2013 Bay St Louis Municipal Audit reveals poor financial management Part 1

Here at Slabbed we’re the proverbial Johnny Come Lately to cover the long anticipated release of the 2013 Fiscal Year Single Audit Report for the City of Bay St Louis. That’s OK though because the report was very late being released, less than two months before the subsequent fiscal year end. How can an entity improve if it waits until late in the next year to correct the Significant Deficiencies that were reported in a late submitted Single Audit? The answer is simple junior, you can’t but then again many of the Significant Deficiencies noted in the report have been reported for multiple consecutive years without correction and that too is meaningful.

That said there are two things I need to address straight away as this topic, by its very nature, requires a few posts to fully paint the picture. The first thing is that somewhere in my earlier coverage of the City’s audit process, based upon what were at times inside conversations between the City Council and the Audit Firm in a public meeting, I wrote that the audit firm was within the bounds of professional discretion with their, at that point unreleased, opinion on the financial statements. Reading the report caused me to change my opinion in a nuanced way and here is why straight from Auditing Standards (Codified), Section 570:

.16 The auditor’s conclusion about the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern should be expressed through the use of the phrase “substantial doubt about its (the entity’s) ability to continue as a going concern” or similar wording that includes the terms substantial doubt and going concern. In a going-concern emphasis-of-matter paragraph, the auditor should not use conditional language in expressing a conclusion concerning the existence of substantial doubt about the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern.

So there you go, there is no middle ground in the use of the words “substantial doubt” and “going concern” but there is a trap door for the CPAs to use just in case management, for whatever reason, chooses not to share their plan to salvage the enterprise as was the case with the City of Bay St Louis:

.18 Nothing in this section precludes an auditor from disclaiming an opinion in cases involving uncertainties. When the auditor disclaims an opinion, the report should not include the going-concern emphasis-of-matter paragraph described in paragraph .15 of this section but, rather, describe the substantive reasons for the auditor’s disclaimer of opinion in the auditor’s report as required by section 705.4 The auditor should consider the adequacy of disclosure of the uncertainties and their possible effects on the financial statements as described in paragraph .12 of this section even when disclaiming an opinion.

The disclaimer based on these circumstances is just as bad as getting the going concern qualified opinion, thus the interest shown by the Office of the State Auditor in the City’s finances after the report was released last month and this brings us to the second thing that needs to be addressed in Mayor Fillingame’s assertion the 2013 Audit Report was sensationalized by the media. I think I found what he was talking about. Continue reading

Trout Point Lodge loses big again in the US Courts, lawsuit against former attorney dismissed with prejudice

By my tally the litigious trio owners of Trout Point Lodge still owe their former lawyer Henry Laird at Jones Walker $97,000 or so.  Since the gang voluntarily availed themselves of the New Orleans CDC to sue Jones Walker, I would posit the firm has its choice of legal venue should they institute legal action to collect their unpaid fees.

I attended the hearing back on July 29th and saw the spectacle first hand.  Danny Abel for Trout Point Lodge, as is his habit and custom, was distributing legal briefs that were due 7 days before. He also, as is his history, habit and custom accused Jones Walker’s lawyer Dan Lund of perpetrating “a fraud upon the court”.  Lund is a seasoned litigator and he expertly dismantled Trout Point Lodge’s attempt to scapegoat their former lawyer for Slabbed’s historic precedent setting victory for the First Amendment and Journalism in the Public Interest over the SLAPP happy Aaron Broussard stooges from Nova Scotia Canada.

The Leary, Perret and the Lodge’s petitions are so infantile and self contradictory only hayseeds 2000 miles away in Nova Scotia take them seriously.

Click the pic to nab the judicial beatdown:

Trout Point Lodge v Laird Judgment Trout Point Lodge v Laird Judgment

Jim Brown: Don’t Worry, Be Happy in Louisiana!

Thursday, September 11th, 2014
Baton Rouge, Louisiana

DON’T WORRY, BE HAPPY IN LOUISIANA!

Bayou State residents are well aware that Louisiana is a pleasant place to live. Some would sarcastically say that we are fat, dumb, and happy down here in the deepest of the deep southern states. The state motto is, after all, Laissez les bons temps rouler. For you out of staters, that’s pronounced Lay say lay bohn tohn roo lay, and means “let the good time roll.” So it should be no surprise to the locals that in a survey of 100 cities listed as the happiest, and published by the U. S. National Bureau of Economic Research, Louisiana walked away with the top rankings.

The top five happiest cities in the U. S. include Lafayette, Houma, Shreveport, Baton Rouge and Alexandria. Lake Charles weighed in at number eight. The unhappiest? New York City. What? The Big Apple? How can that be? Simple. The cost of living in New York causes two thirds of the city’s population to just get by.

With a number of family members now living in New York City, including several of my grandchildren, I’m up there for a week at a time, once, sometimes even twice a month. The differences are vast to say the least. Let’s start with my five “Fs.” Food, family, faith, fixin’ flats, and football. Continue Reading……….

Super 8 Motel Legal Update: Shane Gates v The Louisiana Criminal Justice System stayed

It looks like vexatious litigant Shane Gates must surrender himself for trial in St Tammany before any of his myriad of civil suits filed by his lawyer / adopted father Danny Abel which named judges, prosecutors, the Sheriff along with court employees and Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell can move forward. Judge Duvall explained why this has to be a few weeks back via a six page opinion:

Gates v Swartz Doc 61

For those interested in finding out what happens to lawyers that sue other lawyers to conflict them out, judges to conflict them out, court employees and others in acts of retaliation via litigation terrorism, click here for a milder, albeit fairly recent example.

Bellum Furit: One X, Two Slants

Regarding this civil rights lawsuit against St Slammany Parish DA Walter Reed which Slabbed broke the Plaintiff’s Ex-Wife has spoken and despite having spoken to both the areas major newspapers it is not clear what she said:

Woman says she was behind arrest of man who claims he was targeted by DA Walter Reed ~ Gordon Russell

Here is the salient snippet:

Crystal Magee’s version of events doesn’t necessarily contradict what her ex-husband claims in his suit. But her account suggests that it was a phone call from her to Washington Parish Sheriff Randy “Country” Seal’s office that led deputies to arrest her ex-husband in the first place.

Next up:

DA Walter Reed did not have man arrested for talking to FBI, woman says ~ Heather Nolan

The ex-wife of an Arkansas man who claimed in a federal lawsuit that District Attorney Walter Reed and others had him arrested in Washington Parish as retaliation for providing information to the FBI says her ex-husband’s story is not true.

Meantime on Twitter the news war rages: Continue reading

Attention Eric Holder of Washington DC……

There are a couple of my peeps down here that contacted you to register their displeasure at how this DMR thing worked out. To the extent they took the time to engage your office I think it would be nice if those folks heard back from you or one of your staff. Mac, for example, hit the beach a little over a year ago protesting the systemic corruption and she is not getting any younger. It would be nice if she at least got some sort of communication from you guys acknowledging her letter.

As always I thank you guys up DC way for being in that number here on Slabbed.

Hancock County Alliance for Good Government: Bay Waveland Schools lack of soil sampling means 7 more years bad luck

I’m getting word from last night’s school board meeting that the concrete pads under the new bleachers at Bay High Stadium must be demolished due to the failure to account for the high water table here in Soggy Bottom. I’m further told this may well be headed to litigation.

Vital background can be found here.