Ex-N.O. tech vendor St. Pierre guilty on all counts

by Leslie Turk

New Orleans tech vendor Mark St. Pierre, once also awarded a no-bid LCG contract by then-Lafayette tech officer Keith Thibodeaux, was convicted by a federal jury early Thursday afternoon.
A federal jury of eight women and four men in New Orleans took only half a day to convict tech vendor Mark St. Pierre on all 53 charges of bribery, conspiracy and wire fraud. The Belle Chasse businessman was found guilty of paying $880,000 in bribes and kickbacks to New Orleans city officials in exchange for millions of dollars in city work.

Some of the most damning testimony came from former New Orleans Chief Technology Officer Greg Meffert, St. Pierre's longtime friend who helped him land the no-bid contracts. Meffert pleaded guilty in late 2010 and signed a statement acknowledging he steered about $4 million in tech services work to St. Pierre in exchange for the bribes and kickbacks. He likely faces eight years in prison.

The duo's kickback scheme allegedly stretched as far as Lafayette.

Meffert testified during the trial that St. Pierre struck a quid pro quo in 2005 with then-Lafayette Chief Information Officer Keith Thibodeaux, under which LCG would hire one of St. Pierre's companies, NetMethods, if Meffert would hire Thibodeaux's wife.

The Times-Picayune reported:
Meffert also testified about the arrangement he and St. Pierre made with the former technology chief in Lafayette. Meffert said he struck out on a proposal to Lafayette tech chief Keith Thibodeaux to get St. Pierre's NetMethods business in the south-central Louisiana city, but St. Pierre came up with something that worked.

"Keith texted me and said they had worked out a deal where Lafayette would hire NetMethods if I hired Keith's wife at the city (of New Orleans)," Meffert said. "I freaked out. I called him and said, That's great, but don't ever write something like that in a text. It's stupid.'"

City-Parish President Joey Durel terminated Thibodeaux in October 2010, shortly after federal investigators informed him of his wife's contract with St. Pierre's company in New Orleans. Neither Keith Thibodeaux nor his wife, Celeste, has been charged in the alleged kickback scheme.

The T-P reported Wednesday that if St. Pierre's maximum sentence were imposed on all charges consecutively, he would face up to 55 years in prison. But if the sentence is imposed concurrently, he will get about 10 years.

Read more breaking news on St. Pierre's conviction in the T-P here.