Telling the Good Guys from the Bad Guys

So now the truth is out: Mark Smith, former director of the film office for Louisiana, is a crook. (See the FBI Bill of Information here) And, when he walked into the offices of the Louisiana Music Commission (LMC) on May 18, 2005 to fire me, he was actively stealing money from the citizens of Louisiana. Smith was on a roll then, working with Scott Aiges and others to take over the LMC. He was in the middle of successfully passing legislation creating music tax credits (and letting Aiges get the glory) mirrored after the film credits he was actively scamming.

So, would he have pulled the same scam with music that he was doing with film? And what cast of characters might he have tapped to do his skim? We’ll probably never know. One, because to date not one single entity has taken advantage of the music credits; and, two, his scheme got interrupted when Bernie Cyrus got wind of it and told the secretary of the then-newly appointed head of economic development, Mike Olivier, whose signature was needed to complete the scam. Mark resigned from state service once word began to circulate in the halls of economic development. He moved on to a private sector job in the film business where he could lobby for the tax breaks and perhaps get paid legally.

The overall result for music in this tawdry scheme was the demise and purging of the LMC (See R.I.P. LMC). And, to this day the agency has not recovered enough to accomplish a damned thing.

As Louisiana reels from yet another public official on the take, further sullying our reputation, know this: Mark Smith is not from Louisiana, he’s from the Northeast. But make no mistake, Louisiana will once again be smeared.

I can almost smell the corruption and cynicism when people have all too often said to me (regarding Bernie’s whistleblower suit) “Why did Bernie do that? He’s going to hurt our film industry.” And I know that the folks saying this are more concerned with the bottom line than with honesty and stopping crime.

Let me say this, unequivocally and with all the passion and rage I can muster: CORRUPT POLITICIANS MUST BE STOPPED. I don’t want to live in a state where people turn a blind eye to political corruption. I don’t want to live in a state where people accept inferior government. And I wish my “friends” and colleagues would treat political housecleaning as being as necessary as wiping your ass. It’s ain’t pretty; but, if you don’t do it…well, misery is sure to follow.

So, now, Jan Ramsey, Scott Aiges, Lynn Ourso, Maggie Warwick, Johnny Pallazzotto, and whoever else out there plotted, schemed and stabbed us in the back for years….what have you got to say now?

I bet not much. And that’s too bad, because it represents business as usual and the same old same old.

I didn’t stand for it then. And I won’t stand for it now. We deserve better.


9 responses

  1. It’s pretty deep there in LA, corruption is a way of life check out my post on …Orleans Parish District Attorney Eddie Jordan hates white people!

  2. Ed, corruption is a way of life, period. Doesn’t matter if it’s here, there, in Washington DC or Russia. We have no corner on the market. And we aren’t more likely to be corrupt than Texas or California. It’s just that we’ve had colorful characters like Long and Edwards and that Louisiana IS different in so many ways than the rest of the country. In this particular case, the main characters aren’t from Louisiana. But, as you’ve proven, the perception of Louisiana as somehow more corrupt than anywhere else will be reinforced thanks to Smith, et al. The painful result being too many folks thinking we’re bad down here and don’t deserve the still much-needed help in rebuilding after the failures of the federally engineered levee system flooded us AFTER Katrina (whose main force missed us by 20 miles). Thanks for checking out my blog.

  3. I don’t think it is anymore corrupt than anywhere else. However in a time when they need all of us outside of LA to be looking at them with a tearful eye to help them rebuild what was destroyed, this kind of publicity will not help. They need a marketing company to come in and get them the attention they need. They need to not sit on the “George Bush hates black people” comment as one of the most lasting memories in regards to Katrina. They needed to jump on Kanye and publicly kick his idea into the sewage strewn waters that flooded the streets, then take Nagin’s “Chocolate City” comments and go back in time and unelect him. Because when “we” see this blunder in politics we wonder what the hell New Orleans is thinking. I was living in Florida when Katrina happened and all of our hearts went out to all of you and we all watched knowing it could have been us. I hope you recover because NO is one of my most favorite places on earth. Check out my blog… I need some comments!

  4. For what it’s worth, I’ve met Bernie a few times, he works with a friend of mine Julie at the DA in Tammany, and I think he’s a great guy. When I heard Bernie got Mark Smith busted, I was damn proud for him, and damn proud to know anyone who will not only talk about, but step up to the plate and actually do something regarding our political corruption.

    Everyone seems so negative and blasphemous about all the recent political scandals, but I think it could be evidence our intollerance is working. 😉 Then again….who knows.

    And btw, have you ever thought of relaunching your website?
    Might be a good time.

    Nice Blog.

  5. Hi Angel:

    Thanks for stopping by and for your thoughts. Not sure if I’m in a position to re-launch the LMC website, though I have all the pages. The boneheads at LED lost the URL and the company that owns it won’t say how much they want, not that I have the $. FYI, Bernie is now on the radio on WGSO 990AM on the Northshore M-F from 1-6pm. He’s having a ball being back on the air. And now, lots of folks who questioned his integrity are having to eat their words. I found a lot of the folks we dealt with, many of whom are now in trouble for corruption, were prejudiced against Bernie for being the colorful, impulsive, crazy Yat that he is. It was downright snobbery and I refer to it in my latest post.

    Thanks again and take care.


  6. Hi Steve:

    In response to Gruberman’s take on corruption…I wholeheartedly agree with you. Haven’t we been discussing this for years?–the tendency to extrapolate Louisiana’s colorful Otherness (read: Other Than The Rest of These United States)to our colorful corruption. They can be, and are much of the time, mutually exclusive. Hence, Californians in the business of corruption just aren’t as interesting–as corrupt, mind you, just not as *historically* corrupt. Thanks for another fine entry. I’d be pleased as (very strong) punch to see the LMC up and running again….WB

  7. Hey Buddy, how was America formed-look it up? Your are pretty bias, and probably spent hours writing this fourth grade like novel on your obsession with Mark Smith. How about you run for office, how about you get off your ass, how about you stop being that guy who complains like a little helpless country boy. You are ignorant in that you can’t put you feet in another mans shoes. Many of us would have the same, but since we have not we love to mock the creatures who have. So, think before you speak, and get some back bone man. The mob runs facets of this world, there are corrupt cops, this fair American government that you love so much- how do you think the drugs get in.? Every aspect of this nation is corrupt, and the evil are the ones who turn in the normal corrupt Americans. We are jus that way, we love to say what we would have done in another mans situation.

  8. Let’s see…the Americas were “formed” by Europeans who slaughtered millions of natives, imported and murdered millions of Africans; and, in general, took the land as they spread across the Western Hemisphere. By your logic, I guess we should all look back upon those founding “principles” as reason enough to justify theft at all levels. Thus, Mark Smith and his accomplices’ theft is actually part of a continuum of patriotic, manifest destiny duty. Wow. I never realized how it was all connected. Thanks for opening my eyes to your cynical, destructive but obviously dominating philosophy. I really must try walking in the shoes of “normal corrupt” thieves, apparently it will help me understand you. I’ll check my schedule…

  9. WOW you are smart. Re-read your comment, then mine. You might have to do it twice, and think about how off you are.

    But on a more positive note: I found this blog that i think is creative, and makes me question alot in life. check it out.

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