Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Wisner Trust - an update - March 12, 2013

I had the privilege of speaking with Mr. Laney Chouest today and he confirmed to me that he had indeed spoken with the Mayor's appointee to the Wisner Committee, Michael Sherman, over a year ago about the value of the Wisner property.  The impression I got was that Mr. Sherman was not trying to shop the property to Mr. Chouest personally but he was trying to get an idea on what Mr. Chouest thought the property might be worth and if he thought the Port of Fourchon might be interested in purchasing it.

Last Thursday, I sent an email to Mayor Landrieu's Director of Communications, Ryan Berni, to ask him if the Mayor was aware that Michael Sherman was discussing the possible sale of the property with people outside of the committee meetings.  I did not receive a reply.

Also, I have still not received any word as to what is going on with the new RFP to hire legal counsel for the City on the BP case.  I will update if I hear anything on this matter.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wait a minute: what happened to "Michael Sherman denied that he even knew Mr. Chouest?" Is there some nuance that makes this something other than an outright lie?

Dambala - Jason B. Berry said...

Good question. I asked them that as well but I got no response. I suppose Sherman may have thought Michael Peneguy was referring to another Chouest as in Laney's brother Gary Chouest. That would be a logical explanation.

But even if that's the case, Sherman's overall reaction to the line of questioning is more telling than whether or not he was dissembling about knowing "Mr. Chouest".

The real question was not whether he know Mr. Chouest the question was are you shopping the property. It was perfectly valid point of order in the meeting and Sherman claimed Peneguy was out of order for asking it.

Frankly, that's bullshit. If that is happening, and we now know it is at least to some extent, that needs to be addressed by the committee as a whole. Is it ethical for a single committee member to be independently playing junior real estate agent and soliciting interest and/or information to sell the property?

I'd like to see the issue readdressed by the committee.

Ricardo said...

Are you invited to the next committee meeting?
Are these meetings open to the public?
When and where?

Dambala - Jason B. Berry said...

It's open to media but I'm not sure about the public. However, every time they go into Executive sessions they kick us out.

Anonymous said...

Jason - the city maintains this is a public entity. Public mean public, not just the media.

Dambala - Jason B. Berry said...

I totally agree with you. But the heirs maintain it's private and I get asked to leave every time I go...I don't leave but it's a dicey situation.

I'm not sure how they would handle it if a whole lot of people started showing up. The facility isn't large enough to hold too many people.

Maybe we just need to invite Sandra Wheeler Hester and call it a party. :)

I'm sure if a public person showed up they would accommodate them but you have to leave when the meetings go into executive session.

Anonymous said...

Just call the City and ask if the public can attend. Mr. Sherman's number is listed as 504-658-4961

Anonymous said...

Sherman has another number according to the City's website.....
http://www.nola.gov/HOME/PhoneDirectory/.aspx?phnotification_0_RadGrid1ChangePage=66

Anonymous said...

Are the minutes available online? thanks.

Dambala - Jason B. Berry said...

No.

Anonymous said...

Anon,
Call the city and ask for he minutes. I would think they would be publicly available.