Testimony: donated devices sold to LCG for $22,000

by Leslie Turk

Lafayette CAO Dee Stanley testified in a federal bribery trial in New Orleans Monday that LCG paid more than 22 grand for four wireless radio devices. Testimony from an official with a California company confirmed that they were among 50 he donated to New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Testifying in the federal bribery trial of former New Orleans tech vendor Mark St. Pierre, Lafayette Consolidated Government Chief Administrative Officer Dee Stanley said that four wireless routers were purchased by LCG in 2005 from St. Pierre's firm, NetMethods, for more than $22,000. At the time, Lafayette city officials had no idea the devices had been donated, but serial numbers on them now reveal that they were among 50 donated to New Orleans by Tropos Networks of California in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, The Times-Picayune reported.

These wireless nodes, or routers, that transmit data were purchased under a state of Louisiana contract that set the price at that time. The price was neither set nor negotiated by LCG.

When the equipment was donated to help after the storm, another of St. Pierre's firms, Imagine Software, was a subcontractor in the New Orleans technology office. Read more from the T-P here.

LCG's involvement with St. Pierre led the city to fire Chief Technology Officer Keith Thibodeaux in October of last year after U.S. Attorney Jim Letten filed a motion alleging St. Pierre paid kickbacks to Thibodeaux in exchange for work. It was revealed at that time that St. Pierre had hired Thibodeaux's wife, Celeste, in 2005 and paid her $80 an hour to work on his contract with the city of New Orleans. St. Pierre billed New Orleans about $100,000 for Celeste Thibodeaux's work. About the time Celeste was hired, NetMethods won a $45,000 consulting contract with LCG, followed by another $141,000 contract for crime cameras.

Neither Thibodeaux nor his wife were ever charged in the alleged kickback scheme.

Now in its second week, the high-profile public corruption trial took a shocking turn Monday, the T-P noted, when St. Pierre's gofer, Jimmy Goodson, testified that his boss asked him to lavish public officials with booze, vacations, illegal campaign donations and hookers, among which was:

Entertainment and sex on a yacht, and later in a Warehouse District condo, for former New Orleans technology chief Greg Meffert, who testified last week.
Maintenance and repairs to Meffert's Park Island home.
Maintenance to former Mayor Ray Nagin's property, also on Park Island.
Illegal contributions to help Nagin's 2006 re-election campaign and the 2004 Jefferson Parish School Board campaign of Ray St. Pierre, Mark St. Pierre's father and the pair's high school football coach.
A Napa Valley vacation and hotel rooms in New Orleans for Baton Rouge technology chief Don Evans.

Read more in today's T-P here and here.