One of yesterday’s top search strings to Slabbed yesterday was “Val Bracy fired”. I was curious about the source of the googles and found it on Fox 8’s own website as they ran large segments of the Aaron Broussard extended interview, parts of which are subject to a libel suit against Fox 8 filed by Trout Point Lodge and its owners Broussard legal associate Danny Abel, Charles Leary and Vaughn Perret as they evidently did not like the end result of what Broussard had to say on his ownership of a vacation lodge in Nova Scotia run by (and since sold to) Trout Point Lodge. Unfortunately Fox 8 updated their video archives for the late newscast reports but the newer story still has excerpts of Val’s Broussard interview sans the credit. Speaking of Fox 8, their segment with Margie Seemann can be found here.
Channel 4 has 2 stories up on their website. They garnered reaction from Aaron Broussard’s criminal lawyer Robert Jenkins, who does not get high marks from Slabbeds legal team. The Gambitman also chimed essentially saying Aaron, Tom and Karen, you guys are so fucked. Folks if you think Aaron Broussard crying on NBC after Katrina was bad wait until he reports to the federal pen. BoP may need to start a tissue drive now to stock up.
Channels 6 (NBC) and 26 (ABC) also had coverage.
Over at the Times Picayune the editorial board tackles the newest legal strategy used by the Parish to void the shithouse deal Broussard cut with the River Birch Landfill. They also covered yesterday’s recusal from the case of every federal judge in the LAED. I pair these two stories as a commenter to each exposes the logical flaws in both. That recusal in particular stinks in that if these judges can’t deal fairly with the brother of a Magistrate, WTF is Ginger Berrigan doing presiding over the related case involving the son of a senior federal judge Fred JR Heebe, a jurist she once clerked for that also presided over a curious case involving Carlos Marcello back in the day? This makes absolutely no sense given Judge Vance’s started reasons for the enbanc recusal.
The T-P also filed stories on Broussard’s marriage to his former council aid that ended in both divorce and indictment. Curiously absent from Rainey’s coverage is former journalist Ken Trahan who was being paid by the Parish while he worked at the Saints Museum or drunken Constable Antoine “Tony” Thomassie who likely drank to his paycheck. The T-P’s coverage of the indictment can be found here.
The Times Picayune went above and beyond in their FOIA based 4 year investigation into Team FBI and Operation Wrinkled Robe, a 9 year saga that concluded with the impeachment last year of Federal District Court Judge Tom pOrteous. We’ve written extensively on both the investigation and last year’s impeachment proceedings with my Bell Cow post on Wrinkled Robe itself found here with Nowdy’s combo Wrinkled Robe/Porteous/Shaved genitalia masterpiece here. Today T-P editor Drew Broach nicely adds to the extensive body of knowledge that is Operation Wrinkled Robe with his report on FBI investigation papers which includes some interactive graphics and the FOIA response itself. It is simply very well done.
Some of the names mentioned should be very familiar to Slabbed lifers in Kenner’s Skip Hand and Steve Mortillaro, later termed deadhead employees by Aaron Broussard’s replacement Steve Theriot. But we also learn that the investigation also went on location in Biloxi twice as the Marcotte’s bought the judges rooms at the Beau Rivage.
Most interesting is how the whole thing started with a tip from a disgruntled competitor of Louis Marcotte to the Metropolitan Crime Commission, the same folks that filed the ethics complaint against Aaron Broussard for making parish venders rent his vacation property at the Trout Point development in Nova Scotia. Ol’ Aaron has since began selling his Canadian holdings including his beloved River Bend Lodge, which was sold earlier this year to Charles Leary and Vaughn Perret of Trout Point Lodge infamy.
I mention all this because all it takes is a tip to start something far larger. Continue reading “Drew Broach takes a nostalgic trip down wrinkled robe lane as the Times Picayune profiles recently released internal FBI records.”
Affectionately known as the M&M sisters to their supporters and not so affectionately as crazed lunatics within certain circles in Parish Government, Margaret Baird and Margie Seemann have taken to the airways making the case that Jefferson Parish Government, as it is presently constituted is rotten to the core citing the recently released Legislative Auditor’s report which found potential payroll fraud as proof.
Yesterday we got their email blast which contained a link to a Kim Holden Fox 8 report in which Margaret and Margie were interviewed about the problems in payroll within parish government. This blurb from the email blast sums it up:
Citizens for Good Government believes that not only should the feds investigate the paralegal scandal, but Jefferson Parish District Attorney Paul Connick should do his job and prosecute the wrongdoers NOW. Since the DA has original jurisdiction in this case, he should either prosecute, or recuse himself and permit the Louisiana Attorney-General to prosecute the wrongdoers. After all, the Continue reading “Citizens for Good Government goes on the offensive and demands Paul Connick do his job. A Jefferson Parish Political Corruption Scandal Update.”
Is October the month indictments finally come down? Will DA Paul Connick, who has known about these allegations at least as long as everyone else, finally emerge from hiding and do his job? Is Jim Letten stonewalling the investigation as some folks allege? Unfortunately today’s Times Picayune Op Ed on the general subject of public payroll fraud in Jefferson Parish Government did not provide the answers to any of these questions but we do appreciate their editorial position and in fact applaud it.
The comments to it convey a good sense of the various cross sections public opinion on this topic. I’m going to focus on the very real frustration with US Attorney Jim Letten which echos some of what I’ve been told by several folks both off blog and on. While not a majority viewpoint IMHO the frustration is real and the allegations troubling. In light of the recent senate proceedings in the impeachment of Judge Tom Porteous the commenter has an appropriate name to boot: Gretna Mentality which is a kissing cousin to our own recent use of term ‘Gretna Style’. Here is the remark:
This is what happens when you allow US Attorneys to be selected by Politicians. When David Vitter holds off the appointment of other federal post because he demands that James Letten be assured a job you have to wonder why a whore is protecting a whore of a US Attorney. Letten is nothing more than another sleazebag corrupt lawyer himself. The record is public, Kurt Engelhardt was David Vitters Campaign manager, and somehow David Vitter managed to pay for whores in New Orleans for years without ever spending his own money. Continue reading “The Times Picayune calls for a Federal investigation into Jefferson Parish payroll fraud. Does the ‘Gretna Mentality’ slab US Attorney Jim Letten?”
Many months and resignations later, Louisiana Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera has issued a report on the question of payroll fraud in the Jefferson Parish Attorney’s Office and the answer is yes Virginia, Aaron Broussard, Tom Wilkinson and Tim Whitmer are likely petty criminals that used the Parish’s payroll system to enrich relative and crony alike. The media coverage of the report has been extensive and I’m not going to reinvent the wheel in the interest of time. That said there are 3 points I want to stress:
1. A reader sent us the link to the Fox 8 report. By rights we should be highlighting their coverage since it was their reporter Val Bracy, who broke much of this news. Fox 8, which is owned by Tom Benson, in a move that rivals the stupidity in hiring Mike Ditka to coach the Saints, did not renew Val’s contract and she left the air in August. She deserves a Peabody Award for her Jefferson Parish reporting IMHO. None of Val’s sources on Jefferson Parish trust Lee Zurich and I’m not saying that to be ugly to Lee, who I enjoy watching. It is just a simple fact.
2. Jefferson Parish Clerk of Court John Gegenheimer has been caught in a lie and is now trying to weasel his way out of it. We call politicians who do this ‘Lying Sacks of Shit” here on Slabbed but Gegenheimer has good company there as we’ve called the Prez the same thing. Continue reading “One acronym fits it all folks: RICO. The Legislative Auditor report on Jefferson Parish finds probable payroll fraud.”
Naturally, Val Bracy had the story, Feds widen investigation in Jefferson Parish:
(h/t Fox 8 )
Federal investigators are digging deeper into the scandal in Jefferson Parish. The feds sent two subpoenas requiring the parish to turn over extensive information on the red light cameras as well as payroll discrepancies first reported by FOX 8.
Federal prosecutors want employment records for two current Jefferson Parish employees and four whose jobs were eliminated after the parish uncovered what could possibly be payroll fraud.
Earlier this year, after a Fox 8 Investigates report revealed payroll discrepancies in the Parish Attorney’s Office, the parish eliminated the positions of Sportscaster Ken Trahan, Karen Parker, who is the ex-wife of Aaron Broussard, and Constable Tony Thomassie.
Bracy’s story is so packed with details that it’s difficult to summarize – so I’ll give you a sample and you can follow the link for more details:
You already have put the parish in a bad position Mr Theriot. I won’t speculate whether you realize that yet but if you really want to do right by the citizens of Jefferson parish you sir should resign……
We knew early yesterday what the public now knows concerning the events surrounding the Tuesday Night Massacre where 3 honest Parish Attorneys were taken to the chop shop by interim Parish President Steve Theriot in a last-ditch effort to save his partner in crime Tom Wilkinson. Theriot’s actions were plain stupid but it also betrayed a mindset replete with denial as the gang still does not see the coming freight train that is steam rolling through Jefferson Parish. Inherent to Theriot’s actions was a business as usual attitude most likely coupled with the assumption the investigation had been contained. As we find out such is not the case. Chris Finch has the story for Fox 8:
Two Jefferson Parish attorney’s, including the parish attorney himself, have been placed on paid leave. The other attorney, Anne Marie Vandenweghe, filed a Whistleblower protection lawsuit and now her suspension has peaked the interest of federal investigators.
Parish President Steve Theriot placed Wilkinson on paid administrative leave on Thursday morning.
“I can’t really discuss why, but I put him on leave this morning,” said Theriot.
Wilkinson is under investigation by the parish Personnel Board. Board members believe he may have violated a parish law that prohibits most employees from engaging in political activity. Wilkinson declined to comment on his suspension. Continue reading “Slabbed Updates the Jefferson Parish Front: Theriot is toast. Anne Marie Vandenweghe files a Whistleblower Suit.”
A reader observed to us offline last evening in advance of the Fox 8 report on the Jefferson Parish Personnel Board, this entire affair is taking on a Nixonesque quality. Before I link Val Bracy’s excellent report that ran last night at 10 we first must visit with a comment made by Whitmergate that brings events into a sharper focus:
Mr. Wilkinson’s transgression being that as a parish employee he engaged in prohibited political activity, in particular, conducting the affairs of Tim Coulon’s political committee in and from the East Bank Yenni parish building. deBrief and I yelled with delight; then cursing as Asst. Parish Attorney, Mr. Louis Gruntz mumbled about the due process of his client; all too reminecient of Mr. Broussard’s overly zealous plea for Mr. Whitmer’s due process. Which segues into the ethical question, who exactly is Mr. Gruntz’s client ? Mr. Combs, a gentleman lawyer from the Jones, Walker law firm and an independent appointee by both the Loyola and Tulane Law Schools to the Board opines that he is at a lost as to why Mr. Gruntz is lawyering up for Wilkinson, his boss ? Which again begs the question, who is Mr. Gruntz representing ? The Parish Attorney’s office is mandated to represent the citizens of the Parish of Jefferson, through it’s duly elected officials, the Parish President and the Parish Council.
As the very politically incorrect but apparently connected Tin Lizzy might say, “Indeed my good man, indeed”. With this part so well set up by Whitmergate let’s visit with Val Bracy and Fox 8:
Jefferson Parish attorney Tom Wilkinson is one of three people the parish personnel board is investigating.
The board is looking at his actions as well as those of Aaron Broussard’s ex-wife and a current candidate for judge.
Wilkinson served as the director of former parish president Tim Coulon’s campaign committee. Campaign activity by most employees is a violation of the parish code of ordinances. Continue reading “Slabbed Updates the Jefferson Parish front: Wilkinson and Villio enter the twilight zone. A bit more on the Tuesday Night Massacre.”
Problem is folks, double-dealing Tom Wilkinson is not one of them. Richard Rainey has the scoop for the Times Picayune:
Six weeks into his job as interim president of Jefferson Parish government, Steve Theriot suspended one assistant parish attorney Tuesday and said he is examining the roles of two others who are former politicians.
Theriot said he placed Anne Marie Vandenweghe, who was in charge of public records requests, on paid administrative leave. He didn’t give a reason, calling it a personnel matter, and Vandenweghe would not comment. Continue reading “BREAKING: Theriot curbs one Parish Attorney and is giving two others a looksie”