Monthly Archives: June 2007

DOLLAR BILL’S HOUSE OF CARDS…

Wed, 20 Jun 2007 16:58:38

…appears ready to fall down and go boom-boom after the latest shoe dropped. Jeez talk about tortured as well as mixed metaphors. Former NOLA School Board President and Jefferson ally Ellenese Brooks-Simms had pled guilty to taking a bribe from <drum doll> Dollar Bill’s big brother Mose. Mose Jeff was paid $500K as a “consultant” by a software company and he in turn slipped $100K to Ms. Brooks-Simms.

Brooks-Simms was <you guessed it> first elected to the School Board as a “reformer” and “fiscal watchdog.” So her plea washes away the alloy of hypocrisy that clung to her during her tenure on the board. There’s nothing worse than people who steal from school children and I’m glad to see her hoist on her own petard. But at least she’s not a cheap crook: $100K is a nice piece of change.

This story is reminder of why we have the cumbersome bifurcated post-K public school system. The NOPSB cannot be trusted. Like Ms. Brooks-Simms they all claim to be “reformers” when they run for office but the reformist urge seems to pass upon victory.

It will be very interesting indeed to see who in Dollar Bill’s extended family will follow him and Mose Jeff into the dock. Dollar Bill’s allies (and enemies too) have treated the Orleans Parish school system like their own private piggy bank for years. I think those who steal from children should be placed in the stocks at various locales throughout town to be pelted with rotten fruit and veggies.

Oyster has more on this delightful delicious and de-lovely development. LINK.

LETTEN NAGIN OFF EASY?

Thu, 07 Jun 2007 16:33:18

The NOLA blogosphere’s lone investigative Zombie Ashe Dambala has yet another interesting post. It’s based on the comments of an anonymous reader about *why* the otherwise hyperactive US Attorney Jim Letten has left C Ray and his cronies alone. The information is unverified but it makes a world of sense. What follows is informed (I hope) speculation.

Here’s the gist of the post and my extrapolations therefrom: C Ray was a Republican until running for Mayor. His former aide and ex-Repub State Legislator Garey Forster (who also brokered the Couhig endorsement) spoke to Karl Rove about NOLA politics and told him that C Ray was the best Mayor they were going to get in NOLA. The upshot of this conversation was that C Ray has been left alone whilst they’ve investigated the hell out of the Morial administration which has the added benefit of bugging Senator Mary Landrieu. Landrieu as you may recall was elected by a whisker to her first term in 1996 and went through a Senate investigation as to whether her victory was due to Morial based voter fraud. A Senate committee chaired by John Warner (R-Va.) didn’t find any voter fraud and Mary was seated.
Back to Jim Letten. In the last few months we’ve learned a lot about how the Bush Justice Department is run. The US Attorneys who did NOT play ball politically were fired by Gonzo and his henchmen at the behest of the White House. Jim Letten who is a career prosecutor survived the Gonzo gate purge. He must have been playing ball on the focus on Morial scheme which also made sense from a prosecutorial sense: the Morial administration was rife with patronage and corruption. In short Letten could have his political cake and eat it too without becoming a complete Bush sycophant and whore. He appears to be a very gifted bureaucratic infighter as well as a talented courtier.
The recent raid on the LIFT production company offices indicates that any forebearance that Letten had for Nagin and his cronies may have ended. The Nagin regime was actively involved in the Treme film studio scheme that may be part of the Federal investigation into LIFT.
As I said at the beginning of the post I’m drawing inferences and trying to connect the dots on this thing. Dambala’s information comes from an anonymous source but it makes sense. I also don’t mean to cast any aspersions on Jim Letten: on balance he’s been a very good US Attorney. BUT career prosecutors are rarely appointed US Attorneys; especially not in the Bush-Ashcroft-Gonzalez years. Letten was in fact acting US Attorney for years after then Governor Foster’s choice Fred Heebe withdrew after giving everyone the heebie jeebies over allegations that he abused his ex-wife and ex-girlfriend.
Anyway it’s going to be very interesting to see how the LIFT story unfolds and how Letten’s office handles cases involving C Ray’s cronies in the future. Jim may no longer be Letten Nagin off easy.
Jeffrey and David have more on this story.

THE FAMILY JEFFERSON

Tue, 05 Jun 2007 16:44:44

It took a very long time due to the FBI’s arrogant decision to raid his Congressional office but a massive 16 count indictment has been handed down against Dollar Bill Jefferson. I’ve skimmed the indictment online and the case looks solid. It seems NOT to rely on the evidence gathered in the still under appeal search.

 Like Maitri I’m a bit sick of the endless Dollar Bill controversy but I do think it’s worthy of ongoing discussion. Jefferson   his family and associates have been major players in NOLA politics for some 30 years. Dollar Bill has *always* been ethically challenged which is why nobody was surprised about the frozen dough in his freezer. His re-election was equally unsurprising his main opponent Princess BOLD d/b/a Karen Carter ran an incoherent and inept campaign which consisted of proclaiming “I’m a reformer” over and over again. Her refrain was unconvincing and her campaign was as they would have said in the 1930’s from hunger.
Back to the indictment: in perusing it I was struck by how much evidence there seems to be against Andrea and the Dollar Billettes. (Sounds like a doo-wop group doesn’t it?) I suspect that the prosecution will dangle threats of family indictments as a means to get Dollar Bill to cop a plea. Thus far he shows no signs of doing so BUT he does have Big Daddy/Pater Familias syndrome: his relations are the only people he seems to care about. He certainly doesn’t give a rat’s ass about his constituents. The Picayune has once again demanded his resignation but I assume they know that it’s as likely as C Ray going four sentences without saying man man.
For other views of the indictment check out the TP’s Stephanie Grace Schroeder Oyster and the only person who thinks Dollar Bill will walk Mr. Gloomy Pants of the yellow blog. I’m sure others will chime in soon as well.
 
UPDATE: Celcus pulls out his 12-string guitar and strums up a helluva post about Dollar Bill. LINK.
 
UPDATE TOO: Josh Marshall has an amusing clip up at Talking Points Memo about the Fox Noise Channel’s inability to tell one African-American Congressman from another. LINK.