Meeting on Hurricane Rita cleanup exposes many controversies, including whether FEMA contractor Jeffrey Jones may have overrepresented his authority to speak on FEMA’s behalf.

FEMA Contractor Jeffrey Jones

Two years ago, we presented a feature entailing contractor Billy Broussard, who was threatened with FBI prosecution and placed under a restraining order prohibiting him from making public records requests of the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury and Calcasieu Parish Gravity Drainage District 8.  We followed that feature up with 16th JDC Judge Ritchie lambasting Attorney General Jeff Landry’s legal skills by stating, as backed up by a copy of the court transcript, that Broussard should follow a television commercial and “choose your attorney carefully” next time rather than utilizing Jeff Landry’s services.

 

At the time, we indicated we’d have an update on Broussard’s battles.  He’s had plenty, but the biggest one to date transpired soon after Broussard fired off the following email alleging fraud perpetrated by Calcasieu Parish officials, complete with links to documents to support his contention:

 

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From: Billy Broussard <billy@billybroussard.com>
Sent: Thursday, January 31, 2019 11:48 AM
To: John Morehead <JMorehead@lla.la.gov>
Cc: alice.joffrion@fema.dhs.gov; Daryl Purpera <dpurpera@lla.la.gov>; Lynne.Browning@la.gov; miguezb@legis.la.gov; millsf@legis.la.gov; Jerod.Prunty@mail.house.gov; pierrev@legis.la.gov</dpurpera@lla.la.gov>
Subject: Re: Documents for FEMA PW Meeting on February 6, 2019

 

To whom it may concern,

 

Attached are documents that speak for themselves but it makes it clear that when the State (auditors) were kicking back the documents that were not adding up to the FEMA PWs, the individuals involved were orchestrating a plan of their own to satisfy FEMA reimbursements.

 

  1. In Mr. Stutes’ letter of 2/16/15, http://www.laboards-commissions.com/Stutes_FBI_Letter.pdf, he references having received “numerous complaints by Calcasieu Parish officials” entailing my requests for public documents.  Those complaints are known to have originated from Ms. Kelly Fontenot, whom I believe I can firmly substantiate committed perjury under oath during questioning by me on March 23, 2015 when I was serving pro se and questioning her on the witness stand.
  2. Fontenot described her position with the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury as, “Layman’s terms, internal auditor.”:  http://www.laboards-commissions.com/Fontenot_Internal_Auditor.jpg.
  3. Fontenot also stated under oath during my questioning of her, regarding the picking up of ineligible debris, “I have no knowledge of that even from my communication with them (GOHSEP).”:   http://www.laboards-commissions.com/Fontenot_No_Ineligible.jpg
  4. The reality is Fontenot knew darn well there was ineligible debris!
  5. How do we know this?  Simple!  She sent an email on 5/20/09 to FEMA monitor Dan Kennedy stating, “We need those GPS sites to go away.”:  http://www.laboards-commissions.com/GPS_go_away.jpg.
  6. Prior to the email referenced in # 5 above, on 5/17/08 (a Saturday!), Fontenot again sent an email to FEMA monitor Dan Kennedy stating, “FEMA/State Monitor will approve whether it is eligible or not.”  She further goes on to indicate to Kennedy that she is, “setting up my future argument” in the event debris is subsequently deemed ineligible:  http://www.laboards-commissions.com/Ineligible_OK.jpg.  In fact, she even goes so far as to state, entailing Kennedy, “with your help, of course.”
  7. In an email of 8/20/08 again to Kennedy which has Fontenot’s own handwritten notation of the following day, 8/21/08, Fontenot states that Kennedy has indicated that, if I was directed to pick up debris that was ineligible (nobody even disputes that I was so directed), it would be at “our cost.”:  http://www.laboards-commissions.com/GDD8_will_pay.jpg.
  8. It was Ms. Fontenot and her fear that I would openly expose her secretive plots as outlined above that prompted HER to seek a restraining order against me to hinder my efforts to further demonstrate what she knew I’d already authoritatively documented!  Further, I have spoken to an Assistant DA in another parish who has stated in no uncertain terms, my attorney’s indications to me to the contrary notwithstanding, that:  “Kelly Fontenot had no such authority!  There could be no filing for injunctive relief against you without a vote of the bodies to commence with such an initiative.”
  9. Just how damning is it that a person who describes her job title as “layman’s terms, internal auditor,” would author emails actively seeking to conceal the fact ineligible debris exists (i. e. “we need those GPS sites to go away”) and further indicating she is “setting up my future argument” for ineligible debris “with your (FEMA monitor Dan Kennedy) help, of course?”
  10. One really cannot conclude any other scenario but that Fontenot is utilizing her own audit knowledge and skills to, at best and being kind, be deceitful to FEMA!!

 

I trust you will find the preceding linked documents to be quite compelling in buttressing what I have stated now for years.

 

Sent from my iPhone

 

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Rep. Blake Miguez (R-Erath) sought a meeting with Louisiana Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera to discuss Broussard’s concerns.  Yesterday, Wednesday, February 6, 2019, that meeting was held.

 

Unfortunately, Mr. Purpera was suffering from an illness and could not attend.  Nevertheless, here’s a roster signed by all who attended, including Sound Off Louisiana‘s founder Robert Burns, who was very grateful for the opportunity to film the meeting because it offers a rare opportunity for subscribers to see what all may take place in just such a meeting.  We cannot thank the Legislative Auditor’s Office enough for their hospitality and cooperation in permitting us the opportunity to videotape the meeting.  Here’s the roster:

 

 

A controversy arose soon after the meeting entailing one gentleman on the roster, specifically Jeffrey Jones.   As clearly depicted on the preceding link, Mr. Jones owns a consulting company, JLJ Consulting Services.  It, in turn, has a contract with Fluor, and Fluor has a contract with FEMA.  In other words, contrary to the perception which was prevalent in the room, Jones is NOT a FEMA employee notwithstanding him clearly representing himself throughout the meeting as “FEMA,” with the common perception he was a staff member of FEMA.

 

Robert Burns contacted several experts on the subject matter of Jones’ ability to participate in the meeting.  One expert with another Federal agency at which Burns used to work emphasized that Jones should have been clearly identified as NOT being a FEMA employee and rather that he is a contractor with FEMA.

 

It was further indicated by that individual that the full-time FEMA employee, Alice Joffrion, should avoid any instance of imputing Federal Government employee status upon Jones by having him be the lead person in responding to questions (i.e. she should only lean upon him for support rather than defer to him).  Instead, as will be evidenced in the 17-minute excerpt from the meeting in the video to be presented below (which focused only on Jones’ commentary throughout the meeting), Joffrion repeatedly deferred to Jones.

 

In reality, it was Jones and not Joiffrion who responded to virtually all of the questions posed by Congressman Clay Higgings’ Lafayette Field Office Representative Jerod Prunty.  He also responded to a question by Sen. Fred Mills, who was joining the meeting via conference call.

 

Finally, Burns was told it’s inexcusable for the FEMA employee and the FEMA contractor to provide conflicting guidance, yet that’s precisely what happened in the video below entailing whether or not FEMA will reimburse for debris removed outside of the Army Corp of Engineer’s Wetland Permit.

 

The meeting lasted for nearly two hours.  Today, we are going to present the first installment of a series of posts on the meeting, which is the 17-minute clip referenced above.  Here it is:

17-minute video clip of “FEMA” representative Jeffrey Jones at a meeting of the Legislative Auditor’s Office of 2/6/19.
Note:  Rep. Miguez is seated at the FAR END of the table on the RIGHT-hand side furthest from the camera.  He is the one with the beard, and the two “FEMA” representatives are between him and contractor Billy Broussard.

 

The Legislative Auditor’s Office meeting of February 6, 2019 is certainly not the only time that Jones’ status has been the subject of a ton of FEMA money and confusion thereof entailing eligibility for reimbursement.

 

That fact is evidenced by this feature article wherein Brian Fairburn, who supervised Livingston Parish’s debris removal after Hurricane Gustav, was asked on the witness stand at an arbitration hearing by FEMA attorney Linda Litke, “Did you allow all of this work, up to $40 million in wet debris, based on the statements of Mr. Jeffrey Jones?”  Fairburn, who was Livingston Parish’s Director of Emergency Preparedness, responded, “Absolutely.  He was FEMA.”  Jones subsequently testified at the same hearing that he, “did not believe my role was misunderstood.”

 

Given that every member we’ve asked who attended yesterday’s meeting felt that Jones clearly represented himself as a FEMA employee, we can only conclude that Jones’ representations regarding his FEMA status do in fact appear to be creating considerable confusion.  Further, there is now an open question as to whether Jones was even proper in attending the meeting, much less the degree to which he responds to the questions in the preceding video in speaking for FEMA.

 

Given that Mr. Broussard has contended since day one that someone misrepresented himself as a GOHSEP employee and authorized him to do approximately 10 times the original work he was instructed to perform (along with an assurance that he would be paid for such work), especially when combined with emails wherein Calcasieu drainage officials are indicating, “We need these GPS sites to disappear,” we can only characterize the totality of all these circumstances as very disturbing from our vantage point.  After all, if an entire room can be confused on Jones’ status and Fairburn, who held a prominent position with Livingston Parish Government was confused (resulting in substantial FEMA claims denials), then is a single contractor, Billy Broussard, supposed to be held to a higher standard than all of them?

 

Finally, given all the controversy surrounding Jones’ role at the meeting, we were asked how he came to end up at the meeting.  That’s why we love video cameras.  Here’s the answer to that question:

 

Louisiana Legislative Auditor Director of Recovery Assistance Services’ John Morehead makes it clear “FEMA” representatives are there as his guests.

We again extend our sincere appreciaton to Mr. Purpera’s office in permitting us to videotape this very intriguing meeting!

We look forward to delivering installment two of this intriguing meeting very soon!

If you would like to be added to our Sound Off Louisiana email list to be notified of future posts, simply go to our home page and scroll to the bottom (mobile devices) or to the top of the right-hand column (desktops).  Supply your email address within the subscribe box.  You’ll then receive an automated email from Word Press, and all you have to do is click on the blue “confirm follow” bar contained within that email, and you’ll begin receiving great posts such as the preceding one above.

 

 

Are Louisiana lawyers poised to elect ethically-challenged St. Tammany Parish CFO attorney Kelly Rabalias to an esteemed position on the Louisiana State Bar Association?

 

 

St. Tammany Parish Council Chief Administrative Officer Kelly Rabalais, who has stunned many members of Concerned Citizens of St. Tammany Parish (CCST) in making a runoff for the Louisiana State Bar Association’s Board of Governors to represent the Fifth District.  Her runoff opponent is Jack Whitehead, Jr.

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UPDATE @ 8:26 p.m. on 2/5/19:

 

We were contacted by representatives of CCST soon after this feature was published, and we were notified that the final legal tab for the raw sewage servitude deceit was over $1 million!!

We were also informed that the $500,000 in litigation costs for DA  Montgomery having to fight the Council and Brister in court is “extremely conservative.”

 

UPDATE @ 11:26 p.m. on 2/6/19:

 

We reached out to CCST for the ultimate disposition of CCST Member Terri Stevens’ litigation.  In addition to supplying us with the original brief he filed with the First Circuit Court of Appeal, (which we believe our subscribers will find interesting to compare the material set forth in the preceding linked brief with the finding of the Appeals Court), we received further response from CCST’s attorney L. Kevin Coleman, which we now provide our subscribers in full:  

 

 

“The Stevens case had lots of twists and turns, not the least of which was how the subject and focus of the case was effectively changed by the court at the constant urging of defense counsel.  I attended most of the hearings and it was painful to watch the corruption of the case unfold:  The flash drive delivered anonymously to plaintiffs had caught the defendants red-handed in a cover-up, with Ms. Rabalais prominently featured, but because counsel for plaintiffs had not notified defense counsel of the existence of the drive, defense counsel cried foul on two counts:

 

“#1) They alleged with great fanfare that the flash drive was not timely revealed/turned over to them (an approximately two-week delay by their allegations), and #2) and with even more vigor, that the flash drive was stolen from St. Tammany Parish Government and contained privilege communications between the attorney and client. 

 

“In this manner, they were allowed to successfully change the subject.   Ms. Stevens and her counsel were sanctioned by the trial court for failure to timely comply with discovery orders, which is where the contempt and attorney fees award came from.   

 

“Thereafter, effectively the court of appeal held that the trial court’s sealing of the flash drive from review or use was appropriate as a further sanction for the alleged wrong-doing of failing to timely turn it over to the defense.   The fact that wasn’t actually what the trial court had said or ordered made no never mind:  The trial judge had said repeatedly that she needed to review what was on the drive to determine whether its contents were privileged  but she never did that.  (The party pleading privilege has a duty to prove that claim with specificity but  defendants had failed to do that; they just continuously played the injured party).  Instead, the flash drive and its contents were sealed from review or use, and so was buried the evidence of the defendants’ clear wrong-doing.

 

“I pro-bono represented the plaintiffs on appeal from those rulings where I tried to un-do the damage, but the court of appeal affirmed the trial court’s judgments.   (Trial court has “much discretion” in ruling on discovery issues and the court of appeal could not find that it had abused that discretion; abuse of discretion requires a high degree of proof; etc.)

 

“As to Stevens’ allegations being unfounded – that’s not correct.  Effectively, her allegations as to the drainage issue were ultimately not really addressed.  She had sought an injunction, but the trial court denied her a preliminary injunction.  By the time the case was tried on the permanent injunction following a long hiatus in which the above battle over the flash drive’s revelations was fought, the drainage project was by then substantially complete, so an injunction would not lie, as the court of appeal subsequently affirmed.  Thereby the court of appeal was able to sweep aside the issues of wrongdoing on the part of the parish government as “moot.”

 

“Thus, the defense’s diversion of attention by alleging that the plaintiff’s withholding of evidence (i.e., the flash drive, which itself had revealed the defendants’ intentional withholding as well as altering of evidence – one must appreciate the irony here) coupled with the defendants’ and the court’s use of technical procedural issues buried both what happened on her property and the many tricks and games played by the defendants.   Through these devices, the plaintiffs’ case was delayed and bled dry of its substance while the defendants’ clear wrong doing was buried, all at substantial cost to the taxpayers in attorney fees and costs.

 

Here are the citations to the two court of appeal opinions:

Stevens v. St. Tammany Parish Gov’t, 16-0534 (La. App. 1 Cir. 1/18/2017); 212 So.3d 568

Stevens v. St. Tammany Parish Gov’t, 16-0197 (La. App. 1 Cir. 1/18/2017); 212 So.3d 562

 

UPDATE @ 10:26 a.m. on 2/7/19:

We were also contacted by another individual, and we were asked to make public the Stephens final judgment.  Since we have presented Mr. Coleman’s assertions regarding the appeal on the Stephens matter, we will certainly provide that final judgment both at the previous link as well as replicated in full with the highlighted text we were provided included below:

 

 

 

 

 

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Almost two years ago, we published a feature on St. Tammany businessman and member of the Louisiana State Police Commission (LSPC) Jared Caruso-Riecke and his historical glee at flaunting his ability to evade police radars via his hidden dashboard’s extensive radar detection equipment as well as cross-country race teams affiliated with him readily (and illegally) changing license plates if the team heard its license plate called out on police scanners.

When we published the feature, we were soon contacted by several members of CCST, all of whom have been concerned about the rank corruption which clearly exists entailing the government of St. Tammany Parish.  By then, they’d already been subjected to coroner Peter Galvin’s imprisonment on state and Federal charges of using an unqualified taxpayer-funded employee of his to service inmates at a Slidell jail rather than doing so on his own time.  Prosecutors alleged that, through his scheme, he managed to pocket $350,000 and included in his prison sentences was a condition that he make restitution to taxpayers of St. Tammany Parish.

 That was soon followed by long-time corrupt St. Tammany Parish DA Walter Reed being sentenced to an incredibly light four-year prison sentence for pure, rank political corruption.  Like Galvin, Reed was also ordered to make restitution to St. Tammany Parish taxpayers to the tune of $572,067, pay a $15,000 fine as well as $40,709 to the IRS and $1,800 to the Federal Government.

In today’s Sound Off Louisiana feature, founder Robert Burns examines St. Tammany Parish government’s newest member to its Governmental Hall of Shame.  He does so after having again been contacted by CCST, which has expressed shock and dismay that St. Tammany Parish Chief Administrative Officer Kelly Rabalais has made the runoff for an election to a three-year position on the Board of Governors of the Louisiana State Bar Association representing the Fifth District of that Association.  Here’s a brief video expressing CCST’s concerns:

Burns analyzes the concerns of CCST members that Rabalais has made the 5th District runoff for a three-year Governor’s position on the LSBA.

 

Support documents or links referenced by Burns in the above video:

  1. Rabalais lying about a St. Tammany Parish servitude to a member of CCST, Terri Stevens, through whose property raw sewage was flowing in violation of local, state, and Federal laws regarding the illegal discharge of raw sewage.

 

Rabalais also withheld documents from Stevens, who had made public records request regarding the servitude, which would have exposed her lie, and acted unethically in stating to the St. Tammany Parish Council that Stevens’ litigation regarding the illegal discharge of raw sewage was “meritless.”

 

Her deceit to the St. Tammany Parish Council cost it over $100,000 in legal fees defending against a lawsuit that was anything but “meritless.”

 

  1. CCST’s Amicus Brief filed to prevent the St. Tammany Parish Council (and particularly Parish President Pat Brister) from ignoring the will of the people and continuing to hire private attorneys, to include Rabalais, rather than utilizing the services of District Attorney Warren Montgomery, who had to file the litigation, as it is mandated to do per the terms of its Home Charter.

 

  1. Louisiana Supreme Court’s 7-0 ruling concurring with the above Amicus Brief and reversing both the trial judge and the First Circuit Court of Appeal which had ruled that St. Tammany Parish Council could ignore its Home Charter, ignore a clear vote of the people of St. Tammany Parish, and hire Brister’s choices for the “legal department” (to include Rabalais) rather than using Montgomery’s services as DA.

 

  1. Covington Mayor Mike Cooper announcing his plan to challenge Pat Brister for Parish President in the October 12, 2019 primary.

 

  1. Unable to hire Rabalais as outside counsel due to the Supreme Court’s ruling linked in # 3 above, Brister promoted Rabalais, notwithstanding the obvious highly questionable ethics Rabalais demonstrated, her issues about both improperly denying public records and allegedly ordering an altering of those records so that they would not conform to Stevens’ request, to be her Chief Administrative Officer, and the St. Tammany Parish Council approved her selection 12-1.

 

  1. Brief bio on Jack Whitehead, Rabalais’ opponent for the Fifth District’s Board of Governors position on the Louisiana State Bar Association.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’ll see what the attorneys of this state decide, as the deadline for voting ends on February 11, 2019.  We’ll certainly supplement this post with the final results of that election!

 

If you would like to be added to our Sound Off Louisiana email list to be notified of future posts, simply go to our home page and scroll to the bottom (mobile devices) or to the top of the right-hand column (desktops).  Supply your email address within the subscribe box.  You’ll then receive an automated email from Word Press, and all you have to do is click on the blue “confirm follow” bar contained within that email, and you’ll begin receiving great posts such as the preceding one above.

LABI President Stephen Waguespack stresses ITEPs importance, tort reform, judicial scorecards as key to assisting the business environment in Louisiana.

Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI) President Stephen Waguespack

Appearing before the Baton Rouge Press Club on Monday, February 4, 2019, Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI) President, Stephen Waguespack, emphasized the importance of the Industrial Tax Exemption Program (ITEP), tort reform, and a new proposal for a “judicial scorecard” as three critical items required for Louisiana’s existing businesses to succeed and expand as well as encourage out-of-state businesses to consider expanding in Louisiana.

 

Let’s take a look at what he had to say and some of the questions he fielded on same (a couple of which were downright hostile and/or unprofessional entailing ITEP):


Waguespack stresses ITEP’s importance.


Waguespack assesses the current state of ITEP, its “local control” and the “chaos” he says resulted from Gov. John Bel Edwards’ 2016 Executive Order on ITEP.

Waguespack manages to get drawn into a 4:22 dialogue with Times Picayune reporter Julie O’Donohue entailing her concerns over one centralized local contact for ITEP.

Waguespack responds to a question on how candidates in the 2019 election cycle, particularly candidates for Governor, should handle the rhetoric surrounding ITEP.

Waguespack responds to a hostile and combative question entailing “examples of companies who’ve said they passed on Louisiana due to ITEP in the last 12 months.”

Waguespack responds to a hostile and combative question posed by Remi Delouche, who seemed to go out of his way to stress he is a “former long-time LABI member” and simply could not contain his personal disdain for LABI and Stephen Waguespack.

 
Waguespack provides his thoughts on tort reform in Louisiana and responds to two questions on same:  one by Sound Off Louisiana founder Robert Burns and the other by J. R. Skains, a writer for the Piney Woods Journal.


Waguespack provides details on a new LABI initiative:  a Judicial Scorecard.  He also responds to a question by The Advocate’s Lanny Keller entailing same.

CLICK HERE for Mr. Waguespack’s presentation in its entirety, and CLICK HERE to see the LABI handout Waguespack provided to those in attendance at the meeting.

 

 

If you would like to be added to our Sound Off Louisiana email list to be notified of future posts, simply go to our home page and scroll to the bottom (mobile devices) or to the top of the right-hand column (desktops).  Supply your email address within the subscribe box.  You’ll then receive an automated email from Word Press, and all you have to do is click on the blue “confirm follow” bar contained within that email, and you’ll begin receiving great posts such as the preceding one above.