As Dambala at American Zombie puts it, New Orleans area politicians looting charities is the “art of the con profit”. The scheme is now a time-honored one in the Dollar Bill Jefferson crime family: Steer government earmarks to a charity under the effective control of the politician doing the steering and then loot the money out on the back-end. In Jefferson Parish Councilman Byron Lee’s case, people have been looking and then some for several months and the verdict is in as the man appears in dire need of a criminal indictment. We’ve been hearing rumors for weeks now that is exactly what has happened. Before we get to the latest I think we should review Lee and his history with affiliated con profits:
We begin with the River Birch landfill, since all corruption roads appear to lead straight back to Team Ward/Heebe’s massive real estate holding in Waggaman, purchased in the 1960s from Carlos Marcello. As part of the settlement involving the permitting process in the late 1990’s River Birch agrees to pay $70,000 per year for 10 years to the 3rd Jefferson Parish Council District to fund community projects in the area impacted most by the landfill. I’ll add landfills and corruption seem to go together in Jefferson Parish like white on rice and it contains a major political component.
Enter current 3rd District Jefferson Parish Councilman Byron Lee, a corrupt sack of shit that has been twice duly elected by the voters despite the fact he sold them out. Once he assumed control of the annual payments he began steering them to not for profits affiliated with him. None of this was a secret yet Lee was reelected in 2007 as Louisiana voters once again shoot themselves in the foot. The spending trend was unmistakable. Continue reading “It”
Hat tip Editilla.
Dambala over at American Zombie has been doing some great investigative work lately involving LA State Rep Cedric Richmond. He wrote this:
For the past four months, I’ve been researching a tip I received on current 2nd District Congressional candidate, State Rep. Cedric Richmond. I was told that Rep. Richmond took a chapter out of the Mose/Bill Jefferson playbook and set up at least one 501c3 (non-profit), then bilked the organization’s cash flow for personal use.
I think we have some stuff up on Slabbed that can help fuel the fire. I welcomed Ike and Sonja Spears to Slabbed and highlighted his connection to Dollar Bill and family. I imagine Ike was a member of that political machine. Jim Letten has the goods on Sonja Spears yet has not released an indictment despite the slam dunk case he has against her. Sonja is Ike’s wifey. This could also tie into them rumors we keep hearing about Civil District Court. Continue reading “To amplify some of Dambala’s recent posts. Follow the money folks.”
We covered the unfolding saga of Judge Sonja Spears who moved to the Boston area but never bothered to resign her local judgeship or stop collecting her paycheck. Since then I’ve recently been told Letten’s boys are closing in on indictments.
Since Lee Zurich at Fox 8 broke the story it is appropriate we link their breaking news coverage of Spears’ resignation.
Slabbed the book, if we ever get around to writing it, may have some behind the scene color to add to our coverage.
As our readers may expect from the premiere legal affairs blog in the gulf south we were the early innovators in the topic of New Orleans Civil District Court Judge Michgael Bagneris being nominated to a spot on the Louisiana Eastern District with a post Nowdy did back in April 2009 on his nomination to the federal bench at the same time Jim Letten was retained as US Attorney for the LAED. We were also the blog which broke Bagneris’ order delaying a trial until after the Superbowl back on late January, a topic which went viral and landed on the front page of the Picayune later on that day (where we were not credited). However, we won’t take credit for breaking the news Bagneris was rejected as unfit to serve by Team Obama as Bruce Alpert at the Times Picayune did that but unlike Mr. Alpert and his employer that prefer to protect these type of characters, Slabbed add some color as to why Mr Bagneris is unfit to serve as a federal judge. Let’s begin with Bruce Alpert and his recent report on the rejection:
In a surprise move, Barack Obama’s administration has rejected Sen. Mary Landrieu’s recommendation to fill a federal judgeship in New Orleans, asking her to offer another candidate to replace her choice of Parish Civil Court Judge Michael Bagneris.
Landrieu had recommended Bagneris, 60, a 17-year veteran of the parish court, in April 2009, at the same she suggested that President Obama retain Jim Letten as U.S. attorney. Obama accepted that recommendation.
Landrieu expressed disappointment with the White House rejection, which came this week. Continue reading “Lets catch up with some judicial news. President Obama rejects Landrieu nominee for Federal Judge on the LAED.”
After yesterday’s post on Sonja and Ike Spears was published the emails with additional links came pouring in and as I followed the links I was struck by the old adage about telling the truth because it is hard to keep lies straight. In this case the lies involve a sitting judge and that judge’s residency in New Orleans 1st City Court Judge Sonja Spears, who now claims, through a taxpayer paid spokesperson, that she moved her family to the Boston area for medical treatment.
Her hubby Ike wasn’t singing that song before Sonja got sick though, as this piece with Morehouse Magazine from 2006 indicates:
IKE SPEARS NEVER DREAMED that he would live in Boston, but that is where he and his family ended up after Hurricane Katrina. Spears, who was born and raised in New Orleans, his wife, Sonja, and sons, Diallo and Omari, initially rode out the storm in a Houston hotel.After nearly a week of taking in the devastating news about their city, the Spearses decided that it was time to head to his wife’s hometown. Soon they had an apartment, and the kids were enrolled in school. Continue reading “After the storm: A look back at Ike and Sonja Spears and Hurricane Katrina. "I think we have a problem with leadership in the city right now…."”
First we heard the rumors and then Fox 8 gave us a teaser. By then, we also knew that Lee Zurich had not been sitting on his rear end during his time between on air gigs doing the news in New Orleans. It is said work is the bane of the blogging class and that was certainly true for me yesterday as the media frenzy on this story began in earnest as readers began emailing me the links. First was a WDSU story. Then came a more in-depth Times Picayune report and then WWL’s coverage. As is the case many times, the best was saved for last and that was Lee Zurich’s report for Fox 8. For some background for our out of area readers, I’ll start with the Laura Maggi’s Times Picayune report as we’ll also save the best for last:
The U.S. Attorney’s Office has subpoenaed documents that track the schedule, payment and even the movements of Sonja M. Spears, who draws a local salary as a 1st City Court judge while living part of the time in Massachusetts, where her children attend school……….
Investigators are simply seeking to determine how often Spears shows up to work. Public records show Spears and her husband, attorney Ike Spears, own a $1.3 million house in the Boston suburb of Needham.
Records obtained by The Times-Picayune also show that Spears applied for, and was granted, medical leave from April 7 to May 6, 2008, as well as Jan. 26 to March 30, 2009. In both cases, Spears told the Louisiana Supreme Court that she needed to undergo surgery, and replacement, or ad hoc, judges were assigned to her court.
I remembered the Spears family name but it wasn’t from her sister-in-law as we continue: Continue reading “Please allow me to warmly welcome Sonja and Ike Spears to Slabbed.”