- Elliott Stonecipher
Friday, May 12, 2017 … 11:34 A.M.The Caddo Parish Commission is again flailing around in a red-hot spotlight. Now, and yet again, afire from that heat is the G.M. Plant / Elio Motors debacle.
Caddo Parish taxpayers are being treated to another wave of Commission hijinks, foolishness and awful governance, reminding honest folk just how inept and untrustworthy it and its administration are.
Any who doubt just how awful this Commission nastiness is should not.
For example, as many Commissioners feign ignorance of details of the deal and its top players, Numero Uno among those players just popped up – BIG – among wealthy donors backing the Commission’s (failed) property tax referendum on April 29th.
Here is how Shon Gables at KTBS-TV earlier identified that player, Stuart J. Lichter:
“Lichter has certainly filled his pockets. SEC records show Lichter is both director at Elio Motors and controls Capital Lending. Capital Lending was paid 5 million dollars when Elio sold equipment left behind when GM closed the plant. Lichter also converted over 8.5 million of loans and accrued interest into shares of Elio stock.”
Why, given what we now know about the Lichter / Elio roles in this deal, would Lichter put $5,000 into the Commission’s “Put Caddo First” PAC? What “relationship” at the Commission warrants that? Here are Campaign Finance Report details:
Addressing the mess more broadly, Sheriff Steve Prator this week confirmed he had done a sort-of investigation, but no prosecutor was interested. That, necessarily, refers to the Caddo Parish District Attorney and the U. S. Attorney.
Then, in the Fax-Net Update (available by subscription) Commissioner Matthew Linn waded in:
“The transaction was full of blatant lies, deceit, cover ups, intentional withholding of information when by-laws mandate their distribution, loss of friendships and trust.”
Linn, however, cannot be trusted for information, advice, or direction.
Not only is Linn a “CPERS” self-pay offender who has not figured out a way to give us our money back – $30,141.83, to be exact – he also voted “AYE” on the original Commission ordinance necessary for this horrendous deal to happen.
That Ordinance No. 5330 of 2013 was approved by Linn and ten (10) other Commissioners in attendance, thereby handing over to the Commission’s Industrial Development Board $7,500,000 of our money to purchase the G.M. Plant … for what became the Elio Motors deal.
Then there is the matter of Paul Elio’s trip to town this week and last. Put simply, someone summoned him to provide legal and political cover to all public officials who know they need it.
From the jump of his stay this week, taxpayers were slapped by a non-negotiable Elio edict: any meetings would happen only in private, and only after attending officials signed, in advance, a Non-Disclosure Agreement.
Elio, according to Victoria Shirley of KSLA-TV said:
“Unfortunately, most of the most compelling progress that we are making is not shareable publicly.”
Yeah … right … and Commissioners brought you down here to help us.
Ms. Gables reported that Commissioners Louis Johnson, Lyndon B. Johnson and John Atkins met privately with Elio, and agreed to sign a NDA to do so. Ms. Gables noted that other yet unidentified Commissioners will also meet with him.
In any place where governmental transparency and respect for we the people truly exists, Elio would have been told he need not come to Shreveport under his stated conditions.
In fact, Elio’s rotten edict warrants an all-hands-on-deck effort by (honest) Commissioners to bring in federal officials for a stem-to-stern criminal investigation.
Here, however, and especially with and by the Caddo Commission, honest folk cannot bet on it.
Based on my intensive research of the Commission between 2013 and early 2015, I believe it is very, very likely that a fair federal criminal investigation would easily find prosecutable public corruption in this deal, likely by some Commissioners and staff.
… to be continued …
© 2017 Elliott Stonecipher … ALL RIGHTS RESERVED