- Elliott Stonecipher
Wednesday, June 5, 2019 … 2:45 P.M.
Trusted sources tell me the Caddo Parish Commission is set to give 48,000,000 taxpayer dollars to some highly suspect local pols and pals. They would have us believe they will then “develop” the Cross Bayou area for the community good. (Yeah … right.)
Dreadfully, Commissioner Lynn Cawthorne popped-up as Chairman of the committee which moves the $48,000,000 through procedural steps, to a vote … regardless that Cawthorne, who sits on five committees, is not a member of this one.
Cawthorne did this as he awaits federal trial for public corruption … for taking $538,000 from a parish program for summer feeding of school children. A whistle-blower acting against rampant corruption in the Caddo Parish public school system reported the heist. (SEE article link below for details.)
Too, Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins recently savaged the city’s casualty insurance coverage so others – attached to his campaign manager – could take it over. The bunch was so giddy with power that they forgot to wait until Perkins was actually mayor, signing key documents the day before his swearing-in.
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From its website, here is how the FBI officially assesses costs of public corruption:
“Public corruption, the FBI’s top criminal investigative priority, poses a fundamental threat to our national security and way of life. … It also takes a significant toll on the public’s pocketbooks by siphoning off tax dollars—it is estimated that public corruption costs the U.S. government and the public billions of dollars each year. The FBI is uniquely situated to combat corruption, with the skills and capabilities to run complex undercover operations and surveillance.”
In Caddo / Shreveport, public corruption has all but destroyed public confidence in the criminal justice system … and thus in local government.
The openness of corruption in local government is remarkable, greatly aided by the fact that too many unelected “leaders” here have long tolerated, if not enabled, public corruption.
(You will not hear the “c” word uttered by them, much less hear corruption discussed.)
The 1970s chapter in Shreveport / Caddo history is mainly about our deeply embedded public corruption, tied to Shreveport Public Safety Commissioner George D’Artois. The murder of ad man Jim Leslie was the period at the end of that sentence. (SEE article link below.)
Then, unelected local “leaders” tolerated corruption flowing from organized crime … yes, “The Mob” kind. Details of what was in it for those leaders is another subject, but suffice it to say their role continues.
Even when D’Artois, as Public Safety Commissioner, supposedly “ran” the police department, city government (including the mayor) and key pieces of the then-Caddo Parish Police Jury, he was not in charge.
In fact, D’Artois served a list of prominent unelected “leaders” here. He took care of all manner of personal things for them, and they in turn protected him … until Jim Leslie’s murder in 1976.
Within a year, D’Artois had died, and in 1978 the form of city government – to the one we have now – changed. In 1984, the Caddo Parish Police Jury likewise changed into the Caddo Parish Commission.
Yes, corruption did without D’Artois and organized crime … and unelected “leaders” called the shots as before.
The out-sized power and total absence of transparency with such “leaders” marks us. Their power includes, I can personally attest, the manipulation of local courts and news media, taxation, and which public officials are or are not criminally prosecuted.
Against this backdrop, we cannot logically expect public corruption investigations and prosecutions other than by a very short list of state and federal authorities … those who can say “no” to these “leaders,” and stand by it.
What I know of U.S. Attorney David Joseph and federal investigators recommends them highly … and makes them our community’s last best chance to even challenge our runaway corruption.
© 2019 Elliott Stonecipher … ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Elliott Stonecipher article, March 27, 2016, Caddo Parish School Board whistle-blower:
Elliott Stonecipher article, July 7, 2016: