14 January 2006

cleco is being shafted

heres the latest in the city of alexandria v cleco lawsuits. there are so many and we have blogged about this before to try and recap and someone correct us if we are wrong, cleco has been accused of cheating alexandria "ratepayers" by over charging alexandria for utilities. or something like that. it all started when some guys that worked for cleco sam sansing and david pugh squealed to the city that cleco was frauding it.

as you can imagine, cleco is suing these two in state court and there is controversy there because the judge in that suit judge george metoyer well his wife works for one of the litigants - the city of alexandria. see new judge wastes no time joining the old boy network.

so then it turns out that there was some spies on the citys side because mayor randolph fired his chief of staff and two other high level city "executives" for giving cleco a heads up about what they were discussing in "secret" city council meetings. they turn around and sue and randolph hires charlie weems to defend the suit. mr weems promptly moves the suit to his law partners court who just happens to be a federal judge. how convenient.

anyway, our interest lies as you can tell in all the lawyers involved. you see judge dee drell comes from the gold weems law firm and so does the other federal judge u s district judge f a "pappy" little, jr. "the gold firm" is located here at alexandria, la., charlie weems comes from the gold firm as well. in fact the secretary of state used to list the incorporators of the gold weems law firm as c.s. weems, III and f.a. little, jr.

of course the right thing to do under say oh canon 2 of the federal canons of judicial conduct would be for judge drell as well as judge little to recuse themselves from any suit that their former or current law partner(s) would bring on before em. didnt we just go over this in the alito hearings?

naturally the local press never reports any of this. a few years ago judge little ruled on a lawsuit concerning bayou robert. judge little also lives on bayou robert despite that he ruled anyway. the town talk never mentioned the judge lived on the very property he was ruling on despite publishing several articles about the dispute itself; when it was pointed out to them their reply was "he has to live somewhere"

another one of the lawyers the one representing one of the guys mayor randolph fired is jock scott who is the son of the late federal u s senior judge nauman s scott.

so what we have is a cabal of lawyers who happen to control the federal throne here, poised, to take over a major louisiana utility - cleco. uh huh they are republicans too...

City, Cleco agree to audit to help resolve dispute
By Billy Gunn bgunn@thetowntalk.com
(318) 487-6378

Alexandria and Cleco Corp. have agreed to an audit overseen by a U.S. District Court judge to resolve the legal and public argument over whether the utility owes the city's electricity users money.

City Council members Friday unanimously voted to adopt guidelines that will be submitted to Judge Dee Drell, who is presiding over the city's lawsuit against Cleco filed this past summer.
"The audit process provides an opportunity for a neutral and experienced auditor to identify the specific claims that the city has against Cleco," City Attorney Kelvin Sanders said at a special council meeting Friday.
"The audit and resulting mediation has a good chance of expediting a resolution of the city's claims with minimal cost and should improve the city's ability to assess the value of its claims," Sanders said.

In the city's lawsuit, Alexandria makes numerous allegations against the utility, including alleging fraud over years of electricity transactions.
An audit "is the right thing to do," Mayor Ned Randolph said.
Council President Charles F. Smith Jr. said, "We want the people of this town to know we're not hiding anything."

The city suit against Cleco is one of three now in the courts involving the utility, Alexandria and a bevy of other players. The longest-running lawsuit, filed by Cleco against two former employees, is ongoing.

Attorneys for the former employees, Sam Sansing and David Pugh, who brought alleged Cleco wrongdoings to city officials' attention in the spring of 2004, said they will proceed fighting for their own audit in state court.

The most recent case, filed in September, was brought against the city after Randolph got rid of three longtime city executives, Harold Chambers, Sonny Craig and Darrell Williamson.

Originally published January 14, 2006

heres a screen grab of judge drell's resume from off the department of justice website:
drell resume added 8:19pm cdt sunday 02 april 2006
related posts:
  • new judge wastes no time joining the old boy network
  • who's protecting us from chuck plattsmier and the la attorney disciplinary board?
  • middleton victims website chronicles ladb inaction
  • fools gold
  • judge f a little jr retires
  • ogden middleton/gold weems victims press release for immediate release
  • ====