Tuesday, January 22, 2013

As we were just discussing...

There are target rich environments.....and then there's Ray Nagin's world:

Developer of riverfront project allegedly gave $100k in illegal payments to Nagin

I would also just like to acknowledge that WWL-TV is knocking this Nagin saga outta the flukin' park.

Meanwhile, Samuel is in Chapter 7 personal bankruptcy in Florida, and creditors accuse him of hiding $20 million from them. The bankruptcy trustee agrees and is conducting an investigation. A Florida court ruled that Samuel fraudulently transferred millions to his wife, Deborah, who was also involved in the green energy company.
Samuel's creditors also allege that he hid some of his riches by sending $450,000 to Deborah Samuel's father, reputed Lucchese crime family associate Frank Arnold. Arnold, a bridge painter, was acquitted of RICO charges in New York in the 1990s during a mafia crackdown.
Meanwhile, Deborah Samuel’s first husband is Ralph Romano Jr., whose father was another reputed Lucchese associate, was convicted in 2005 of murdering his business partner.

And forgive me if I'm wrong but that's the first recognition of mafia connections we've seen in the Nagin saga.

I've been told by a source who was intricately involved with Fradella in HSOA and Associated Contractors that Fradella was deeply rooted in mafia business in Dallas.  In fact, I was told by this source that HSOA was actually a mafia shell company from the very beginning and that Fradella picked it up for the sole purpose of creating a pump and dump company to manipulate the market.  Read this post I made back in May of 2007 before any MSM source had identified Cornerstone Marble and Granite as an HSOA subsidiary.

How far do the "mafia" connections run?  I don't know but I'm curios to hear if Oyster has any thoughts.  Remember that HSOA originally got the Frech Market revovation contract before it was dumped into Benetech.....it then took an aeon to complete.  Refer to this WWLTV report from Zurik back in July of 2009.  

In that report, Zurik went right up to a specific point in the story and stopped (nothing nefarious on Zurik's part and he probably doesn't even know what I mean by that...but that's how I read into this story).  Note who the  French Market board president was at the time.  And note this paragraph I wrote in the "Why is Nagin Pumping Cash to Republicans?" post:

I don't have full details on this, but one case involved a Vietnamese husband and wife who had a ten year lease on a prime location in the French Market where they were running a very successful seafood business. After the storm, they got a notice from the French Market Corp. that their lease would be terminated and they would no longer have the spot...someone in the corporation was trying to oust them from the spot so thier own peeps could take over. The schemers were assuming that because the couple was Vietnamese, they wouldn't know to seek legal counsel and would sacrifice the location without a fight....luckily another local real estate guru came to their aid and called bullshit...the plot was foiled. It leaves one to wonder how often shit like this goes down.

Just stuff to think about.


Anonymous said...

In your sneaky snakes countdown post, you mention the possibility of laundering bribe money through Harah's casino.

That sort of shit is so far removed from my day to day reality, it never occurs to me to think like that.

But when you mention it, it reminds me of the plots of half the movies I've seen, so there are obviously lots of people who do think that way.

If you google "fradella" and "gaming" or "harah's", you get a lot of hits.

There seem to be a whole bunch of Fradellas involved in gaming in Louisiana, and there is a Fradella who plays a prominent role in the Harah's operation in Las Vegas.

I don't know if these Fradellas are related to Ol' Blue Eyes Frank of New Orleans.

If they aren't, I would not want to smear them by making that connection.

But it interested me that such an easy search turned up so much.

The Benetech and Fradella contracts to do pass card entry systems for various places is maybe a better link to make.

I think one of those places might have been Harah's; your own blog records might have that information.

As your blog started to unravel their operations, the idea of giving these guys the "keys to the kingdom" by letting them set up the keyless entry systems of a variety of places seemed completely insane.

Anonymous said...

A source who was intimately connected to Fradella and Bennett?

That's interesting.

Jason Brad Berry said...

Yeah I know they were involved with Casino card systems at one time, at least Bennett was. I can't remember the details. I know Benetech was also involved with card ID systems for Nasa as Stennis as well....that's scary.

The money laundering through casino chips absolutely happened, I've since confirmed it through a an eyewitness. I should probably state this in a post but I confirmed that Bennett passed "thousands upon thousands of dollars" in poker chips to various individuals but namely to former city attorney, Bob Ellis. Bennett also paid for at least one trip to Las Vegas for Ellis and former city employee Robert Mendoza as well paying for a Washington D.C. trip to Washington Mardi Gras for Ellis and his wife Daya Naef.

I can say that safely because the source was about as close to the action as it gets.

Jason Brad Berry said...

as well as....

Jason Brad Berry said...

Intimately connected to Bennett.

Jason Brad Berry said...

Wait let me clarify....the source I referred to in the body of the post that was "intricately involved with Fradella and Bennett" is one source.

The source I'm referring to in this comment section regarding the poker chip payoffs is a completely different source.

Anonymous said...

There is also an Amy Sneed( married name escapes me), sister to Jennifer Sneed, sister-in-law to Fred Heebe and ex-WDSU news employee, on the Board of the French Market who I believe is involved in advertising/marketing. She also a freak on the Joan of Arc social network.

In regards to Ole Miss what are your feelings on their new mascot Bear. I haven;t seen the Bear on the sidelines is he in forced hibernation ?

Jason Brad Berry said...

bear schmare.

If it's not going to be the Rebels it should be Admiral Ackbar.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but what exactly is the "Joan of Arc social network"?

Anonymous said...

I've been waiting several years for some penny to drop about DC Mardi Gras.

I am just learning about the Ellis and Naef trip here, but it is the kind of thing you learn and you say, "shit, that makes sense" and some dots start moving closer together.

Those two are bad actors through and through.

If they do not see jail time for their behavior, something is very wrong.

Fuck, that makes me mad. You've gotten me all steamed up.

Your old posts reminded me of just how evil these people are.

Mob-connected building firms manipulating stock and ripping off sub-contrators, putting honest craftsmen out of business... that is some deep, bad, doody.

Daya used to plead ignorance, which would make her much too stupid to practice law. Simple google searches could have told her she was dealing with hustlers.

But taking trips and big money in poker chips from these people... not even a Southern white girl has enough tears to float the notion that she was a wounded innocent here.

These people were born with every advantage America offers, and that means they were born luckier than most people in the world, and fuck it, luckier than most people in the history of the world.

This isn't Mose Jefferson coming up from poverty.

They were well educated, and they had good jobs when many people could not come back to the city they love because the flood took their jobs.

No mercy. They deserve no mercy.

These people are dirty.

They sold out New Orleans and robbed her blind when she was on her knees.

No one doing legitimate work gets paid in POKER CHIPS for their efforts.

You don't take trips to Vegas or DC Mardi Gras paid for by people seeking city contracts if you work as a City Attorney.

Did Evelyn Pugh know about all this? She was Bob's boss, so what did she know?

Did Kenya Smith know? It was his subordinate they sent to the French Market Corporation meetings.

If Nagin is the only one charged, the rackets are continuing under new management.

The Landrieus are on their honor to do a real cleaning of these stables.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it the case that Amy Kirk-Duvosin (sp?) isn't even from New Orleans?

Sam said...

Reading all this makes me just rage. Suddenly today though, I flashed on something from way back. We went past the French Market almost daily and it was a while after the Flood, like two years probably. We missed it and particularly missed one of the vendors. We had not seen any significant damage to the French Market structure post Flood either. Then one day I had spoken to a couple of the vendors who had been put out. They were upset, not just by how much time had gone by, which had essentially broken them financially, but by the fact that the rents were going to be significantly higher if they could get back in at all, and there was no time specified as to when that might be anyway. I saw a sign that said something about the French Quarter Corporation. You know, one of those signs: We're excited to be announcing that we will be contributing to the rebuilding blah blah blah.

I went home, just angry and decided to try to track them down. It wasn't as easy at I expected. I don't remember how many phone calls I made to how many agencies trying to find out who was doing this work and why nothing had been done yet. Finally I was directed to the French Market Corporation and was told they had an office somewhere on Decatur if memory serves. While some of the details of all that are hazy now, what still stands out is the circular conversation I had when I finally got a number for them.

The receptionist answered, French Market Corporation, I gave my name and asked who the CEO was. She dodged. I then asked who the Construction Project Manager was. She weaved. I told her I simply wanted to speak to someone "in charge" who could answer a few questions for me regarding the French Market construction project. She answered that there was no one there who could do that and as I recall hung up.

I remember staring at the phone, stupefied. I knew at that point something was way wrong with all of this, way wrong, but that I certainly wasn't the one that would be able to find out what exactly. I think I may even have commented here way back then out of frustration. The whole phone call had seemed surreal. Any company or corporation would have switched me to someone, even if that someone was gonna bullshit me, but these folks didn't even make that pretense. They just had a very well trained receptionist that refused to say anything about anything.

I followed the progress of the French Market and once it was finally done, it still nagged at me and does to this day. I'll be both saddened and delighted to finally find out how all this was finnagled.

Just one of those little tiny things that haunt, ya know?

oyster said...

"Forgive me if I'm wrong..."

Um... heh... well then.

Kudos to Hammer's investigation, and to your quote selection and sources. I don't think you're wrong.

Florida, New Orleans, Dallas... if you could've shoehorned Chicago into this post it would've hit for the cycle.

Sorry to sound like a cryptic douche, but maybe we should discuss this further off-line.

Jason Brad Berry said...

Just speculation man. I'm not saying you have answers I'm just curious about your perspective. Didn't mean to put any pressure you

Jason Brad Berry said...

On you...sic

Jason Brad Berry said...

"Did Evelyn Pugh know about all this? She was Bob's boss, so what did she know? "

I think Pugh had to know to some extent. Maybe not about the poker chip issue but I think she had to know that he was in cahoots with Bennett in a way that wasn't kosher.

"Daya used to plead ignorance, which would make her much too stupid to practice law. Simple google searches could have told her she was dealing with hustlers. "

And that......is a damn good subject to entertain. I don't really know how much she did know. I mean, I don't really know is she understood just what she was involved with. I say this because I met with both of them in my lawyer's office when Bob was threatening me with the libel suit and I got the impression that she really didn't think there was any hanky-panky going on with Fradella, Bennett or Bob's relationship with them. In fact, when the topic came up she was indignant and I think it made Bob a little nervous that we were even broaching the issue. Could be she was really oblivious to the illegalities and just didn't understand what she was in the middle of.

I don't know. I hope a day comes when we can find out though. If he skates out of this unscathed it will be a true travesty of justice. As important as it is to see a former mayor indicted, I think it's just as important to see a former city attorney brought to justice and there isn't even a question of impropriety in regards to him receiving cash from Bennett through Opus consulting.

There is a litany of issues listed on this blog to go along with that one. In many ways I think Ellis was the air traffic controller for a lot Bennett and Fradella's activities with the city.

Also....don't forget the entire DR Commercial Lines topic that was brought up here.

Anonymous said...

if fradella had any affiliation with la cosa nostra he (or sewell) would have been "wacked" a few years ago. there was never any mafia involvement with fradella or HSOA. HSOA was a somewhat legitimate operation that cooked books/falsified contracts/paid kickbacks/committed bank fraud in order to prop up the share price. fradella's major error was trying to turn a short con into a long con.

Anonymous said...

fyi, in late 06 early 07 i recall fradella saying that repairing moon landrieu's house after katrina was one of home solutions of louisiana's first jobs.

Anonymous said...

That's Amy Sneed's( sister of jennifer sneed and sister-in law to fred heebe) married name alright,Kirk, and she is not only working for and involved with the French Market Corp. but runs the Joan of Arc social celebration each year at the statue by the river front. Look her up on her face book page.

Jason Brad Berry said...

"if fradella had any affiliation with la cosa nostra he (or sewell) would have been "wacked" a few years ago. there was never any mafia involvement with fradella or HSOA. HSOA was a somewhat legitimate operation that cooked books/falsified contracts/paid kickbacks/committed bank fraud in order to prop up the share price. fradella's major error was trying to turn a short con into a long con."

Funny you should bring that up, Anon. I met with Scott Sewell and discussed this exact topic. Sewell was not associated the mafia but he assured me that Fradella was. Sewell is the first source I speak of in this post, that's why the link leads to that story.

In fact, Sewell told me he was shot at in his office downtown (bullets deflected through window), his car was exploded (he was uninjured) in front of Delgado, his wife's vehicle's brake line was cut...among other attempts at his life....there was at least one more that I can't remember the specifics on.

He told me Fradella was associated with a particular crime family out of Dallas. HSOA was apparently a shell company that they had already used to funnel money with in some type of scam in Los Angeles. Frank apparently picked up the company and ran the pump and dump scheme.

Sewell was running Associated Contractors with Bennett. Fradella came in and bought AC under HSOA. Sewell claims that once he realized what Fradella was up to (cooking books, etc.) he absolved himself of the company and made them stop using the name Associated Contractors because he did not want his reputation tarnished. Fradella and Bennett closed Associated Contractors and then slyly opened Associated Contractors II in order to not tip off existing sub-contractors and clients to the change.

In fact, I think they listed Sewell as an officer in the newly formed company without his consent:


All and all Sewell claimed he did nothing illegal and went to authorities when he realized what Fradella was doing. Shortly after that the threats and attempts at his life began and lasted until Fradella was finally indicted.

As to the veracity of Sewell's story, you be the judge but that is the picture he painted to me.

Anonymous said...

Daya's deep denial is not the same as innocence.

You've talked about Nagin's complete inability to take responsibility, up to his crazy sense that he really has not done anything wrong. I think Daya is just as sick.

Bob seems to be a little more aware that he was being bad, though he intended to continue.

I'm not sympathetic to the denials. People do not have a right to refuse to see what is right under their noses, especially not if they are financially benefiting it.

I don't buy it, anyway. You don't get through law school without being able to identify a basic conflict of interest, and you don't grow up with a father in construction without recognizing a shady contractor.

She was willing to attempt to utterly destroy anyone who dared to ask questions about her part in this.

From what I hear, she took that a lot farther than a SLAPP suit with someone other than you.

You don't take cover-ups as far as she and Bob were willing to take them if you think you were doing nothing wrong.

Evelyn Pugh has been a survivor at the city since the Morial years, and I get the sense she was not a huge Nagin fan.

But again, if she knew what was going on, she's dirty, and if she didn't know, that level of ignorance or denial or what have you still needs to be addressed.

It is incompetence at the very least, a form of mental illness if you take it a bit further.

I agree with your guess that Bob Ellis may have been the "air traffic controller", introducing people to Nagin, and acting as a "fixer."

How does Blake Jones fit in to this Ellis saga? He fits in somewhere.

Anonymous said...

Sewell's story, or part of it, made the papers ages ago, and all these Nagin City Hall people kept right on doing business with the men he claimed were not on the level.

They had to have known.

When it was pointed out that something was not right, they sure circled the wagons fast and tried to shut down questions.

Anonymous said...

"In fact, Sewell told me he was shot at in his office downtown (bullets deflected through window), his car was exploded (he was uninjured) in front of Delgado, his wife's vehicle's brake line was cut...among other attempts at his life."

pure fantasy. i do not doubt he was verbally threatened. but lets face it, sewell is not jason bourne. if someone wanted him got he would have been got. sewell is no choirboy. he touted the SDVOSB scam to investors. dallas has not had an active crime family in over 20 years.

Jason Brad Berry said...

Yeah, I heard he has special penchant for bullshit. I still am not so quick to dismiss all of the claims but it does sound rather outrageous.

I can also tell you that contrary to what surfaced in the St. Pierre trial, Jimmy Goodson was not the only one procuring the "strippers" for the Silicon Bayou party. Scotty was pimping that shit as well.

Jason Brad Berry said...


Anonymous said...

Leaving aside all the specifics about who bribed whom with how much money, one of the big reasons I am still so emotionally engaged with the corruption at City Hall in the years after the flood is that I am unable to make moral sense of it.

"Bad guys being bad" makes a kind of moral sense.

But so many of the players in this unfolding drama did really bad things, in calculated ways, over sustained periods of time, and yet seemed to retain an understanding of themselves as "good" and "decent" people.

They think of themselves as good people even as they, with full knowledge and intent, and with obvious intent to conceal their bad actions from public scrutiny, did transparently not-right things.

How is that possible?

Nagin does not seem to understand that his contractor funded vacations, taken when his city and his people were still finding bodies in homes and coping with intense trauma, was a failure of empathy and of leadership.

Never mind the illegality, he does not understand why it was hurtful. He does not get why people are so mad at him.

Just that one choice, leaving aside all the other crap he did, was so violative of ordinary norms, it makes people of all political and social outlooks, whose idealized conceptions of our social contracts with one another are always in conflict, find agreement.

By all potential standards, using any social model of leadership and community as your ideal, that was fucked up.

How is it that neither he nor anyone working in that place understood what all normal people see plainly?

How can people so mentally ill, so morally ill, end up in charge?

Dambala, your sense that Naef really might not have thought of herself as anything other than a good person wrongly called out is a lot more shocking to me than anything she did or didn't do.

I can't get my mind around it.

Scott Sewell perhaps making up a version of events in which he was the victim of corrupt people, rather than a grey-area shady player himself, seems to fit a pattern of disordered thinking that many people involved in the Nagin years at City Hall are demonstrating.

On the one hand, they do know right from wrong. They talk about "getting rid of corruption", they avoid Oliver Thomas and others who got in trouble, they read the papers, and they seem to know right from wrong when it comes to seeing dramas play out on TV or in the movies. (Ellis famously likes Star Wars.)

But when it comes to their own behavior, some kind of psychological splitting, a dynamic where the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing, comes into play.

That scares me. To see a pattern of people who could swear on a stack of Bibles with utter conviction that they were good guys, and really believe what they were saying... while they were engaging in behavior that they knew was corrupt when some other guy was doing it... what is the psychology of that?

That is more frightening to me than any particular thing any of them chose to do.

Jason Brad Berry said...

Well...I just recently read Lawrence Lessig's "Republic, Lost". If you want a harrowing account of how far gone our government is, give it a read.

Lessig talks about this mindset in regards to corruption and politics and how there is a very conscious type of criminal who knows exactly what they are doing is a crime and then there is kind a passive criminal who is just "going with the flow".

I think that's true and the moment I read that I thought of Bob and Daya. Who knows, maybe they've got a huge bulletin board on their wall where they're moving from one scam to another but I don't think that is how it works. I think he absolutely knew what he was doing, I think she went along with whatever he wanted her to do. That doesn't absolve her of any wrongdoing but I think there is a clear distinction in the psyche of the two.

When we met in my lawyer's office, she was very angry, he was much more calm and focused. She went so far as to call me a lunatic...something about the crazy voodoo references on the blog...and she was very defensive towards Aaron and Fradella. She ranted about their innocence for a few minutes while I sat there in awe. She was visibly infuriated and working herself up even further as she spoke.

I got that impression that she really didn't think these guys had done anything wrong, I think she believed what she was telling me...I mean yelling at me. I remember looking at Bob in disbelief and you could see he was visibly uncomfortable with the dialogue. He quickly changed it back to the libel issue.

So I truly believe that she didn't really know what these guys....including Bob.... were up to. If she did....she needs to move to Hollywood.

I don't know...I don't want to play armchair psychologist any more with it but I am fascinated with these folks' psyche as are you.

Deb Cotton has been pondering the same questions in regards to Nagin:


Anonymous said...


I respect that you don't want to do more headshrinking right now, but I'm gobsmacked.

Your desire not to keep playing psychologist is noted, so please don't feel a need to keep going with this thread, but if I don't find some outlet for my shock about what you just wrote, I'll be wrecked for the rest of the afternoon.

I'd been feeling more sympathetic to her, not to him, but now I'm more scared of her.

She was there. She went on the trip to Vegas, and the one to DC Mardi Gras you told us about.

She may have signed things on behalf of the city while she was working for a contractor to the city (HSOA, etc.)

If Bob was uncomfortable and attempting to switch the topic back to the libel suit, he may fit into the comprehensible moral universe of a "bad guy being bad" and trying to cover it up.

If she could BE RIGHT THERE and be PART of doing things that were not right, AND married to someone who was playing Benedict Arnold, and STILL "not know" about the wrongdoing, holy fuck.

Holy mother fuck, that is screwed up.

It is odd for me on another level, too, because in my experience, it is often the women who deal with the domestic side of a family's day-to-day finances.

Husbands may deal with the investment portfolios and often men earn more than women. Especially if the family has young kids, women will often take jobs that reduce their income in order to buy them the time to do a lot of the early childrearing.

But in most of the families I know, it is primarily the women who keep the day-to-day household books, and who do the basic family budgeting.

Maybe that is an old-fashioned and sexist approach to family money, but it has been my experience.

I know families that have a range of different income levels, but I've rarely met a woman who didn't keep a strong eye on what money was flowing in and out of the house on a daily basis.

If you know what you earn, and you know what your spouse earns, and you know what the household expenses are, you're going to notice that extra money that comes in as "poker chips."

Shocked as I am by what you've revealed about Daya Naef, I don't want to suggest she is the only one like this.

Nagin's wife went on the trips, and where the hell was she when her husband was potentially embroiling her own sons in something criminal?

Stacey St. Pierre, and Greg Meffert's wife, (women who may have had less official involvement in city business than Naef, so perhaps more legitimate claim to ignorance of wrongdoing by their spouses) also strike me as completely bizarre.

I've never seen such a pack of women. They are around men who are hiring sex workers as part of doing business with some level of government, using the name of a Vietnam vet father to pretend to be a business run by "disabled vetrans", putting businesses and assets in their wives' names, implicating their wives and children in their crimes... and the Mama Bears are cool with this?

Naef's awesome and crazy ability to be ignorant of wrongdoing she witnessed and participated in is chilling.

After reading what you just wrote here, I don't think she needs to call Hollywood as if she was a cynical actor feigning outrage.

I would totally let her avoid jail with a "by reason of insanity" defense, as long as she got some help from someone who could work to bring her into the reality the rest of us live in.

Thinking of these women as a group makes me want to go check out books on Mafia wives.

How does one fairly small outpost of government end up with so many people like this in it? Is this a more general trend in American marriages and families?

God, I hope not.

Sam said...

We've been having the same conversation here in this house with regard to both genders and we've come to the conclusion that these folks are psychopaths. Granted neither of us has a degree in Psych but they by and large seem to fit the criteria as laid out by the famous Hare Test for psychopathy.

We usually think of that word only when considering murderous bastards or serial killers but many of our leaders, and indeed our CEO's, would score very high on that test.

In all my years I've only met one child that I was truly afraid of. The little boy was 6, lived in a nice suburb of Denver, had an enormously high IQ, looked normal. I watched this child for hours in his dealings with a much younger boy. He was vicious and cruel. Upon being called out on it, his response was outwardly apologetic, but the truth was that he didn't think he was doing anything wrong at all. He DID, however, understand that YOU would think he'd done something wrong and he knew what the appropriate response was: apology.

Take a look at the documentary, The Corporation, sometime. It explains not only the genesis of corps, but also uses the DSM definition of psychopathy and finds that the corporate mindset is full on psychotic. You might also enjoy, as we did, Jon Ronson's hilarious/terrifiying book, The Psychopath Test.

I really believe that some of what we're seeing is folks who truly don't think they did anything wrong, because their moral compass is stuck on psychopath. Seriously, check out the Hare Test and it might make a bit more sense.

Anonymous said...

I've seen the Corporation. I was thinking about that movie recently, too.

I thought about it during the election, when Ann Romney, perhaps even moreso than Mitt, didn't understand why people wanted to see their tax returns, and questioned the way they'd opposed the auto bailout, while profiting from it in a form of "vulture capitalism."

I thought of Reagan facing questions about Iran-Contra era stuff, and saying, well, yes, the record does seem to show that this all happened, and it is true, but I never "felt" that it was true or that we were doing these things.

These people just "feel" that they are good people, and any facts that contradict what they "feel" is true about who they are and what they have done to others just have to go.

And the "inconvenient" people who are trying to make them accept something that does not jibe with what they "feel" about themselves, well, just sue them, break them, kill them or whatever.

Obviously anyone who does not affirm that these people are the natural ruling class of the world, and that they fart sunshine and rainbows, must be dangerous a terrorist communist son of a whore, a "voodoo lunatic", perhaps.

"Jason Berry and the Voodoo Lunatics" might make a good name for your new band, Dambala.

Or how about a shirt? "Voodoo Lunatics for Responsible Government" has nice ring to it.

Jason Brad Berry said...


"She went on the trip to Vegas, and the one to DC Mardi Gras you told us about."

No...that's not what I said. I said she went on the DC Mardi Gras trip...I didn't say she went on a Vegas Trip. I said Robert Mendoza and Bob Ellis did.

Anonymous said...

Wait a minute... hold the phone...

Robert Mendoza, Mr. Public Works, the man who dealt with the crime cameras, and all the road repairs, probably including work on putting together the city bonds that covered such repairs, was on that Vegas trip with Bob Ellis?

I am glad Daya was nowhere near it. I still think she (and others) have to be in some kind of troubled mental state to have this going on all around without seeing it, but I'm glad she was not part of the City Attorney/ Public Works contractor funded Vegas trip.

Fuck, I almost missed that.

City Attorney/Public Works took a little trip to Las Vegas paid for by Bennett/Fradella?

If the trip was without wives, it may have been a different kind of Vegas trip, which is really sad.

These contractors worked with the wife, but paid for a boys only Vegas trip. A "no wives" trip to Vegas is typically a very different kind of trip to Vegas. A whole lot less Cirque du Soleil.

That's a lot of contempt, right there. I don't like these men.

Jason Brad Berry said...

I do not know that they were on the same trip, I just know that both Ellis and Mendoza both enjoyed trips to Las Vegas at Bennett's expense....not Fradella.

Mendoza's trip was reportedly a "birthday gift" from Aaron. And I would assume you know that Mendoza went to work for Benetech when he "left" City Hall.

And yes...from what I was told, it was that kind of trip.

Jason Brad Berry said...

You know, I'm just realizing that I should have probably posted all this in a post and not started unloading it in the comment section. Too late, I guess.

I wasn't doing a lot of blogging for a long stretch but that doesn't mean I was dormant. I was actually doing a lot of digging. I guess I just forgot to unload the bones and create more zombies.

Or maybe I subconsciously didn't do it. Christ, who knows?

We've already performed excessive psycho-analyzation on these characters...we certainly don't want to start on me or we'll have another 100 comment thread.

Jason Brad Berry said...

You know the biggest bomb I dropped in that Sneaky Snake 2012 post was that I was confident that Bennett bribed a high ranking COE official. No one even commented on that...nada...nothing. I thought that was the most revelatory part of the entire post.

Jason Brad Berry said...

Oh and another thing...did anyone actually click on this link?


MERussell who posted these pix is reportedly Martha, Bennett's new wife ( woman in the pix). I have heard that the day the playboy mansion party pix were taken he was the same day he was being charged with felony counts.

You guys want to talk about psychopathy/sociopathy...I'm not convinced on the Ellis's or even Nagin....but Bennett? Oh fuck to the yes.

Anonymous said...

Martha, Bennett's new wife, would fit into the "Who the fuck are these women?" meme established earlier.

Some of them-- Stacey St. Pierre, Linda Meffert, Mrs. Nagin-- have kids, so one the one hand, they might see their kids as some kind of hostages keeping them tied to horrible men. Custody battles against prosperous and well connected people can be hell on earth.

But you'd also think that having kids might make a parent, male or female, more careful about anything that might endager the children, or expose them to shame and scrutiny.

You have kids yourself, and you take risks naming corrupt and potentially dangerous people. Ellis and Naef's SLAPP suit could have hurt your family, so if you'd stopped blogging as a result of it, it would have been understandable.

But you didn't, and that was a great example to set for your children. If you are going to take risks, take them to do the right thing, not to do evil or harm to people weaker than you are.

The best way to protect your good reputation is to do the right thing, and if you err, to face it and make ammends to the people you hurt.

It is unfair to single out the mothers for my "What the Fuck?" questions; the fathers are parents, too. I would hate it if my kids thought that I was betraying their mother, taking bribes, and generally dishonoring myself and our family.

I would hate it if my parents, siblings, and other relatives had to find some way of reconciling their love for me and their sense of my virtues and the promise and talents they nurtured for many years with news of my bad actions.

Bennett using his Dad's service in the military for dishonest purposes still shocks me.

It really shocked me.

He is a real piece of work. Why his new wife is comfortable with a man who has mistreated so many other women and been such a bad citizen is a complete mystery to me.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I'd say some of the stuff you are sharing in this comment thread deserve to be in a post.

Did you write about Robert Mendoza, the public works dude who took trips from Bennett, and who later went to work for Bennett, in some earlier round of this storyline?

You've done so much, sometimes I forget things I already learned here.

Did you mention the name of the COE person who took bribes in earlier posts?

If so, I missed that, too.

Both these could be awesome posts in their own rights.

There is also the home elevation stuff involving Ricky Davis's legal situation still hanging out there.

Davis got in trouble, and our friend sent his pet lawyer, Bob Ellis, to go help him, and the non-Bob lawyer later hired for him was a friend and business associate of Bob's and another former Nagin person; it seems the plan was to help Davis out, and in return to get in on his shady elevation business. There were a couple of newspaper stories about this.

That is a lot of irons in the fire for these "legitimate businessmen."

Everything from IT to sidewalks to home elevations to passcards for NASA.

It's hard enough to run one business properly, this is just nuts.

Jason Brad Berry said...

I was never able to identify the exact COE official. I have a pretty good idea but I could not confirm his exact identity.

Here's thing though...he's supposed to be cooperating with DOJ at this point so all they should have to do is ask the dude.

Jason Brad Berry said...

"He"...being Bennett. All the DOJ has to do is ask Bennett who the fuck he bribed in COE. He must answer truthfully or his ass should go to jail for a much longer time than St. Pierre.

Anonymous said...

I did go back to read that post from 2007 that you linked to.

Holy fuck, were you ever well out ahead of everyone else on all of this.

In 2007, you were already writing about connections that the MSM is only now starting to mention.

Being reminded that Bennett, HSOA, and their city hall connected stooges had been all over the horribly fucked up projects to rebuild the schools was a downer.

I don't know if there ever was a post dedicated only to how they handled that set of contracts. I'd read it. Maybe ten times, to try to get my soul around it.

I keep doing a "does not compute" about these fuckers.

I think you got into the blogging thing because of work you did looking at what happened to the schools after Katrina, right?

These people, all of them, are sick.

Those were little kids, little kids who were having nightmares, and who might have been living in trailers while half their friends were spread out all over the country. Maybe their grandparents died from stress, as so many older people did. Why would you fuck with them?

Do these people around Bennett and Nagin eat kittens in their spare time?

Do they steal things from toddlers, maybe laugh when their grandmothers trip and fall down?

If you were writing about this in 2007, and the couple that tried to sue you have continued their involvement with Bennett and his businesses right up to the present day, what the Hell? They had literally years to sever ties.

What was Nagin thinking, getting his kids involved in that granite business, betraying his city, keeping so many corrupt staffers on the city payroll?

I'm going to look for 'Republic, Lost', that book you recommended, at the library this week.

You want to consider doing an "essential reading" post?

Jason Brad Berry said...

Actually I'm about to make a series of posts which is essential reading.

Part 1 coming up later on today.

Jason Brad Berry said...

"If you were writing about this in 2007, and the couple that tried to sue you have continued their involvement with Bennett and his businesses right up to the present day, what the Hell? They had literally years to sever ties. "

The company Shamrock Construction, now has multiple contracts in the city to build Walgreens. When you drive down Magazine next time, notice the big Shamrock Construction sign. I'm pretty sure that is Ellis. I think Bennett hooked him up with these deal somehow:


Jason Brad Berry said...

this deal

Anonymous said...

You write that Shamrock "now has multiple contracts in the city."

If the management of the city has changed, how are companies that involve people who are known shitheels still getting a pass?

I missed picking up on the comment from one anon that one of HSOA's early contracts post Katrina was work on Moon Landrieu's house.

Is that true?

Here is a question: did HSOA pay the subcontractors who worked on whatever they did over at chez Moon?

Here is another question: do the subcontractors working on the Shamrock job sites know the sordid history of the people they are dealing with, and if they did know, would they be asking to be paid in advance?

New Orleans is a long, long way from its years as a city where feelings of solidarity for striking workers led to an internationally famous form of food (po boy sandwhiches0

Zombie, you are the most famous zombie in town, but the "zombie" quality of these eternal undead corporations in their myriad variety are giving you a run for your money.

Um, let's think about football instead. Fuck democracy, right? Football, that's what really matters.

Anonymous said...

Shamrock VENTURES is Bob Ellis and Daya Naef.

Shamrock Construction may be someone else.

I think Ellis is bad news, but I would not want to tar and feather an unrelated company.

Jason Brad Berry said...

Duly noted...it is Shamrock Ventures and I'm not sure if that is associatesd with Shamrock Construction.

Jason Brad Berry said...

However...I do know that Bennett was at one point in the hint to get a deal with Walgreens construction. I may have jumped to conclusions. Bad zombie....bad...