It all began with a dime drop to Raphael. Slabbed takes a look back at the unfolding Jefferson Parish political corruption investigation
As I compiled my notes for this post and along the lines of my affinity for applied mathematics I was reminded of the Butterfly effect, a concept based in Chaos theory which underpins several of the concepts expressed by Nassim Taleb in his two books. I have alluded to the fact that we had an idea as to the origins of the current investigation into Aaron Broussard and I threw Bill Hubbard in the mix as one of the candidates in my post, Let’s talk Prisoner’s Dilemma which included a reader poll asking which rat our readers thought was squealing to Jim Letten:
For reasons I will not go into at this point (as such is another post), I’ll add a player that has not been connected to the ongoing investigation that I think is connected in former St. John the Baptist Parish President Bill Hubbard. So the question is simple, assuming the feds have the goods on Tim Whitmer, Tim Coulon and Aaron Broussard and knowing they have Bill Hubbard by the balls who, if anyone, is squealing to save their own skin?
Looking back I should have included combo answers as another member of the gang is talking to Jim Letten IMHO but my vote, for Bill Hubbard, was reflective of the fact that he squealed first and that is the fundamental concept behind Prison’s Dilemma. Today we’ll explore the basis for that opinion as I reveal the court case that we think lead to Raphael and the Metropolitan Crime Commission getting that tip. Lets start with the editorial from today’s Times Picayune that finally convinced me it was time to tackle this subject:
But corruption, like tango, often takes two. For every official who takes a bribe, there’s someone willing to pay it. Those private citizens and contractors who abet corruption are as much of a cancer as the officials themselves.
So it’s good to see federal prosecutors targeting an alleged accomplice of former St. John the Baptist President Bill Hubbard, who resigned in September when he admitted to soliciting and receiving a combined $20,000 in bribes from parish contractors.
Prosecutors said one of those contractors was Ray Davezac, owner of Davezac Consulting Engineers, who allegedly paid a $5,000 bribe to Mr. Hubbard. Mr. Davezac’s firm earned thousands of dollars in parish work granted during the Hubbard administration, and the parish appropriately has canceled those contracts.
Mr. Davezac last week told a magistrate judge that he is innocent of the bribery charge and a trial has been set for April.
Mr. Hubbard is cooperating with prosecutors. Mr. Davezac’s attorney, Ralph Capitelli, declined to say whether his client is doing the same. But Mr. Davezac was charged with a bill of information, and felony charges can’t be prosecuted in federal court on a bill of information unless a defendant waives the constitutional right to an indictment. That seldom happens without a plea agreement.
I immediately recognized the name. It appeared in the coverage of Bill Hubbard’s plea as the names of three private companies that allegedly bribed Hubbard were leaked to the press along with the name of Mr Hubbard’s paramour. But I also remembered seeing Mr Davezac’s name elsewhere but before we get to that I’ll share another Times Picayune story which made it clear that Hubbard was squealing, certainly on those three parish contractors that allegedly bribed him along with Mr Whitmer:
Former St. John the Baptist Parish President Bill Hubbard will have to wait a while longer before learning how much time he could spend in jail for soliciting bribes
Hubbard’s sentencing before federal Judge Jay C. Zainey has been reset for April 13, according to court documents filed in federal court on Monday.
Hubbard was set for sentencing Feb. 9, but authorities had said the date could change because of the on-going investigation and Hubbard’s cooperation.
It is the second time that his sentencing has been postponed.
So with this in mind I then compiled a timeline which traced the published reports on the unfolding corruption scandal against the timing of allegations made in a fair housing civil lawsuit that was first filed on July 13, 2009 by former resident Jacqueline Patterson Edwards against Mr Hubbard and other parish officials over her rental property located in La Place. After I examined the chain of events as to the corruption investigation and compared them to the lawsuit I was left with the impression that Ms Patterson Edwards was the source of the dime drop to Rafael or had sources to the ongoing criminal investigation that were second to none. Let’s review:
- 7/13/09: Civil suit against Hubbard filed by Ms Patterson Edwards.
9/22/09: Published reports break the news that Bill Hubbard is the target of a federal corruption probe.
9/26/09: Hubbard cops a plea revealed he bought a car for his girlfriend, used money from parish venders to pay for it.
9/30/09: Cited by defendants as the date Ms Patterson Edwards notified court she intended to amend her complaint into a RICO complaint.
In her press release dated September 30, 2009 – the same date she served her Motion for Extension – Plaintiff states:
September 30, 2009 – LaPlace, Louisiana. Bill Hubbard, the former President of St. John the Baptist Parish who recently pled guilty to federal bribery charges, along with other parish officials, face conspiracy and civil racketeering charges in a civil rights lawsuit filed in July 2009 by a homeowner of St. John the Baptist Parish. According to Plaintiff Jacqueline Patterson Edwards, “Bill Hubbard, along with the other defendants, all of whom are officials, employees, consultants or vendors of St. John the Baptist Parish, conspired with each other to engage in a common course of illegal misconduct, including bribery, or they aided and abetted that common course of illegal misconduct, for the purpose of enriching themselves at the public’s expense.
- 10/2/09: Ms Patterson Edwards files her motion for additional time to amend her complaint
- 10/04/09: Richard Rainey at the Times Picayune breaks the news about the St John the Baptist connection to Tim Whitmer
While Jefferson Parish was adding more than $4.8 million to contracts held by Hubbard Enterprises, a company owned by the now-disgraced Bill Hubbard, the St. John the Baptist Parish president’s administration persuaded his Parish Council to sign a contract with a company co-owned by Jefferson’s chief administrator officer, according to public records.
Now the Metropolitan Crime Commission is looking into complaints that Hubbard favored a company owned by Jefferson CAO Tim Whitmer and his wife, Dawn, in exchange for lucrative contracts and campaign contributions.
“You can’t prove that there’s any quid pro quo, but it looks like there could be some political tit for tat,” said Rafael Goyeneche, president of the commission. “And that tends to further undermine public confidence in government.
- 10/5/09: Times Picayune Reports St John the Baptist Parish Council requests review of certain contracts
- 10/7/09: Opposition to extension of time referenced above filed.
- 10/14/09: St John the Baptist Parish Council cancels the Parish’s contracts with Pipeworks Plumbing & Demolition, Parson & Sanderson, Davezac Consulting Engineers and Lagniappe Industries (by removing Dawn Whitmer as agent of record).
- 10/29/09: Ms Patterson Edwards files her amended RICO complaint.
- 11/2/09: News breaks that West Jefferson Hospital agent of record, Wally Pontiff was secretly splitting commissions with Tim Whitmer’s Lagniappe Industries.
- 1/6/10: The Times Picayune runs a Richard Rainey story, later retracted that connected Aaron Broussard to certain property in Nova Scotia.
With this chain of events in mind let’s visit with that amended Patterson Edwards complaint and take a peek at some of her allegations:
Defendant Aaron F. Broussard, at all times relevant herein, is and was the owner of, or had significant ownership interest in, two Canadian registered corporations: Public Works Investments and Kempt Wilderness Lodge Services, each of which are a “person” or “enterprise” within the meaning of 18 U.S.C. § 1961 (3) and (4) and 18 U.S.C. § 1962.
Defendant Hubbard Enterprises, Inc. was created, organized and Incorporated, in large part, by Defendant William J. Hubbard to provide a mechanism for defrauding Plaintiff and other homeowners in S1. John the Baptist Parish, to wit:
Defendant Tim Whitmer and Defendant Aaron F. Broussard did knowingly, intentionally, and illegally did conspire with Defendant William J. Hubbard to formulate and concoct a contract between Defendant Hubbard Enterprises, Inc. and Defendant The Parish of Jefferson whereby Defendant Hubbard Enterprises, Inc. would falsely and factiously be the lowest responsible bidder on a public works contract with a plan to amend the such contract after the contract was awarded, for the sole purpose of undUly and wrongfully enriching Defendants and enhancing the value of Defendants personal holdings. In exchange for receiving a lucrative contract in the Defendant Parish of Jefferson, Defendant William J. Hubbard issued a contract, as a quid pro quo, to Defendants Tim Whitmer and Dawn Whitmer through their closely held corporation, Defendant Lagniappe Industries, Inc.
Given the timing of the allegations made, specifically the ones involving Aaron Broussard’s Nova Scotia real estate holdings it is clear either Ms Patterson Edwards is psychic or knew a lot of what was going on in Jefferson Parish. We were not the only folks to figure this out. The American Zombie connected some comments from the Times Picayune stories on this and went fishing back in January. I hope this post fills in a few more of the blanks.
Our readers can find Ms Patterson Edward’s case statement here and can link directly to her website here. Ms Patterson Edwards is proceeding in this case Pro Se which a snarky insurance lawyer once opined here meant “already lost” in latin. That may be and I’m certainly no fan of the race card as it is displayed on Ms Patterson Edwards website but it is equally clear she is not the type of person you’d want to piss off, just ask Bill Hubbard.
Could it be the tumbling down of Aaron Broussard’s house of cards began with hispanic laborers not being welcomed to the neighborhood in La Place? You betcha and is a good illustration of the butterfly effect.
Next up for your trial lawyer hating freaks that make up part of the Slabbed Nation: All roads lead to the late Wendell Gauthier’s law firm as Slabbed continues to explore the cesspool that is Jefferson Parish politics.