Thursday, January 12, 2017

JP Council Denies Lyin’ Ben’s Big Buisson Payoff



Did you ever have one of those days?

You know the one.

You wake up in a fantastic mood knowing that it’s going to be a great day. The sun is shining. The birds are chirping.

Sure, you have to go to work but you know that your day looks great and you will get everything accomplished.

The stars are truly aligned in your favor.
Then, it all turns to mush.

For Lyin’ Ben Zahn, Wednesday was one of THOSE days.

Zahn, who delayed taking the oath of office as Kenner Mayor so that he could have one more JP Council meeting, his last JP Council meeting didn’t quite turn out as he planned.

I’m certain that, being the pompous ass that he is, Lyin’ Ben thought his last JP Council meeting would be a victory lap, an opportunity to funnel even more JP tax dollars to his campaign contributors and, of course, his campaign manager, the Minister of Propaganda Greg Buisson.

But, the best made plans seldom are.

To be fair, Lyin’ Ben did throw a lot of taxpayer money around. In fact, he probably did more for Kenner in one meeting than he has in the past five years on the council (and, I’m sure we will ALL be hearing about it next year when Lyin’ Ben runs for reelection).

Funding for Laketown; for the Italian Heritage Festival (run by his Campaign Manager’s former client Louis Congemi); money for Kenner’s City Park.

But, since the real reason for Lyin’ Ben’s last meeting was to author a big payoff for his campaign manager Greggo, Lyin’ Ben’s day was a failure.

Buisson, the campaign manager for Zahn, JP’s Sexual Predator-In-Chief Mike Yenni, and countless other area elected officials, sued Jefferson Parish and Councilman-At-Large Chris Roberts over an ordinance authored by Roberts to ban political operatives from receiving contracts with the parish.

Buisson claimed that the ordinance was targeted at him.

As you probably know, I could care less what Greg Buisson thinks, the Roberts ordinance was good for Jefferson Parish. If it hurt Buisson, that’s a win-win in my book.

Of course, settling or not settling the lawsuit is a crapshoot. JP tax payers may end up on the hook for more than $120k. Since it’s in Federal Court (instead of the 24th JDC), I think JP’s odds of winning are good.

In the end, the Council voted 5-2 against settling the lawsuit. Only fellow Buisson Acolyte Paul Johnston voted with Lyin’ Ben.

BTW, what happened to you, Paul Johnston?

I always thought you were a decent guy, even when we disagreed.

Now, you’re attacking citizens that speak out, going behind the backs of volunteer firefighters, and acting like Lyin’ Ben.

After the Aaron Broussard scandal, there was a groundswell of support for stronger ethics in Jefferson Parish and for all of Louisiana for that matter.

The Republican led state legislature, with the approval of then-Governor Bobby Jindal, offered some mild ethics reforms that they called “The Gold Standard” of governmental ethics.

As you know, they failed miserably.

The Republicans in state government actually weakened ethics for themselves and made the State Ethics Board a group of clerks sending out late notices instead of a strong compliance office.

You still have legislators like Kenner State Senator (and a candidate to replace Lyin’ Ben on the JP Council) Danny Martiny taking excess political contributions from PACs and other legislators and elected officials like Yenni and Zahn using campaign donations to enhance their personal lifestyles while the State Ethics Board gets paid to date and time stamp campaign filing forms rather than issue strong penalties to real violators.

In JP, Roberts and others on the Council, prodded by Margie Seemann and Margaret Baird, put forth some modest ethics proposals but none had the teeth to significantly improve ethics in JP government.

The Parish even brought in an Inspector General to add another layer of protection although the JP IG doesn’t monitor the Parish’s largest city (Kenner) and the Yenni Administration has done it’s best to provide obstacles to the IG.

Regardless of his motivation, the Roberts ordinance was a step in the right direction.

You shouldn’t have the campaign manager of elected officials also receiving parish contracts and using his influence to derive even more tax dollars from NGOs like the Jefferson Convention & Visitors Bureau, JEDCO, and many others that receive tax payer funding.

I mean really, what Councilman that wants to get reelected can refuse to help his campaign manager?

For the past several weeks, Lyin’ Ben has been working behind the scenes to push his fellow council members to settle the lawsuit with Buisson. The Council already scuttled the Roberts ordinance and backtracked on a Buisson contract for Mardi Gras parade stands.

At Wednesday’s meeting, Zahn offered an ordinance to settle and pay Buisson $120,000 of YOUR tax dollars for “legal fees”.

You don’t need to be a Rocket Scientist, or even an Unlicensed Florist, to know that some, if not all, of that $120k would have wound up in Buisson’s pocket.

Claiming that the Parish had already spent several hundred thousand dollars defending the lawsuit (why can’t our Parish Attorneys litigate again?), Lyin’ Ben claimed that it was a good deal.

Despite calls for those Councilmembers that had a previous relationship with Buisson to recuse themselves, Zahn relied on Parish Attorney Mike Power’s claim that, since Lyin’ Ben didn’t have a “current” contract with Buisson, he could vote on the settlement.

Buisson worked with Zahn during his Kenner Mayoral campaign. Buisson claimed that, despite having meetings with Lyin’ Ben to discuss Zahn’s inauguration and the mayoral transition, his “work” for Zahn ended when Zahn won the runoff.

Buisson claims that he was not paid for his meetings with Zahn after the runoff.

Right.

As everyone knows, whores don’t do anything for free.

And, in Metro New Orleans, there is no bigger whore than Greg Buisson.

When civic activist George Peterson took to the podium to discuss the Zahn conflict of interest, Zahn fired back asking if Peterson was an attorney.

No, George Peterson is not an attorney.

He’s not an Unlicensed Florist either.

Buisson himself took the podium to urge the council to settle.

After he was finished patting himself on the back as a champion of free speech, the man who complained about citizens making Public Records Requests, spoke to WDSU’s Travers Mackel.

“This is all about politics,” Buisson said.

And that’s the problem.

Look, if Greg Buisson wants to be the campaign manager for almost every elected official in Jefferson Parish, fine, go for it.

But, don’t use your relationships as a campaign manager to extract (or extort) tax dollars.

That’s not right.

And, if we had any ethics in Jefferson Parish, we wouldn’t be discussing this.

Of course, we wouldn’t have a Sexual Predator as Parish President and a pathological liar soon to be Kenner’s Mayor either.

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