The Times-Picayune has re-entered the Jefferson Parish Political Corruption fray with more detail on a topic we’ve blogged a good bit on in Aaron Broussard’s family and friends that keep popping up on the Parish payroll being paid for work they did not perform. Let’s check in with reporter Paul Rioux’s and the latest installment of as the Broussards turn:
Former Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard’s ex-wife is listed in parish payroll records as having a $65,000 job as a paralegal supervisor in the parish attorney’s office.
However, Karen Parker, who divorced Broussard in October, actually works in another department that processes parish ID cards, according to employment documents the parish provided in response to a public records request.
That position has a salary cap of $43,000, which is $22,000 less than Parker’s salary………………..
In response to a Times-Picayune records request, parish Security Director Charlie Knopp indicated Parker is an “identification/security system coordinator” responsible for processing ID cards used to access secure areas of parish buildings.
That conflicts with payroll records showing Parker has been paid as a paralegal supervisor since 2003.
E-mail messages from Parker’s parish account indicate she frequently deals with parish employees who need ID cards. The messages include no correspondence with any of the parish’s paralegals that the payroll records indicate are under her supervision.
The human resources department said it has no paralegal certification for Parker, a requirement for all parish paralegals.
For those not familiar with the players that wonder why I have mentioned the Chehardy Sherman law firm in so many of my posts on Broussard and his cronies should read the caption above and then click here. I could write a dissertation on why having the tax assessor on board is so important in Louisiana politics.
Meantime with all the double-dealing going on in the Parish Government some of the people running the side agencies decided to get into the act as well as the Times Picayune editorialized:
The financial abuses uncovered at a Jefferson Parish nonprofit health clinic that received millions in parish funds are jaw dropping, and they warrant an investigation as to whether anyone broke the law……..
…..its director, Carol Smith, seems to be at the center of much of the problems.
Auditors discovered that Ms. Smith did not fully reimburse the clinic for thousands of dollars in personal purchases. Auditors also found $35,000 in bonuses and gas allowances paid to Ms. Smith over a three-year period that were not reported to the IRS as required by law. Responding to the audit, the clinic said Ms. Smith has reimbursed it for all her personal purchases. But making those purchases with clinic funds may have been improper in the first place, and it shouldn’t have taken an audit for Ms. Smith to fully reimburse the clinic. The failure to report income, as alleged in the audit, would be an even more serious problem that warrants an investigation by tax authorities.
There’s more. Auditors found a $9,600 Wal-Mart purchase listed as a “toy give away” for “community outreach.” Based on clinic records and interviews with its personnel, auditors concluded the money paid instead for gift cards for clinic employees.
These are serious allegations. Yet Jefferson Parish Councilman Byron Lee, who has sponsored resolutions dedicating $2.9 million in parish funds to the clinic, dismissed the clinic’s problems as “growing pains.”
Councilman Lee’s political allies founded the clinic. And Ms. Smith is the sister of Councilman Lee’s former council aide, Pam Watson. That raises questions as to whether Councilman Lee is too close to the clinic to effectively watch against potential waste of public funds.
Too close??? Jeeze Louise are newspapers too nice or what? Jim Letten and his boys have one thing going for them personally: Job Security.
We have some more original material on the mess in Jefferson Parish in the pipeline.