BATISTE: Landrieu Using “Threats” To Justify Profligate Spending

Mitch Landrieu keeps using “threats” as justification for excessive spending of public money. The New Orleans Mayor also uses the predominantly self-generated allegations for skirting public information laws in using the Foundation For Louisiana to hide costs and money sources involved in the widely unpopular removal of four historic monuments.

Lee Zurik investigated Landrieu’s use of public funds on a private security company during the removals. Yes, the WVUE investigative journalist has been in a coma the first seven years of Landrieu’s reign, and most noticeably during the past two years of the monument controversy – but the sleeping giant is now awake.

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The Dallas-based Trident Response Group made a released total of $710,000 of taxpayer funds, and another $400,000 through Mitch’s money laundering foundation. Zurik caught bizarre patterns such as the City paying invoices before the date which they were submitted. And large amounts of billed hours vaguely attributed to “Gary” and “Bob.” That’s the justification for six figures of government spending in a city full of potholes and murderers.

The invoices were notably vague for government work. Zurik reported, “One line – ‘strategic advisory and support services’ – was sufficient proof that the contractor, Trident Response Group, did enough work to warrant a $175,000 check.”

Deputy Mayor Ryan Berni explained the lack of accountability saying, “because of the threats and the nature of everything involved. I think, again, this was not anything like anything else that city government has ever had to do.”

The City of New Orleans’ Director of Homeland Security Aaron Miller said, “Some of these invoices contain what we believe to be the appropriate level of information. And we verified it through our meetings with them, through the discussions that we’ve had in the threat analysis and through receiving… sort of the risk information that they provided to us.”

Mitch never agrees to interview when it can be critical of his dictatorship. But his aides only parrot drivel about threats, something they struggle to prove. But these city employees seem to think it’s perfectly acceptable to conceal financial information from the public.

The glaring part of the Landrieu threat claims is that threats, whether real or bogus, do not allow for politicians to evade transparent, responsible government requirements. The Times Picayune Editorial Board actually addressed the severity of the threats, specifically the absence of serious threats:

New Orleans Police Superintendent Michael Harrison, who also attended the interview with the Times-Picayune’s editorial board on Thursday, said officers were assessing threats aimed at a variety of people involved with the monuments. He said they had alerted the FBI, but added that the federal agency had not felt the threats were at a point requiring their involvement.

Landrieu and his flacks cry in every single monument story about their alleged threats. Mitch needs to cite the law that protects secrecy in government operations when opposing views are voiced. Until he does, hopefully Zurik, David Hammer, and Travers Mackel smell the blood in the water. Mean words and boycotts do not allow for abusive spending.

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