Thursday Links

Some of these have appeared in comments recently, others I’ve put out on twitter. I have a busy day on tap so without further adieu:

Group: Insurers charge 300 to 600% more for coastal than inland policies ~ Anita Lee

Jeff council eyes new contracts to complete over-budget arts center ~ Jeff Adelson

Jeff Parish attorney cuts off IG’s access to e-mails, for now ~ Paul Murphy

Jefferson IG and parish attorney clash on access to employees’ emails ~ Jeff Adelson

Sheriff Mike Byrd turns in resignation on the side of Highway 63 ~ Warren Kulo Continue reading “Thursday Links”

Not to be outdone by the new royal baby, the royal babies……..

On the Jefferson Parish Council arrived by helicopter for a weekend of debauchery in Grand Isle before shamelessly using the tragic murder of Ahlitta North to bash Parish Prez John Young and the code enforcement department.  I guess Chris Roberts and company liked it better back in the olden days when the person in charge of code was carrying on a torrid extramarital affair with a certain Parish Attorney.

Newbie Adriane Quinlan has all the jackassery and more for NOLA Media Group.

Next up is the brawl in Kenna as Walt Bennetti has throw down the gauntlet and challenged Greg Buisson to a cyber fight.  I have Walt on speed dial and I have Greg on speed dial but mainly I’m gonna enjoy watching the donnybrook because after all, its Kenna Bra.  😉

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_C5cEMG1Us

In other news, yes I have been keeping up with the latest wetlands lawsuit filed by the East Bank Levee Board. Bobby Jindal remains a self serving narcissist and shoeshine boy to the oil industry.

Finally I’d like to say it is pretty much an open secret that the FBI has resumed poking around the Yenni Building and the betting money is on JPAC.

“Delay Claim” Joe Caldarera gets his final pound of flesh from the taxpayers of Louisiana. A (non)Performing Arts Center update

And what a pound of flesh it was:

Jefferson Parish and arts center builder reach deal, includes $6.6 million for delay charges ~ Manuel Torres

Whudda you figure Caldarera had estimated as profit going into the $26MM project?  At a 10% margin the total profit on the job would be $2.6MM.  Yesterday he collected almost 3 times that in delay charges (on top of the millions in delay charges already paid) as the final shafting of the Louisiana taxpayers is almost complete.  Once the boondoggle is complete next year it will house the performances of the taxpayer supported family and friends organization also known as the Jefferson Performing Arts Society.

Anyone know how much the evergreen costs will be  required to pay for this boondoggle.  The flood insurance alone is sure to be astronomical.

John Young discussing the Heather Hilliard suit via his private email: That woman will be the death of me

Welp, folks I think what we have now in the council chambers is a bona fide circus with Heather Hilliard busting team Young for using their private email accounts to conduct the public’s business plus Joe Caldarera is running back to the Parish Council to tattle on Deb Foshee. None of these are exactly confidence inspiring developments, especially in the Parish council for tolerating Joe Caldarera’s end runs around their attorney.

BFF Forever: Whitmer sentencing letters give color to infamous JPAC Change Order 5

Other letters were written by Whitmer’s wife, their two daughters and the fiance of one daughter; his brother, Charles Whitmer, former deputy police chief in Gretna, and Charles Whitmer’s wife; Henry Trapani, the parish’s retired citizens services director; D.J. Mumphrey Jr., an executive assistant to Coulon; Feleciano “Junior” Mendoza, who was Jefferson Parish human resources director as well as Whitmer’s middle-school principal; Angela Pacaccio Darvin, who worked 30 years in the parish president’s office; Jimmy Frickey, who is married to a former subordinate of Whitmer; Randy Cousin, a longtime friend who runs an industrial supply company where Whitmer has worked the past 2½ years; Sarah Gibson, a friend; the architect Billy Sizeler; and tourism businessman Warren Reuther Jr.

Drew Broach did an excellent job detailing Tim Whitmer’s “firehouse” friends late last month, some of whom share common roots in the Jefferson Parish political cesspool. No doubt everyone noted that I emphasized Sarah Gibson and her letter above, whom Broach described as a Whitmer friend. True dat because she obviously is per her own words.  But Mrs Gibson’s letter is cleverly wordsmithed, for lack of a better term or perhaps “written to the inside”, a term folks like my internet BFF Russell over Reflexiones Finales has applied to Slabbed. Let’s start with her letter to Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon:

Gibson Letter USA v Whitmer Doc 35

So Sarah’s husband is very close to Tim Whitmer being the Godfather to Tim’s eldest daughter. Sarah’s husband is Jefferson Parish Parks and Recreation Director Clinton “C.J.” Gibson, who according to Parish salary records draws a $124,000 plus annual salary.  Parks and Recreation is also the cesspool from whence Tim Whitmer came so I guess it was only natural that when Parish Engineering Department refused to pay double what they thought was the proper amount for Change Order #5, he turned to his old friend C.J. Gibson in Parks and Recreation to handle the financial aspects of these specious transactions.  A step further, turning the financial aspects of a major construction project over to the people running the playground is nonsensical and the fact the employees whose normal job duties refused to have anything to do with a transaction that was essentially doubled tells the whole tale and it stinks worse than  a roadkill skunk in the July Pineville Louisiana summer heat. I highlighted the salient part of page 23 of the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s compliance audit on the center, the entirety of which can be found clicking here: Continue reading “BFF Forever: Whitmer sentencing letters give color to infamous JPAC Change Order 5”

A complex topic dominated by superficial talking points: A Jefferson (non)Performing Arts Center Update

Folks I must say I am disappointed by the media coverage of today’s showdown at the Jefferson Parish Council meeting between the politicians and General Contractor Joe Caldarera as they choose to focus the faux battle between the culpable politicians and the General Contractor that has schooled them in the ways a seasoned construction contractor can take advantage of the array of fools the Broussard administration and the Parish Council put in place to oversee the debacle.  Sheeba Turk and the Channel 4 gang, rarely seen at the Yenni Building are today on site at the proverbial scene of the crime on Airline couching today’s council meeting as Calderera “defending his honor”. What a joke but it fits in a 2 minute segment which is why it is on the TeeVee.  I did not think Manuel Torres did it justice this morning either over at NOLA.com though his previous report on the topic along with those here and here are very good.

So what is the smoke and mirrors scenario the politicians and Joe Caldarera are trying to set up today? Simple, the council is on the verge of giving Parish Attorney Deb Foshee the authority to declare Caldarera in default on the JPAC contract.  She is negotiating a final settlement to the project with Caldarera and that authority would give her additional leverage over Caldarera in negotiations, which are close but not quite there. Caldarera does not want Foshee to have that authority so he is showing up to to Peacock and Prance in “defense of his honor”.  With this whole bunch there is no honor, only shark fins.

The bottom line is Delay Claim Joe seems to have a certain fondness for parking his equipment on site and if I had to guess is passing along that costs as part of his delay claim. To hear Caldarera tell it he is being super magnanimous which, in a more rural environment here down south would be termed “Pure D Bullcrap”. To hear Chris “Mini-me” Roberts tell it, the council was the victim of bad advice, conveniently ignoring the fact the Legislative Auditor, among others has pinpointed Robert’s own council aid Deano Bonano as having a major role in the taxpayer funded boondoggle. Tim Whitmer, who recently was subject of several glowing reviews submitted to the court before his sentencing for Broussard era felonies to which he was party was also instrumental in the disaster along with current Councilman at large Elton LaGasse.

Fact is there is plenty of blame to go around and I’d assign about 40% of the blame to the council members who ramrodded this project when it commenced, with the other 60% going to Aaron Broussard himself, who ultimately made the call to begin construction and issue a notice to proceed despite the fact everyone knew the design and plans were deficient. That ill fated decision along with a gaggle of others made by the same group of megalomaniac incomps is the reason the structure is years late and double the original estimate.

If my theory is right though, there is more than 100% of the blame to go around because the old saying pigs get fats, hogs get slaughtered comes to mind as we gotta hammer Joe Caldarera’s delay claims.  How were they calculated and do they include “sweeteners” like idle equipment and along with equipment and utility costs for the holiday light display he put up back in 2010? The devil is in those details and I think people at the state level are getting hip to those concepts.

The bottom line is there will be lots of noise at today’s council meeting.

James Varney at NOLA takes Jefferson Parish Councilmen Roberts and Lagasse to the woodshed. A Jefferson Parish (non)Performing Arts Center disaster update.

My point exactly James. It is a must read folks. :-)

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.

Drew Broach reports on the “black hole” on Airline Drive: Another (non)Performing Arts Center update

The uncompleted Jefferson Performing Arts Center. Photo courtesy of a reader

When politicians bob and weave, it is evident they are trying to deceive and that is certainly the case yesterday at the Jefferson Parish Council meeting as councilmen Chris Roberts and Elton LaGasse took turns trying to distance themselves from their own bad decisions (and worse in the case of LaGasse) regarding the JPAC debacle, 4 years and 79% over budget and counting in the making.

We’ve covered JPAC in-depth here in Slabbed but the picture on the right allows me to reinforce a point regarding the contractor’s specious delay claims which have thus far been paid without much question and on one occasion, with the “help” of councilman LaGasse via a management override that in turn causes people to think he may be on Joe Calderera’s payroll. Before we get to the information contained picture though let’s explore a snippet from Broach’s story:

Roberts asked whether anyone is even working these days on the site, at LaSalle Park in Metairie. Public Works Director Kazem Alikhani said the job is basically at a standstill: The general contractor, J. Caldarera & Co. Inc, “is having a hard time getting subcontractors to work because they haven’t been paid in two years.”

At least part of the reason is that the parish for months has been sitting on two change orders, one for another $8.4 million, requested by the builder. Parish attorney Deborah Foshee said Caldarera has sent the parish a “demand” letter for money, signaling potential litigation.

Continue reading “Drew Broach reports on the “black hole” on Airline Drive: Another (non)Performing Arts Center update”

Slabb O’Leak Presents the Awesome Ladies….

Along with various and sundry other goodies from Tim Whitmer’s November 2009 email inbox.  This installment checks in with over 60 pages and includes Slabbed luminaries such as Chereen Gegenheimer and State Senator Danny Martiny.

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