WE WANT YOUR OPINIONS, Articles about life in Washington Parish, News, Politics, Religion, Schools, Opinion, Recipes, Announcements, Humorous stories, and items of interest. What can we do to improve our Schools, Parish, State, and Country? Include any Photos needed for documentation, and your Name, or remain Anonymous. You may POST COMMENTS ON any Article on this site. No Racial slurs, or Bad language.

Louisiana Eminent Domain Corruption

Watch a 10 minute video: Toye Taylor the Reckless Politician.
"I agree, you shouldn't turn expropriation powers over to anyone who is not elected".

Problems: If Dialup internet, or Pausing: Continue playing & use slide bar to start over.
See more Articles below about Sen. Ben Nevers Sb 639, and Thompson's statewide land grab scheme.
Click here to View Movie on You Tube

As a resident and voter in Washington Parish, I wish to go on record in opposition to Senate Bill 639 sponsored by Sen. Ben Nevers that will create to Washington Parish Economic Development District.

Senate bill 639 creates yet another Political Subdivision much like the Washington Parish Reservoir District with a board of appointed Commissioners that are not accountable to the people of Washington Parish, but shall wield enormous powers of Expropriation of Private property. This power is in the name of Economic Development.

Every property owner in Washington Parish has cause to be very concerned about this bill. This Legislation was not put to a vote by the voters in Washington Parish. It is yet another stealth bill designed to circumvent the voting process.

If this Economic Development District is so good for the people and Land Owners of Washington Parish why not let us decide for ourselves by giving us a chance to vote on the bill. The landowners in the unincorporated areas of Washington parish will have no representation on the proposed Economic Development District or the Commissioners if this bill is passed.

Over 200 years ago our forefathers fought the revolutionary war over taxation without representation. Now the landowners of Washington Parish face expropriation without representation by a gang of 7 appointed Commissioners who may decide our say with their pockets if this bill is passed.

Please return the democratic process to Washington Parish and allow the votes or Washington Parish to have a say in our future. As voters we elected you to represent our interest.

We are not opposed to Economic Development; we simply believe it should remain in the private sector where buyers and sellers work out their own agreement.
Government should be in the business of governing and not in the business of Expropriation of private property for the Economic Development of others.

Mary Ettel

Labels: ,

Indictment of Reservoir Official fuels Questions

BOGALUSA - The indictment of the man who serves as consultant to the Washington Parish Reservoir Commission has raised concerns among commission members and given new life to opponents to the project.Michael Thompson, 58. of Delhi, who served as executive director of the Poverty Point Reservoir District and is a paid consultant on at least a half-dozen reservoirs proposed for construction around the state, was indicted by a federal grand jury alleging he illegally took money from the district while acting as director.

The indictment is based on the Hobbs Act and was returned in Lafayette on Tuesday.
It alleges that between Sept. 26, 1997, and June 20, 2002, Thompson obtained funds of Poverty Point Reservoir District to which he wasn't entitled while acting in his official capacity. The maximum penalty could be 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Reservoir commission member Bill Jenkins of Angie said late Thursday that he had been in communication with commission chairman Huey Pierce, who is out-of-state on vacation, and that Pierce was aware of the indictment.

"We're not real sure how it might affect us," Jenkins said. "We're aware of the indictment based on the news article, but we need to figure out what we need to do."

Jenkins said the commission would have to get together and see what action they needed to take.

"We've had (commission) members we've had to ask to step down in the past," Jenkins said, "but this looks like it may be a little more serious. We know there will be a lot of questions to answer ... we'll have to post and hold a public meeting and sit down and put together everything we've paid to him."
He said the commission had just been audited and that commissioners had just recently met and reviewed the audit.

For members of the Pete Pittman family, as well as others who live in the area targeted to become lake bottom, it substantiates their concerns over misuse of public funds.

Family members said Pete Pittman, currently hospitalized with a fractured vertebrae in his neck following a fall, "expressed relief" that someone had taken note of what they called "the wrongdoing that was apparently going on with the reservoirs across our state."

His daughter, Jalon Pittman Beech, said "Those of us who have been crying foul are not surprised at the indictment of the Washington Parish Reservoir Commission's very well paid consultant, Michael Thompson.
We expect more indictments to follow, possibly in our parish as well. We welcome the presence of the FBI in our parish."

Her brother, Winford, asked, "Should Thompson continue to get paid $100,000 per lake for six lakes while he is under indictment? Shouldn't he be dismissed and his pay cut off until the charges against him are cleared or he is found guilty?
Would you continue to pay or keep one of your employees in the same predicament?"

Thompson's indictment is the second in quick succession connected to Poverty Point. The first involved Kathy Cleveland, a former executive assistant for the district, who pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $150,000 from November 2000 until September 2005.

Cleveland, 55, of Epps, forged the name of the district's president on checks she wrote to petty cash, her husband and to herself for alleged reimbursement for mileage, meals, office supplies and other expenses to which she was not entitled, federal prosecutors said.

Michael Thompson is a former mayor of Delhi and brother of state Rep. Francis Thompson, D-Delhi, who authored the legislation allowing the creation of reservoir districts and ultimately created work for his brother.

Michael Thompson is "absolutely innocent," his lawyer, J. Michael Small, declared in a faxed statement.Small said the main witness against Thompson, Joe Cleveland, is trying to bargain for a light sentence for his wife, Kathy.

What is the Hobbs Act?

The Hobbs Act (18 U.S.C. ¤ 1951) prohibits actual or attempted robbery or extortion affecting interstate or foreign commerce. Although the Hobbs Act was enacted as a statute to combat racketeering in labor-management disputes, the statute is frequently used in connection with cases involving public corruption, commercial disputes and corruption directed at members of labor unions.

INDICTMENT: Document in pdf format

Labels: , , ,

Poverty Point trial rescheduled

By Johnny Gunter • jgunter@thenewsstar.com • July 9, 2009

Trial for three prominent northeastern Louisiana residents charged in U.S. District Court with conspiracy and mail fraud in a case involving land they purchased at Poverty Point Reservoir in Delhi has been reset to April 12 so the U.S. Supreme Court can hear a similar case.

It was set for Jan. 11.

Defense attorney Mike Small of Alexandria, who represents Billy Coenen, district attorney of the 5th Judicial District, said another of his clients, former state Sen. Charles Jones, will be tried Jan 11 instead.
Coenen's co-defendants are Monroe-based engineer Terry Denmon and Delhi businessman Mike Thompson,

Jones was indicted in February 2008 on two federal counts of making and subscribing a false tax return and one count of tax evasion. The indictment alleges Jones intentionally claimed much lower amounts for his gross receipts or sales in 2000 and his earned income in 1999. He is accused of tax evasion for converting payments for his services as a lawyer into cashier's checks and cash, then purchasing property and a certificate of deposit to avoid paying income tax.

Small said Wednesday the trial dates were flipped because the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a similar case involving a legal issue that he and other attorneys have filed in the Coenen, Denmon and Thompson case. He said motions have been filed stating the indictments should be dismissed because the charges are alleged state ethics violations, which shouldn't be used as a basis for a federal mail fraud indictment.

He said all parties, including the U.S. Attorney's Office, agreed to put off the trial until the Supreme Court rules in the case from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. He said that could possibly be a year away.

"If the Supreme Court rules as we hope, it would result in the dismissal of the Coenen case and those of the co-defendants," Small said.

No one with the U.S. Attorney's Office responded to an inquiry for comment.

Coenen, Denmon and Thompson pleaded innocent Aug. 8 to charges of conspiracy and mail fraud.

Outlook dim for reservoir project: Corps confirms

project was blocked, will review new application

Associated Press
Published/Last Modified on Monday, July 13, 2009 9:38 AM CDT

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- The Army Corps of Engineers has blocked the construction of a reservoir in the rural timber and pasture country of Washington Parish after the project ran into opposition from residents whose land would have been flooded.

On Friday, the Army Corps said it would not issue a wetlands permit for the reservoir, which the state had hoped to build by damming the Bogue Lusa Creek.

Plans called for building a 3,400-acre reservoir capable of providing 51,000 gallons of water a day and flooding land occupied by about 30 homes, three cemeteries and a church. The reservoir, though, is far from dead.

"This is not the end of the project at all," said Huey Long Pierce, the chairman of the Washington Parish Reservoir Commission. "We're not going away."

Pierce said the commission has resubmitted an application for a wetlands permit to the Army Corps.

Mike McNair, the corps' regulatory branch chief in Vicksburg, Miss., said the permit process was scrapped because the project had undergone major changes since the reservoir commission first applied for a permit in 2005.

Initially, the commission said the reservoir would be for Washington residents, McNair said, but "the scope changed to industrial water supply for future industry."

He said another change was the commission's intention to supply water to other parts of Louisiana.

Another issue is whether there is a need for the reservoir. Data from the U.S. Geological Survey shows that the area's aquifer is in good shape.

Pierce, the reservoir commission chairman, said the Army Corps misinterpreted the original application.

"Our purpose and need has been identical from the beginning," Pierce said, "to furnish potable water. Potable water includes irrigation, economic development, recreation, a lot of things."

He added: "We're losing 1 foot to 2 foot a year in our aquifer. That is our long-term drinking water source."

Also, he said Bogue Lusa Creek is "drying up more and more by the day."

The reservoir project has run into stiff opposition from residents who would be affected, most of them from the small community of Oak Grove.

"The water is so plentiful here that there is no need for it," said Bogue Lusa resident Jalon Beech, a 47-year-old medical claims analyst who was raised in Oak Grove.

The reservoir, she said, "would benefit only a few, like real estate developers ... They don't even consider what they may destroy — the homes, the wildlife, the timber."

Beech and her relatives have a lot to lose if the reservoir is built: Her family's roots in Oak Grove go back to the 1830s, and the family still owns about 70 acres.

"The log home that my great-great-grandfather built is still there," she said. "It would be about 60 feet underwater."

McNair said the Army Corps would take a look at the commission's second permit application.

"We're a neutral party, neither for it nor against it," McNair said about the proposed reservoir project.