Late last week we were preoccupied with LSU and other things, so we didn’t get an opportunity to be more timely in showing our appreciation for disgraced former Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard, whose trail of tears likely leads to the federal pen after getting indicted on 33 counts of payroll fraud Thursday.
It’s satisfying to see, as Broussard’s time in office made him almost surely the single most disgustingly corrupt public official in the state.
He first showed up as a bright green blob on our radar after Katrina, when he concocted a flamingly dishonest story about dead old ladies and how they were George W. Bush’s fault as part of a Democrat Party smear campaign. Surely you’ll remember this…
Of course, everything about the nursing home story was an abject lie. Broussard’s emergency management director Tim Rodrigue did lose his mother in the St. Rita’s nursing home in St. Bernard, but not on a Friday (which would have been Sept. 2, 2005). St. Rita’s was flooded when the initial storm surge from Katrina ravaged St. Bernard Parish on Monday, Aug. 29.
There was some truth in the account, to the extent that Rodrigue was asking for somebody to assist in evacuating the patients at St. Rita’s the day before Katrina hit. But Rodrigue was calling St. Bernard Parish government officials, not the feds.
But Broussard’s ridiculous tearful tirade asserted that Rodrigue was calling his mother four days after she died.
It was the most shamefully disgusting performance in the Katrina saga. And that, of course, is saying something. It even beat Broussard’s idiotic decision to evacuate Jefferson Parish’s pump operators before the storm, which needlessly caused tens of millions of dollars of property damage and got him sued by his own taxpayers (although amazingly, two years later those people re-elected him over Allen Leone, a Republican real estate broker, by a 52-to-48 count. It was the West Bank vote, controlled in no small part by Broussard’s political ally John Alario, that helped Broussard to re-election; Leone carried the East Bank, many of the houses in which were flooded thanks to Broussard’s idle pumps during the storm.
Broussard’s failed attempts to defraud the American people about St. Rita’s didn’t get him the positive notoriety he was looking for, so instead he focused on bilking his own constituents.
According to the indictment, beginning in July 2003, Broussard, Wilkinson and Parker devised a scheme to defraud the parish out of approximately $410,000.
The indictment states that Broussard and Wilkinson hired Parker as a paralegal supervisor with a salary of that grew to $64,000. But, according to the indictment, Parker was not trained as a paralegal, nor did she possess the required paralegal certification.
Instead, investigators say she did clerical work at a parish library.
Broussard and Wilkinson are also accused of approving generous pay raises for Parker.
According to the indictment, in exchange for approving Parker’s employment and raises, Wilkinson got a bump in pay as well. Documents show his salary grew from $100,000 to more than $183,000 a year, in five years.
The alleged overt acts also include false statements about Parker’s occupation to investigators and the Louisiana Ethics Board.
The wire fraud charge stems from a series of direct pay deposits into Karen Parker’s bank account.
There was, of course, more. Broussard actually resigned in January of 2010 amid revelations that his chief operating officer Tim Whitmer was running an insurance scam on the parish with Broussard getting kickbacks. And then there was the Trout Point Lodge case, which our friends at Slabbed have been all over from the get-go.
The upshot is that Broussard’s lies and scumbaggery were so pronounced that even by Jefferson Parish standards he became an embarrassment. Of course, to Jefferson Parish’s shame the job fell to the state Board of Ethics and U.S. Attorney Jim Letten to get him out of office and soon off the streets; with so obviously disgraceful a “leader” in their midst the voters of Jefferson refused the chance to throw him out in 2007.
But whatever the means, justice is coming to Broussard at long last. Let him do his crying off-camera from now on. And let this be a lesson to the next slimebag politician; being “colorful” while you rob your constituents blind won’t cut it in Louisiana any more.