Wednesday, November 06, 2013


I got to watch a short segment today of the City Council meeting where the City's portion of the Wisner Funds was discussed in respect to what responsibility and oversight the Council has over how the funds are spent.  I'll defer to the Lens and Maldanado who was actually there:

Council members seek more accountability in Wisner, NOLA for Life spending
The budget does not, however, include more than $1.5 million in Wisner-funded grants the city usually gives to local charities. As long as the lawsuit is winding through appeals courts, the city doesn’t plan to allocate any Wisner grant money. That could put some of those charities in a bind. 
But even if the money were included, Landrieu’s General Counsel Erica Beck said, the council would have no control of it. 
“The council has traditionally not appropriated any of that grant money,” Beck told the council. “We’ve received no indication from the judge that we need to change.” 
But as blogger Jason Berry recently pointed out, New Orleans Municipal Code appears to give the council control of the fund. In fact, Berry reported, that “check and balance” was central to the city’s argument that the fund should be declared public. 
“If there is in fact council oversight,” asked Head, “and there is a check and balance for this government fund, when do I have that council oversight that is part and parcel to that check and balance?” 
During her remarks on the Wisner Fund, Head also objected to the process for handing out NOLA for Life grant funds, saying it wasn’t transparent, which led to funds going to charities that lacked proper financial documentation.
That is....almost incomprehensible to me....Beck's statements.

She sat in the same courtroom I did and listened to her fellow City Attorney, Sharonda Williams, argue to Judge Zeno that there was no need for the Wisner Trust Advisory Committee to review and provide oversight of how the Mayor spent the City's portion of the money because there was already a check and balance system in place with City Council, who oversees all expenditures of public money by the Mayor.

If they're now arguing that City Council has no oversight or control of the money we need to have another hearing and inform the judge that Sharonda Williams totally misinformed him in the courtroom.

As it stands right now, there is no oversight of how the Mayor spends the money...PUBLIC money.  He could go take out a Wisner Amex and blow millions of dollars on Cheetos, blow jobs, Miller Hi-Life and Angry Bird apps and there would be no legal recourse to stop him....none.

The judge ruled the Trust was PUBLIC.  As of right now, this money is PUBLIC money.  It's not "publicy" money.  It's not kinda-sorta public.  It's not a little bit's fucking PUBLIC.

There shouldn't even be a question of whether or not City Council has control and oversight of how the executive branch spends the money but even if there was a question the City Code clearly states City Council has dominion.  Beck's argument that Council hasn't traditionally appropriated the grant money is moot....when the Mayor decided to attempt to bust the trust and bypass the "traditional appropriation of the money" he negated whatever M.O. was in place.

In fact, City Council now has a fiduciary duty to provide oversight.  If the Mayor did blow the money on Cheetos and blow jobs,  according to the City Code, Council could be held accountable as well.

Yes, I'm being outrageous but not so much in a city that is vaunted for corruption and misappropriation of public funds.  It's not only possible that the Wisner funds will be used as a personal slush fund for the Mayor's pet projects and to pay off political's likely.

So Beck is saying that the judge gave them no indication that they need to change yet they must have misled the judge in their legal argument if this is the position they're taking now.  I think City Council needs to get a clarification from Judge Zeno on this matter and find out if he truly intended to turn over millions of public dollars generated annually to the Mayor without any oversight or action for recourse.

Hell, I may run for Mayor and go bankroll all my peeps' private ventures with Wisner funds if that's the case.

I'm waiting for the archived video to be loaded on City Council's website so I can watch the whole thing.  I'm also trying to obtain the transcript from the hearing...I went by Div. D today but the court reporter is on vacation and I wasn't able to get it.  I'll keep you posted.


Anonymous said...

It's plenty comprehensible: the city atty's are saying different things to different people and assuming they'll be able to get away with that because no one is paying enough attention.

Thanks to AZ, they're wrong. That leaves our score at
AZ 2,000,156
Corrupt City Pols: 0

Anonymous said...

American Zombie better be careful before the Mafia instructs Landrieu to take you out just like they are trying to do by cleaning up the walking tour business in the Quarter for their benefit.