Hat tip Jr in comments for linking the AP story on Fox 8 regarding same. The RICO complaint is full of salacious details as once again Heebe’s waterboys in the local media take center stage:
In addition to bribing public officials to directly pervert the political process, the River Birch Defendants took other actions to successfully manufacture the appearance of “public opposition” to that landfill so as to prevent or delay competition from Waste Management’s Chef Menteur facility. Specifically, the River Birch Defendants made a substantial, undisclosed interest free and unrecorded “loan” of $250,000 to radio host Garland Robinette after Mr. Robinette, armed with false and misleading information in direct contravention of the LDEQ’s informed opinion, routinely railed against the purportedly harmful environmental consequences of opening and operating the Chef Menteur and Old Gentilly landfills. So effective was Mr. Robinette in corrupting the public dialogue that even the LDEQ felt it was unable to communicate its position on the benefits of the Chef Menteur and Old Gentilly landfills as safe and valuable alternatives to disposal at the River Birch landfills.
And Team Waste Management is squarely targeting Heebe’s lawyers as it appears they are witnesses to this entire affair:
Only recently revealed, it appears that the plaintiffs’ counsel in the related judicial challenges brought by “concerned citizens” of New Orleans East seeking to challenge “the basis under which Waste Management sough to operate its landfill in an area of the City of New Orleans that is not zoned for such use,” Mr. Kyle Schonekas and Ms. Joelle Evans, were both secretly on retainer by the River Birch Defendants as undisclosed “lobbyists.”
Upon information and belief, the River Birch Defendants and their secret lobbyists, Schonekas and Evans, also enlisted the services of Walter Willard to assist with their litigation against the Chef Menteur landfill and challenging Mayor Nagin’s emergency authorization. Mr. Willard was retained, at least in part, to curry favor and political influence. In particular, Mr. Willard is the brother of Cynthia Willard-Lewis, then the New Orleans Councilperson for District E where the Chef Menteur landfill was located. At one point, Ms. Willard-Lewis was one of the strongest proponents and supporters of the Chef Menteur landfill because she deemed it critical to expediting the clean-up and recovery of her district in New Orleans East. This district, which includes the lower 9th Ward, had been especially devastated by Katrina and is located most remotely from the River Birch and Highway 90 landfills. Upon the retention of her brother to allegedly “assist” in the River Birch sponsored litigation against the landfill, Ms. Willard-Lewis suddenly reversed course and became a vocal opponent to the continued operation of the Chef Menteur landfill. Ms. Willard-Lewis attributes her changed position to the public outcry over health and safety concerns arising from the location of the landfill. This was the very reaction that the River Birch Defendants had had to purchase via their bribes, undisclosed lobbyists, unfounded litigation.
Remember the insurance portion of the scandal, Langniappe Insurance and THT Group selling insurance to River Birch? For the first time that I can recall in a legal filing, a connection is alleged between the Whitmers landing the Shadowlake Management Account and the scheme to close the Parish’s landfill:
That investigation commenced after it became known that the wife of the Jefferson Parish Council aide, Tim Whitmer, had been awarded a large contract to provide insurance to Defendants Heebe and Ward for a number of their corporate entities, including Defendants’ Shadowlake and River Birch LLC.
Upon information and belief, the health insurance contract award by River Birch was a quid pro quo payment for the Jefferson Parish waste disposal contract.
There is so much more in the suit which our readers can obtain by clicking here. Something tells me Garlandfill’s days placing this hand on the bible before testifying are not done, not by a long shot. I can’t wait to hear what our commenters think.