It seems most of the attention in the N.O. blogosphere has been on the mayor's race this year...it's been so dramatic it's hard not to focus on it.
My primary concern as a blogger in this election is that people at least know the candidates this time before they cast their votes. If there is anything dubious about their past, I think it's important the voting populous is made aware of such information.
Such is the case with District C.
A couple of weeks ago, I had heard the District C race between Kristin Palmer and Tom Arnold was being plagued by whisper campaigns from both sides. But most of those whispers turned out to be idle gossip regarding relationships and as a rule of thumb I don't like to discuss those matters on AZ as I think they rarely have any pertinence to a person's ability to perform a civic duty.
There was, however, one story of an incident which took place at the Algiers Courthouse which caught my attention and I decided to look into it. Two weeks later, I am confident the event took place but even more disturbing than the event itself, is that there is no official record of the event taking place....and there most definitely should be.
Here is the story as confirmed by two confidential, independent witnesses:
In April of 2008, around noontime, an incident took place at the Algiers Courthouse in which Tax Assessor, Tom Arnold, was brandishing a gun in his office. An employee of Judge Bobby Jones named Buck, told the witnesses that Mr. Arnold was locked inside his office with a gun to his head. Reportedly there were two employees of the courthouse in the office with Tom, Ray Giacontiere and Louis Ivon, as well as two of Arnold's staff members, Kelly Byrd and Roy Allen.
The witnesses report that two caucasian NOPD police officers appeared on the scene and they appeared to be detectives, dressed in pants, shirt and tie. The witnesses report that the situation was diffused and the officers left in an SUV with a security camera videotape.
That is all I have been able to verify, so far, through the eyewitnesses.
The problem I have here is that it appears there was no police report filed on the incident. Combined with the report that the security videotape was removed from the courthouse, it concerns me that there was an effort by multiple law enforcement officials to cover the incident up.
If Mr. Arnold used his influence to quell the reports of the incident or if he was shown special favor by law enforcement officials.....this needs to be public knowledge.
Also, I would ask why was the tax assessor carrying a weapon in the Algiers Courthouse in the first place? Was he authorized to do this?
There seems to be a pattern of abuse of privilege with Arnold:
Tom Arnold fails to quash charges of misuse of police lights
Blue light not-so-special
These are two incidents which show a clear abuse of privilege by this man who is wanting to hold one of the most important public offices in our city government. I think this issue needs to be known by District C voters.
I have made repeated attempts to contact both Mr. Arnold and his campaign to comment on the incident but I have received no official response on the record.
I encourage Mr. Arnold or his campaign to please comment on this issue or contact me personally if they wish to respond.