I was trawling a couple of New Orleans blogs, checking out what’s happening down there, hoping to find some new David Vitter information that hasn’t yet hit the mainstream, when I came across this interesting tidbit from one of my favorites, Your Right Hand Thief, to wit:
Visit Adrastos for all the latest on St. Bernard Parish Councilman Joey DiFatta. First he was running for State Senate, then he withdrew from the race due to chest pains, and now the T-P informs us that DiFatta was doing the Larry Craig toe-tap in public rest rooms.
Joey DiFatta is a former member of the Republican State Central Committee, the governing arm of the state GOP. In his campaign web site he pledges to “defend our conservative values from extreme liberal groups”.
Uhuh. First, Vitter. Then Jefferson Parish Sheriff Harry Lee, honorary good old boy and Mafia hanger-on, bites it (he who posted armed deputies at the Gretna side of the Mississippi River Bridge to keep mostly African Americans New Orleanians from crossing to safety after the levees burst from Katrina). Now this.
Is this giving the predicted Jindal juggernaut pause to reflect? Or is this the prelude to some GOP housecleaning before Jindal sits in the governor’s chair? More after the jump.
The Times-Picayune gave a rundown of DiFatta’s past problems keeping from peeping:
Kenner (LA) police issued a misdemeanor summons to DiFatta in September 1996 in connection with a peeping Tom incident in a men’s bathroom at the former Mervyn’s department store at The Esplanade mall, according to a Kenner Police Department incident report obtained by The Times-Picayune.
The report states that DiFatta watched a man use the bathroom while peering through a hole in a bathroom stall. The man held DiFatta until police arrived, at which time he was issued the misdemeanor summons and ordered to appear in court.
Then in 2000, at a Dillard’s, DiFatta
[…] slid his foot into the deputy’s stall and tapped the deputy’s foot. In the report, Conley noted that such activity is common among men to indicate a willingness to participate in sex.
The deputy inside the stall, Detective Wayne Couvillion, responded by tapping his foot, and DiFatta reached under the partition and began to rub the deputy’s leg, the report states.
The detective asked DiFatta, “What do you want?” according to the report, and he replied, “I want to play with you.”
DiFatta also used a hand signal to indicate that he wanted to engage in sex and used language that indicated the same, according to the report. Conley, who is now the Kenner city attorney, confirmed the report’s authenticity Thursday.
Shades of the beleaguered Larry Craig, right? The T-P even includes the police reports for public perusal.
DiFatta pulled rank, too, just like Craig. He gave Detective Conley a card identifying himself as having a commission of captain in the St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Department. The officer did not follow through with his investigation, because some children had come inside to use the facilities. Had he done so, DiFatta would have surely faced obscenity and “crimes against nature” charges.
Conley cornered DiFatta outside the bathroom, though, and found that the man was calm and “well-versed” with the pre-arrest procedure (which means that he’s probably had this happen to him before). DiFatta apologized to Conley, saying that it would not occur again (at least not at that location) and indicated that he knew he had a problem that he had tried but failed to keep under control with counseling. Both the T-P and Y-R-H-T accounts do not say that DiFatta is married.
Somebody definitely wanted this guy out of the way. And it could have been one or both of these guys, if not Dems:
DiFatta’s abrupt departure from the race leaves two candidates — Reps. A.G. Crowe and Ken Odinet — fighting for the 1st District seat, which includes St. Bernard Parish and parts of St. Tammany, Plaquemines and Orleans parishes.
Odinet, who lives in Arabi, said Thursday that he was saddened to hear DiFatta has been ill. Crowe, a Pearl River resident, said he wishes DiFatta a speedy recovery.
On top of this new scandale du jour comes news about HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson, well-known for keeping returning residents out of New Orleans public housing, and planning to demolish same (in three months) at the behest of New Orleans real estate interests:
WASHINGTON (AP) — The FBI is examining the ties between Housing Secretary Alphonso Jackson and a friend who was paid $392,000 by Jackson’s department as a construction manager in New Orleans, three federal law enforcement officials said Thursday.
Jackson’s friend got the job after the HUD secretary asked a staff member to pass along his name to the Housing Authority of New Orleans, a spokesman for Jackson said in a statement.
At the time, the housing authority was in desperate need of a construction manager because there was a severe shortage of reputable local contractors after Hurricane Katrina, the spokesman for Jackson said.
The inquiry was first reported by The National Journal, which identified the contractor as William Hairston of Hilton Head Island in South Carolina. The magazine’s Web site said Hairston and Jackson are social friends and golfing buddies.
Three federal law enforcement officials confirmed that an investigation is underway. They spoke on condition of anonymity because of the preliminary nature of the inquiry.
Jackson issued a statement saying: “I intend to fully cooperate with any possible investigation and to clear my name.”
The White House said President Bush supports Jackson and that Jackson “expects that the investigation will clearly establish that he did nothing improper or unethical.”
Right, but we know that the circle of corruption starts with who you know, not what you can do well. And things are not going that well for those powers-that-be having to do with New Orleans and its bedroom communities. While it may not slow the Jindal ascendancy, or halt the tearing down of the housing projects, it may hasten some other shoes dropping.