Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Political Consultant For Aaron Broussard and Peter Galvan (and Yes, Mike Yenni) Calls Me “Disruptive” to Government

You gotta love Greg Buisson. That is, unless you’re a resident of Metro New Orleans.

Buisson and his firm, Buisson Creative Strategies, have managed or been involved in the political campaigns of many elected officials, and convicted felons, in the Metro.
From Aaron Broussard (Buisson got over $310,000 in fees for Broussard’s 2007 re-election), St. Tammany Parish Coroner Peter Galvan, St. Tammany Parish Assessor Patricia Core, and Orleans Parish Councilman and former State legislator Jon Johnson, if you’ve got money and want to be elected to anything, Buisson is your man.

Broussard is currently inmate #2234-034 in a Federal North Carolina prison; St. Tammany Parish sued Galvan earlier this month and Galvan was stripped by the Louisiana Legislature of any financial power; Core lost her re-election bid after the Legislative Auditor and TV News reports exposed her wild spending practices; and Johnson pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge for funneling FEMA grant money to his campaign account.
In addition to the $310,000 from Broussard’s 2007 campaign, Buisson and Aaron also teamed up to bill Jefferson Parish taxpayers for a series of newspaper ads after Hurricane Katrina designed to bolster Broussard’s public image.

“But Buisson charged for 75 hours of work related to the administration's newspaper advertising campaign after Katrina. He said he reduced his company's standard corporate fee of $125 an hour to $75 an hour.”
That is in addition to the $38,000 in newspaper ads and Buisson’s commission on that ad buy.

Recently, Buisson also advised the Pro-toll group that was promoting the 20-year extension of the Crescent City Connection Tolls.

Jefferson Parish, Kenner and Tourism – Just Follow The Money

In Jefferson Parish, a check of the State Ethics Board finds expenditures to Buisson from former JP Councilman and current Assessor Tom Capella; former Assessor Lawrence Chehardy; former JP Councilwoman Jennifer Sneed (whose husband is involved in the River Birch landfill); former JP Councilman and Kenner Mayor Louis Congemi; former JP Councilman and Kenner Mayor Ed Muniz; former Kenner Police Chief Nick Congemi; current Kenner Mayor Mike Yenni; current Kenner Police Chief Steve Caraway; current Kenner Councilwoman Maria DeFranchesch; and 5 current members of the Jefferson Parish Council: Chris Roberts, Paul Johnston, Mark Spears, Ricky Templet, and Ben Zahn.
In fact, when Ben Zahn defeated me for the Jefferson Parish District 4 seat, Buisson billed Zahn over $72,000 for Buisson’s work alone – several times the budget for my entire campaign. According to the State Ethics Board, Zahn is still paying off Buisson’s “win bonus” for helping to defeat me.

Kenner Mayor Mike Yenni’s bill from Buisson for Yenni’s 2010 election was almost $60,000. Since then, Buisson has been involved with Yenni’s Streamlining Budget Committee (Chaired by former JP Assessor Lawrence Chehardy and including Jim Hudson, who Buisson included in a Press Release that was critical of me and who is Yenni's appointee to the Armstrong Aviation Board) and Yenni’s Economic Development Committee (which also included Hudson). Buisson is also rumored to write the City of Kenner's Press Releases.
In fact, the Kenner ties with Buisson are so strong that, when a group was formed to promote Yenni’s plan to double property taxes, the group selected Buisson as its consultant. Not only that, Buisson wrote off over $11,000 in debt that was owed to him by the group PACK (“Protecting All Citizens of Kenner”).

Incidentally, the $11,000 Buisson “wrote off” is more than the total CFBK spent to defeat Yenni’s plan.  
Since the group was formed exclusively to promote Yenni’s plan, I’m sure Buisson had no issue writing off the debt. He knows he’s going to make that money up .
And make it up he did – again from Kenner.

In addition to managing campaigns, Buisson also has his tentacles in other aspects of government as well through his relationship with the Jefferson Convention & Visitor’s Bureau. The JCVB now receives Kenner’s share of the Hotel/Motel tax since the KCVB was disbanded and Mayor Yenni, decided, I’m sure with some prodding from Buisson, to not find a group to exclusively represent Kenner.
I guess it must be pretty easy to get funding from Jefferson Parish when the former Parish President was your client and you recently worked with 5 of the 7 current councilmembers, and get even more money from Kenner when you are the Mayor of Kenner’s political consultant. How can 5 of the 7 Jefferson Parish councilmembers (including current JP Councilman Zahn who was involved in the now defunct KCVB) vote on any funding appropriations for the JCVB when they have a relationship with Buisson too?

No conflicts of interest there right?
But, there’s more.

Buisson also advises the Louisiana Tourism Coastal Coalition (which is Chaired by the President of the JCVB, Violet Peters).The LTCC was formed to spend BPs oil spill dollars on tourism (and through ads created by Buisson Creative Strategies).
So the Chairman of the LTCC and the JCVB hires Buisson to help the LTCC spend BP dollars and Buisson gets more dollars for the JCVB from his client, Kenner Mayor Yenni.

Yeah, no conflicts of interest there either.

Targeting Private Citizens
So, you can understand that when I read a story where Buisson is reported to have said that Citizens For a Better Kenner (which I am President of), is “disruptive to city government”, I had to shake my head.

Obviously not content with making Millions from Political Campaigns or Tourism Dollars, Buisson is now targeting me and CFBK.
In the article, Buisson says that “There ought to be a legislative act to make them stop happening.” The “them” Buisson is referring to is “the relentless number of public records requests” he alleges CFBK has made.

In the earlier Times-Picayune article listed above regarding the partnership between Buisson and Aaron Broussard, Buisson said:
"My job is supposed to be the behind-the-scenes guy who orchestrates the flow of information to the media, and hopefully separates the fact from the fiction before it gets more convoluted."

Except, of course, when you are the one perpetrating the fiction.
The reality is, I have filed 2 Public Records Requests in the past year and they were regarding the City Attorney and Overtime during Hurricane Isaac. Both were filed on 17 December 2012. I filed these requests on my personal behalf and not as President of CFBK. Not one penny of CFBK funds have been spent on Public Records Requests.

Not one Public Records Request has been made by me or CFBK during the entire 2013 calendar year.

Buisson knows that. But, by his own admission, his job is to drag anyone who disagrees with his clients through the mud to discredit and destroy them. Normally, that means candidates who oppose your client.
In an article titled “Mudslinging In South Louisiana Hurts”, Buisson is reported to have said, “unless you attack your opponent you cannot win a race.”

I guess that mantra extends to attacking private citizens who disagree with Buisson’s clients too.

NOTE: An earlier version stated that I had only filed 1 Public Records Request regarding the City Attorney. I forgot about the Public Records Request regarding Hurricane Isaac Overtime.