Prosecutors request delay in Henry Mouton’s sentencing
The Oct. 24 sentencing of Lafayette’s Henry Mouton, the former state Wildlife and Fisheries commissioner who pleaded guilty more than a year ago to federal charges of conspiracy to receive bribes and illegal payoffs, may be delayed for six-nine months due to Mouton’s key role in the sprawling corruption probe of River Birch landfill.
Nola.com reports that federal prosecutors have requested the delay “due to the continuing cooperation of the defendant.”
Mouton was indicted on numerous corruption charges Feb. 25, 2011, pleading guilty in open court in New Orleans a few months later. The Lafayette resident admitted to using his position as a Wildlife and Fisheries commissioner to lobby public officials statewide in an attempt to keep the Old Gentilly Landfill closed in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. In return for his efforts, he received 170 checks totaling $463,970 from River Birch landfill owner Fred Heebe.
Mouton was appointed to the Wildlife and Fisheries Commission in 2003 by former Gov. Mike Foster, a lifelong friend of Mouton’s. He served until December 2008, but still received payments from the rival landfill owner until April 2010.
He’s facing five years in prison and a maximum $250,000 fine, though Nola.com notes that “maximum penalties are rare for first-time offenders, and he could get a more lenient sentence based on his cooperation:”
In a separate development in the case, Feldman on Tuesday granted a motion by the Department of Justice in Washington to let it take over Mouton’s prosecution. The move came six months after Washington prosecutors replaced U.S. Attorney Jim Letten’s office in other cases related to the River Birch investigation. Letten recused his office in April, after Heebe’s attorneys exposed the online rants of former prosecutor Sal Perricone. Letten’s office, including Perricone, had remained counsel of record for the government in Mouton’s case until Feldman granted the recent motion.
MAY 17 Here's a column from James Gill, this time in the Advocate. Gill, who has jumped ship from the Picayune, writes about the absurdity of dueling polls in this post. The numbers are so wildly different, it is obvious that both sides are "cooking the books," he writes. In particular, he looks at Sen. Mary Landrieu, and how her recent actions in DC have been received by those polled. Gill's acerbic, amusing prose is a welcome addition to a paper so conservative as to be occasionally lacking in personality.
MAY 17 Blogger Tom Aswell continues delivering bombshells about the state education department and Gov. Jindal's education "reform" efforts. In this post, he reports that students in the Shreveport area have been signed up for a charter school without their knowledge or consent. Most interesting to Aswell is how this Texas-based charter (with ties to GOP types) got the personal student information it has, if the students didn't give it.
MAY 17 This post by JR Ball in the Baton Rouge Business Report is an interesting tongue-in-cheek look at recent Baton Rouge economic development efforts. Among the items he examines is the idea that gaining a Costco makes BR a "world-class city." (Really? All you need is a different brand of Sam's? MK!) This effort, and other recent ones, are all built on the taxpayer's back, with tax zones, tax incentives and tax rebates, Ball writes.
MAY 17 Blogger CB Forgotston is critical of the legislature's reliance on a revenue-estimating committee's decision to include projected tax amnesty income in this year's forecast. That's a problem, CB posts, because the deadline for these people to pay their taxes is June 30, 2014. So when do you think these people who haven't paid taxes in years are going to pay their taxes? Surely not before June 30, and that means the money won't be there for this year's budget, he argues.
MAY 17 Here's an interesting blog out of California by a Hollywood writer, attorney and academic named Brian Alan Lane. He blogs about higher ed, and was a whistle-blower in a scandal over false credentials. In this post, he takes aim at LSU's new top dog, King Alexander. It's convoluted and a little confusing, but it sure makes Alexander a lot more interesting than he was yesterday.
MAY 17 Blogger Robert Mann writes about the LSU Board's refusal to allow Dr. Fred Cerise to testify before the legislature about Gov. Jindal's plan to close down all the state's charity hospitals and dump the poor on the private system. It's hard to imagine anyone more qualified than Cerise to testify about that, so why would anyone try to prevent him doing so? Mann thinks it is because the powers that be aren't interested in hearing any truth about the plan.
MAY 17 This post on the Louisiana Sinkhole Bugle, a blog that notes developments in the Bayou Corne and Jefferson Island salt domes, talks about a proposed expansion of the salt dome storage under Lake Peigneur in Iberia Parish. Residents are working against it for several reasons, including two biggies: the sinkhole disaster in Bayou Corne and the continuing, unexplained bubbling on the surface of the Lake.
MAY 17 NOLA police arrested more people Thursday accused of either being involved in the Mother's Day shooting or hiding the suspect afterward, this Gambit story reports. The NOLA police chief said he suspects the whole thing was gang-related and throws out a challenge to the gangs: he's got informants now, he says, and he knows a lot more than the gangs want him to know. The people who live in the neighborhoods terrorized by gangs are ready to talk, he says.
David Calhoun and Elizabeth “EB” Brooks are the first two employees of Lafayette Central Park Inc., the nonprofit charged with turning Lafayette Consolidated Government’s 100-acre Johnston Street Horse Farm property into a passive public park. Calhoun was named executive director, and Brooks is director of planning and design.
Is it a crime for citizens to photograph, video, or take notes of a police officer in the line of duty, or a right protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution? Locally, such activity, as witnessed recently, will at the very least result in a night spent behind bars.
Episcopal School of Acadiana’s Dr. Joshua Caffery, chair of the school’s English Department, is headed to Washington, D.C., and the Library of Congress as the latest winner of the Alan Lomax Fellowship in Folklife Studies.