Friday, October 08, 2010

No, no, no

Cedric Richmond jewelry-purchase allegations not backed up by credit card records

I did not make this assertion:

"Berry has claimed Richmond used the NOCE credit card or other agency funds to buy the Rolex, and then let the agency's director, Tina Dixon, take the fall when an auditor discovered the improper purchases."

Not.  I did not say he used the NOCE credit card to buy the is exactly what I said:

Well, interestingly enough, I have been told by two separate sources that Cedric Richmond used non-profit funds to purchase a diamond bezel from a prestigious downtown jeweler for his blingiddy-bling, white gold, Rolex watch he is sporting that bad boy

I did not say it was the NOCE credit card, I did not even say it was NOCE funds, and I did not say it was the Rolex watch itself.

I said I believe he used non-profit funds to purchase a diamond bezel for the Rolex....and I stick to that claim. 

"Berry has asserted that Richmond bought a Rolex diamond bezel in 2002 from Jack Sutton Jewelers using NOCE funds. He said Sutton, the jeweler, told him so."

No...I did not assert that Sutton told me that.

Sutton originally told both me and a WWL reporter that he had located the invoice for the diamond bezel from 2002.  He told both me and the reporter that they didn't keep computer records back that far but his accountant had found the invoice from 2002 and it did not show the credit card number but there was a notation on the invoice which showed that Cedric put $1000 down on a credit card and payed the remainder in a personal check.

I stayed in contact with Sutton every week for about 2 months to try and obtain the invoice, I was continually told to call back in a couple of days.  Upon talking to Sutton on the phone two weeks ago, he implied that they were having no luck locating the invoice....after he already told me they had located it.

As of yesterday, I discovered that the invoice had been turned into the Times Picayune and was dated from 2007.  I called Sutton to ask him how the invoice was dated 2007 when he told both the WWL reporter and me that the invoice was from 2002 (more than once).  He replied (paraphrase), "No you told me the invoice was from 2002, I didn't tell you that."  I replied (paraphrase), "That's not right.   Neither I nor (WWL reporter) knew exactly what year it was from.  You were the one who originally told us it was from 2002."  Sutton then replied (paraphrase), "No you told me 2002 and when I was told by the Times Picayune it was from 2007 I looked for that year and it was right there....they even have the CC number."

The date not only conflicts with his original story but the fact that he produced the card information also conflicts with his original story that the credit card info. was not recorded on the original 2002 invoice which he claimed he had located. 

To boot, he then admitted to the TP that he did tell me it was from 2002.

Confused?  Yeah, you should be.

A caveat:  I have also been told that the invoice turned in to the TP was photocopied. 

The TP obtained these NOCE credit card records from the NOPD.  However, upon a public records request to the DA's office in May of this year, they responded that the records were missing:

* I have withheld the name of the person who requested the record until I can confirm it is ok to list it.

The docket states that Dixon's official sentence wasn't delivered until June 6, 2007:

Docket Full                                                            

How was she prosecuted if the DA's office didn't have the records?  Did they lose them between 2007 and the June 2010 public records request? 

Upon searching the Clerk of Court's records division for the case # 453-281, an entirely different case came up involving a male crack cocaine possession charge. 

Dixon's record was officially expunged in March of this year, 2010.  Regardless, the Clerk of Court should still have the case records as should the DA's office.

Desiree Honore' declined my request for an interview, but since she is now coming forward and commenting to the TP, I'm curious if she will turn over all of NOCE's financial records to the TP or some other media resource so we can get a better picture of this entity.

On another note....

It's interesting to me that the other issues I brought up about this non-profit seem to not warrant print.... the 4 specific grant violations I noted about both NOCAP and NOCE, particularly the 60k in renovations to the building.

I had no idea  NOCE had garnered 588k in that four year period.  I am betting NOCAP raised about the same amount, which would put the total over a million dollars in 4 years.  From the NOCE audits I could only account for 1 line item which mentions a computer trainer which they had budgeted at about 6k a year.  That's 24k out of nearly 600k that was spent for actual computer instruction.

While I still firmly believe Richmond used non-profit funds to buy jewelry, I regret that I made that single issue the forefront of the story as it seems to have overshadowed the other documented issues I've pointed out with Richmond and NOCE.

But this isn't over....not by a long shot.  The time line on this election is redundant to me and I've uncovered a mountain of nastiness while researching this story.  Hang with me, we're just getting started.


Editilla~New Orleans Ladder said...

I get the impression that Cao made the Rolex the front page of this latest TP story.
Anyway, as he said they can all come here and read for themselves.
**You might consider setting up a right-side block of links to the other RichMon posts for quicker access.

I'm sure Cedric would rather the story (if it must) stay focused on the Rolex instead of the lack of computers for the computer outreach biz, or all that other stuff you have already clearly blogged.
Funny it wasn't as confusing when Zombie said it the first time!

And yes, the Word Verification for this post is: "reboxin"...
getouttaheah! you say
Tru'dat I say! reboxin!

Anonymous said...

SFW this guy spends 6 grand on a fucking watch. Why didnt he spend it on helping out the poor folks in his dist. He could have broughten a fake Rolex for about three hundred and use the rest on doing some good.

Oh wait he's from bill jefferson group of friends and he was trying to keep up with the ministers.

What a fucking joke these people are and an one who votes for them. Keep digging and when you get the chance stick that stick right into his eyes so he wont be able to see what time it is.

Anonymous said...

I was totally gobsmacked by the newspaper article this morning. Having read your original story, I was more familiar with your accusations than the MSM, which was seriously disturbing. (What else can I not trust them to report properly?) If they can't research your blog, then it's no wonder they can't do the type of complicated, multiple-source research at which you excel.

I am also very disturbed by the way the media has chosen to create a little false soap opera drama around the story, focusing on jeweled watches and "possible girlfriends", which they can then discredit and downplay, instead of the real story of fraud and corruption. The actual story is that Richmond steered lots of money to a non-profit that stinks to heaven with political ops and apparently existed only to fund friends with paying jobs and free credit cards, without providing any services at all.

Thank you for all your work on this. It's fascinating and horrifying.

Anonymous said...

anon at 9:11,

The T-P is PLENTY familiar with the info AZ has published. You think it's a coincidence they only mentioned the parts that they had "evidence" to discredit the next day?

I wouldn't hold your breath waiting for the T-P to publish something negative about Richmond. It'll make you blue.

Anonymous said...

TP is butthurt that a "blogger" has beat them to a story and now they're trying their best to discredit you. Keep at it, AZ... We're all behind you.

Anonymous said...

Gordon Russell usually is on the top of his game so I am a little disappointed in the story that it only focuses on the Rolex watch and not the diamond bezel which was clearly stated on this blog. I'm glad though that Gordon Russell intervened in the story and pushed out Michelle Krupa to the side after the really slanted personal attack against bloggers in the article.

Frank Donze did not do his homework on this story otherwise Gordon would have asked the right questions IMHO.

Unfortunately that did not happen though and it makes the Times Pic and AZ look bad and Richmond look good by default of asking the wrong questions.

Anonymous said...

I think it speaks volumes about the state of newspapers when print journalists feel the need to publish a politician's pushback against allegations made by a blogger.

It is a clear concession by the staff of the city's major daily that they no longer control the news cycle.

Also, did they ask AZ for comment on the Richmond camp's allegations? appropriate.

Anonymous said...

So who's profiting from this dangling timeline? Is this just a political numbers game, Obama backing Richmond and trying to get a Democrat (whom the powers that be undoubtedly know will be investigated) instead of a Republican in that seat?

It doesn't matter if the T-P is lying to the public, or deflecting attention from this blog. Letten's office can read both. If the people get fooled and vote in someone with a fondness for shell games, however, that costs tax dollars to hold another fair election. This in theory then becomes theft of resources, not eligible for prosecution, but ethically at the very heart of continued corruption. Those who know and say nothing, knowing the impending costs again drain those very dollars needed for basic services, are the real political enemies.

IMAANGRY said...

I am sick and tired of politicians steering my hard earned tax dollars to sham charities or entities that supposedly will do some good for the public. When will it stop?

Also, Cedric Richmond, as a disbarred (then re-"barred")lawyer, should not even be allowed to run for public office. If he can't get the truth straight about something as simple as where he freaking lives, should we think he can be trusted with more of our tax dollars. I am angry!

Keep up the great work and out these vermin.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for everything that you do. Stay strong!

Anonymous said...

I am so glad that you are doing what you do.

Anonymous said...

Damnit, this is pissing me off!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm glad though that Gordon Russell intervened in the story and pushed out Michelle Krupa to the side

...that didnt happen. ive spoken w/ russell several times about this story -- he stands by it and says there is nothing to report on. the records are too far back and they cant do any more investigating.

Editilla~New Orleans Ladder said...

Stephanie Grace's Sunday Editorial:
"Yet when asked, Cao supplied no evidence of wrongdoing on Richmond's part, other than to point to a blog, The American Zombie, that offers a lot of smoke but nothing like a smoking gun implicating Richmond in any criminality."

Well? Is the TP really looking at that much campaign ad revenue? What?

Editilla~New Orleans Ladder said...

Sorry, here's the link to that Stephanie Grace Fluff Job for Cedric Richmon:

Did she not do due diligence on the ledes you provided?
I don't get it, but she outright trying to "out" you as an ass-blower.

She did the same innuendo and out the other --that she is accusing YOU and Krewe-of-Truth Laddy of doing.
That's right, lumped you right in there with a paid consultant.

Anonymous said...

Hilarious: I posted a link to uour "No, No, No" blog follow-up as a response to th e Cao 'jewelry' story and it has been deleted by the TP/Nola.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure you've received this, but the nice folks at Slabbed have some new info?

angrrrrry cajun said...

ok, even if the times-pic said the watch story had run its course, are they not going to investigate the non-profit scams as well? just say there's no more to the story and walk away? unbelievable. that's just blatant bias.

Anonymous said...

russell said theres nobody to talk to and theyre not doing anything on the non-profits right now. i think they will probably endorse him but he said thats a different department.

my feedback was if it ever comes out that richmond is in fact dirty, and they failed to investigate it now, and they endorsed him, then they are a part of this. but he didnt feel that way.

guess its over....for now.

Anonymous said...

Funny comment:

"my feedback was if it ever comes out that richmond is in fact dirty, and they failed to investigate it now, and they endorsed him, then they are a part of this"

Hey, how many times has it happened that a local pol got busted for corruption and THEN the TP runs an expose telling all about their past sordid connections and doings? --->>>> EVERY single time.

Look at the TP's report on Mose Jefferson for the very best example of that.

Anonymous said...

but where those scenarios when they had reason to investigate and find the dirt? AZ definitely takes away some of the cost of entry for them, which is what makes it worse.

Anonymous said...

The smell, huh?

It is the bleating my housemate complains about.

I'm trying to figure something out. Thanks for the list of grants.

Anonymous said...

The Richmond/Spears case: Turns out the judge who did the Tina Dixon expungement was…. LAURIE WHITE.

…Who used to be on the Indigent Defense Board with…. IKE SPEARS. And they resigned in protest together post-Katrina.

White also received a $600 campaign contribution from Spears. No biggie, but still.

Richmond did support White's opponent, Lombard, though.

She also apparently has a little criminal rehabilitation program that by the looks of it one Rep. Cedric Richmond may have pushed through because he was at the big kickoff event:

Now this: turns out that Laurie White is actually one of the few people to have laid eyes on the Canal Street Brothel’s black book’s contents. Yes, she knows the names, or some of them.

— ” “It was an interesting move that made a lot of people suspicious,” says Laurie White, a New Orleans defense attorney who represented Joanne Hansen, one of the women slapped with conspiracy and racketeering charges. “I didn’t see any reason for it except to protect the guilty.”

As an attorney in the case, White did manage to get her hands on the list, and after looking at it, she realized that federal prosecutors were probably scared to go after many of the people on the list, which included some of New Orleans’ best-known doctors, lawyers, business owners, and athletes.

Another New Orleans defense attorney who worked on the case said the list also included a judge, a local TV personality, and a couple of city councilmen.” —

Pretty darn interesting article by the way.

Jason Brad Berry said...

I have been looking into the expungement and there are some serious concerns. I don't think White did anything fact, I've heard she is concerned about the issue herself.

I hope to have more information soon.