say this not to praise Colgan, as the system deteriorated further during her tenure in office. This is the predictable end result when the folks running the system are actively looking for places to loot it out same as the old Orleans Parish School Board. If it is possible though, the voters elected a bigger bunch of crooked idiots that the ones already on board as a well-informed reader in Jefferson related to me after that last election. It is against that backdrop that I present last night’s Lee Zurik’s investigation into a shadow vote taken by the school board via email that resulted in a relatively minor policy matter becoming a major scandal.
“You know what an anarchist is… right? I think you are an anarchist too.” Continue reading “Is Jefferson Parish School Board Member Michael R. Delesdernier a complete asshole? Lee Zurik reports you decide.”
Folks I’m actually developing some sources here in response to some inquiries. For now this Op-Ed is a decent starting point.
Why are Jefferson Parish Schools some of the worst in the state of Louisiana?
See Pat Tovrea run for School Board.
See JPSB member Pat Tovrea harass central office employees.
See JPSB member Pat Tovrea stalk central office employees.
See JPSB member Pat Tovrea bully central office employees.
See Employee file for a restraining order.
Maybe spending too much time with his nose up Tommy Capella’s hiney makes Pat an angry guy. Or maybe the thirst for loot makes Pat act like Tom Wilkinson during in his thirst for loot. Whatever the case this Pat Tovrea is a product of the machine. And the voters of Jefferson Parish are getting exactly the kind schools they deserve. The amazing thing is I bet there are some dedicated educators in the system that still give 100% trying to make a difference. It must really suck for those folks. Continue reading “Capella political hack Pat Tovrea needs to learn a bit of restraint. An occasional Jefferson Parish Failing Schools Update.”