- Will Broyles
- Alex Washington, Oliver Jenkins, Jeff Everson, Willie Bradford, Ollie Tyler, James Flurry, Stephanie Lynch, Michael Corbin
In this series, we’ve demonstrated the incredible bond bounty paid by the City to certain local “co-bond counsel” and the willingness of City “leadership” to violate its own laws to keep the paydays coming. In this article, we’re bringing to light a broader issue of how much total taxpayer money the City plans to spend in connection with the upcoming water and sewer bond.
In this case, the State Bond Commission has laid it out plainly (here on page 4) for the public by comparing Shreveport’s current $120,000,000 bond proposal to the City of Slidell’s $23,000,000 bond issuance of last October. The results speak for themselves:
- Shreveport’s total issuance cost is $2,087,135; Slidell’s total issuance cost is $206,714;
- Shreveport’s cost per $1,000 of bond is $17.39; Slidell’s cost per $1,000 of bond is $8.99.
- Shreveport will “hire” six (6) lawyers; Slidell will only need two (2).
- Shreveport’s “co-bond counsel,” Alex Washington, is set to score a bigger payoff than both the Slidell attorneys, combined.
So why does it take 10 times as much and 3 times the lawyers for Shreveport to issue the same basic type of debt? For starters, none of the lawyers hired by the City of Shreveport were selected in a competitive process; thus, no transparency or accountability. As we know, corruption thrives in the absence of such light.
Next, the City doesn’t even pretend to hold themselves or their attorneys accountable. When asked to “indicate how the total cost was calculated” for Alex Washington, the City answered: Washington and Wells’ fee “will not exceed the [Attorney General] max.” (link below) Thus, regardless of the amount of legal work that Mr. Washington actually performs (we believe it’s very little, if any), the “leaders” at City Hall will pay him the maximum they can pull off under State law. In fact, none of the public documents and emails we have discovered suggest any actual work done by Washington or his firm.
I’m sure the corruption apologists reading this far are already digging to find comparisons to attempt to explain that this type of wrong and wasteful patronage may exist in other municipalities – as if abuse of taxpayers somewhere else justifies continuing corruption here amongst the chosen few. The fact remains that the Louisiana Bond Commission analysis points to the fact that the leaders of the City of Slidell were able to facilitate the same basic financial instrument at 1/10thof the rate. Shreveport’s City Hall, via its non-competive bid process and lack of transparency, will continue to abuse taxpayers until voters decide they’ve had enough and perform their civic duties at the polls. While Mayor Tyler and the entire City Council threaten to cut basic services if the April 28 property tax millages fail, they are silently and intentionally ignoring wasteful spending, especially as it pertains to these bonds and the huge payoffs of political patronage.
My thanks goes out to those in the legal community who offered help in finding much of these documents.