Wednesday, March 2, 2011

By The Independent Staff

Lafayette Housing Authority resident board member Leon Simmons didn’t slice off his ear, but he sure made that van go — until the feds finally affixed a boot to his free ride. The man who believes the media are “some damn buzzards” and, more important, the man twice kicked off the LHA board, had been gallivanting around in an LHA-owned van even after being kicked off the board — an ouster he successfully appealed before a state district court judge. LHA rules say Simmons was to drive the van only for official reasons, yet he motored up to an LHA protest last fall in it, twice drove it to court to fight allegations he participated in an illegal executive session, and used it as recently as last week when he arrived at a meeting with officials from HUD — the folks who admonished him about using the van in the first place. HUD monitor Dan Rodriguez finally had enough and took the keys from Simmons. Long overdue.

If it’s true the FBI always gets its man, Lafayette resident Henry Mouton is in some deep you know what. A former commissioner with the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries appointed to the post by then-Gov. Mike Foster, Mouton was indicted last week by a federal grand jury in New Orleans. He is alleged to have cut a deal with a Crescent City-area landfill company to help keep a rival landfill closed by lobbying elected officials and federal agencies. In exchange, the feds say, Mouton received almost a half a million dollars in bribes. The bureau’s case against him appears to be exhaustive: The 44-page indictment gives a check-by-check rundown, including check numbers, of what Mouton allegedly accepted between April 2003 and October 2005. But more damaging: the feds say he lied to them on at least four occasions. The checks range from $2,000 to $18,000 — 36 checks in all. Mouton has so far declined comment on the indictment and is keeping a low profile.

Note to Glenn Stewart: You’ll attract more flies with honey than with vinegar. The real estate developer and erstwhile physician who is seeking a special taxing district for a parcel of land he’s developing into a planned luxury hotel and convention center on Kaliste Saloom Road went all balsamic on members of the Tea Party of Lafayette during a public forum held by City-Parish Councilman Keith Patin last week. Dismissive and condescending, Stewart from the outset assumed an adversarial posture with the tea crowd, referring to them as “idiots.” After the meeting Stewart was sarcastically contrite: “I’m sorry I used the word idiot,” he told The Ind. “I should have said lunatic.” The tea party movement, we’ll observe, trends toward bloviating gas baggery and undue idolization of 18th century men who wore powdered wigs and velvet breeches, but inasmuch as they’re citizens with legitimate concerns over government policy — and we’ll give them that — they deserved a more reasonable reception.

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