Sunday, August 12, 2007

Oliver Thomas and Parking


A politician being corrupt isn't like a woman being pregnant, but a federal probe is as likely to get the "little bit" corrupt politicians as it is to get the the "rotten to the core" ones. I have no idea where Thomas belongs on the spectrum; I always assumed that he had at least tolerated it, but I also thought that he could be counted on to put the city first in most matters. Some of the commenters at YRHT make him sound a lot worse than I suspected, others seem totally shocked.

At least the probe could demonstrate that there was much more continuity between the Morial and Nagin administrations than most people realize -- the probe seems to involve contracts that were awarded under the Nagin administration. I started the Nagin Files in March to help demonstrate the pervasiveness of corruption in the Nagin administration, but I haven't kept up with it. The site is just old news stories about the Nagin administration, found through LexisNexis and reprinted in their entirety to avoid selective editing.

Though I don't seem to have posted anything about the parking lots mentioned in today's article, I did post four articles that mention Standard Parking, which was mentioned in the Thomas story:
The Nagin administration signed a management deal for a 50-50 partnership between Standard Parking, a national firm that has operated parking lots in New Orleans for 25 years, and Parking Solutions LLC, whose principals include Keith Pittman, a former aide to Thomas.

Only two mentioned Standard by name, link link, but two more are about related matters.

Update: It appears that the investigation has nothing to do with the parking contracts signed after Nagin took office. I'm starting to wonder if Nagin really is the Whitey Bulger/Frank Costello of New Orleans political corruption. Not really, but he sure looked smug today, and only one partner in S & J Consulting has been indicted in the federal probe.

The most obvious example of the continuity that I mentioned is, of course Roy Rodney (of S & J Consulting):
One source says that Rodney does indeed support his friend and business partner Ray Nagin, but one can never tell in the somewhat Byzantine atmosphere that has descended upon this year's fractured election.

That was written before the 2002 election. Jimmie Woods of Metro Disposal, AMID Landfill and all of the other principals in the landfill deal that was mentioned early in the investigation also have strong connections to both mayors, but that part of the investigation seems to have gone nowhere.

Too many of the same donors,crooked politicians turned newspaper publishers and politically connected businessmen/ministers who serve both God and Mammon and use their influence to sway city contracts who once supported Morial now support Nagin to possibly believe that one's a crook and one's a reformer. But then again, it seems that Barre is a criminal and Rodney isn't.

I don't want to imply some kind of nefarious deal, the Whitey Bulger comparison was entirely fanciful -- this is, after all, Moldy City, not We Saw That (not that there's anything wrong with seeing that). But the feds don't seem to be investigating the deals and the people that would lead to Nagin.

Predictably, the story has made the NYT and WAPO.

"At least the probe could demonstrate that there was much more continuity between the Morial and Nagin administrations than most people realize -- the probe seems to involve contracts that were awarded under the Nagin administration."

We'll see. The way the T-P story reads, that seems like a prominent possibility. However, I think as LIFE members like Pampy turn on BOLD members like OT, there will be increased tit for tat as the federal investigation expands. I'm sure OT will be more inclined to give up people in rival political factions (like LIFE) rather than friendlies (in BOLD).

Right now, to me, it seems much more likely that more revelations will expose members of the "old guard", and will remind us of how utterly corrupt things were under Morial, rather than expose Nagin;'s current shenanigans.
Unfortunate, if true. Since then the resulting narrative would only reinforce the myth of Nagin as an anti-corruption "business friendly" outsider.
I was far too optimistic.
I agree. It does seem that this probe is one designed to shine a spotlight on the old gaurd and away from the current Nagin admin, which is noted for its cooperation and adherence to the Republican ethos.
Letten's office is more concerned with past corruption than with the current problem of growing violent crime in our neighborhoods. Why isn't anyone going after the New Orleans weapons dealers??
Tyrone Rodgers was also involved in the Standard Parking deal whose stepfather (Bill Rouselle of Bright Moments) is the PR consultant for Nagin. Rouselle was the campaign manager for Nagin's re-election campaign. Rouselle's firm has also done work in Oliver Thomas's campaign and Karen Carter's runs for office.

Make you say UMM...
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