At the end of every year we clean out the contents of two computers, discarding all those items compiled just in case we might have had occasion to fit them within some article. At the end of our yearly ritual we chanced upon the following, received in 250-page response to a records request in March:
It is part of a correspondence between Ascension’s newly-elected Parish Council chair, Teri Casso and one of Senator Bill Cassidy’s staffers. In keeping with Chairwoman Casso’s customary charcuterie (it sounds classier than “sausage making”), she was doing the bidding of Corbin Ladner, a developer and max campaign contributor in Casso’s last contested election along with his business partners. It seems Ladner was unhappy that the US Postal Service had designated community boxes in one of his developments rather than individual mail boxes in every front yard.
That is unremarkable since Casso isn’t the only Council errand boy/girl for some developer. Her council ally, Aaron Lawler could have been mistaken for Ross Bruce’s personal secretary during the Oak Grove Townhouses debacle.
As soon as he made the motion against hearing the appeal of the Planning Commission’s denial of that subdivision, the fix was obviously in. And the fix was in on sewer, even before Bernhard Capital Partners/Ascension Sewer was mentioned publicly. On January 22 Casso wrote Senator Cassidy’s State Office Director:
“Let’s visit next time you’re in the area. We have some exciting prospects for sewer. I may be able to have a real win on my watch.“
Having ascended to the Parish Council’s chair 19 days before (wholly due to Councilman Benny Johnson’s political ineptitude because the swing vote had swung his way in mid-December 2018), Casso was already counting chickens (and chicken doctors). Not satisfied with the millions pocketed selling acreage to Dantin Bruce Developers to build Jamestown Crossing…
is Casso worried about her legacy?
NOTE: It was Councilman Daniel “Doc” Satterlee who represented the swing vote for the chairmanship on January 3, 2019, just like he did in 2018.
We have monitored negotiations, for lack of a better word, with Bernhard Capital Partners closely and parsed every word, whether written in an agreement or spoken at a council meeting. Not once have we heard Teri Casso utter an intelligent syllable about the proposed agreement with Bernhard Capital Partners, pro or con. It was Casso who pulled the plug on the only attempt at meaningful negotiation, though.
She called a Special Meeting of the Council for December 16 to ramrod the deal through before year’s end. Delayed by a Temporary Restraining Order until Friday, December 20, the public furor cowed a council into submission (and two of them just did not show up) and the vote was to delay until January 23, 2020 when a new council with six new members will have been seated for 17 days. There is one piece of important business that will be considered two weeks earlier.
The new council will be sworn in on January 6 with its inaugural meeting scheduled three days later. If they vote to retain Casso in the chair on January 9 you will know that nothing has really changed with Ascension Parish’s “governing authority.”
NOTE: Lawler would be even worse.