Friday Miscellany: Mack gets knifed, the second coming of Jesus, Louisiana Republican hypocrisy plus Levees and the NFIP

Whew that was a mouthful. Let’s start with BIll Mack, who cut a deal to testify against the former Goatherder in Chief. Judge Brown gave Mack 20 months, higher than what was requested by the Federal prosecutors for bribing Aaron Broussard.  If my preliminary calculations are in the ballpark, Mack will spend somewhere close to 10 months in a low security prison before hitting the VOA house in New Orleans.

Moving right along Michelle Hunter has been having fun with a guy that is obviously “nuttier than a Chinese fruit cake” who fancied himself as the second coming of Jesus Christ.  Not to minimize the deleterious impacts on the poor woman and child whose house Nike Ablia chose to spread the good word but if I may be so bold as to suggest that Ablia needs a rubber room and medication far more than incarceration.  I speak here as someone who watched a friend afflicted with bipolar disorder crack up (severe sleep deprivation will do it every time) along with those of a close friend that has a brother similarly afflicted that indeed also thought he was second coming of Jesus Christ right on down to wearing a white sheet and a white sheet only.  There but the grace of God…….

Next up is the source of my angst regarding FEMA giving credit for levees in their NFIP calculations and it comes from a somewhat unlikely source in the lawsuit against the Oil Industry filed by the East Bank Levee Authority, mainly the chatter surrounding it. Before we get to that we must highlight politicians exhibiting their ignorance mindlessly bashing trial lawyers:

But state Sen. Conrad Appel, R-Metairie called into question the “hundreds of millions of dollars” the lawyers stand to make on the case if successful.

“I don’t understand why a levee district would hire trial lawyers when we have an attorney general to handle class,” Appel said.

If there is one group the GOP likes to scapegoat more than the poor and Mexican ditchdiggers it is the trial lawyers. Continue reading “Friday Miscellany: Mack gets knifed, the second coming of Jesus, Louisiana Republican hypocrisy plus Levees and the NFIP”

Other Voices| SouthCoastToday.ca: Disgraced New Orleans politician begins prison term

Corrupt New Orleans politician Aaron Broussard enters federal prison in North Carolina Monday after being convicted of a rash of charges of fraud and bribery, some with connections to businesses and property he owned or managed in the Kempt Wilderness in Nova Scotia. He was sentenced to three years, ten months in a minimum security facility.

In a TV interview over the weekend, Broussard described how he entered politics forty years ago fighting the political machine and “good old boy” system, only to become the poster child for political corruption in a notably corrupt town. Broussard was president of Jefferson Parish, the largest in the state. “I’m leaving politics as a good old boy in disgrace,” Broussard told reporter Travers Mackel.

Broussard’s criminal case involved several charges, of which he insisted he was innocent and would fight to the end.

He finally admitted in court to scheming in 2003 to give his then-girlfriend — later his wife — a public job for which she was not qualified and at which she rarely appeared. He also confessed that he took bribe payments totaling $66,000 to help steer public contracts to a Kenner businessman. His ex-wife, his chief administrative officer, his parish attorney and the businessman also pleaded guilty to federal charges.

“If you’re involved in a scandal, then you wear the scarlet letter for the rest of your life, and beyond the grave,” Broussard told another reporter. “I regret every single act and thing that I did that leads me to walk into the prison gates on Monday.” Continue reading “Other Voices| SouthCoastToday.ca: Disgraced New Orleans politician begins prison term”

BrousStar wants to reset the Slabbed countdown clock

Because there was no room for them in the inn

I have a small confession to make. I have a internet fetish for sending other websites business, especially on days when I am busy. Along those lines Lockem noted a Manuel Torres story on the former Goatherder in Chief asking Judge Head for a delay in reporting to prison such motion being unopposed by Team Fed. I saw it this morning myself and thought it was a great read.

What made is a great read wasn’t the PACER diving Manuel did because anyone with an account can do that. Nope what made it good was he snagged analysis from former federal prosecutor turned criminal defense lawyer turned Harahan Mayor Vinnie Mosca.  If there is one thing I could say about Vinnie is that when he talks people listen. Following is an example of that which I speak:

So if Vinny sayeth there is no room in the Inn bank it folks.

Public outrage on display Part 1: Some thoughts on the Broussard sentencing.

A day has elapsed since yesterday’s sentencing hearing for Karen Parker, Tom Wilkinson and Aaron Broussard in Judge Head’s temporary courtroom on Camp Street and the accounting by the media of yesterday’s events is almost complete, “almost” being because I have not chipped in my two cents worth. First up I need to highlight Jason at American Zombie, Editilla at the Ladder and Mark Moseley aka Oyster over at Your Right Hand Thief for the hat tips and support. There are people taking real personal risks telling this story besides me and they deserve the recognition. To those guys I’ll add I have sources whose families have been threatened because word has gotten out they spoke with me. I can honestly say I’ve never been prouder of those of you that have entered the crucible with me despite the personal risk telling this story entails.

Next I need to point everyone to Drew Broach’s second story on the Broussard sentencing because it is good and he can actually spell sophomoric correctly.  He hits all the high points save one so I’ll highlight how the media portrayed what I am talking about and hopefully convey a deeper understanding of what went down yesterday so let’s start with this snippet from Drew’s story:

Head said he considered a series of regular payments from Kenner businessman Bill Mack to Broussard as a single bribe for parish business, not several. And he downplayed Broussard’s “leadership role” in the payroll fraud conspiracy that gave the parish president’s then-fiancée, Karen Parker, a public job for which she was not qualified and at which she rarely worked.

As a result, the judge calculated the sentencing guidelines range to be 46 to 57 months.

And a few of the other media accounts:

Gambit

Broussard faced a maximum of 15 years for the crimes, a sentence likely cut down because of his clean criminal record and his cooperation. Head, a Texas judge appointed to the Broussard case, further reduced the sentence, citing a number of disagreements with recommendations from the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the federal probation office.

The government recommended sentence enhancements for accepting multiple bribes from Mack. But, Head pointed out, those bribes resulted from a single agreement.

“A bribe paid in a series of installments is one bribe,” he said.

Head also struck down an enhancement based on an assertion that he was the organizer of a bribery conspiracy involving five or more people. The deal, the judge said, was strictly between Broussard and Mack.

Fox 8:

Broussard originally faced 58 to 72 months behind bars, but U.S. District Judge Hayden Head reduced the sentencing guidelines and only ended up giving Broussard 46 months. In court, Judge Head, brought in from Texas, disagreed with prosecutors on how some of the charges were counted, thus deciding to change the sentencing guidelines.

WWL TeeVee

Legal expects (sic) expected Broussard to receive a sentence in the five to eight year range. The Texas judge handling Broussard’s sentencing said prosecutors had double counted his bribe payments.

Judge Hayden Head also appeared to downplay the hiring of Broussard ex-wife Karen Parker as a paralegal supervisor even though she lacked the proper credentials to do the work.

He said from the bench: “This was not a sophisticated operation. It must be common procedure to put people on the payroll.”

The apparent light sentence caught many court-watchers by surprise, given the nature of the public corruption charges.

“He gave a lecture to the U.S. Attorneys Office, to the probation department and he calculated the sentencing guidelines differently than the probation office had calculated them and that worked to the benefit of Aaron Broussard,” said Eyewitness News legal analyst Donald “Chick” Foret. “He was not impressed with the payroll portion of the case which dealt with Tom Wilkinson and Karen Parker. It was almost like he was trying to talk Tom Wilkinson out of his guilty plea at times.”

Drew Broach got it the closest while the Gambit oversimplified things to the point of being misleading.  I did not expect much from the TeeVee media though Chick Foret’s analysis always seems both informative and amusing.

First we need to dispel the notion that Judge Head gave a downward departure from the sentencing guidelines because that is simply not true.  As I previously said in comments Judge Head called the case straight so in my opinion the criticism he is taking in comments to the various news accounts is neither warranted or deserved. Second Slabbed’s legal experts had no preconceived expectations of Broussard’s sentence though I’ll add NOLA Born, a former Federal prosecutor has opined the sentence handed down is in line with the crime and fact pattern as submitted to Judge Head. Continue reading “Public outrage on display Part 1: Some thoughts on the Broussard sentencing.”

Did I mention that Aaron Broussard would monkey with property tax bills? Part 2 of a 5 part series.

I do believe I strongly alluded to that fact once or twice with all those zero property tax assessments we keep finding in the Jefferson Tax Assessor online database. There were evidently benefits to the corrupt bribery scheme Broussard had going with Bill Mack beyond the value of the public contracts Broussard steered to Mack’s company First Communications. Click the pic to get the 2 page pdf:

First Communications Property Tax

And now a word from a major Slabbed sponsor, the taxpayers of Jefferson Parish

Hi guys. You folks may remember earlier this month I mentioned a thing or two about a massive public records request I sent late in the spring of this year. So according to the August, 2012 PRR report on file up on the 7th floor of the Yenni Building the taxpayers of Jefferson Parish invested over $10,000 and 240 man hours in this little project and that does not count the 80 or so man hours I spent thus far rolling it out to the public.

So with that set up the disclaimers that this taxpayer subsidy in no way impacted Slabbed’s coverage of the operations of Jefferson Parish government during the bad old days when the Goatherders were running wild no siree.  In fact the people inside the Yenni Building today are workin’ hard to get that mookie stink off the operations of the Parish Government.  The Parish Attorney’s office, for instance welcomes the use of sunshine as a disinfectant and cockroach insecticide when such is applied by the hand of a seasoned professional. Speaking of that, please do not try this at home folks.  When I sent the first bat signal to the Parish Attorney’s office I could tell from the reply that it caused some sort of seismic disturbance inside the annals of the elected aristocracy.  I’m not gonna share my secret as that is what makes the artist formerly known as Sop a seasoned professional but after a fashion everyone emoted and then we joined hands and sang Kumbaya and set sail.

Now at this point I gotta mention none of the people up on 7 want their names mentioned in Slabbed’s coverage as they were simply public servants going about their jobs and I agreed to honor that, especially since being the public face on 7 is Parish Attorney Foshee’s job.  That said I enjoyed working with the gang assigned to the project and in an odd cosmic twist one of the employees assigned to Slabbed had an extensive prior work history with our good friends over at Liberty Mutual, a company we tackled a time or two in the past.  On one visit, when I opened a file that contained an allergen that caused me to cough uncontrollably the gang was kind enough to grab me some water.  Once I entered the room with the records I did not leave said room until the workday was done.  I may be getting old but to paraphrase Hank:

I can dive in bankers boxes all day long and I can stick flounder from dusk til dawn.

Since I was given access to the actual source documents in their marked and numbered bankers boxes I did have to agree to not discuss the redaction’s in the documents as some of them Continue reading “And now a word from a major Slabbed sponsor, the taxpayers of Jefferson Parish”

From the reader email bag: A request for perspective.

Q. Many of your and nola.com readers are exercised about the relatively light punishments coming up for Broussard, Wilkinson, and Whitmer (BWW), but these readers seem to believe either that these are the targets or that they are stepping stones to the final targets, Heebe and Ward. Do you think these are really the targets? It would seem to me the DOJ would be much more interested in the true sleazebags: Alario, Foster, Tauzin, and maybe others. For example, why did Foster support Heebe for US Attorney? Can Heebe give them Foster? If the targets are the bigger fish, wouldn’t it be better to get BWW over with and not drag their trials out for 10 years like Jefferson?

Please provide us the big picture. Thanks.

Uptown Music

A. I’ve heard the big picture expressed a couple of different ways and am interested to hear what the commenters think. The media consensus is that Heebe is the final target but the media tends to focus on the short term and there is a sense indictments are coming. There is renewed speculation on the streets about 3 Jefferson Parish councilmen that were on the Parish Council back in 2004. But in the scheme of things they too are small fish. Continue reading “From the reader email bag: A request for perspective.”

Aaron Broussard is “getting nuttier and nuttier”, files a defamation suit against NOLA.com commenter CampStBlue

Slabbed has said all sorts of uncomplimentary things about the disgraced former Parish Prez yet we do not get sued by the Goatherder in Chief….well actually we did through his property managers at the Trout Point Development near East Kempt Nova Scotia, Vaughn Perret and Charles Leary.

What can I say folks except someone writing Aaron Broussard is getting nuttier and nuttier is speaking the truth as far as I can tell but opinions like that one are not generally not actionable defamation here in the US but then again no one accused Broussard attorney Robert Jenkins of being anywhere near Perry Mason’s zipcode in terms of legal talent so the jackassery continues.  Gordon Russell at NOLA has all the skinny on the latest SLAPP suit to be filed by Team Goatherder in this saga, as Broussard a Jefferson Parish resident, choose the NOLA CDC as his venue for the suit, which won’t last long IMHO.

Catching up Team Broussard has been busy, filing a change of venue motion with Judge Head back on the 31st.  This comes on the heels of an attempt to have the charges against him dismissed, a move which Team USA ridiculed in its reply briefs to Judge Head.  If I may be so bold as to suggest Gulfport as a great place to hold Broussard and Wilkinson’s trial with Hattiesburg as a strong alternate.  I personally don’t give a shit where they have it because I will enjoy seeing Broussard twist in agony when the guilty verdicts are read, no matter the locale of the venue.

Tick tock, tick tock.

sop

BREAKING: I can confirm I have received the last dispatch from the sinking ship HMS Good Ship Lollypop.

Fo’ true folks indeed I have.

In other news Kenner businessman Bill Mack appeared today in US District Court before Judge Brown and pleaded guilty to bribing Aaron Broussard. Paul Purpura has all the skinny for NOLA.

Tick tock tick tock

sop

Jefferson Parish Corruption Omnibus: Broussard conspirator to cop plea while the T-P goes on the record supporting the CFGG’s efforts

Folks I have a couple of things going on that will prevent me from posting anything substantive for the next couple of days but there has been lots of news rolled out of late that needs to be examined here.

First off is Bill Mack has scheduled a date with Judge Brown to plead guilty to conspiring to bribe Aaron Broussard.  This is not a good thing for Team Goatherder but we already knew the Goatherders were on the run so there is no major surprise there as the prosecution witnesses to the crimes alleged to have been perpetrated by Broussard roll on to the double digits.

Second is professional services contracting pay to play style, which is the Jefferson Parish Council way.  After an early misstep or two the new JP beat team at NOLA appears to have found their sea legs on this issue and gets why the CFGG is squarely behind the BGR’s procurement reform recommendations.  Along those lines on Saturday the T-P editorial board chipped in with their two cents and they now back the CFGG’s efforts.

I don’t know about the local noise makers and the misguided talk of boycotting the new T-P etc in favor of new media ventures like the local version of Tiger Beat but the new team at NOLA.com led by Ricky Mathews appears very content to take thoughtful suggestion and good advice and this folks is a good thing.  There is something else going on behind the scenes involving the JP beat that I will not discuss here beyond saying it appears that certain reporters are bringing their A game to the party in Jefferson Parish and this is a good thing.  If it is true competition insures the best 53 players make an NFL roster and I think it is, then the same is likely true in the journalism biz.

The question of whether or not blogs like Slabbed are competition with media conglomerates like those controlled by the Newhouse family is still an open question.  I view this from a bigger picture standpoint but since I used the football anology how about I end this post with a nice video embed.  Keep bringing it guys because it will only make us all better down the line. ~ sop

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4tPpqfdt9Y

sop