A few days back I left a comment which implicated Jefferson Parish Councilman Chris Roberts as the source of the press leak regarding the amount of the Parish’s settlement with Anne Marie Vandenweghe, the terms of which I understand were confidential. My assertion regarding Roberts being the source of the leak was incorrect.
In any event I have embedded a pic of the leaker below the jump. Enjoy. Continue reading “Debbie does Newhouse: A Correction”
Supporters of Good Government:
In response to the urging of Citizens for Good Government and to Councilman Chris Roberts’ prodding of Jefferson Parish Attorney Deborah Foshee at the June 26th council meeting, Ms. Foshee agreed to give the public access to the scores and rankings of contractors by the Parish Evaluation Committees, prior to the selection by the council of contract awardees for no-bid parish contracts. And President John Young also stated that he is in full support of this action. CFGG considers this an important victory for good government in Jefferson Parish.
CFGG has long expressed our serious concern with the fact that councilmembers are permitted to award no-bid contracts to firms which are significant donors to their campaigns and from whom they have even solicited campaign contributions. It is particularly disturbing to us that the council is generally permitted to disregard the rankings by the Evaluation Committees and to select any firm that they so desire for these no-bid contracts.
Although the well-researched, well-documented report by the Bureau of Governmental Research entitled, “Reforming Jefferson Parish’s Unusual Approach to Service Contracting,” recommends awarding these no-bid contracts to the top-ranked firms by the Evaluation Committees, the council apparently has no intention of giving up its power to select the no-bid contract winners. Citizens for Good Government came to the conclusion that if we could obtain the scores and rankings of firms which are in contention for Jefferson Parish no-bid contracts BEFORE the council selected the winners, we could make our own recommendations of the top-ranked firms by the Evaluation Committees PRIOR to the council vote, and, if practical, we could also provide the campaign contributions made to the councilmembers by the companies competing for the contracts, since we have this information on campaign contributions in our files.
Therefore, at the June 12th council meeting Margie Seemann urged the council to pass an ordinance requiring information on the scores and rankings of the companies which are in contention for no-bid contracts to be made available as additional attachments to the contract award resolutions on each council agenda, which is available online a week before each council meeting. Margie said that this would permit watchdog groups like Citizens for Good Government to make recommendations on the award of the contracts prior to the selection of the winners and to monitor the actions of the council in selecting the contract winners.
Continue reading “Good Government Saturday: CFGG Celebrates a Victory for Good Government and No-bid Contracts”
Old ways die hard folks but Friday I received word that the Louisiana Supreme Court denied writs in the matter of the Parish’s appeal of the bitch slap given crooked 24th JDC Judge in Ross LaDart in the matter involving whistleblower Anne Marie Vandenweghe’s public records request for her own emails. This means the case comes back to LaDart, who was pretty much mandated on exactly how to rule in it by the Louisiana 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. The denial of writs was a loss for the Parish’s law firm Phelps Dunbar who simply can seem to win a public records case unless it is fixed in advance. Also losers are the taxpayers of Jefferson parish who see their hard earned tax dollars squandered in legal fees fighting an open and shut case.
Stay tuned folks.
OK folks if you want to catch up on the myriad of ways Jefferson Parish strives to continue doing business in smoke-filled rooms with no accountability or transparency you can catch up by clicking here. The long and short of it is that former Assistant Parish Attorney Anne Marie Vandenweghe sued to make the Parish honor her public records request for her own emails generated before she was fired for whistleblowing on corruption in the Jefferson Parish Attorney’s office. The case was assigned to Judge Ross LaDart, a jurist that either incredibly lazy, inept, corrupt or a combination of the three because his swift opinion kicking the case to the curb was just kicked back to him via appeal in a published opinion released today that is not kind to the Judge.
So today Team Vandenweghe wins big and the Parish will likely be forced to give her own emails, which rumor holds contains evidence of additional criminal activity in the Parish Attorney’s office as it relates to the payroll fraud portion of the political corruption scandal. This in turn explains why the perpetrators still employed by the Parish have fought Team Vandenweghe tooth and nail on this. We shall see before this is done IMHO.
There are several clear losers today. First is the firm of Phelps Dumbar and their lawyers assigned to the case who evidently can’t win in the courtroom unless the fix is in via Judges like LaDart. The taxpayers of Jefferson Parish lose because not only are there still alleged criminal perpetrators on the Parish payroll, they also get stuck with the legal tab defending shithouse double dealing on part of parish employees and certain elected officials. John Young loses too Continue reading “That ain't doughnut glaze on Judge Ross LaDart's Chin! Louisiana 5th Circuit Court of Appeals bitch slaps the inept judge, reverses shithouse public records opinion. A Jefferson Parish Political Corruption Scandal update.”
We’re getting word another assistant Parish Attorney, Nicole Amstutz has been show the door by Team Young. Nicole obviously did not get the memo.
Paul Rioux at the Times Picayune checks in today with a report that is masterful in its nuance as Team River Birch has the full court PR press on and one again they manage to put egg on their own face as well as the Parish, specifically Public Records. There is lots of fodder for discussion in Paul’s lengthy story but since I am time strapped I’m going to focus in on 2 items the first being that thanks to Steve Theriot and John Young it appears Jefferson Parish no longer has a cohesive, functioning public records department. Taken a step further I’ll add Paul conveys the obvious without saying it as it certainly appears the Parish Attorney’s office is simply an adjunct legal department for Freddie Heebe, Jim Ward and the River Birch Landfill. This snippet illustrates that point:
River Birch obtained the notes and other parish documents about the draft study Monday through a public records request and in turn provided them to The Times-Picayune. Parish attorneys denied a similar request by the newspaper for the preliminary study in December, citing an exemption in the state’s disclosure law for documents prepared “in anticipation of litigation or in preparation for trial.”
I will point out that normally newspapers are big on access to public records so the silence on the major problems with public records in Jefferson Parish, well reported here, means the T-P sucked on it in silence for at least the past 3 months. I’ll add that while Jefferson Parish was stonewalling the Times Picayune while giving it all up for Freddie Heebie they also continue to retaliate against the whistleblowers and John Young is ass deep in it right along with his political blowbuddy Tom Capella and their puppets Peggy Barton and Louis Gruntz. As long as the Parish Attorney’s office, at the behest of elected officials work for the River Birch Landfill instead of the taxpayers expect to see more such clusterfucks as the many Paul Rioux details today. Continue reading “Team River Birch beclowns their clowns: A putting in the fix on the inside for River Birch update.”
Two quick notes from the birdies that have been chirping about the recent goings on at the Yenni Building.
The first is Peggy Barton and her new job in HR, taking over for Junior Mendoza. Junior was let go along with Jimbo the Clown’s brother Clem Donelon a couple of weeks ago by Team Young in a move that flew under the radar. Young is proving adept at manipulating the bureaucratic chess pieces and I’ll add there are still senior administrators on staff that are dead men walking at Yenni.
Back to Ms Barton, I opined in comments to the HR post that the only reason Ms Barton was on staff at all was a sense of gratitude for her stepping into the breech for the soon to be indicted Tom Wilkinson. Our readers universally do not like the fact Ms Barton is employed by the Parish period given her proclivities to play around with public records responses. I hear from the chirping birdies that the feeling is somewhat mutual as Peggy sees her transfer to HR for what it is: a demotion. I’ll add with Barton now in HR her ability to massage certain critical records is also now at an end. New Parish Attorney Deb Foshee does not have a vested interest in protecting Barton that I can see but Foshee’s own track record with public records is frankly very bad, as we’ll explore in a future post.
Next up is deputy chief operating officer Richard Hart. Hart, John Young’s #3 man in the Parish pecking order came to the Parish from his gig as executive director of the state Department of Agriculture and Forestry and is credited for helping pick and poach Chris Cox from the US Attorney’s office for the #2 spot in Team Young. I mention Hart because some of the birdies are telling me he is the new administrator that most reminds them of Tim Whitmer in terms of being a ruthless snake in the grass. The birdies tell me that Hart has a checkered background that makes him a most worthy candidate for further exploration here on Slabbed so I’ll float the balloon and see if our readers can fill in some blanks.
Sure he’s not as bad as Broussard or TheRiot but Young comes with his own set of problems including a certain character flaw that not only unnecessarily complicates his life but will end up doing him in politically. Bottom line is I’ve seen enough folks and its time to call this one the way I see it. ~ sop