Jefferson Parish Sheriff Harry Lee, responding to our story last week on his long-running feud with state Sen. Ken Hollis of Metairie, called to offer a very different account of his one-on-one meeting last year with his political enemy.
Lee vows political revenge on Hollis because the senator blocked the sheriff's re-appointment to the Louisiana Drug Policy Board. But Hollis says he thought he and Lee ended a years-long battle last year at a meeting set up by sheriff's contracts officer P.J. Hahn, who also is a member of the East Jefferson Levee District.
The Hollis-Lee encounter took place at the sheriff's office, prior to the Oct. 10 election for president of the levee board. Hahn was a candidate for president of the five-member panel, whose members are appointed by the governor at the recommendation of state legislators. Lee last week recalled that he responded to a political overture from Hollis with indifference.
"Out of the clear blue sky, after all these years of estrangement, P.J. Hahn in his desire to be president of the East Jefferson Levee Board, asked me if I would have breakfast with Ken Hollis. In my typical Harry Lee fashion ... I told P.J. to get the f--k out of my office for even suggesting it."
But Hollis made the appointment with Lee's secretary anyway, Lee says. Hahn, who was not present at the meeting, needed one more vote to win the levee board presidency by a 3-2 margin -- and Hollis held sway over the board vote that would have cinched Hahn's election, Lee recalls.
Lee says it wasn't his business to get involved with that election, and adds that a close political ally was supporting the re-election of the incumbent levee board president Glenn Bergeron -- Hahn's opponent -- who prevailed.
Hollis, however, recalls that he and Lee both agreed to support Hahn should the levee board presidency become vacant. Hollis left the meeting believing he and the sheriff had "patched things up."
Lee, however, says he still has not forgiven the senator for blocking his appointment to the drug policy board. "I'll still say he's an asshole," Lee says.
Hollis has expressed "shock" at the sheriff's remarks.
Gambit Honored for Arts Contributions
Gambit Communications was recently honored at the 2001 Mayor's Arts Awards luncheon for two decades of commitment to the New Orleans arts scene. In bestowing the award, Arts Council President and CEO Shirley Trusty Corey, along with representatives of the office of Mayor Marc Morial, celebrated both Gambit's establishment of the Big Easy Entertainment Awards and its cutting-edge arts coverage throughout the past 20 years. Gambit owners Clancy and Margo DuBos were presented with an award crafted by the luncheon's featured artist, potter Mark Derby. Other 2001 honorees include the New Orleans Video Access Center, the Trinity Artist Series, Cherice Harrison-Nelson, Mignon Faget and Willa F. Slater.