When former State Representative and City Council President Renee Gill Pratt was found guilty for conspiring to loot Central City Charities this week, it marked the end of an era. Not so much the Gill Pratt era, but the era of Bill Jefferson and his Progressive Democrats.
Jefferson and his clan ruled New Orleans elections for decades. His political machine almost guaranteed who would be elected or reelected.
Then the trouble started for Jefferson and his family. First the ex-Congressman was found guilty of 11 bribery related charges. A few short months later, Bill’s older brother Mose Jefferson was convicted of bribery. Next up were sisters Brenda Foster and then, 4th district assessor Betty Jefferson. Those two, along with Jefferson’s niece Angela Coleman, were guilty of looting charities. And finally, brother Mose longtime girlfriend, Gill Pratt.
With his final appeal almost exhausted, Bill Jefferson, the patriarch of the crime family, should be in a federal jail cell before the year is out.
Let’s recap. Bill Jefferson-convicted felon. His brother Mose Jefferson- convicted felon. His 2 sisters, Brenda and Betty-convicted felons. His niece Angela Coleman-convicted felon. And finally his brother’s girlfriend, Gill Pratt-convicted felon.
That’s a lot of convicted felons!
Thank goodness for extremely effective U.S. Attn Jim Letton and his Asst U.S. attn’s Daniel Friel, Fred Harper, and Brian Marcel. They did the heavy lifting by putting away the major players in the Jefferson family criminal enterprise.
It’s the end of an era. The Bill Jefferson era. And that’s very good news for New Orleans.