Workers for GDD8 whom informant Carl Patterson alleges are performing work inside a pole barn owned by a public works employee.
Contractor Billy Broussard has continued his crusade to expose what he contends is massive corruption and fraud perpetrated by officials of the Gravity Drainage District 8 of Ward 1 of Calcasieu Parish (GDD8) by making a request to be on the District’s April 1, 2019 agenda, which convened this very evening. On Thursday, March 27, 2019, District Superintendent, Eddie Hebert, telephoned Broussard and, as the following 97-second audio demonstrates, tersely informed him that his agenda request was denied. Hebert, who was clearly being guided by an attorney as evidenced by the long delays for him to respond to Broussard’s simple questions, also tersely informed Broussard that he was “not to contact” the District again. Let’s listen in on their brief phone call in its entirety, shall we?:
Hebert tersely informs Broussard that his agenda request is “denied.”
We telephoned the District hours before its meeting convened to inquire which attorney denied Broussard’s request. We spoke with Ms. Leslie Impastato, who serves as office manager. We asked if she could identify the attorney who denied Broussard’s request. We asked because, if that attorney may be Russell Stutes, Jr. (which she indicated that it may have been), that would seem to be an inappropriate action on his part because Stutes (should he possess any level of ethical proclivity), ought to realize a need to recuse himself given that Broussard already has a pending ethics complaint against Stutes. Impastato could only identify two attorneys whom the District has employed: general counsel Robert Kleinschmidt (an Assistant DA in Calcasieu DA John DeRosier’s office) and Stutes.
As Impastato continued to dance around answering which attorney denied the request, we inquired, “So is it safe to say that either Stutes or Kleinschmidt denied the request?” Impastato responded with the utterly brilliant statement, “Well, now you’re putting words in my mouth.” We responded, “Well, you just said you’ve only employed two attorneys, so how can it be an attorney who is not Stutes or Kleinschmidt?” Impastato, apparently becoming desperate, stated, “Well, it certainly could be Sam Gabb,” to which we responded, “Sam Gabb is the attorney for the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury, and Mr. Broussard has made no request to have an agenda item added to that agency’s agenda!”
Impastato then volunteered that we, Sound Off Louisiana, “clearly do not know the facts of the case.” When we responded that we believe we know them quite well and asked if she had looked at our features, she responded, “I’ve read them all, which is why I can state that you don’t know the facts of the case.” We then responded that both Stutes and Gabb turned down our invitations to appear on camera and clarify any factual errors they deem to be published.
Impastato then continued to display her sheer brilliance in stating that GDD8, “would be in violation of the restraining order if we permitted Mr. Broussard to be on the agenda and address the restraining order.” After we informed her that GDD8 has enjoyed four years after the restraining order was signed during which it could have filed a motion to dissolve that restraining order and that Broussard would certainly not oppose any such motion, Impastato stated that, “I’m not going to play your games,” after which she promptly hung up the phone on us. For the record, when Broussard’s former attorney, Robin “the judges are crooked in 14th JDC” Sylvester, filed a motion to dissolve the restraining order, Stutes, representing GDD8 (though he appears to have gotten no vote of the body to even initiate the restraining order in the first place) actually responded with a motion seeking more sanctions against Broussard.
While Stutes certainly ought to recuse himself regarding legal counsel where matters entailing Broussard are concerned, William Most, Broussard’s current attorney regarding matters entailing GDD8 and the CPPJ, also strongly believes that Calcasieu Parish DA John DeRosier should also recuse the entire office to include Kleinschmidt. In fact, Most sent DeRosier a letter seeking the Calcasieu Parish DA’s recusal dated November 18, 2018. Here’s that letter:
Now, regarding Impastato, let’s take a look at an interesting document which she signed providing her assurance that GDD8 documents would be maintained until any project’s closeout:
Why is the preceding document important? Well, we’ve also obtained a ton of damning material from a gentleman named Carl Patterson, who worked for GDD8 and was a known whistleblower for acts of malfeasance, payroll fraud, felony theft, and filing of false public records. Those charges entailed Brian Benoit, who was prosecuted by the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office. He pled guilty to malfeasance, and the state agreed to dismiss thirteen others, along with charges of payroll fraud, filing false public records and felony theft. Let’s take a look at another paragraph from the preceding article which every reader may find intriguing:
As well, the state has settled the case against Benoit’s son, originally charged with intimidating witnesses after he allegedly threatened two whistle blowers. Justin Benoit was allowed to plead to disturbing the peace, a misdemeanor. He’ll be on probation and must get help for anger management.
What was the threat that Justin Benoit made to the two informants (one of whom was Patterson)? According to Patterson, Justin Benoit threatened to “kill” him and the other informant. Was there reason to take Justin Benoit’s threat seriously? Obviously so given that he was arrested for threatening to murder Patterson, another employee, and “the secretary” (Impastato). Furthermore, only a few months ago (November of 2018), Benoit was arrested for a host of offenses, to wit:
Benoit was arrested and booked into the Calcasieu Correctional Center and charged with sexual battery, unauthorized entry of an inhabited dwelling, possession of stolen things from $25,000 or more, and resisting an officer.
Benoit was also arrested on warrants out of Jeff Davis Parish including accessory after the fact to first degree murder. The Jeff Davis Parish Sheriff’s Office tells KATC that Benoit’s warrant is in connection to a murder in Topsy that occurred in August 2018. Two people were previously arrested in that investigation. Read more here.
Benoit was also arrested on other charges including possession of or dealing in firearms with obliterated numbers and direct contempt of court.
Now, Patterson has provided us with a ton of additional material related to GDD8 alleged corruption and criminal acts. Let’s take a look at just a few photos he provided and add in his commentary on same, shall we?
First, recall above that there may be reason for concern regarding Leslie “Sound Off Louisiana doesn’t know any of the facts of the case” Impastato assuring FEMA that all documents pertaining to debris cleanup are maintained until closeout. Well, Patterson reinforced such concerns when he took the following two photographs of just such documents on April 8, 2008, a critical time during which Broussard was removing Rita debris:
GDD8 public documents that Patterson has stated that he observed being destroyed that he photographed on April 9, 2008.
Another set of GDD8 public documents Patterson asserts he observed being shredded that he photographed on April 9, 2008.
So, given that Impastato signed the document above on January 9, 2006, if Patterson’s statements are correct, it sure looks like Impastato was unable to live up to her commitment. Of course, when you’ve been threatened with your life if you don’t keep your mouth shut only a short time before, perhaps it’s understandable to “look the other way” when documents are shredded!
A photo from the rear entailing work transpiring at a pole barn Patterson states is “owned by a public works employee,” with “flow-fill cement poured at a later date — all at taxpayer expense — as a job for a benefit of one,” which Patterson asserts cannot legally transpire. Photo was taken on December 19, 2012.
A standing pile of dirt showing where Patterson took the first photo above with that flow-fill cement being “poured at a later date” for the benefit of one public works employee. Photo was taken on December 19, 2012.
Photo Patterson took on February 7, 2011 entailing underbrush on property owned by a Calcasieu Parish Police Jury employee.
Photo Patterson took on February 9, 2011, two days after the photo above, after all debris was cut down and burned on property Patterson states is owned by a Calcasieu Parish Police Jury employee. Patterson indicates that “no benefit to off-road drainage resulted. This was another job for the benefit of one.”
Patterson has informed us about other problematic acts by GDD8 public officials to include the direct theft of approximately $200,000 in limestone as well as a drainage ditch dug across one official’s property that benefitted that one property owner and that owner alone, another act which Patterson has said is illegal.
No wonder Stutes doesn’t want Broussard, a known associate of Patterson who accompanied him to the Legislative Auditor’s Office on February 5, 2019 to provide factual information (though perhaps Impastato would claim it’s more inaccuracies on Sound Off Louisiana’s part) on the level and locations of obvious debris removals which should not have been portrayed to FEMA as eligible, to appear before his client, GDD8. There is the potential for exposure of a massive cesspool of corruption that everyday Calcasieu Parish citizens may well become justifiably outraged over. [Newsflash to Stutes, GDD8 members, and CPPJ jurors: They’re already mad as hell!]
Patterson had just a few words to say near the end of that meeting with the Legislative Auditor’s Office, but those few words seem awfully powerful and insightful, so we think they deserve a quick view:
Appearing at the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s Office on February 5, 2019, Patterson vents about the lack of concern regarding theft of local taxpayer dollars, and he emphatically states the concern level is far less for alleged acts defrauding FEMA.
Now, here’s the $1 million question. Why would Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera, given all of the pure, rank corruption that has clearly been demonstrated to exist at GDD8 and CPPJ for an extended period of time (most especially during the timeframe Broussard was removing Hurricane Rita debris) simply accept a “sign off” by FEMA monitor Dan Kennedy, whom Broussard contends had a vested interest in having the bayou cleaned since he owned (or owns) property near the bayou that has historically flooded, as accurate? That question is particularly germane given that Broussard contends that, despite being on the job site virtually every day, he has yet to meet Dan Kennedy! We’ll have much more to say on that in a feature we’re compiling and expect to release in about 10-15 days.
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