Every community needs several Margies to keep everything above-board and transparent in the local government. In this clip from yesterday’s Parish Council meeting Ms Seeman proves herself an early innovator with regard to Mr Theriot’s landfill audit team, a subject we profiled around the same general time Ms Margie was addressing the parish council. She certainly knows a pig in the poke when she reads one.
I had to laugh when I read Rich Rainey’s latest installment in as the landfill turns as he chronicles the completion of the scheme Theriot and his band of idiots on the Parish Council have hatched to put the fix in for River Birch via a controlled evaluation of a flawed contracting process. Before we get to the latest on Theriot’s dog and pony show we should do a quick review of the River Birch saga to gain clarity on what the team will be reviewing.
These negotiations resulted from a request for proposals for the disposal of tree limbs and such by disgraced former Parish President Aaron Broussard. Broussard’s contract evaluation team included a number of former parish employees now under an active federal investigation and included former Parish Attorney Tom Wilkinson and former Parish CAO Tim Whitmer. That contract evaluation team expanded the scope of their charge to include proposals for all waste disposal, such services being provided the Parish by Waste Management under a long term contract using the Parish’s landfill. It turned out Whitmer was moonlighting as an insurance agent and besides selling insurance to the Parish itself he was also selling River Birch along with a multitude of other Parish venders.
Allstate is again asking for an increase in homeowners’ insurance rates. “They’re not going to get a 44 percent increase unless the court gives it to them,” State Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney said of the insurers’ latest submission.
Without discounts, Chaney said the latest increase could amount to a 48 percent increase for some customers with Allstate Property and Casualty Insurance Co. In January, Allstate withdrew an increase after Chaney’s rejection. Submitted as a 59 percent increase, Chaney said it would have amounted to a 65 percent increase for some customers.
“I’m never pleased with huge rate increases, and I review them extremely carefully,” Chaney said…If the commissioner doesn’t respond to the rate hike, it would go in effect in 30 days. Chaney, however, said he won’t let that happen. He plans to ask the insurer for more information.
If Chaney follows his usual practice, he won’t surprise the Clarion Ledger reader that commented:
Watch this one. They have filed for a 44% increase ,which will be refused and then they will file for an increase of over 15% and it will be approved. Just watch it and you will see what will happen.
Stay tuned to Fox 8 for the latest developments on the Tuesday Night Massacre as Val Bracy evidently taped an extensive interview with Ms Vandenweghe,the second part of which aired at 5pm today. While there is no video up yet on the story we do have Val’s print report from which we glean a few more nuggets including a bomb shell regarding discrepancies in responses to public records requests involving the River Birch landfill:
“In August of last year we received requests from a law firm in Baton Rouge for copies of the River Birch contract. The initial response to the individual’s public records response was in August or September. In, I believe November when the grand jury subpoena for the River Birch information came in I received a totally different response from the same people. The signature pages were not the same and what I turned over to the grand jury were four different signature pages,” said Vandenweghe.
I’m not certain if Theriot’s remarks for today’s story were in the can or new but of I had to guess, given his quotes from Friday’s report I bet they are new and Mr Parish President is feeling a bit less secure concerning the “proof” of her playing on the computer. If I may be so bold, I’ll add that I think Mr Theriot is still trying to dig dirt on Ms Vandenweghe so that he can make the firing stick. IMHO Mr Theriot has been a very naughty boy who has been caught with his hand in the proverbial cookie jar.
Slabbed is the end result an internet community sharing a wealth of information. This post and others in the upcoming series were made possible by the efforts of two people, primarily BayRat4Life and secondarily a reader that we’ll call Alex Trebek who gave us the answer which, in turn, helped us define the question, “Why did the Jefferson Parish Council install Steve Theriot as interim Parish President.” This series of posts deals with the history of River Birch Landfill, as we highlight the various players involved in securing the exclusive arrangement it now enjoys with the Parish. We begin today in the middle of the River Birch timeline back in 1995.
1995 was the pivotal year for River Birch Inc, a company founded in 1968 by Albert “Butch” “Jim” Ward. 1995 would also mark a turning point for the company in its quest to become a permitted landfill as Mr Ward cut a deal that would bring new ownership to the company. So we begin at the end of 1995 and set the stage for 1996 as I quote from the narrative of an opinion which ultimately resulted from a hearing before Administrative Law Judge Michelle Finnegan:
Folks, while this is not all of the story, a few of the events leading to the Tuesday Night Massacre have finally made it to the public domain as Ann Marie Vandenweghe has spoken out to Fox 8’s investigative reporter Val Bracy. To make certain the Slabbed Nation is clear on this I am not discriminating in favor of Channel 4 on the videos we embed as Fox 8 is not yet WordPress friendly. I did inquire and was told the IT krewe is diligently working on the problem but is not quite there yet so I encourage the Slabbed Nation to click over and watch the interview which I’ve linked below the fold. As I alluded there are still more related revelations to come IMHO but that will happen in time. For now we know 3 things:
1. Ms Vandenweghe claims she was dismissed for blogging on a parish computer during working hours.
2. The FBI has inquired of Mr Theriot why he fired a whistleblower.
3. Once again we have that Eau de Landfill smell wafting through the Yenni Office Building.
Next stop is an excerpt from Val Bracy’s interview:
“I can unequivocally state that all members of the administration of West Jefferson Medical Center were shocked to learn of the involvement of both Mr. Coulon and Mr. Whitmer in this insurance scandal” – Peter Butler Jr to WWL TV’s Paul Murphy.
As Nowdy joked offline in our informal editorial board round robin today, “the population of Jefferson Parish is almost “20-25% of entire state of Mississippi…God knows how much larger the JP population would be if those in the landfills were counted!” The skeletons are staggering even by Mississippi proportions and those that followed the Scruggs saga know Louisiana has no strangle-hold on systemic corruption but the politicians and their cronies in the New Orleans area take that corruption to new heights. As an observer of the goings on in New Orleans from just over the state line I howled with laughter many years ago after a federal bankruptcy judge joked that the difference between Mississippi pols and those in Louisiana was that in Mississippi the brown paper bag had a bottom. Simply put this is a target rich environment. Continue reading “Pigs love mud and the greedy little piggies at West Jefferson Medical Center are in up to their necks. Slabbed unifies Whitmer, Lagniappe, the Hospital and River Birch Landfill.”
People are plain mad at the political class these days, after all who isn’t mad after being snookered by self-serving double-dealing politicians such as Chris Dodd, Max Baucus, David Vitter or Dick Shelby all of whom recommend people for important government positions such as US Attorney. With the election of Barack Obama in 2008 we found out here in Mississippi that the duty of recommending people for such jobs then falls to the House members when both senators are in the party out of power.
Back in the year 2000 the kingmaker in Louisiana was Billy Tauzin, at least for the southern part of the state. For now, lets circle that fact as Slabbed explores why a succession of US Attorneys failed to clean up the systemic corruption in New Orleans for years ending with the now disgraced Eddie Jordan. Jim Letten on the other hand has enjoyed far more success, so much so that the Republican Letten has stayed on to serve the Democrat Obama due to the popular outcry in favor of keeping him on. People everywhere yearn for clean and above-board government and Jim Letten has delivered it. But as a reader reminded us, it was almost business as usual back in the day. A Baton Rouge Advocate story from February 3, 2002 as memorialized by the National Organization for Women fills in the gap:
Acknowledging there is a previously undisclosed allegation of abuse, a Louisiana Republican congressman said Saturday the FBI has completed an expanded investigation of the U.S. Attorney-designee of Fred Heebe of New Orleans and cleared Heebe of all allegations that he abused three women.
Anyone keeping up with the recent commentary on the unfolding Jeferson Parish Political Corruption Scandal understands exactly how far reaching the systemic corruption extends. We’re holding lots of information for publication including some very early information we received from a concerned citizen on the way things were done in Jefferson Parish circa the late 1980’s and it is there we begin with the case of Steimle & Associates v Camp Dresser, a racketeering suit so old it does not appear on PACER. The case involved allegations of corruption involving then Jefferson Parish council member Jimmy Lawson. This bit of background comes courtesy of West Law which does have the related cases in their database. This is from US District Court Judge Patrick Carr’s opinion dated October 6, 1996 as the case was dismissed on a technicality:
Because the issue is when plaintiff knew certain facts, the background of this matter is set out in some detail. Plaintiff and defendant are both environmental engineering concerns involved in local government construction contracts regarding waste disposal. Prior to the late 1980s, plaintiff was a subcontractor for defendant on several jobs. The relationship between the parties deteriorated and they became rivals. Plaintiff hired an investigatory firm which went through the trash of defendant, gleaning defendant’s internal documents. A local newspaper published stories about defendant and its methods of obtaining contracts, apparently based on those documents.