JustUs: Jackson County Chancery Court #SRHS Proceedings Rotten to the core

A bit over eight years ago Slabbed appeared in the local cyber scene as a blog dedicated to covering the wind-water insurance court battles when a nice lady from central Mississippi the world would later know as Nowdy and I met at the Cracker Barrel in Hattiesburg and made common cause to tell the coast’s story from a local point of view. In the time since we witnessed the Scruggs prosecution and it’s use as a hammer against people who had lost their homes to Hurricane Katrina. Nowdy would later describe the phenomenon as “JustUs” and it usually reared it ugly head in the Mississippi judicial system when massive amounts of money were at stake.

Yesterday, thanks to a bombshell legal filing at the Mississippi Supreme Court, JustUs again reared its ugly head here on the coast with news that the major players in the Chancery case Almond v Singing River et al, were holding a meeting in which the Plaintiff’s counsel in Almond were excluded. Less than three hours later an order staying Almond was entered by special Judge Breland Hilburn one day before motions on his recusal from the case were to be heard.

Ms. Almond and around two hundred other Singing River retirees have been deprived of their day in court thus far in favor of a forced settlement that saddled the scandal ridden pension plan with an unqualified trustee whose main qualifications appear to be his political connections.  To add to the Alice in Wonderland like quality we have Jackson County Board of Supervisors pretending they are not a full partner in the Singing River disaster yet the county is paying the legal fees of the politically connected lawyers that helped caused the Singing River disaster.

For the Singing River retirees that are being lined up like sheep before being herded to the financial chop shop, the events of the past month must be absolutely maddening.  Worse yet for morale is the punditry advocating for a settlement that sweeps possible illegal acts under the rug while the largest single group of retirees are cut out from access to the legal process all while a proposed compulsory settlement is allowed to advance before Judge Louis Guirola in US District Court.

But now the clients of local lawyers Earl Denham and Harvey Barton whose state court case has been stonewalled for months at least know the fix is in against them and they have no chance at receiving justice from Judge Hilburn and Special Master Singletary.  And despite Mr. Singletary’s protestations to the contrary, to the public this secret meeting between defense counsel and the Court reeks worse than a dead skunk in the August heat. And it’s not just the public that feels that way. Continue reading “JustUs: Jackson County Chancery Court #SRHS Proceedings Rotten to the core”

St Tammany Two Pack: Ethical concerns raised in the 22nd JDC

Folks I was happy to see the case of molesting St Tammany Parish Janitor Dino Schwertz finally see the light of day as the aftermath includes the bankrupting of at least one of the families whose child he victimized.

Cases against janitor spark ethics concerns ~ Sara Pagones

Sara’s story from earlier this month solved an internal mystery here at Slabbed as to the handling of the case in the 22nd JDC. Especially disturbing to me is the seal on the case. There is much more I could write but circumstances are such that I am unable to share at this time. My opinion however, is the St Tammany Parish Schools have some major explaining to do along with the court and now soon to be former DA Walter Reed. Moving right along.

Judge questioned over lack of disclosure ~ Sara Pagones and Katie Moore

The circles and circles of relationships, marital and otherwise that pervade St Tammany Parish officialdom continue to amaze. This quote pretty much sums things up as the circle comes back to the case of Dino Schwertz:

Bennett Gershman, a law professor at Pace University, found the failure to disclose those conflicts inexcusable. “Seems like they don’t play by the rules that I’ve been taught to follow in terms of professional ethics,” he said.

First, Gershman said, Reed’s office should have told Curran’s attorney that Pastuszek held a position at the DA’s Office. “They can’t wear both hats at the same time,” he said. As an assistant district attorney, Pastuszek would have been privy to whatever the DA’s Office knew about the criminal action, he said, a criticism that he also leveled in the Schwertz matter.

Pagones and Moore are on to something IMHO and that river runs deep.

Is the Louisiana 24th JDC incapable of dispensing justice in public records cases involving the politically connected?

Folks that has certainly been my experience after covering Judge Ross LaDart’s attempted home cooking of Anne Marie Vandenweghe’s public records suit back in 2010 and 2011 so along those lines it comes as no surprise that Judge Glenn Ansardi, a close friend of the disgraced former Goatherder in Chief and the Kenner political mafioso would issue an injunction against the release of public records that would expose JEDCO, specifically wealthy developer/Goatherder Henry Shane and company engaging in prohibited partisan political activity.

Political emails sent through Jefferson Parish agency shouldn’t be released, judge says ~ NOLA.com

A state judge Friday ordered Jefferson Parish not to release politically themed emails that an economic development official exchanged through his public agency’s account during the runup to the 2010 School Board elections. A court hearing has been scheduled Wednesday to consider the issue further.

Judge Glenn Ansardi of the 24th Judicial District Court in Gretna issued the temporary restraining order at the request of Henry Shane of Kenner, one of Jefferson’s most politically influential businessmen, who sued to block release of the correspondence. NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune and The Advocate had asked for the emails under the authority of Louisiana public records law.

I first heard about the use of JEDCO to push the political campaigns of certain school board members such as the now infamous kook Michael Delesdernier and Tom Capella political hack/thug Pat Tovrea at the time JEDCO’s Lucien Gunter announced he was stepping down as executive director.  Slabbed has excellent sources in both JEDCO and the Jefferson Parish business community as a whole that were horrified that the organization had been hijacked by the likes of developer/crony capitalist Henry Shane and people are talking. It appears both NOLA.com and the Advocate have taken an interest in this story and it is a good one IMHO.

So why is Ansardi interested in doing the bidding of Henry Shane?  Perhaps for reasons related to both the Internal Revenue Service and the prohibition on certain nonprofits engaging in partisan political activity and/or even better, Car 54. Drew Broach explains: Continue reading “Is the Louisiana 24th JDC incapable of dispensing justice in public records cases involving the politically connected?”

Judge Windhorst’s problem with “abuse of discretion” on display in the Succession of Kenneth Carroll

The poor litigants in this case have Judge LaDart feeding the Beaver and evidently caught Judge Windhorst on a hangover on the recusal motion. The prevailing legal theory is Judge Windhorst will do less damage on the Louisiana 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. In any event the below tells the tale.

Recuse again in the news as a fight is brewing in Gretna over Judge LaDart’s ability to call a case straight

We’ve covered the topic of recusal a time or two here on Slabbed and while the first link did not win us any fans in Judge Marty’s courtroom, it still stands today as Slabbed’s single most trafficked post as we scooped the national media yet received nary a hat tip from any of ’em though if memory served Becky Mowbray at the T-P termed the Slabbed Nation “detractors” for expecting an impartial judge in the drill moratorium case. Lest I digress.

In the case at hand the children of the late Kenneth Carroll are involved in a donnybrook  of a contested estate case with Carroll’s widow and my professional experience in these matters is that contested estates generally invite fee rape.  There are allegations Judge LaDart altered a court transcript and worse folks but the crux of the children’ argument is that LaDart is too close to lawyer Max Nathan to impartially dispense justice.  This is not the first time we’ve seen this argument used in the 24th JDC to get a Judge recused as this also happened in the divorce case involving Patrick and Julie Quinn after Patrick Quinn, acting pro se convinced Judge June Darensburg it was best to have Judge Steib step aside due to his close relationship with Julie Quinn’s attorney Wiley Beevers.

We do not have much use for Judge LaDart here on Slabbed and this is no secret so in a twist I’ll present the con arguments to the LaDart recusal motion as filed by Team Nathan for the executrix Isabel Wingerter below the jump.  Judge Steve Windhorst is now presiding. ~ sop Continue reading “Recuse again in the news as a fight is brewing in Gretna over Judge LaDart’s ability to call a case straight”

Yes Dick did it. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals gets Turner v Pleasant right on their second try. A Porteous the pig update.

We’re not holding our breath for the ODC to do anything about the rest of the crooked lawyers associated with the now impeached of Judge Tom pOrteous given their treatment of morally bankrupt lawyer Claude Lightfoot but the 5th Circuit finally did the right thing in Turner v Pleasant, a case involving periodic Slabbed fav Dick Chopin that we originally profiled here. The long and short of the case is best described by the 5th Circuit:

Ada and Ronnie Turner were on a small fishing boat on the Intracoastal Waterway in Houma, Louisiana. They were passed by a yacht controlled by Neal Pleasant. The Turners allege that the high speed and size of the yacht created large swells in the waterway. The swells grew so large that the Turners’ boat was thrown into the air. The Turners claim that Ada Turner injured her back when she landed.

Porteous fixed the case for his friend Dick Chopin, the Turners were hosed and were unsuccessful in their appeal of the fact that Porteous was a crooked sack of shit who fixed the case. Fast forward to last year and Porteous’ impeachment which was a game changer for the Turners as yesterday the 5th Circuit reversed themselves and concluded that yes, Tom Porteous was indeed a corrupt sack of shit that fixed cases for his enablers including Dick Chopin and this folks is not good for the insurance company that is involved in the background, Standard Fire and Casualty. Click the pics below to get the 10 page pdf of yesterday’s decision. Hat tip to NRB for the order and heads up. ~ sop Continue reading “Yes Dick did it. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals gets Turner v Pleasant right on their second try. A Porteous the pig update.”

From the sordid past that just won’t die file: Corporate predator State Farm lied to the Illinois Supreme Court in landmark case.

That landmark case is Avery v State Farm and we have a few post on it here dating back to 2008.  As I remember State Farm defrauded its own customers with auto policies via aftermarket parts.  They lost and kept losing until the election for Supreme Court where they managed to get their whore, Lloyd Karmeier elected and ol’ Lloydie was the deciding vote in tossing the case from the Illinois Supreme Court.  Well folks it turns out State Farm was using straw men and front groups to fund their whore and it is seeing the light of day.  From the Chicage Tribune:

Lawyers in a class-action case accuse insurance giant State Farm of defrauding the Illinois Supreme Court by covering up its support of the Republican candidate in the most expensive state judicial race in U.S. history.

Those attorneys, including former television star and U.S. senator Fred Thompson, allege State Farm lied and mislead the court, hiding its “extraordinary support of Justice (Lloyd) Karmeier’s campaign and to thwart Justice Karmeier’s disqualification.”

A petition was filed last week, asking the court to reconsider its decision to void a $1 billion verdict against State Farm. The petition is based on an investigation by former FBI agent Michael Reece. Continue reading “From the sordid past that just won’t die file: Corporate predator State Farm lied to the Illinois Supreme Court in landmark case.”

Justice Court Judge Nell Cowart suspended for 2 months, fined over $2,000

I gave everyone the lowdown on Judge Nell here.  Last week the Mississippi Supreme Court suspended her for 2 months for showing a little too much love to a criminal that also happened to be her personal friend.

To update our other rogue justice court judge Teresa Dearman, she was defeated in the run off elections last month.


Please pardon my interjection. Juvenile Court isn’t cheap fodder for journalism. From the Busted Files (Updated)

Folks I shook the St Tammany tree and managed to confirm certain aspects of the story of 22nd JDC JudgeMary Devereux’s chambers leaking a confidential juvenile hearing transcript to Times Picayune reporter Claire Galofaro so I could not let the latest mention of this budding saga on the pages of the Times Picayune go unmentioned. This is a tough subject because from what I gather there is a gag order in force so the parties to the case can’t talk about it.  And a salient fact omitted from the first Times Picayune Op-Ed on the case  is this case, while serious in the alleged planning of a school shooting, is in fact a matter involving juveniles and confidentiality rules clearly apply here. It is good to see the Times Picayune acknowledge this in their unattributed report today.

I laugh when I hear the so-called pros wring their hands while opining about unwashed bloggers and the perceived deficiencies in our craft.  I mention this because the Times Picayune didn’t bother with words like alleged to qualify their reporting on the matter in St Tammany that is the topic of this post. No sir they published the names of the kids and flat-out stated they did the crime and alas this is something they share in common with Slabbed in our Grand Isle coverage.  Some folks would label this type of reporting slander but perhaps it means the gang calling the shots at the T-P grew some nuts after Leary and the girls shook them down for money last year after they hung Rich Rainey out to dry on his Trout Point reporting.  Or maybe it means they are mad because the lawyer for one of the kids, Jack ‘Bobby” Truitt caught Judge Devereux passing confidential hearing transcripts to the T-P beat reporter out of the back chamber door.

I had no clue who was representing whom in this case before today because I just don’t blog much on St Tammany.  So I googled Truitt up and sure enough he appeared on 2 websites that I read, Slabbed and TulaneLink. He appears to have qualities the Times Picayune editors are now trying to exhibit such as having some sack as Truitt helped take out crooked Judge Alan Green of Operation Wrinked Robe Infamy.

I’d like to see the law that allows a Judge to leak confidential juvie transcripts from her chambers.  I think this one will be a fun topic to watch on many levels.