Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Why Is Everybody Always Picking On Byron Lee?

With apologies to The Coasters’ classic “Charlie Brown”

“Byron Lee, Byron Lee
He’s a clown, that Byron Lee
He’s gonna get caught
Just you wait and see
(Why is everybody always pickin’ on me?)”

After the Legislative Auditor released yet another report critical of former Jefferson Parish Councilman Byron Lee, it took all of about 5 seconds for Lee to do what he always does: blame everyone else.

"Since the inception of an African American-majority council district in Jefferson Parish 21 years ago, the legislative auditor's office has been a tool used to distort citizens' views and demonize the accomplishments of those who have served,'' Lee said. " It started with my predecessor, and now my successor. ''

Lee had to have issued a written statement because there is no way that even a scumbag like Lee could say those words without laughing out loud.

Lee’s predecessor on the JP Council, Donald Jones, had many accomplishments chief of which was diverting hundreds of thousands of dollars from the people of Waggaman to whomever Jones deemed worthy.

Lee himself continued that tradition and funneled even more money to scam non-profit groups run by his family and friends, even his campaign Treasurer.

Three years ago, almost to the day, the Legislative Auditor released another report critical of Lee. I detailed those charges here.

In those allegations involving Lee and another scam non-profit, The Jefferson Sports and Scholastic Foundation, the Legislative Auditor also implicated former State Rep. Girod Jackson.

“The Auditor’s Report also questions over $120,000 paid to a company owned by State Representative Girod Jackson (D-Harvey) without any documentation for the work performed. The funds were for teachers in a computer tutorial program and meals at a summer camp.

Representative Jackson’s company, Diversified Ventures, could not provide the Legislative Auditor with copies of checks paid to teachers, sign-in sheets for the students, and could not provide any documentation for the amount of meals that were served, where the meals were served and how many children were served.

In addition, the Auditor’s Report alleges that Diversified Ventures billed the Foundation for buses and meals when the camp wasn’t in session and overcharged the Foundation by incorrectly calculating invoices.

Representative Jackson did not respond to a written request from the Legislative Auditor asking for a response to the charges. ”

In August,Jackson was charged with tax evasion and failing to file tax returns, in part, due to income derived from Diversified Ventures.

In 2006, I discussed the “Triumvirate of Corruption” on the West Bank – Jefferson Parish School Board member Alvin Boudreaux, State Senator Derrick Shepherd, and Lee. 

The new report includes information about the deceased Boudreaux, and the indicted Shepherd, who served time and is now on house release.

From Fox 8:

“The audit also says that former Sen. Derrick Shepherd and his stepmother got $56,000 from the non-profit after Shepherd helped the non-profit get state grants.
"In addition to that, $6,000 went to individuals who did campaign work for Derrick Shepherd," (auditor Brent) McDonald said.”

The report also implicates Lee’s successor on the council, Mark Spears, for potential violations of state ethics laws prior to Spears election to the council.

So, in a nutshell:

Alvin Boudreaux – Deceased

Derrick Shepherd – Indicted

Girod Jackson – Charged

Byron Lee - NEXT

I don’t think that “serving time” was one of the accomplishments that Lee had in mind when he talked about the “accomplishments of those who have served”.