Category Archives: The Jefferson Machine

THE RETURN OF RENEE GILL-PRATFALL?

Sat, 29 Dec 2007 16:35:07

No the dipshit former Councilwoman and State Rep isn’t planning to run for office BUT she’s been nominated for an administrative position at Dollar Bill U SUNO. LINK. According to a former senior SUNO staffer Gill-Pratfall is completely unqualified to act as director of recruitment and a bunch of other stuff. But SUNO is one of the last places that the Klepto Congressman has any pull and RGP is a wholly owned subsidiary of Dollar Bill Inc. Is this a major scandal in the context of Debrisville muck? No but it *is* a travesty. Plus I love the nickname that I gave her so much that I never miss a chance to deploy it. Repeat after me: Gill-Pratfall.

In other tales of Debrisville muck: former Council Prez and convicted felon Oliver (the Bad Actor) Thomas’ friends held a political style fundraiser for his family. I have nothing against Oliver’s wife but he should have socked away his bribe money for a rainy day instead of once again putting the bite on campaign contributors. Oh well once a pol always a pol…

THE SLOW EDDIE BLUES: SECOND VERSE, SAME AS THE FIRST

Thu, 19 Jul 2007 15:48:36

Orleans Parish DA Eddie Jordan appeared before the City Council’s criminal justice committee yesterday to defend the indefensible; aka his record. Unfortunately some of the usual suspects (no not Kevin Spacey) showed up to defend Jordan on racial grounds. According to his defenders those who oppose Jordan are all racist rednecks which is manifestly preposterous. If anyone has the time to do some digging I suspect that we’ll learn that some of Slow Eddie’s defenders have ties to Dollar Bill’s machine. LINK.

My friend Brian Denzer has posted his reaction to yesterday’s hearing at Citizen Crime Watch. It’s an impassioned hearfelt and beautifully written post. Well done Brian. Thanks for all your efforts to make this a safer city. Please don’t get too discouraged: New Orleans needs your passionate advocacy.

CROSSING JORDAN

Wed, 18 Jul 2007 14:26:28

Crossing JordanSlow Eddie

 LEFT: Jill Hennessy as a cranky teevee ME. RIGHT: Slow Eddie Jordan inept real life DA.

The teevee show Crossing Jordan was recently cancelled and most New Orleanians would like to see the Slow Eddie Jordan District Attorney show canceled as well. I’m not standing up for Jordan: he’s been a bad and even worse stubborn DA. He seems to need remedial lessons in how to pick up the phone and talk to the NOPD. BUT I think one should look before one leaps. What happens if Slow Eddie beats an uncharacteristically hasty retreat? According to my diligent friend Celcus the First Assistant DA Gaynell Williams will replace the man who appointed her. I’ve only seen her on the teevee news from time to time but she doesn’t appear to be the brightest bulb in the lamp. Do any of my lawyer readers have any first hand experiences with Ms. Williams that they’d like to share?

The impulse to see Slow Eddie’s head on a pike is understandable but Ms. Williams is unlikely to be a better DA than her boss: she’s the first assistant so she’s part of the problem. Since Dollar Bill’s hatchetwoman Stephanie Butler controlled patronage at the DA’s office Ms. Williams is one of their peeps. This may be why some on the City Council want to bring in a special counsel to oversee the prosecution of violent crimes in the parish in lieu of demanding Jordan’s resignation. I’m not sure which would be the better choice BUT I’m not sure that creating a new incumbent is the best idea come the next election: Slow Eddie is toast but his replacement might have a shot. 

The *real* problems at the Orleans Parish District are institutional. The mass firings of experienced support staff and investigators at the beginning of Jordan’s tenure have demoralized the office ever since. I know an ex-ADA who was approached for one of the newly created higher paying jobs who declined because she didn’t want to work for Jordan and his minions which is in turn I realize another argument for his resignation.

There’s little doubt that Eddie Jordan has been a disaster. The arguments for his resignation and/or removal are compelling ones. I don’t however expect that he’ll resign or be removed until he faces the voters. Make that *if* he faces the voters. Slow Eddie’s critics need to keep the pressure on but they should also start shopping for a candidate to replace him at the next election.
That’s the end of my stint as the village contrarian; for now that is.

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.

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. 

DOLLAR BILL & THE DOZENS: CONGRESSIONAL RACE UPDATE

Mon, 18 Sep 2006 20:31:35

Thus far the campaign for Louisiana’s Second Congressional District has been a real snoozer. I *wish* that the dozen candidates who have filed against Dollar Bill were really giving him the dozens but so far they’ve been flying below radar. None of the supposed major candidates Karen Carter Troy Carter Derrick Shepherd Joe Lavigne or Regina Bartholomew has done much to distinguish themselves. Karen Carter has picked up some major endorsements: Oliver Thomas and Cynthia Hedgehog-Morrell to name a few. Joe Lavigne got into trouble with some local Repubs with his ads blasting President Beavis but he’s a non-factor in the long run anyway: the chances that the Second District will send a white Republican to Congress are slim and none. I’m listing Lavigne as a “major candidate” as a courtesy: I’ve met him at two events and he seems to be a nice guy. He’s also the only Republican on the ballot so he should be able to fall out of bed and get 10% of the vote in a primary. Thud.

There are two polls out as of now. The first one sounds reliable. Jeff Crouere at Bayou Buzz has reported on a poll conducted by Verne Kennedy. It confirms that Dollar Bill is in trouble: he’s running first but with only 25%; truly horrible numbers for an eight term incumbent. Karen Carter is at 14% Lavigne at 13% and Shepherd at 9%. Shepherd seems to be running as the West Bank regional candidate: he’s been endorsed by Councilman James Carter and his predecessor Jackie Clarkson.

The second poll is being touted by Joe Lavigne on his web site: it’s based on the dubious proposition that he’ll get into a run-off with Dollar Bill. The “poll” shows Dollar Bill with 31% and Lavigne at 29% with the rest undecided. It’s good for a chuckle snort snigger or cackle and that’s all. If Joe Lavingne makes a run-off against Dollar Bill I’ll eat a piece of pickled herring. That’s how confident I am that it won’t happen.

The bad news for those of us who want change is that Dollar Bill’s legal problems remain on hold because of litigation involving the search of his Congressional Office. TPM Muckraker’s Paul Kiel reported last week that Jefferson is unlikely to be indicted before Election Day:

That’s not due to weakness in the Justice Department’s case — documents from the investigation show that the government has a wealth of evidence based on surveillance an FBI informant’s taping of conversations and the testimony of two men who’ve pled guilty to bribing Jefferson. Prosecutors are reportedly very close to an indictment. Rather the case is bogged down in litigation resulting from the FBI’s raid of Jefferson’s congressional office.

 Sources close to the case tell Roll Call‘s John Bresnahan that the DoJ is unlikely to indict Jefferson without the documents seized from his office. They’re still waiting to get those. A judge ruled in July that Jefferson must see them first; he gets a chance to contest certain materials being handed over based on his constitutional privilege. At issue is whether the docs qualify as legislative materials under the Speech or Debate Clause. The whole process is likely to go on through October meaning Jefferson won’t be forced to campaign under federal indictment.”

I’m beginning to wonder if Dollar Bill decided to refuse to turn over the documents from his office in order to force the Justice Department’s hand. Dollar Bill is as crafty as he is crooked so it’s not a stretch to believe that he anticipated how much shit would hit the fan after a search. It also allows him to campaign as a martyr at the hands of Bush’s DoJ and FBI. It’s not a bad campaign strategy but it’s a lousy legal strategy where he’ll be tried: Northern Virginia land of civil servants and retired military officers.

Now that a pre-election indictment is out I think that Dollar Bill will be able to ooze back into office unless his opponents stop sparring and start punching in earnest. I hope that I’m wrong but the real race is probably for second place. It should be very interesting whatever happens.

PART OF THE MACHINE: BAH, HOMBURG ON NIGHTLINE

Wed, 30 Aug 2006 19:23:43

The once mighty Jefferson machine continues to unravel. Dollar Bill faces a tough re-election fight and probable indictment on corruption charges. His lackey on the City Council Renee Gill-Pratfall was handed her head by Stacy Head. And Dollar Bill’s former law partner and handpicked DA Eddie Jordan seems to be melting down. I’ll get to Jordan in a minute but this post requires a set up. Here it is:

There was a piece on ABC’s Nightline last night about crime in Debrisville. It was called (what else?) Big Easy Crime Wave. I lost interest in Nightline when Ted Koppell was replaced by 3 headshots so I watched the video online after reading about it in the Picayune.

The piece was reported by veteran hardass/hard news reporter Brian Ross. It starts off with some clips of media savvy Deputy NOPD Chief Tony Cannatella. Reporters love Cannatella’s bluntness and brashness: he’s an old school cop with information age skills. Tony gives good sound bite y’all.

Ross moved on to a formal interview with hapless DA and Dollar Bill stooge Eddie Jordan. Jordan was immediately on the defensive: he obviously has never seen Brian Ross’s stuff and/or was poorly briefed. He made the cardinal mistake of losing his temper when on the Rossian grill. His press aide Leatrice Dupre interrupted the interview when Jordan pitched a fit and started ranting about stupid questions. Then Jordan made things even worse by stomping off like a mustachioed toddler. Rumor has it that he held his breath until he turned blue refused to eat his veggies and then stomped on his homburg.

Jordan’s infantile meltdown was entertaining television but yet another civic embarrassment for New Orleans. Hell I voted for Jordan because I *thought* he’d been a good US Attorney. I was wrong. It’s increasingly obvious that his right hand man and replacement career prosecutor Jim Letten was the reason Jordan looked good.

Even pre-K Jordan’s office was a joke. It never recovered from the way Jefferson henchchick Stephanie Butler handled the transition. Butler’s heavy handedness in firing white holdovers from the Connick regime led to the discrimination lawsuit that Jordan lost. The plaintiffs are still trying to collect from Jordan’s office. Talking about trying to squeeze blood from a turnip.

THE DOLLAR BILL DOZEN

 Tue, 15 Aug 2006 19:01:46

No this is NOT a song list but a post about our Klepto Congressman’s declared foes. (I can’t believe it took me this long to sing a song of Dollar Bill: I risked losing my “All Dollar Bill All The Time” accreditation.) There are 9 wannabes 1 longshot and 2 who have a shot at taking out Dollar Bill.

I list former councilman and state legislator Troy Carter as a longshot. His 2002 Mayoral campaign tanked and he’s divided his time between here and North Carolina since leaving office. The one thing Carter has going for him is that he’s from the West Bank and if they still remember him that’s a plus. Frankly he was an empty suit on the Council and I don’t know whether or not his campaign will take-off. But ya never know.

The 2 contenders are State Senator Derrick Shepherd and State Rep. Karen Carter. Shepherd has two major liabilities: he’s from Marrero and he has the reputation of being the political equivalent of nomadic basketball coach Larry Brown. The Marrero base could be an advantage in the primary BUT a major disadvantage in the run-off. I’m an ABDB voter BUT do I want a Congressman from Marrero? Not bloody likely…

That brings me to Karen Carter. She’s smart articulate and reform minded. She’s one of the black legislators who refused to drink the C Ray as Civil Rights hero Kool-Aid and supported Mitch. She’s also the BOLD candidate and they’re the only alphabet soup political organization that still has any influence. If I were voting today it would be for Ms. Carter.

Dollar Bill still has a chance to be re-elected: he’s going to play the martyr card for all it’s worth. I expect an October indictment which has more to do with national Republican strategy than anything else. It will be a very interesting and very dirty campaign. Dollar Bill’s machine depends on his position for the money to keep the engine lubed. If he loses the wheels will fall off the machine. Let’s keep our fingers crossed. Hell even if he gets his sleazy ass re-elected Dollar Bill is likely to be rooming with Rob Ney or Duke Cunningham in a Club Fed by this time next year.

DOLLAR BILL: POOR, POOR PITIFUL ME

Sat, 17 Jun 2006 18:39:19

Dollar Bill Jefferson told some porkies yesterday about his ouster from the omnipotent House Ways & Means Committee. (A porky is a Britism for a lie and I thought it was time to use a word other than powerful to describe the committee.) Anyway our klepto Congressman claimed that he got a standing ovation from the caucus after his speech. Of course he’s the only one who has made that claim. Count me as skeptical: after all   to paraphrase Chris Difford the truth is not Dollar Bill’s middle name.

After that whopper Dollar Bill drifted off into cloud cuckoo land when he claimed that he would have won the vote if not for that racist meanie Nancy Pelosi “begging and arm twisting” members of the caucus. Bill Bill Bill: do you really believe the shit that comes out of your mouth? I certainly hope not.  There’s no way that the Democratic Leader would have called for a vote if she didn’t have the numbers. Granted Pelosi is no Sam Rayburn Dick Gephardt or Hale Boggs BUT she’s not a total fool.  She’s also one of the most liberal members of the House which makes her an unlikely racist.

Dollar Bill is desperate and backed into a corner so naturally he’s going to play the race card. Why not? It worked for C Ray. I’m sick and tired of the cult of the victim; especially when someone like Dollar Bill starts whining about being victimized. We live in the Age Of Oprah where being a victim is something to be proud of. This reminds me of some of the post-K semantic antics that struck me as very odd indeed. It’s okay to be called a victim but NOT a refugee? Weird weird weird.

Friday was a busy day on the Dollar Bill front: right after the vote there was a hearing before Federal Judge Thomas Hogan on the motion to suppress the evidence taken from Dollar Bill’s office. The Judge signaled that he is unlikely to buy the House leadership’s argument that they’re above the law. (That’s not literally their argument I decided to cut through the crap.) Astonishingly Bruce Alpert’s story in the Picayune missed the money quote from Judge Hogan. Check this out:“The speech and debate clause is not a  hide and conceal clause.” Yo TP editors tell your boy to pay more attention when he’s in a courtroom. I had to get the money quote from the WaPo. Of course the editors *may* have cut the quote. Either way y’all screwed up. I am shocked shocked; not not…

Finally back to the title of this post. I gotta do this or experience the wrath of blogger extraordinaire Ashley (Accidentally Like A Martyr) Morris. The title is of course borrowed from the late great Warren Zevon’s classic tune and Ashley ran a swell web site devoted to all things Zevon which is still online.  Anyhoo I keep visualizing Dollar Bill on a bandstand dressed up as Mr. Freeze and singing:

“Poor poor pitiful me   poor poor pitiful me. Pelosi won’t let me be lord have mercy on me. Woe is me.”

DOLLAR BILL: AFRICAN ART DEALER

Wed, 07 Jun 2006 03:45:07

I can’t believe I missed this nugget in this morning’s Picayune:

“According to the affidavit used to search the vice president’s house the FBI expected to find a $100 000 cash bribe in a reddish-brown briefcase that Mody had given Jefferson. The cash was to guarantee Abubakar’s cooperation to ensure “the little hook is in there ” according to wiretap transcripts.

A day later the FBI intercepted Jefferson’s cell phone signal in the vicinity of Abubakar’s home. And later Jefferson assured Mody that he had given the money to Abubakar referring to it as “African art.

But $90 000 of the cash marked by investigators was found in a freezer at Jefferson’s Capitol Hill home during the August raid. A reddish-brown briefcase was found by the FBI during the search of Jefferson’s New Orleans home on Marengo Street the same day. “

I put my favorite bit in bold face. I’m not sure who Dollar Bill is channeling: Tony Soprano or George Smiley. But he’s very big on using movie gangster/spook euphemisms when he’s doing bidness with the wired-up Lori Mody.  Here’s another juicy bit wherein Dollar Bill distinguishes between national and international corruption:

“According to the transcripts Jefferson told Mody that Abubakar was demanding 50 percent of the profits earned by YahYah’s company. Jefferson said Abubakar had made the demand during a private one-hour meeting at the [Nigerian] vice president’s home.

“We have a deal with him ” he told Mody.

He also told her in a separate wiretapped call that YahYah was critical to the success of the venture in Nigeria.

“We need him ” Jefferson told her over dinner in Washington. “We got to motivate him real good. He’s got a lot of folks to pay off.”

Jefferson told Mody that it was best that the two of them didn’t know what YahYah was up to.

“If he’s gotta pay Minister X we don’t want to know ” Jefferson said. “It’s not our deal. We’re not paying Minister X a damn thing. That’s all you know international fraud crap. We’re not doing that. . . . Whatever they do locally that’s their business.”

Maybe Dollar Bill’s defense will be that he was conducting a seminar in international law for Ms. Mody. Of course this last passage sounds like a classic re-statement of the Louisiana Way. At least he skipped the obligatory backscratching or hand washing references…

Back to Dollar Bill’s use of gangster (not gangsta) euphemisms. I halfway expect him to say something like “Jack Abramhoff sleeps with the fishes.” Oops wrong metaphor wrong scandal. That’s the problem: as long as Dollar Bill stays in office the Repubs can keep saying “everybody does it” and NOLA will continue to get the shaft. Perhaps he should spread some African art around the House chamber: there are many collectors of Dollar Bill’s kind of African art in Congress after all.