The landfill that’s been linked to Henry Mouton and his federal bribery charges has begun a public relations blitz in the wake of Mouton’s indictment and an investigation into the landfill’s dealings with Jefferson Parish; included in its PR campaign is what could be the landfill’s defense to federal prosecutors who might ask why the controversial landfill paid Mouton more than a half a million dollars while he lobbied against a rival landfill.

Gambit newspaper reports that River Birch landfill has hired a public relations firm out of Texas to help counter the negative press the company has been receiving since Mouton’s indictment hit the state news wires on Feb. 25.

Mouton, a Lafayette resident, is accused of using his position on the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Commission to try and convince congressmen, the EPA and even the FBI to close the old Gentilly landfill in New Orleans that had reopened after Hurricane Katrina. What Mouton failed to tell his letter recipients — and the IRS — is he reportedly received $463,970 from a rival landfill owner in return for his efforts.

The rival landfill was not identified by the feds, but court documents indicate it’s River Birch, a landfill owned by Fred Heebe and his stepfather that’s also under federal investigation for its ties to Jefferson Parish political corruption.

River Birch has not commented on Mouton or its own investigation, but Gambit reports that a source close to the landfill says Mouton was on a retainer for one of Heebe’s other companies, Shadow Lake Management, for years before he was appointed by former Gov. Mike Foster to serve on the WL&F Commission:
Whether part of a PR offensive or not, the notion that Mouton was routinely on retainer to one of Heebe’s companies long before his appointment to the commission goes to the heart of what will surely be Heebe’s defense if the feds go after the business owner.
Mouton has pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy, receiving illegal payoffs and making false statements to federal agents. If convicted, Mouton, 54, faces up to 55 years in federal prison, $2 million in fines and three years of probation.

To read Gambit’s latest on Mouton and River Birch, click here.

Read more on Henry Mouton here  and here.

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