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Prosecutors Meet-and-Greet
On her fourth day as the top prosecutor in New Orleans, Interim District Attorney Keva Landrum-Johnson last week met with local U.S. Attorney Jim Letten, FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Jim Bernazzani, Louisiana Supreme Court Justice Kitty Kimball, and businessman John Casbon, among others. Landrum-Johnson, who became acting DA on Oct. 31 after her old boss, Eddie Jordan Jr. , resigned, entertained offers of support for her troubled office as well as questions about her plans for its future " and her yet-unnamed choice for a 'No. 2," sources say, adding that no one at the gathering suggested where she might find $3.4 million to pay off the outstanding federal judgment that threatens to shut down her office. The debt helped drive the beleaguered Jordan from office and has consumed Landrum-Johnson's nascent administration, particularly after lawyers for the plaintiffs in that case seized the DA's bank accounts last Thursday. Still, Landrum-Johnson's meet-and-greet marked a symbolic departure from the bunker mentality that characterized Jordan's tenure. 'We're trying to establish a kinetic relationship with that office," says Letten, noting that he first talked to Landrum-Johnson shortly before Jordan's resignation announcement on Oct. 30. 'When I found out [Jordan's resignation] was in the offing, I reached out to her," Letten says. He adds that he offered the interim DA access to prosecutorial training programs and other federal resources, but not to his vaunted corps of prosecutors. 'At this juncture, I can't part with any prosecutors," says Letten, who has a number of corruption probes in motion. " Johnson

Georges: Too Early, But ...
Uptown businessman John Georges, who finished third in the recent gubernatorial primary while campaigning as an independent, says it's 'far too early" to be talking about the 2010 mayor's race " but he did send us a copy of a poll that he says he commissioned 'after reading your recent article!" The article he referenced is the 'Scuttlebutt" item last week about him expressing an interest in running for mayor. The curious thing about his claim that he had the poll done after reading our article is that the poll report plainly states that the survey was taken Nov. 1-5, which puts Georges' pollster in the field almost a week before our story appeared. 'Right now my interests are my family, my businesses and my philanthropy!" Georges exclaims in his email message. Despite that statement, Georges quickly adds, 'The poll is very revealing about my ability to get voters!" For a guy who says it's too early, Georges apparently doesn't mind spending money to see what the early morning line looks like. Among other things, the pollster asked whether voters have a 'favorable" versus 'unfavorable" opinion of Georges and several other political figures. Georges' overall favorable rating citywide was 39 percent, compared to 15 percent unfavorable. He fared better among black voters, with a favorable-to-unfavorable ratio of 40-8 percent; among whites, that ratio was closer: 39-22 percent. In a three-way trial heat with himself against District C Councilman James Carter (a probable candidate at this time, some say) and District E Councilwoman Cynthia Willard-Lewis (an unlikely candidate, according to our sources), Georges led with 44 percent, with 20 percent for Willard-Lewis and 11 percent for Carter. However, Georges got 24 percent of the black vote in that match-up, a highly unlikely result in an actual campaign for mayor against two well-known African-American opponents. Sources say the poll included other trial heats, but those were not included in the email Georges sent to Gambit Weekly. The survey was taken by pollster Verne Kennedy, who polled for Georges in the governor's race. " DuBos

Day of Reckoning
Former New Orleans City Councilman At-Large Oliver Thomas is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Sarah Vance at 10 a.m. on Nov. 21 " the day before Thanksgiving. Thomas' day of reckoning also falls four days after the Nov. 17 special runoff to fill his vacated council seat. He faces up to 10 years in prison for taking more than $19,000 in bribes and kickbacks from politically connected businessman Stanford 'Pampy" Barre in 2002. On Aug. 13, Thomas, then 50 and the senior member of the seven-member City Council, pleaded guilty to the bribery charge. He resigned his council seat hours later in a tearful apology. An African-American leader who was popular with blacks and whites alike, Thomas was widely considered the frontrunner for mayor in the 2010 elections. The New York Times called Thomas a 'bridge builder" and one of the city's 'untainted leaders," adding that his fall from grace added to a 'pervasive feeling that corruption infests public life here." Thomas vowed to cooperate with federal investigators in other ongoing corruption probes. " Johnson

No A.G. Debate
If you were hoping to see the runoff contenders for attorney general face off, you will be disappointed. Shreveport lawyer Royal Alexander, a Republican opposing Democrat Buddy Caldwell, has refused to participate in a Baton Rouge debate hosted by the Louisiana League of Women Voters. Alexander's team says a League forum in October turned into a 'shouting match" after Alexander accused Caldwell of improperly handling a case as district attorney. According to spokespersons for both campaigns, that was the only scheduled debate on the calendar prior to the Nov. 17 runoff. Another forum during the runoff was held in New Orleans and was attended by Caldwell, but Alexander sent a staffer in his place. Meanwhile, Alexander is sporting endorsements from several north Louisiana newspapers, and Caldwell spent last week showing off pictures of himself amid Louisiana's most powerful district attorneys " including Paul Connick of Jefferson Parish, Walter Reed of St. Tammany Parish, and Doug Moreau of Baton Rouge. Many of the DAs, like Moreau and Jerry Jones of Ouachita and Morehouse parishes, also backed Gov.-elect Bobby Jindal, a Republican, in the primary. Jones was tapped last week to chair Jindal's Crime and Public Safety Transition Advisory Council. It's not surprising that the state's top DAs chose to back one of their own. " Alford

Mentor, Protégé
Under Federal Scrutiny Unlike state Sen. Derrick Shepherd, D-Marrero, Orleans Parish School Board member and state House candidate Una Anderson says the FBI agents that interviewed her and her husband did not grill her about other elected officials or their political endorsements. Shepherd, the subject of an FBI corruption probe, triggered a political tempest last month when he told reporters that FBI agents who interviewed him asked him about Mayor Ray Nagin, Congressman Bill Jefferson, state Rep. Karen Carter, D-New Orleans, and political endorsements. Anderson, who called a press conference Nov. 2 to blast Times-Picayune allegations she is the subject of a federal corruption probe, says the feds quizzed her and her husband, banker David Anderson, on three separate occasions. She says investigators asked her about school board contracts, not about her political ties, except for a perfunctory question about disgraced former City Councilman At-large Oliver Thomas. 'They asked me if I knew Oliver and I said yes," says Anderson. 'That was really the extent of the question about Oliver." Anderson worked as a legislative aide to Thomas from 1991 to 1999. A white Harvard graduate, Anderson received an enviable education in black politics from Thomas, a rising star in the BOLD political organization who then represented Central City and other neighborhoods as the District B councilman. Anderson left City Hall when she was appointed to fill an unexpired term for the Orleans Parish School Board District 6 seat, beginning Oct. 1, 1999. Anderson then won election to the seat, which she has held since. She says she became immersed in school board issues, but that she and Thomas exchanged the occasional cell phone call. On Aug. 13, Thomas abruptly resigned from the council after admitting he took bribes. Anderson, who was building a campaign for the House District 95 seat, told us recently she did not contact Thomas to express her condolences. 'It's just been hectic," she said of the campaign. 'Personally, I feel for his situation. I think he made a terrible mistake. I think he admitted his mistake and resigning was the most honorable thing to do." Anderson went on to land a Nov. 17 runoff berth. Thomas' name initially remained on Anderson's campaign Web site after his guilty plea, but it was has since been deleted. " Johnson

Kennedy Wading In
Freshly minted Republican state Treasurer John Kennedy is getting used to his new ideological waters. He was greeted warmly at a recent GOP State Central Committee meeting, telling his new cohorts that the Democratic Party was never as 'nice." He has also jumped into the political fray, endorsing a BESE candidate alongside U.S. Sen. David Vitter of Metairie. Ruth Ulrich, candidate in District 5, also garnered support from the state party and former opponent Walter Gatlin. 'As your state treasurer, I have always fought for taxpayers so that we can invest in the important things, like our schools," Kennedy says. 'Ruth Ulrich is a powerful advocate for positive change and will provide a new voice for education in Louisiana." Gov.-elect Bobby Jindal may be staying out of the down-ballot races, but in Kennedy the GOP appears to have found another leader willing to tout his popularity. " Alford

Not All Press is Good
State Treasurer John Kennedy is a good guy to have on the bench when the state GOP's top tier is being savaged in Hustler magazine. In an interview and related nude photo spread, former New Orleans prostitute Wendy Yow Ellis reveals only minor details about her alleged fling with U.S. Sen. David Vitter. Even before this new chapter in the ongoing saga hit the public domain, and it promises to remain there for quite a while, Vitter was subpoenaed to testify later this month in a pre-trial hearing in the federal racketeering case against the so-called D.C. Madam Deborah Jeane Palfrey. The subpoena and the Hustler spread will keep Vitter's name in the headlines during the holiday season. Meanwhile, the senator's fundraising pace has slowed. In fact, federal campaign finance reports show that Vitter raised less than $17,500 between July 1 and Sept. 30 " his lowest fundraising total since going to Washington. Louisiana's senior senator, meanwhile, continues to rake in the cash despite being a top target of the GOP. Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Democrat, finished the most recent quarter with nearly $3.4 million in her campaign kitty. " Alford


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