Tuesday, December 24, 2013

DHECC: Strip Clubs and Football Games

By now, I'm sure most AZ readers have seen the news about David Odom and Kirk Fisher's departure from the Claims Office.  It's interesting timing, I was about to make a post on these guys as soon as I got back from Christmas break (I'm currently in D.C. with family).

Over a month ago, I put in a request for an interview with David Odom because I had some questions I wanted to ask him about other potential improprieties I had been made aware of than what were cited by BP yesterday.  In specific, I wanted to ask Odom and Fisher if either one of them or both of them accepted any form of financial gift from any of the court vendors in the DHECC claims process.

Particularly, I wanted to ask them if they had acted on an invitation by the Garden City Group to attend the 2012 Saint/Giants football game in the company's skybox at Giants Stadium in New York.  I'm away from my computer at home so I can't extract the page at the moment (I don't think I posted it in the former post because I wanted to hold it until I could write about it further), but if you will look at Christine Reitano's latest legal filing the last exhibit is the actual invitation sent by the Garden City Group to the brass in the Claims Office.

According to Reitano, this matter was discussed internally at the office and it was decided that accepting financial gifts from vendors was unethical and no employee in the office should act on this invitation...Juneau himself was involved in this decision.  Yet Odom, not sure about Fisher, did travel to New York to see the game.  I wanted to ask Mr. Odom if he had accepted the invitation by the Garden City Group and did he accept any other financial gifts, dinner, hotel, etc. by the court vendor.

This issue may not seem all that important but I believe it is because it not only shows that there was some sense of ethical protocol within the office, it also reveals some of the politics taking place with court vendors and those in powerful positions within the Claims Office.  These political issues that were/are going on in the office are going to call into question why and how Sutton, Reitano and the Andry Law Firm were originally targeted by the Freeh report while other power brokers in the office, including at least one PSC firm, were protected or even overlooked.

What has happened so far to Reitano, in specific, is beyond reproach and I believe it to be an attempt to obstruct justice by Federal Judge Carl Barbier.  As her husband, Lionel Sutton, pointed out in the comment section of the previous post:
"...Ask yourself how a simple state law contract claim filed in CDC can not only be removed to Federal Court but be "mistakenly" removed directly to the black hole of a MDL about an oil spill that occurred 3 years earlier.  Only to be followed by a Court Order that no motions objecting to the "mistake" can be filed until the Court decides to allow it."
You should read his entire comment and AZ contributor Kevin's comments as well.  I appreciate Sutton's willingness to engage the conversation even though I am just "a blog".  :)

When Reitano's case was removed and subsequently stayed by Judge Barbier (effectively burying it and keeping her from being deposed by BP), I called the Clerk of Court's office for the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana and asked them not only how Reitano's claim could be removed from CDC but how it ended up in Barbier's division when it should have been randomly assigned to a division.  The person on the other end of the phone, who became incredibly agitated with me, claimed that the court was under a mandate from the MDL national panel to consolidate anything having to do with the BP spill under MDL status and hence under Barbier's jurisdiction.

I'd be curious to see if every other case that may have been filed regarding the BP spill has been redirected to Barbier as well, whether the case be in Orleans CDC, or any other Gulf Coast state's civil court system.  That would be an interesting litmus test to the Clerk of Court's claim.  I did record that answer, by the way.  

Also...go back and read this post I made regarding Varney's editorial on Patrick Juneau....I think you may be able to surmise where/who this article he wrote was sourced from.

Oh...one more thing....why didn't any MSM resource talk about David Duval's departure?  Why is that?

More on these matters to come...until then...Merry Xmas and get plenty of Ho Ho!   

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Excellent thread of pieces. You have done a great job uncovering what anyone else would call fraud throughout the entire program. Let's hope the FBI and Department of Justice take more than a cursory look.

Kevin said...

From the blog:

"When Reitano's case was removed and subsequently stayed by Judge Barbier (effectively burying it and keeping her from being deposed by BP), ..."

Can't 2 parties in a 3-party suit talk to each other without the 3rd party participating?

Back on December 2, Fayard and Lewis Unglesby were seen together at City Court and then at the City Club in Baton Rouge. Do you think they had any conversation about the Andry and Andry Lerner pleadings and claims?

Somebody said Fayard was being driven around in a van with his "body guard" and his trusty claims office manager.

Anonymous said...

Kevin,

Sounds like Ms. Reitano better start telling the whole story to protect herself. It appears that has started in recent filings.
I have to believe Fayard and company fear that young lady.

Anonymous said...

Kevin,

Sounds like Ms. Reitano better start telling the whole story to protect herself. It appears that has started in recent filings.
I have to believe Fayard and company fear that young lady.

Kevin said...

Anonymous:

Shining your light is the best way to find the path out of the black hole.

Keep this in mind: Fayard and Andry were heavily involved in the Katrina Litigation together. In fact, Fayard, Andry and Jim Roy were officers in the MRGO-PLSC registered with the secretary of state.

Kevin said...

With Odom and Fisher off "pursuing other opportunities," is Alpha Consulting Group alive and well at the DHECC/CAO?

Does ACG still employ the claims analysts at the CAO? Were these the alleged "subordinates" who were allegedly entertained by Odom & Fisher at the strip club?

Does ACG have a contract with the DHECC/CAO?

Are Odom and Fisher members or whatever in ACG along with Odom's friend Michael Olinde?

Anonymous said...

I think the strip club is just BP BS. May have happened but not the real reason they left. The rest of Kevin's comment is right on.
Alpha = Olinde + ?
Cresent City Grp = Olinde + Odom + Fisher
Odom requires all workers at Claims Office to go through Alpha. I would be interested in knowing if Olinde invested or agreed to invest any money in CCG. Of course that would be to obvious. Right?

Kevin said...

Michael Olinde is the Treasurer of the Crescent City Group.

Anonymous said...

The strip club connection is real. Not a BP fabricated myth. Many more questionable claims related to this type of industry have been filed and paid. They are under investigation.

Olinde is a common denominator where the others are involved.

Dambala - Jason B. Berry said...

I'm not sure I understand what the issue is with the strip club in general. So a strip club filed a claim? Yeah? Ok....is BP/Freeh arguing that strip clubs weren't affected by the oil spill? If any other Hotel/Rest. in the city are able to file claims for dwindling tourism numbers, why wouldn't a strip club?

If they are claiming that Odom/Fisher/Olinde manipulated the club's claim, expedited it, or if they expense accounted the trip to the club then obviously there is an issue but I have yet to see those allegations levied against them.

They are grown men, they can go to strip clubs. I'm still waiting for a legitimate allegation here....what am I missing?

Anonymous said...

I agree. Had to be something more. I doubt that they manipulated the claim. As the Judge stated, it was nearly impossible to do. What's the difference in going to a strip club that fileda claim and a restaurant that filed a claim, other than the obvious. If that is the difference, what about Hooters ect. it was either the expense issue or something completely different from the strip club.

Kevin said...

It's going to sound absurd and empty, but could it be the DHECC and CAO are court-created entities operated under the direction and authority of a court-appointed special master and are probably held to a higher standard of conduct and professionalism?

I agree that Odom and Fisher didn't resign because of the "strip club entertainment" issue, alone.

But, their resignation for such nebulous reasons presented an irresistible opportunity to BP to shine some light on the issue. It's an example of what BP says is going on.

IMHO, it's a practice and strategy Christine Reitano and Lionel Sutton should adopt. BP's ad may be providing an opportunity for them: what's the true connection between Michael Olinde, David Odom, Kirk Fisher, ACG, and CCG? Does the resignation of Odom and Fisher only mean they essentially lose their personal salaries and other perks, but keep sharing in the profits of ACG from billing a bunch of subordinates (MBAs) on a daily basis as claims analysts in the CAO and elsewhere in the DHECC? Is any other Olinde entity, LLC or group also accepting and filing claims on behalf of claimants? Etc., etc.

They might even sieze on the opportunity presented by Professor LeCesne's "much ado about nothing" comments on those asking for or receiving special attention to or preferential treatment of their clients or claims.


Anonymous said...

I don't think tourism took a hit due to the spill. The people that took the hit were those shrimping and fishing along with the fishing guides. The airport was just as busy and the flights were booked to the hilt. 2010 was a recovery year for the entire economy. Strip clubs and other sexually oriented businesses were taking a hit due to the general downturn in the economy post 2008. Remember the mortgage issues and the bank bail outs? The city was actually full of spill response people burning their money up in the FQ on their days off. So how does one define the difference between the impact of the spill on the local economy and the impact of the general downturn on the local economy?