Archive for December, 2009

Bob Levy is new CABL Chairman

12/30/2009

Third Judicial District Attorney Robert W. “Bob” Levy has been elected Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Council for a Better Louisiana (CABL).

LPNO had profiled Levy several months ago. We hope he can find time to do the job his constituents elected him to do.

Anointed Clark Heir (Amman) Announces

12/28/2009

The anointed heir to Marcus Clark’s old Fourth Judicial District Court seat – Monroe City Court Judge Fred Amman announced today his candidacy for that slot. And where else would he do so but in that bastion of Establishment Monroe – Delta Style magazine.

Amman has also put up a web site. Here is Johnny Gunter’s story in The (Monroe) News-Star.

In Hoc Anno Domini

12/25/2009

We’ve been readers of The Wall Street Journal for about thirty-five years. At Christmas we look forward to seeing this annually published column – it never grows old. In some ways, it says what this weblog is all about – we are slaves to Government only if we allow it to be so.

“When Saul of Tarsus set out on his journey to Damascus the whole of the known world lay in bondage. There was one state, and it was Rome. There was one master for it all, and he was Tiberius Caesar.

“Everywhere there was civil order, for the arm of the Roman law was long. Everywhere there was stability, in government and in society, for the centurions saw that it was so.

“But everywhere there was something else, too. There was oppression—for those who were not the friends of Tiberius Caesar. There was the tax gatherer to take the grain from the fields and the flax from the spindle to feed the legions or to fill the hungry treasury from which divine Caesar gave largess to the people. There was the impressor to find recruits for the circuses. There were executioners to quiet those whom the Emperor proscribed. What was a man for but to serve Caesar?

“There was the persecution of men who dared think differently, who heard strange voices or read strange manuscripts. There was enslavement of men whose tribes came not from Rome, disdain for those who did not have the familiar visage. And most of all, there was everywhere a contempt for human life. What, to the strong, was one man more or less in a crowded world?

“Then, of a sudden, there was a light in the world, and a man from Galilee saying, Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s.

“And the voice from Galilee, which would defy Caesar, offered a new Kingdom in which each man could walk upright and bow to none but his God. Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. And he sent this gospel of the Kingdom of Man into the uttermost ends of the earth.

“So the light came into the world and the men who lived in darkness were afraid, and they tried to lower a curtain so that man would still believe salvation lay with the leaders.

“But it came to pass for a while in divers places that the truth did set man free, although the men of darkness were offended and they tried to put out the light. The voice said, Haste ye. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness come upon you, for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.

“Along the road to Damascus the light shone brightly. But afterward Paul of Tarsus, too, was sore afraid. He feared that other Caesars, other prophets, might one day persuade men that man was nothing save a servant unto them, that men might yield up their birthright from God for pottage and walk no more in freedom.

“Then might it come to pass that darkness would settle again over the lands and there would be a burning of books and men would think only of what they should eat and what they should wear, and would give heed only to new Caesars and to false prophets. Then might it come to pass that men would not look upward to see even a winter’s star in the East, and once more, there would be no light at all in the darkness.

“And so Paul, the apostle of the Son of Man, spoke to his brethren, the Galatians, the words he would have us remember afterward in each of the years of his Lord:

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”

This editorial was written in 1949 by the late Vermont Royster and has been published annually since.

OH, SNAP!! – Monroe Airport, Infinity, Envirotech, Fraud, Conspiracy, Federal Investigation

12/24/2009

The Monroe Airport controversy just got a lot messier.

A whole lot.

The (Baton Rouge) Advocate’s Ted Griggs is reporting extensively on the Louisiana Department of Insurance’s suit against Infinity Surety of Louisiana, the bond firm that allegedly underwrote EnviroTech Services, LLC’s bid on the Monroe Airport expansion project. The article expands on yesterday’s (Monroe) News-Star story by Johnny Gunter.

In The Advocate story we see words like “fraud,” “conspiracy,” “collusion,” and “federal investigation.”

From the story:

It’s also possible some contractors colluded with Infinity, paying only for the appearance of having bonds to secure public works contracts.

and

The Insurance Department has turned its findings over to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Orleans, Donelon said.

The department expects that a federal investigation will result.

LPNO has posted several stories on the controversial Monroe Airport project.

Monroe Airport Bond Firm has Checkered Past
More on Monroe Airport Bonds
Shreveport Firm to “Consult” on Monroe Airport

Shreveport Update

A Shreveport audit has confirmed what Caddo Sheriff Steve Prator found in his investigation of the city’s Community Development department: it was a scam against the poor, elderly and disabled. The (Shreveport) Times’ Adam Kealoah Causey reports.

We had asked last month when we could expect Ouachita Parish Sheriff Royce Toney to do his job and investigate corruption in that parish.

The world wonders…

UPDATE – 4:00 PM

Another story on Infinity in The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune by Rebecca Mowbray.

LSU Hired Hi-Powered Lawyer for NCAA Probe

12/24/2009

LSU has retained a collegiate sports law specialist to assist in dealing with possible NCAA violations involving the football team. Michael S. Glazier, of Bond, Schoeneck & King, PLLC, is the founder of their Collegiate Sports Practice Group and is lead attorney for the group.

Jordan Blum has the story in today’s The (Baton Rouge) Advocate.

In the big, fat middle of everything is LSU’s controversial Athletic Director, Joe (“It’s not about the truth anymore”) Alleva.

Earlier posts at LPNO regarding Alleva can be found here and here.

DeSoto Police Jurors Want 60% Raise

12/22/2009

Police Jurors in DeSoto Parish want a 60% pay raise, from $1,000/month to $1,600/month. See the Vickie Welborn story here.

So How Much “Delay” We Talking About?

12/21/2009

Last week Lincoln Parish News Online reported that the controversial V-Vehicle Company’s construction project had been delayed due to financial problems. This past Saturday, The (Baton Rouge) Advocate reported the same thing.

So how much “delay” we talking about? We don’t know and we are quite certain we wouldn’t get a straight answer from the company or the Louisiana Department of Economic Development, even if we managed to get a phone call returned.

But we can tell you what the original project budget schedule was back when the contract was signed last June. According to Exhibit E of the Cooperative Endeavor Agreement, by this point in time over $25 million was scheduled to have been spent. By our tabulations, only about $6.2 million has been invoiced and paid by Louisiana’s taxpayers.

Herewith the budget:

    Month         Budget              Phase

Jul 2009    $2,000,000.00     1
Aug 2009   $4,200,000.00     2
Sep 2009   $6,100,000.00     2
Oct 2009   $3,700,000.00     3
Nov 2009   $9,200,000.00     3
Dec 2009  $13,000,000.00    3
Jan 2010   $17,000,000.00    3
Feb 2010   $11,900,000.00    3
Mar 2010    $8,000,000.00     3
Apr 2010    $6,500,000.00     3
May 2010   $3,800,000.00     3
Jun 2010    $1,600,000.00     3
Total        $87,000,000.00

Lincoln Parish News Online has reported extensively on the controversial company and the Monroe project. Archived stories can be found here. We will continue to report on this ongoing story.

OPPJ’s Jackson: “there’s not enough money”

12/20/2009

Ouachita Parish District A Police Juror Charles Jackson said last week that the Police Jury may have to raise taxes to operate the Ouachita Correctional Center and the Public Works department. His remarks were made at the Jury’s Finance Committee meeting last Monday night.

The story was in the December 17, 2009 issue of the Ouachita Citizen. While The (Moroe) News-Star’s story told of the budget woes, there was no mention in that version of the possibility of tax increases.

Jackson said the jury may need to go to the voters in October to ask for a property tax increase to fund the OCC. He also said that sales tax revenues were down $1/2 million, pinching the Public Works Department’s budget. A one cent sales tax is the revenue source for road construction and maintenance.

The full Jury will meet Monday, December 21, 5:30 pm at the Ouachita Parish Court House. Adoption of the 2010 budget will be on the agenda.

Look for in the near future a major sales pitch to rededicate the just-passed V-Vehicle property tax to cover the shortfalls, once the V-Car fails to materialize and that project collapses.

Baton Rouge Newspaper on V-Vehicle: “Federal loan delays Calif. firm’s plans”

12/19/2009

The (Baton Rouge) Advocate today said the V-Vehicle project in Monroe is experiencing construction and funding delays. Here’s the story by business reporter Gary Perilloux.

Hall Hired as Parish Administrator

12/18/2009

Lincoln Parish Police Jury Interim Administrator Courtney Hall was appointed this morning to the job of Parish Administrator.

After meeting in executive session for over an hour to interview Hall and competing applicant Tom Frazier, the Personnel/Benefits Committee voted unanimously to select Hall. The full Jury then met immediately afterward and also voted unanimously for Hall. Frazier was interviewed via telephone and Hall was interviewed in person.

The interview questions ranged from asking the applicants why they wanted the job, to the nature of their experience. Also asked about was how many people they had supervised, specific job knowledge and what qualities they had that would make them successful in the job.

Hall’s salary was set at $77,200/yr.