- Elliott Stonecipher
December 4, 2016
I have done everything in my power to communicate and explain my bedrock conviction that public corruption directly endangers the future of Shreveport. In the absence of immediate, aggressive official action against it, there will be no deliverance.
Precisely as was the New Orleans condition before Hurricane Katrina, criminality among our public officials is a way of life to many, and has become a major cause of our continuing decline.
The official and media silence about it is a measure of its pervasiveness. Public confidence in local government has, thereby, been shattered.
Needless to say, many tainted public officials, along with those they financially benefit, loudly attack any who work against their craft of corruption. None of these is louder than career politician and ex-mayor Cedric Glover.
Nothing proves that charge more dramatically than my years of investigation into how the Hwy. 3132 Extension to the Port of Caddo-Bossier was killed.
Between May 8, 2011 and February 25, 2016, I researched and wrote 91 articles on that subject … 92 including this one.
All of those, plus links to a huge preserve of documentary evidence, are available by way of the “3132apedia” tab of the Finish 3132 Coalition website … finish3132.com.
I joined the Coalition effort after a May 1, 2011, column – “Loop’s Labor Lost” – by my friend and Shreveport Times journalist, Craig Durrett, now deceased. Craig’s report shocked me to the core, and directly triggered these years of work.
After follow-up conversations with Craig, the unthinkable bottom-line remained: then-Mayor Cedric Glover, and a few others in on his deal, had illegally acted to kill the 3132 Extension to the Port.
Glover did so by convening a meeting of the Northwest Louisiana Council of Governments (NLCOG) on April 7, 2011. Such action by NLCOG was illegal, and had no precedent.
Glover was able to commandeer the planning agency’s staff and process both because as Shreveport mayor he had rotated into the position of Chairman of NLCOG’s Transportation Policy Committee, and NLCOG’s executive, Kent Rogers, was compromised by his official 3132 Extension history.
Glover was running his corrupt op for personal gain. His friend and Bossier City Councilman Tim Larkin had by the time of the NLCOG meeting become a functioning unit – veritable partners – in developing Esplanade, Larkin’s a high-dollar, potentially high-profit, residential enclave.
The 3132 Extension and Esplanade could not co-exist. Much of the same land, large parts of which were publicly owned, was required for both.
Glover therefore took all necessary official and political action to kill the highway, the law be damned. He may well have succeeded, but a handful of us have seen to it that a permanent record of his malfeasance is now written … and publicly owned.
My work was greatly aided by a notable fact: I very well know this project and its history.
The first public meeting in opposition to Glover’s rape of official, lawful process was held at LSU-Shreveport on May 19, 2011. I spoke in opposition at that meeting, as did Margaret Elrod on behalf of Willis-Knighton Health System (WKHS) and its new Finish 3132 Coalition.
In the NLCOG Motion passed on April 7, 2011, The Oaks of Louisiana retirement community, owned by WKHS, was explicitly targeted in a sentence about a “study” of highway alternatives to the Extension. Such, I learned, was totally political.
As emails produced by our Public Records Requests later proved, Glover and other public officials on the NLCOG Transportation Policy Committee were virulent WKHS enemies.
Immediately after the public meeting at LSU-S, I was invited by WKHS to meet and discuss the work of its Coalition.
That meeting was held at WKHS on May 31, 2011, with a small group in attendance. I was asked to coordinate the Coalition effort, and to accept pay to do so. I did not hesitate in accepting the merger of our efforts, but in the same sentence rejected any pay of any kind for this work.
WKHS would, however, pay any Coalition legal or other expenses. Paying me was never brought up again, except by Cedric Glover, without ceasing.
Although I had, through the years, done work for many Louisiana hospitals, physician groups and other medical service providers, I had never worked for or with WKHS, or its chief executive Jim Elrod.
In truth, I would never have taken this on had I known just how officially rigged the Extension termination was. In these years of work, every related effort resulted in the same outcome …
… public corruption owns the 3132 Extension project, not taxpayers.
Ex-Mayor Glover would officially act to stomp-out that highway, applying his intended coup de grace in that NLCOG meeting in the spring of 2011.
What Was the “3132 Extension,” Really?
By the time the April 2011 meeting to terminate the Extension took place, the project was 55 years old, having been first put to paper in 1956.
By 1969, planning produced a highway route we would recognize today: the combination of two would-be highways, the Interstate 220 Loop on the north of Interstate 20, and the Louisiana Highway 3132 on the south.
The LA Hwy. 3132 southern segment was intended to move all eastbound 18-wheeler truck traffic off I-20 before it entered Shreveport-Bossier City proper, and reroute it to what we now know as I-49 and/or the Port of Caddo-Bossier.
(At some point in the distant future, the highway could cross the Red River at the Port of Caddo-Bossier, and extend up to I-20, near Haughton.)
In a 1973 study, the highway name was set: The Inner Loop Extension Corridor.
Then, the excellent, and most comprehensive, 1991-1992 Inner Loop Extension Corridor Study was conducted. Of critical importance, the Extension’s preferred corridor route to the Port of Caddo-Bossier was thereby set.
Glover, then a Shreveport City Councilman, was one of the members of this study group who determined – set – the Extension corridor route … all the way to the Port.
Also on the study team which selected the corridor route were Kent Rogers, long the NLCOG boss, and representatives of our Metropolitan Planning Commission, or MPC. Each body played crucial roles in the 2011 termination of the Extension.
In 1996, with then-Shreveport City Councilman Glover directly involved and approving, the Council voted to ask taxpayers for a special $3,500,000 property tax millage for the “design and right-of-way acquisition” of the 3132 Extension leg from Flournoy-Lucas Road to – explicitly – “the Port.”
Voters approved by a margin of 64% to 36%. The City, in 1999, then purchased the first south-of-Flournoy-Lucas tract of land for the Extension.
To make sure no one missed its purpose, this tract was shaped as one-half of the “diamond interchange” already designed for that Extension intersection.
(We now know Glover could not have cared less how that property tax was legally limited, as was duplicated in our 2011 Bond Issue vote. Taxpayers then voted $1,500,000, at his request, to “save” our very popular Barnwell Center. Then, with that money in hand, Glover diverted the funds to a project which would benefit him. The Barnwell Center was done-in just like the 3132 Extension.)
Inexplicably, officials at City Hall, the Caddo Commission, NLCOG and MPC allowed the1992 Extension corridor route to first be endangered by the early-2000s development of the Twelve Oaks subdivision, where I reside.
Then, in July 2003, quietly and with no public notification, Kent Rogers at NLCOG moved the Extension corridor route to the opposite (west) side of Bayou Pierre. That relocation was not discovered, and publicly revealed, until this research … some 9 years after the fact.
Larkin and Glover Partner Up
In 2006, after a decade in the state legislature, Glover was elected Shreveport mayor.
Larkin’s development was beginning on the west side of Bayou Pierre, precisely where the 3132 Extension route had been quietly relocated three years earlier by NLCOG. The timeline of Larkin’s work eerily matches Glover’s mayoral election.
In 2007, as new Mayor Glover began his term, he cleared all official decks for Larkin. Many city employees saluted the Bossier developer, most notably City Engineer Ron Norwood. As one source put it, “Larkin set up his development office in the Engineering Department.”
In April 2007, Larkin paid Twelve Oaks developers $1,109,970 for the 36.99-acre tract of land between Twelve Oaks and Bayou Pierre. Along with his $1,127,275 bridge over Bayou Pierre, this land provided access for his development into Flournoy-Lucas Road.
The Flournoy-Lucas access was do or die for Larkin. We have learned his only other entrance and exit, on Railsback Road, had been effectively killed in a dispute with wealthy and politically potent residents there. Some, however, were among the financiers of the development.
Twelve Oaks developers had assured the public in 2003 and 2004 that the 36.99-acre tract was protected for the Extension. In fact, MPC records confirm that, but the legal prohibition meant not one word, at all.
Twelve Oaks developers took Larkin’s money, regardless … and not one word of protest was spoken or written by NLCOG, City Hall, the MPC, the Louisiana Department of Transportation & Development (LA DOTD), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) or the local media.
Glover won re-election in the fall of 2010. Importantly, identified as his campaign finance chairman was local attorney Sam Gregorio. Also a friend of Larkin, Gregorio has done legal work for both men on point in killing the Extension. He also owns at least one $510,000 lot in Esplanade.
Two months before the apparently determinative NLCOG meeting in 2011, Glover appointed Gregorio to the Board of the Port of Caddo-Bossier.
How to Kill a Highway
By April 7, 2011, freshly re-elected Glover was all but running the government’s side of Esplanade development from his mayoral office.
It was then time to kill the Hwy. 3132 Extension.
No mayor has any legal right, by any stretch, to kill a highway, whether 1 day or 55 years in the making. Neither did the City Council or the MPC or any local or state governmental body. Perhaps a federal court could, but we learned that even that seems impossible.
Enter NLCOG, in the person of Kent Rogers.
As documentary evidence confirms, the team of highway killers, directed by Glover, included Larkin, Rogers, City Engineer Ron Norwood, Port Commissioner Sam Gregorio and Port Executive Director Eric England.
What they did that day screams confirmation of just how corrupt government is here … and how little responsible officials care.
Just under one year following the fateful NLCOG meeting, I pieced together public records proving what specifically occurred, particularly in ex-Mayor Glover’s City Hall office suite, that morning.
That record was the result of Public Records Requests we used to go after those documents.
That law gave Glover 3 business days to produce emails and other documents, but Glover stonewalled. After three months, the Caddo Parish District Court ordered him to hand over what became the evidence.
On May 25, 2012, with emails and related official documents before us, there was no remaining mystery as to Glover’s stalling.
Since the news media would not report what we uncovered, the Coalition used a full-page advertisement in the Shreveport Times to most easily present the facts, build the legal record, and get the news to, at a minimum, those subscribers.
Of greatest importance are the emails that morning, before the official NLCOG meeting, which show Glover directing the action. Gregorio and Norwood are identified as they complete work on the official Motion to be used to finish-off the Extension.
Only Glover and Larkin spoke on the termination plan in the NLCOG meeting. The Motion to kill the Extension was made by Glover and seconded by Port Executive Director Eric England. Only one “no” vote was cast.
More recently, in a meeting on October 9, 2015, Port Director Eric England responded to my direct question with a stunning response. He verified my fear that, given the Port’s recent land acquisitions just south of Twelve Oaks, a 3132 Extension would today have to “compete” against the Port’s higher priority: industrial megasites where the Extension would be built.
Contrary to Glover’s loudly dishonest assertions about my work, my conclusion as to the result of this conspiracy is this: Glover killed the final leg of the Hwy. 3132 Extension to the Port of Caddo-Bossier.
No matter the years, costs and attacks suffered in working to save it, the Extension was done for in that NLCOG meeting in 2011. Since then, totally hidden from the public, NLCOG and the Port have built-on Glover’s malfeasance in finishing it off.
I will revise my take only if there is a federal investigation netting we the people the criminal indictment and trial of the doers.
There is, after all, no lack of evidence.
One of the worst kept secrets in Shreveport over the past five years is the word from a local reporter – which his or her station would not report – about how Glover was to be paid for his role in this official criminal conspiracy.
His pay, reportedly, is an Esplanade lot valued at over $500,000, apparently for immediate resale to an arranged buyer. The subject lot would therefore by held in another’s name until the coast is clear.
As I recently reported, a source has now shared with me details identifying just such a possible, impending transaction. I have, as always, made all appropriate federal officials aware of those details.
Only one thing stemming from this orgy of public corruption remains for me to do. I stand ready to assist any legitimate investigation of these facts.
Question: how has there been no investigation already? Answer: public corruption may be in charge here.
© 2016 Elliott Stonecipher … ALL RIGHTS RESERVED