Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Reconciliation V.1

This is a letter from Mrs. Naef addressing the accusations of a potential conflict of interest regarding her business relations and that of her husband's.

Dear Jason,

In our conversation last week it was mutually agreed that you would welcome an
opportunity for me to verify the inaccuracies and address individually the hurtful
statements being made about me on your website. Here is a list of corrections that I have
prepared in an effort to dispel the many implications and rumors hashed out on your

1. I was the General Counsel for the local company Home Solution Restoration of
Louisiana (HSRLa). I was hired in January 2007. PICKE Construction
Corporation is the new name of Home Solution Restoration of Louisiana, Inc.
(HSRLa) and I currently act as their General Counsel. Associated Contractors,
LLC was merged into HSRLa in 2006.

2. Home Solutions of America, Inc. (HSOA) is the publicly traded company that
owns HSRLa/PICKE. I am not counsel for HSOA.

4. Being a Registered Agent for a company means you will receive official
documents on behalf of the company. It does not mean you are involved in the
management of the company in any way whatsoever nor that you have any
interest at all whatsoever in that company.

5. As it pertains to Echo Tango, LLC - I formed this LLC for a friend for a potential
real-estate project. It has no other purpose. It has no contracts with either the
City or the Airport. It should also be noted that the City and Airport are separate

6. Wolf Ventures, LLC is a single member LLC and has no business interests and/or
ties to: Allegis Capital, Wolf Ventures, & Advantage Capital Partners.

7. Crescent City Management, LLC is a single member LLC that has no contracts
with the City, although it does have a vendor number because it has submitted
proposals; however, CCM has not been selected. I personally, along with five
other attorneys and firms were selected at one time to do title work for the City
through a “Request for Proposals”, but that project was changed after the
selection process and therefore I was not assigned any work.

8. I used 210 Baronne Street as an office prior to Katrina.

9. I am not a City Attorney nor am I employed by the City. That said I do not sign
City documents. The references to the letters that I signed on are dual signature
letters that the City designed. The letters are part of a 2006 program of the
Mayor’s to donate properties that have been adjudicated to the City for tax debts
for over five years to for-profit and not-for-profit developers to increase the
number of low income housing units available, as well as re-develop
economically depressed areas of the City. I was hired by Jaeger Foundation after
it was awarded properties. Jaeger was one of twenty something entities that
received properties. As far as I know, the largest entity allocated properties was
New Orleans’ Faith Based and second was Jericho Road (owned by the Episcopal
Church). The City determined who received properties by a Request For
Qualifications (“RFQ”).

10. I am admitted to practice in Michigan and Louisiana. I have never practiced in

11. I do not have anything to do with authorizing the City’s demolition permits.

12. Benetech did not share office space with HSOA. HSOA did not move to New
Orleans until after Benetech closed its office on Poydras St. in April 2007.
As a young attorney my reputation is paramount in attracting new business and keeping
the clients I have. For instance, if a potential client uses Google to search for my name
they would find that your site is the first several entries. Being that what you and/or your
posters have had to say about me, which as pointed out above has been untrue and
exceedingly derogatory, they would most likely decide to go in another direction rather
than hiring me, based on what they read on your website. As you can see this would be
very damaging to my livelihood in addition to my being personally offended by the
posted content.

I hope we can avoid any future unpleasantness and I would also welcome a chance to
speak with you personally if one of your potential posters brings me up again, prior to
you posting it on your forum.

Thank you for this, Daya. Thank you.


Anonymous said...

"12. Benetech did not share office space with HSOA. HSOA did not move to New Orleans until after Benetech closed its office on Poydras St. in April 2007."

-HSOA's ex chairman and ceo frank fradella has always worked out of new orleans. when HSOA bought associated from benetech fradella moved into 1340 poydras. correct me if i am wrong but fradella and scott sewell (benetech exec)both worked out of the poydras street office at the same time.

Anonymous said...

Look, these two have hoist themselves on their own petards.

We've all been following along. We don't need to parse what they wrote line by line. We know what they clarified, and what they disorted or omitted to mention.

We are all free to think whatever we'd like to about these two.

They can't sue the whole world into telling them that they are great people with nice personalities.

Bullying didn't work, and flattery (plus a further veiled threat) hasn't worked on me here, either.

Dambala, you come out of this with everyone's respect and admiration.

Anonymous said...

If Daya is concerned about her reputation and career, I hope she is reporting all illicit activity she comes across at City Hall to the FBI, regardless of who is self-dealing. You don't have to be employed there to see what corruption is brewing, and her understanding of civic matters and interstitials gives her a fair insider eye to WORK WITH US. Then the top Google stories will become "upstanding lawyer serves the people" as these stories break and she'll have no problem getting clients.

It galls me to this day that so many City Hall employees and fringe insiders had an idea of what Meffert et al was up to and reported NOTHING. If you know something, speak out. The FBI can sort out the legalities if you aren't sure something is on the up and up. Worry less about YOUR reputation and more about OUR city.

Bloggers aren't the threat: people who allow corruption to flourish are. Any businessman who understands the workings of City Hall and allows intimidation to rule against the common citizenry will find a backlash against his business. And it's a tough economy out there.

Anonymous said...

Yup, and you'll run it by Meffert before you or anyone else posts about him.

You'll ask Nagin's permission to say you think it is funny he's in swine flu quarantine (Remember that? How we laughed and laughed!).

You'll get a note from Veronica White if you want to talk trash.

Cause that's how it works-- no one is allowed to express an opinion or ask a question without getting it vetted with the person the question is being asked about.

It is Chinese Olympics style "free speech zone" time.

It seems she just politely asked you to volunteer to become her bitch.

This makes me respect Ray Nagin and Greg Meffert for never coming on here and asking that of you.

Anonymous said...

There is lots I could say, some things positive, others negative.

But I'd like to keep thinking and talking about the political and social issues raised by what we learned about how the city is handling housing and neighborhood redevelopment, rather than focusing on all the interpersonal drama-rama.

One point Naef made was about the Jaeger Foundation. She said they got properties from the city, properties the city chose to donate, and that the properties were the city's to donate because of back taxes.

That will probably raise red flags for people who have been paying attention to issues with taxes, sherriffs, assessors, certain lawyers and judges, and so on, for quite a while.

New Orleans had some deep systemic issues well before the storm and Flood, and since then, well...you know.

Who can do the best short history of the topic for interested readers? If Dmabala is still fed up to the neck with this, is there one place AZ readers-- including Ms. Naef-- can go to get a good overview of all this?

Naef named some of the other foundations that are getting houses through donations from the city, including an Episcopal Foundation.

Other bloggers have been following some concerns swirling around that Episcopal foundation and the builders then employed to do some of the work.

People have been asking: is the religious foundation maybe being manipulated by politically connected firms, or are they involved in what appears to be some shadiness?

I think you know more about this, suspect device. There are older posts on your blog about this, right?

Some people are asking about how the homes became forfeited, how clear title to them is established by the city, and why the city is choosing to donate the properties rather than selling them to recoup the back taxes.

These are good questions, and Ms. Naef, you could step up to the plate to explain the rationale.

I think Mr. Ellis used to do some of this kind of tax collection long ago, too, but I might be wrong.

Once it is explained, some people may rest easy and think good work is being done, others may get upset and organize to have things done differently, but at least we'd know what is being done and why.

As there are properties all over the city, some pre-Katrina blight, some SOAP, some this, some that (there are a whole bunch of government agencies involved in this housing situation),

How do the foundations that are recieving these donations divvy up the neigborhoods amongst themselves?

How does the city decide who is to get what?

And what sort of proofs of financial capacity to do this redevelopment do the foundations have to show?

Do they present plans for redevelopment to the city in order to get these extensive land donations? Do they show time tables?

If they are putting in low to moderate income housing, they must have documents and plans for what they would like to do, right?

Do people still living in undamaged homes in the targeted areas have to be bought out, or can they stay put and welcome new neighbors filling in around them?

They aren't going to wait ten years as the only family on their street while the foundations amass the amount of land they want and need to put in a master planned neighborhood, are they?

What is in it for these foundations? How are they benefiting?

Anonymous said...

I'm the same anon from a second ago. I forgot to mention that there was a great segment on Democracy Now today.

The last segment of the show was an interview with a nice lawyer from the Brennan Center for justice who was explaining that many, many people who had their homes foreclosed on or who lost them as part of this current crisis (maybe even for tax reasons) did not ever get the legal help they needed to help them protect their biggest asset.

Democracy Now's archive of past shows has a special section for the mortgage and housing related programming they have had for the past couple of years.

It is helpful to anyone trying to understand the issues, though there needs to be a lot more about New Orleans.