Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Reconciliation V.2

This is a letter from Mr. Ellis addressing the accusations of a potential conflict of interest regarding his business realtions and that of his wife's.

Jason,

It was nice to finally get the opportunity to speak with you. I hope our conversation gave
you some insight into my personality and character both professionally and personally. I
have worked very hard in my tenure with the City of New Orleans to serve the public to
the bests of my ability and offhand comments impugning my character are something I
take very seriously.

At the outset, I suggest that before bloggers decide to post statements that reference
crimes against individuals that are not public officials there is no protection against suit.
Such posts will ultimately be the demise of bloggers and hope this one instance will serve
as an example of how it should not be done – posting outlandish, unresearched statements
then demanding said person to respond and refute. This is akin to yelling “fire” in a
theater to a person’s reputation. I note the majority of the posts are so far removed from
reality, either because some people believe everything is a conspiracy or that every action
must be corrupt, and where they can take hours to post they fail to take the time to
understand what is actually occurring.

Fortunately, as stated, cooler heads prevailed.

To that end I have compiled the following list, which corrects the inaccuracies previously
posted about me and my work at City Hall on your website:

1. I am a Deputy City Attorney who is assigned to the Litigation Team.

2. I never have drafted, reviewed, or participated in the award of any bids.

3. The above mentioned duties are handled through the Transactions Team and the
Department of Purchasing.

4. To be clear I only handle matters that are in litigation (someone has filed a suit or
injunction against the City) or that is going to be in litigation (we have received
notice of a suit or the City needs to initiate litigation).

5. There is no such thing as a “no bid” contract.

6. I have no control or influence over who is awarded public works contracts and
never have.

7. Public works contracts – which are done by sealed bid by law (and I am not
giving a legal opinion) - are awarded to the lowest, qualified, responsible bidder.

8. Neither of us have relationships with Netmethods, MethodInvestments, Veracent,
Logistix, Active Solutions, Southern Electronics Supply. I was the litigator who
initiated litigation against Veracent arising out of the One Shell Square tower and
I am currently defending the City against Active and Southern in that case.

9. The entire “Posse” – “Mafia” thing is a complete and total fabrication. We
attended one meeting regarding the Inspector General. It was the Mid-
City/Lakeview meeting. I was there to listen to Mr. Cerasoli talk about his reason
that his office needed a dedicated amount from the general fund without the need
to explain or present a budget to the City Council. The legislative branch of
government, the City Council, should always be presented with a budget and
explanation. Every department presents a budget and all should; its directly akin
to taxation without representation. I never publicly asked a question.

10. Canlas Ellis, LLC was my private firm before I went in-house with the City. I am
admitted in Louisiana and Texas. I keep my Texas license active as a formality.

11. Representative Juan LaFonta is not my law partner.

12. There are no conflicts of interest between Daya and myself. In the one case
where her client had litigation against the City, it was resolved before the City
need to respond or appear; the matter was never assigned to me.

13. http://www.fifthcircuit.org/PDF/OPINIONS/PO/2009/5CE8D380-4D2E-490FB1DA-
2AA278CA58E8.pdf - read the case the court of appeal reversed and
rendered an opinion in my favor.

14. Neither myself nor Daya know Tracie Washington.

15. When we went to Rising Tide there was no suit filed so I showed with no
summons. I did not have people taking video or anything like that. I went there
for one reason to meet with you face to face and talk. Nothing else. After the
excellent speech by to the keynote speaker and noting you left I went on with my
friends to the BBQ-Tailgating exhibition.

16. I have never had a City vehicle.

17. When someone “witnesses” or “notarizes” a document that person is merely
attesting that the person who signed the document is who they say they are –
nothing further. They certainly do not make themselves a party to whatever they
are witnessing. I am a “Notary Public” which means I can notarize anyone’s
signature within the state of Louisiana if I know them or they have shown
identification.

I congratulate you on your recent award. It is obvious that your website is something you
have put a lot of time and effort into. I hope that this encounter will help you to continue
in your labors while helping to sharpen your understanding of good conduct and
fundamental fairness.

Again, I am glad we had the opportunity to sit down and discuss this “controversy”
without further recourse. I appreciate the opportunity to clear the air in your “open
forum.” In the future should you have any further questions regarding me and my service
to the City of New Orleans I would appreciate if you kept the lines of communications
open prior to posting anything rhetorical that may possibly be misconstrued.

And thank you for the explanation, as well.

I hope that this encounter will help you to continue
in your labors while helping to sharpen your understanding of good conduct and
fundamental fairness.

I thought that was very good point and indeed this experience has taught me much.

I hope we both proceed more finely tuned than before our encounter.

Ashe.

12 comments:

suspect device said...

"At the outset, I suggest that before bloggers decide to post statements that reference
crimes against individuals that are not public officials there is no protection against suit.
Such posts will ultimately be the demise of bloggers and hope this one instance will serve
as an example of how it should not be done – posting outlandish, unresearched statements
then demanding said person to respond and refute. This is akin to yelling “fire” in a
theater to a person’s reputation."

what

Leigh C. said...

That's what I said, SD.

Toney said...

taking a half step back, it is amazing that we now have city officials posting (via letter) on this blog. nice job.

Anonymous said...

It means that even though you consider your first amendment right to free speech to be absolute it is not.

Anonymous said...

Correction: Not a City "official" a City employee. And, you left him no other recourse to clear his name from the nasty things posted. Pretty totalitarian.

mominem said...

One misleading comment, not directly related to this issue, The City seems to often issue what could be called Public Works Contracts in most peoples minds as Professional Service Conrtacts, gutting the protections of the Public Bid Laws.

Anonymous said...

Um, free speech and free comment is not "totalitarian".

I still wonder about Ellis doing side work for Benetech while taking a city pay check, and how Rep. Juan ended up Naef's lawyer on top of his political office, and what Naef was signing in Brenda Breaux's office, if she was signing anything at all. I'm allowed to wonder.

Why anyone connected to any of the HSOA, Fradella, or allied enterprises thinks they can take money from those people without being tainted by the scandals plaguing them is beyond me.

There are no doubt some great people who worked at Enron or Lehman Brothers, or heck, ACORN, who are having to deal with the message their former employer's new reputation now sends out about their personal integrity.

None of those people are blaming random bloggers or threatening lawsuits, and plenty of people have written online posts characterizing bankers and/or ACORN people as pure evil.

Why not threaten to sue Scott Sewell, the Maimi papers, or nola.com most of the story links came from for this supposed "reputational damage" while you're at it?

Maybe sue Fradella himself.

If Naef is worried her business will be hurt, she can think back to Dambala's initial questions, and ask herself why they didn't just post this kind of answer then, instead of shit about Siths and Posses, which made them seem slightly unhinged.

If they had been measured and answered the questions in a limited way, none of the other stuff about their business or business associates would ever have come out.

The Jaeger Foundation didn't have it's name in the blogs or the press until after the SLAP suit threat. Naef brought that publicity on her client herself.

They way they have chosen to handle themselves is enough to make me think I'd rather seek more temperate and mature lawyers if I needed help.

Oh, and the "ultimate" "demise" of bloggers is a ways off, kids.

bayoustjohndavid said...


5. There is no such thing as a “no bid” contract.


Mr. Ellis needs to educate the staff of The Times Picayune. Went to Newsbank at the Louisiana Library website, entered '“no bid” Nagin'; found sixteen articles this year alone -- limiting my search to the Times Picayune.

Colby said...

It's unfortunate but true fact that if you work for the City Of New Orleans citizens will assume that you are either lazy, inept or crooked at least 50% of the time. Seeing as this is almost certainly based upon some facts, it is up to said employees to try to prove this assumption is wrong, which this couple did through writing and conversation.
Other CofNO employees can do this by hard work and professionalism, the same way the rest of us do day to day in our chosen occupations!

Anonymous said...

The Bard was right 400 years ago:

"Methinks the lady (and her husband) doth protest too much."

Anonymous said...

Everything else aside: "We attended one meeting regarding the Inspector General. It was the Mid-City/Lakeview meeting. I was there to listen to Mr. Cerasoli talk..."

This overall response/letter is very nice, and it's great that he has responded, but I would like to point out that Mr. Ellis *did* attend at least one other meeting re: the IG; he did so by himself; it was at a Mexican restuarant Uptown (on Calhoun). Mr. Cerasoli did not attent (though it was unclear if he would in advance) and Mr. Ellis did make a comment (as some other attendees did) there at that small event, it was a negative one and he left the event early after doing so.

Maybe Mr. Ellis forgets this, or maybe it does not matter, but it is the case.

Anonymous said...

While I believe him that he was never issued a city car, he and his friends have USED city cars in ways I thought were inppropriate. Ellis and others know what I'm refering to.

I thought I was the only one who had noticed this, or if others noticed, that it was just part of the political culture, and until it was posted about here, I figured I was the only one who thought it wasn't right.

The conversations I had after the libel suit threat let me see that others had noticed and others also thought it wasn't right. (I believe my own eyes now. Thanks, bloggers.)

I still don't know if it violates city policy, and my guess would be that the foxes have written rules that let them do whatever they want in the hen house, so there is no one to report concerns to. I hope the rules get made tighter.

In the grand scheme of things, the car thing is small beer. It isn't the Ciber/Fradella/Bennett connection, and work for subsidiaries of HSOA is still too close to HSOA for my tastes.

It isn't even supporting Steve Scaliese, which is not illegal or improper, but which does affect my opinion of this couple's personality and character.

But it is worth mentioning after all, because of the WAY Mr. Ellis attempted to resove the question.

He gave one small, factually correct statement that seemed to answer the point, but did not.

I'm not in a position to know if the poster above who pointed out that Ellis had attended another IG meeting, contrary to what he said here, is correct.

Most of those reading this are probably not in a position to know if there is anything to my concern over the car use.

However, perhaps many of us can agree that the way he addressed the things we DO know about makes us more likely to believe others who contradict him or raise concerns about other issues.

I've almost written this comment a couple of times, but it was not until reading the comment of the person who contradicts his statements about the IG meetings that I thought I'd add my impression.

I had not noticed the last post until today, that's why I'm writing on such an old post.