Breaking news from the Sun Herald! Warr pleads, charges against wife dropped

The Sun Herald has the breaking news!

Former Gulfport Mayor Brent Warr pleaded guilty Friday morning to one count of defrauding FEMA, and all other charges against him have been dropped. He was sentenced to three years probation and will have to pay $9,558 restitution.

Charges against his wife, Laura Warr, have been dropped by prosecutors.

About two dozens Warr supporters were in a federal courtroom this morning as Warr entered his plea.

A statement from the Warrs is expected shortly.

The Warrs had been accused of lying about their losses to receive relief funds from FEMA, a $150,000 homeowner’s grant and insurance proceeds. Prosecutors contended they did not live in a beachfront home they claimed as their primary residence when Katrina hit.

The Warrs were also accused of falsifying their income on bank loans…

Hopefully, Sop can add local color.

 

New Developments in USA v Warr: Watch that tongue young lady…..

From the sound of things yesterday at the Federal Courthouse in Gulfport, Team Warr is churning while the good ol Team USA was burning. Based on what we know to this point my general feeling remains the FEMA charges will prove problematic for the Warrs rather than the others. One thing is for certain, this is NOT “a run-of-the-mill Katrina fraud case” despite Ms Williams protestations to the contrary. From the sound of things she evidently had started her day with a big bowl of Wheaties.  Anita Lee filed the Sun Herald story:

Prosecutors must reveal the types of false statements they have accused Mayor Brent Warr and his wife, Laura, of making to secure FEMA relief after Hurricane Katrina, U.S. Magistrate Judge John M. Roper ruled during a hearing Tuesday.

Roper decided the Warrs are entitled to know the “categories” of information they allegedly falsified for their beachfront house, such as repairs, living expenses or personal property destruction. Roper ordered the information turned over within 10 days.

Roper also said prosecutors must give the Warrs the names of “co-conspirators” and “aiders and abetters” mentioned throughout a 16-count indictment that charges them with Katrina and insurance fraud. The names are due 30 days before trial. Continue reading “New Developments in USA v Warr: Watch that tongue young lady…..”

Anyone else notice…..

That our fonts have turned blue? Normally I’m the quiet behind the scenes guy who trouble shoots such things here at slabbed but frankly this one has me stumped.

In other news Brent Warr announced he won’t be running for re-elction due to the fight to clear his name in USA v Warr. The FEMA charges will prove problematic for he and Mrs Warr IMHO.
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The city must move on and with George Schloegel qualifying for the mayor’s race in Gulfport the City will be getting a great man with a lifetime of wisdom running Mississippi’s largest publicly traded company. George comes equipped with mucho business sense to hit the ground running and continue the task of rebuilding Gulfport’s beachfront and downtown. Uncle Leo would no doubt be very proud.

Wait a second Sop are you coronating George Mayor in advance of the election? The short answer is yep, sure am.

Finally the Grinch that stole Christmas is suing his former company AIG for imploding from the subprime Continue reading “Anyone else notice…..”

While I’ve been out. Around the GO Zone in 60 Seconds.

I’ve spent a few minutes catching up with the news this morning. Except for some confusing email exchanges with Nowdy I’ve largely been blissfully ignorant of nonfinancial currrent events in favor of work and the opportunity to spend most of yesterday outside in the freezing wind at the soccer complex.

First off the time stamps don’t work but I’ll invoke the work/blissful ignorance thing and lay claim to being Karnac the Magnificent with this comment I left last Thursday. For some reason this reminds me of the time MDOC screwed with Scott Favre back when. I’ll add there appears be to a very large segment of the populace in Oxford that seriously needs to be get laid or something. Thank Gawd I live on the coast.

Next up is the results of me searching “Anita Lee” at the Sun Herald website. We start with this story mainly because the lady who spearheaded this is an old neighbor of mine. Though not mentioned in the story, the story behind the story is it would not have happened unless an ordinary mother of two kids hadn’t gotten involved.

Looking up that story resulted in this find which was priceless as coast policyholder advocate Kevin Buckel has sued the Commish over a records request. I had to chuckle when I saw the story – we have no bad feelings for Mike Chaney here at slabbed though we give the Commish a good ribbing from time to time.  😉 I think more coasties need to let our Commish know what they are thinking just like Mr Buckel.

As for the lawsuit we wish Mr Buckel well but I noted he appears to be representing himself, the legal term for which is pro se. As Mr Gar once remarked the latin translation means “already lost” but you never know. (H/T Sun Herald for the pdfs). Continue reading “While I’ve been out. Around the GO Zone in 60 Seconds.”

Warr and Peace – of mind (just a little)

Catching up here after the weekend with this story from the Sun Herald reporting attorney Joe Sam Owen plans to request a delay in the trial of Gulfport mayor Brent Warr.

Mayor Brent Warr and his wife, Laura, will ask a federal judge to delay their trial on Katrina-fraud charges, Brent Warr’s attorney, Joe Sam Owen, said during a hearing Friday.

The Warrs are preparing for trial the first week in April. Brent Warr has said he will run for re-election this spring, although he has not filed papers to qualify.

Owen and Laura Warr’s attorney, Frank Trapp of Jackson, both said they expect to have mountains of paperwork to review before trial.

The expected mountains of paperwork will provide the peace of mind that comes with knowing exactly what it is the government is claiming – and until the hearing last week, the Warrs and their attorneys were uncertain of the exact claims and if they’d have the information before they went to court.

Owen and Trapp had filed a Motion for Bill of Particulars,  discussed here in Like a game of 20 questions, in an effort to find out the details of the charges related to the Warr’s homeowner’s coverage with Lexington Insurance.

The hearing was about four additional mail-fraud charges — “the Lexington charges,” the defense calls them — involving Lexington Insurance money paid to the Warrs…

Owen said the insurance company would not release any information to the defense. Continue reading “Warr and Peace – of mind (just a little)”

Like a game of 20 questions – the Warr Indictment

The popular guessing game, Twenty Questions, encourages creativity and deductive reasoning – and so does the indictment of Gulfport Mayor Brent Warr and his wife, Laura.

Under the circumstances, playing a guessing game with the USA doesn’t sound like a barrel of fun – nor does the need to guess exactly what the governments claims you’ve done qualify as any known form of justice.

Consequently, attorney Joe Sam Owen, counsel for Brent Warr, filed a Motion for Bill of Particulars.

Under Rule 7(f) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, the Court may direct the filling of a Bill of Particulars when necessary to prevent unfair surprise at trial. The Defendant joins herein his argument of law in accordance with U. S. v. Linn, 889 F.2d 1369 (5th Cir. 1988 ) which supports this Motion that the Bill of Particulars is necessary to aid in the preparation of the defense to Counts 13 – 16.

Owen understands games.  In fact, he played one rather well, as did Jackson attorney Frank Trapp, newly enrolled counsel for Mrs. Warr; but, that was 40 years and a hotty-toddy ago for these two former Ole Miss Rebels.  Trapp set the 1968 season record for tackles with more assists than than Patrick Willis (2005); and, true to form, he filed a Joinder to Gregory Brent Warr’s Motion for Bill of Particulars today.

The Warr’s request is not at all unreasonable.  After all, counts 13-16 of the Government’s indictment, the subject of the motion, are related to the Warr’s homeowner’s policy, a personal contractual relationship with a privately owned business – Lexington Insurance, a subsidiary of bailout beneficiary AIG. Continue reading “Like a game of 20 questions – the Warr Indictment”

Cookie Cutter Justice – USA v Warr

It is the spirit and not the form of law that keeps justice alive.

Hang with me and, hopefully, by the end of this post, you’ll see how the title, the quote and USA v Warr are connected.  Maybe.

Having never seen House Beautiful report on an indictment or the National Inquirer cover a home renovation, I can’t tell if I’ve linked to a news story (or what).

There are several central issues in the indictment against the Warrs. They include whether or not the Warr home was both their primary residence and occupied by them at the time the hurricane hit on August 29, 2005. These occupancy requirements are cited in the rules for receiving a Homeowner Grant from the Mississippi Development Agency (MDA).  A MDA Homeowner Grant provides up to $150,000 to help rebuild homes damaged or destroyed by Katrina’s storm surge that were outside the federal flood zones that existed at the time of the hurricane. The Warrs did receive the full amount.

The reference to “rules” – not law, not federal regulation but “rules” – is significant.  Federal assistance to the states has two audit trails.  One measures compliance with related fiscal requirements and the other measures compliance with program requirements. The two audit trails, however, are interdependent.  Simply stated:

Try, try, try to separate them
Its an illusion
Try, try, try, and you will only come
To this conclusion
Love and marriage, love and marriage
Go together like a horse and carriage…
You can’t have one without the other.

Matt Jadack was Deputy Inspector General for Disaster Assistance Oversight when he submitted testimony to Congress on the challenge the FEMA faced in that regard: Continue reading “Cookie Cutter Justice – USA v Warr”

Breaking: Lexington loses big at the 5th Circuit (Again). Shades of the Warrs…

This case has a little something for the people stopping in from google checking on the recent Brent Warr news (google is very very good to us) :-) as well as those of us that like seeing the courts make insurers honor their contracts. Let’s start with an excerpt from today’s ruling at the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in Korbel v Lexington:

In October 2002, Korbel purchased a home at 430-432 Olivier Street (the “house”) in New Orleans, Louisiana, and began extensive renovations which were not completed prior to Hurricane Katrina. Korbel ate, bathed, and slept at his parents’ house, but sometimes slept at the house when he was working there late and was too tired to return to his parents’ house. Lexington insured the house, and the policy covered damage to the house, other structures, and personal property, as well additional living expenses resulting from loss of use. Hurricane Katrina struck on August 29, 2005, before the renovations had been completed. At the time, the property was two-thirds gutted, lacked a finished kitchen (including refrigerator) and bathroom, contained minimal furniture, and received electricity via a temporary pole. Korbel first reported his claim to Lexington on September 26, 2005.

Though I’m severely pressed for time this case became compelling for obvious reasons as a large part of the criminal case against Mayor Warr hinges on his residency when the storm hit. Let’s dig deeper into the fact patterns and see if any of this applies: Continue reading “Breaking: Lexington loses big at the 5th Circuit (Again). Shades of the Warrs…”

Breaking: Brent Warr Indicted (Updated)

What a sad day for the Mississippi Coast. The investigation has been lengthy and no doubt very thorough. This case boils down to Warr’s place of residence when Katrina hit. The feds evidently are not buying into the story he lived on the beach when the storm hit.  Here is the indictment courtesy of Yallpolitics. Now the mayors of the two largest cities in the State are under federal indictment.

The Sun Herald coverage is here. “Uncle Walter” will be the judge.  😉

Update:

Insurance fraud is part of the mix per counts 13-16. According to the indictment he and the Mrs defrauded Lexington Insurance.

We have a new post examining a civil case released today by the 5h Circuit Court of Appeals that deals with a Katrina residency issue. It can be found here.