Monday, October 10, 2011

I'd like to make an apology to Greg Meffert...

...I once said he had the biggest ego and biggest mouth in the city. Man, was I ever wrong:

 Aaron Bennett thrives in the heat of enterprises many would shun

I don't even know what to say about this.  He's just gleefully admitting he bribed Nagin.  I really am gobsmacked to the point that I can't even comment on how stupid this is.

Well...a couple of things I would point out in this article.  Reading between the lines and perhaps some subtle foreshadowing on Hammer's part....

"Sources close to the case tell The Times-Picayune that after Bennett began cooperating with investigators, he tried to talk to Fradella in an apparent attempt to help the feds make their case."

If that's true...and I'm not convinced it is....that would mean Fradella still hasn't cut a deal with the Feds.  What this also means is that Ray Nagin is almost certainly about to get indicted.  It also means there must be other people the Fed wants to nail in this investigation and they need Fradella to sing.

Who are those people?  Well...Hammer throws up some suspect contracts Bennett was involved in:

"Bennett could be a fountainhead for investigators because he has held so many public contracts with different government entities -- with the city of New Orleans, Louis Armstrong International Airport, New Orleans public schools, the St. Bernard Parish port, Plaquemines Parish, the Plaquemines Parish Sheriff's Office, the Army Corps of Engineers."

Interesting that the LAI contract is thrown in.  I think the MSM will soon find out what happened with that contract and we'll get some answers.

"This is not the end but the beginning of the next phase," Rafael Goyeneche, president of the Metropolitan Crime Commission, said when Bennett was charged. "This could be something that would overlap parish boundaries."

River Birch, perhaps?

In the following years, he bundled illegal campaign contributions for federal elected officials, schmoozed at hot spots near and far with top local politicos and landed multimillion-dollar federal and local government contracts for everything from storm-abandoned vehicle removal to technology management to large Army Corps of Engineers and port construction projects to house lifting and shoring.

Whoop...there it is!  That abandoned vehicle removal "contract" which there is no record of at City Hall.  I think that's because it was handed out as an emergency contract after the storm but the details of the contract don't seem to be recorded.  Ever wonder where those cars ended up?  I think I have found a couple of companies in Texas and Florida who may have been the lucky recipients of those waterlogged vehicles...more on that to come.  Speaking of...

The next year, the attention that surrounded the Chicago and Las Vegas plane trip Bennett arranged for Nagin didn't slow Bennett down a bit. Benetech soon hired one of the city attorneys for consulting services, and a year after that Benetech took over a Home Solutions contract to do city-paid construction work at the French Market -- work that got more lucrative with a series of change orders.

Interesting that he didn't name Ellis as the attorney.  Is he threatening to sue you now as well, Dave?

even though Bennett at that point already knew the feds had caught him on tape making a $10,000 payment to Hingle.

You thing I want to point out....he must have done this after Zurik was already reporting on Hingle.  That's just fucking stupid.  So was this:

Last year, after one of his ex-wives supplied Benetech financial information to The Times-Picayune, he sent her a taunting text message with a nude photo of himself flexing his biceps, which she forwarded to the newspaper.

I got that pic as well and I posted it not knowing it was him.  I thought it was just a joke....well...I guess it was a joke.  What the kind of farking moron would do something like that?  This guy....jeez.

I almost wish he wouldn't have cooperated so I could watch that trial.  Well, I suppose I can at least hope for a Nagin trial.       


whitmergate said...

Aaron Bennett may well plead ‘GUILTY BY REASON OF INSANITY’ after his lawyers re-read this T-P article !

Think sociopath for beginners ... borderline manifestations of delusional grandeur come to mind also ...

This is great stuff ... thanks again Damballa for being on the forefront of what others wanted to keep backstage ...

Jason Brad Berry said... luck would have it his lawyers will probably now be indicted along with him.

This guy is off the chart. Maybe he's planning on writing the book or selling the movie rights.

Anonymous said...

Maybe he's not the stupid,arrogant, egomaniac we think he is. Maybe he has had and still has political connections which protect him from excess jail time. Much like the Mafia Don who was known as the Teflon Don because he knew the time he would do ( if he failed in his attempt to buy the jury)was not severe enough not to continue to do his illegal dealings. Even in prison these type guys still make money illegally while serving.

Anonymous said...

Wow, here's a beaut from Bennett:

>>>"I was trying to find something that interested the Nagins," he said. "I wanted to give something of value to them because I wanted the mayor to give me a project.<<<

I mean, dude.

Jason Brad Berry said...

Anon 1,

uhhhh....nah. I don't think so. If anything I think he's a "mafia" wannabe. Fradella, on the other hand.....that may be a different story.

Anonymous said...

if fradella had anything to do with the mafia he would have been taken out long ago. bennett is stupid and arrogant, nothing more.

Anonymous said...

interesting fradella note. i was looking through frank's criminal case filings and noticed frank requested and was granted his passport for a week to travel to puerto rico on business. frank was due back a few days ago. us citizens do not need a passport to travel to peurto rico. i wonder if frank flew the coop?

Anonymous said...

My mouth was open wide yesterday as I read this story as well. Yes the best line is "I was trying to find something to give the Nagin's of value"
Contract for cabinents at Home depot...check.
private jet ride to NFC Championship game and Las Vegas (approximate value: $12,500-15,000 for fuel)...check.

As an aside, you don't MARRY the titty bar waitress you moron. Well, unless you needed to get the GED from Abramson...check.

Jason Brad Berry said...

BB, I accidentally deleted that comment. Sorry.

The question was "is Letten part of the problem or solution?"

Well my personal opinion is he is the solution. I definitely think he's stepped up thE game since Katrina but I also think they've cherry picked a lot and as a result some really nasty characters have fallen through the cracks.

You may have noticed that in respect to Bennett, the TP has been beating the drum and even called team Letten out. I applaud that move on the TPs part.

When Goyaneche said this is the beginning of the next phase, I think we are all going to be shocked at how big this next phase really is. I would not cinfuse the turtle pace of the DOJ with a conspiracy that Letten is somehow "part of the problEm.

Anonymous said...

Zombie, didn't your own comment thread on that nudie pic give you hints at a Bennett connection?

How many of the City Attorneys and former Nagin era City staffers are going to be part of this "next phase"?

Ellis, for sure.

But what about Brenda Breaux, who was (according to one of your commentors) letting Daya Naef sign things on behalf of the city when she was working as the registered agent for HSOA/Fradella/Bennett?

What about Evelyn Pugh, who I believe had some responsibility for signing the demolition orders on houses, many of which people fought hard to save. If we could find out which properties and do a map, that might be interesting.

(A map of properties Daya Naef signed things about at the city might be brilliant, too.)

The Notorial Archives might turn up interesting information again. The notary numbers of the lawyers involved in this saga are publicly available on the Secretary of State website.

Evelyn Pugh was friends with Ellis and Naef socially; she was in a position to know about what Bob was doing with Bennett, and Naef with HSOA, Fradella, Bennett, and the city. Did she have a piece of this, or did she just turn a blind eye?

She's been around since the Morial era. Whatever she is, she sure as hell isn't a whistle blower.

Properties and development projects in Juan LaFonta's district with connections to Bob or Daya interest me. Daya is a financial contributor of his, and has been for a long time.

Cao also receives donations from her, and Steve Scaliese has benefited from Bob's money. All that is public information.

Two faces of "Republican integrity", Mr. Cao with his strongly expressed personal values, and Mr. Scaliese, who as a leading Tea Party figure is supposed to be all about cleaning up this kind of politics, might want to rethink their connections.

Daya Naef is a point of contact between Cao and LaFonta, both of whom are opposed to Cedric Richmond, who is an icky character, but I am more wary of Bennett, Fradella, Ellis, and Naef, so I'd take Richmond over anyone Daya Naef likes, no matter how much integrity they seem to possess.

What might happen to the Ellis/Naef aspects of this inquiry if Cao gets the job he is vying for now?

Steve Scaliese to his credit has already chosen to give back money that Bennett gave to his campaign. Let's see if he is still comfortable being part of Bob Ellis's network of connections.

Mary Landrieu also gave back the money Bennett donated to her. It will be interesting to see if the Democrats really will clean house and cut their connections to members of "the Bob Ellis posse".

I want to know more about what happens at DC Mardi Gras.

I would like to know more about the businesses and or properties that Ellis and Naef may have registered in Texas. Their property in the French Quarter and how they funded that has puzzled me for a while.

I'm glad the story about the Katrina cars is back. Did any of the ones that ended up sold to unsuspecting people leave for South America via warehouses on the river?

How exactly did they get out of town and off to the places where they were resold? I bet Bennett could tell us something. I wonder who in Nagin's City Hall would have known.

I bet the people who get the drugs in and out of the city would know how the cars got out. Maybe someone should ask Nagin's personal photographer if has any ideas.

What role has Bob Ellis played in the LSU hospital dealing? Bennett got a piece of those contracts, too.

And now Ellis and Co. seem to be connected to Bennett's part of the corruption around elevations.

There are so many unanswered questions.

Jason Brad Berry said...

Yeah i realized it was him after the comments came in...but not when I published it.

In regards to Ellis and Naef, the issue is what can be proven. I have some new information I'm tyring to track down and I'll post that in short order.

My concern at the moment is that Ellis may get a Chris Drake/Ed Minyard/Ed Burns pass and walk away from this unscathed. I dont' want to see that happen and I'm gonna beat the drum that it doesn't go down that way. I think Ellis may be a bigger fish than Bennett.

It concerns me that Hammer avoided mentioning his name in that article, though....that concerns me greatly.