E-Mails Indicate Cozy Relations Between Jefferson Pols, Interested Parties Prior To Fat City Vote

A series of emails dated November 4th and November 13th, 2009, link former Jefferson Parish CAO Tim Whitmer, former Parish Attorney Tom Wilkinson, former Parish President Tim Coulon and Councilwoman Cynthia Lee-Sheng to discussions involving the possibility of Jefferson Parish acquiring property in Fat City from Drago’s owner Tommy Cvitanovich and his mother.

The emails were posted by the web site Slabbed and can be viewed Here .

Cvitanovich was a member of the Fat City Task Force and is rumored to be a potential member of the new Fat City Advisory Board that was just promoted by Councilwoman Sheng. The Fat City Advisory Board will be comprised of 12 members, 10 of which would be hand-picked by Councilwoman Sheng.

The Jefferson Parish Council approved the controversial Fat City Rezoning Ordinance in September 2010. The ordinance calls for a reduction in the hours that alcohol can be served in Fat City; 24-hour video surveillance in businesses that sell alcohol; new building height regulations; parking restrictions; and the ordinance calls for a new “Parking Management Entity” to operate a centralized parking garage in Fat City.

The emails show that, almost a year before the Jefferson Parish Council’s unanimous vote on the Fat City Rezoning Ordinance, Councilwoman Sheng, former CAO Whitmer, former Parish President Tim Coulon and members of the Broussard Administration, including former Parish Attorney Tom Wilkinson, current Parish Finance Director Gwen Bollote, and current Assistant Parish Attorney Tiffany Peperone, along with members of the Fat City Task Force were meeting with Tommy Cvitanovich regarding the Parish’s acquisition of property in Fat City.

In one email, Whitmer asks, “Mr. C (referring to former Parish President Coulon) if you will let me know who to invite on your side.”

Coulon responds that several members of the Fat City Task Force including Jim Hudson, the Chairman of Omni Bank, should be present at the meeting to discuss the amount of money that the Parish could receive if they bonded out the revenue from a proposed special tax district in Fat City,

The funds received from bonding out the revenue could then be used by the Parish to purchase property from Mr. Cvitanovich and his mother, presumably for the purpose of building the centralized parking garage in Fat City.

It is not known if the meetings in fact occurred or who actually attended.

Whitmer resigned as CAO in January 2010 after it was disclosed that he had been involved in a series of improper insurance contracts involving Jefferson Parish contractors and West Jefferson Medical Center.

Wilkinson resigned as Parish Attorney in March 2010.

Former Parish President Coulon resigned from the Superdome Commission in December 2009 after his involvement with Whitmer was disclosed in the West Jefferson Medical Center insurance scandal. He served as Jefferson Parish President from 1995-2003 and subsequently worked as a lobbyist before partnering with Whitmer on several companies.

Councilwoman Sheng did not respond to a request for comment.

From: CLeesheng [[email protected]]
Sent: 11/04/2009 3:53 PM
To: TAWhitmer
Subject: Re: Tommy Cvitanovich
Thanks for letting me know. I have a conflict- speaking at a naturalization ceremony at the d-day museum. Please let me know what transpired after your meeting. Thanks

From: TAWhitmer
To: CLeesheng
Cc: RHinyub
Sent: Wed Nov 04 14:09:58 2009
Subject: Tommy Cvitanovich

Tom and I are meeting with Tommy C and his mother reference fat city property on Tuesday 11/10/09 2PM at my East Bank office.

Please let me know if you would like to attend. If the time is an issue we can adjust.


Timothy A. Whitmer
Jefferson Parish
Chief Administrative Officer
1221 Elmwood Park Blvd.
Suite 1002
Jefferson, La. 70123
Phone (504) 736-6403
Fax (504) 736-6638
e-mail:[email protected]
(2nd Email Series)
From: Tim Coulon [[email protected]]
Sent: 11/13/2009 8:22 AM
To: TAWhitmer; [email protected]; GBolotte; TPeperone
Cc: CLeesheng; RHinyub
Subject: Re: Fat City TIF

Jim Hudson
Al LeBlanc
Pat LeBlanc

From: TAWhitmer
To: [email protected] ; Tim Coulon; GBolotte ; TPeperone
Cc: CLeesheng ; RHinyub
Sent: Fri Nov 13 06:20:29 2009
Subject: Fat City TIF
How much could we bond out with the Fat City TIF?

I recently met as requested with Tommy C about his property.

Council lady Sheng would like to get a small group back together to discuss where we go from here.

Mr. C if you will let me know who to invite on your side.

I would have Tom Wilkinson
Shaun Toups
Larry Sisung
Tiffany if available
Council lady
Who am I missing?


Timothy A. Whitmer
Jefferson Parish
Chief Administrative Officer
1221 Elmwood Park Blvd.
Suite 1002
Jefferson, La. 70123
Phone (504) 736-6403
Fax (504) 736-6638
e-mail:[email protected]

Walt Bennetti is the publisher of ClickJefferson.com, where this piece originally appeared.

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