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News with a Twist
03/11/13

Fred Heebe may be a free man, but he’s not an innocent one

Wow, what a bombshell.   The Feds announce they are no longer pursuing landfill owner Fred Heebe and his company River Birch.  The question now is: did the Feds stop the Heebe/River Birch investigation because no crime was committed, or because the Feds didn’t want to suffer any further embarrassment from The U.S. attorney’s office?

I’d have to go with the latter.

First, lets give Fred Heebe credit.   The landfill owner didn’t back down when the Feds were closing in.  Nope, he did the exact opposite.   Heebe went on the offensive.   He took the fight to the Feds and ultimately won.

Heebe goes free and Jim Letten loses his job.  But is Heebe innocent?   I doubt it.   Let’s not forget the $160 million dollar contract for Jefferson Parish’s trash that was voided.   Heebe promised huge savings to the parish but an independent audit revealed the opposite.  The parish would have lost tens of millions over the life of the Heebe/River Birch deal.  The parish wisely cancelled the contract.

Heebe won’t be fighting that decision.  And Heebe won’t be fighting the Feds anymore either.  He’s a free man.  Just not an innocent one.

U.S. Attorney Jim Letten confirms his top assistant, Jan Mann, improperly posted blog comments on the website Nola.com.

The comments are at the center of a lawsuit, filed by landfill owner Fred Heebe.

Heebe claims Mann used the handle “eweman” to post comments that were defamatory about Heebe and his family.

Heebe is at the center of a federal investigation.

He already filed a similar lawsuit against another federal prosecutor, Sal Perricone, who resigned his position.

Letten says Mann is now no longer in any supervisory positions in his office.

captureLandfill owner Fred Heebe is suing a top assistant of United States Attorney Jim Letten.

Heebe’s suit claims First Assistant U.S. Attorney Jan Maselli Mann blogged and made defamatory statements about Heebe using the handle “eweman”.

Heebe is at the center of a federal investigation.  Last spring, he made similar accusations against federal prosecutor Sal Perricone.

Soon after the accusations were made against him, Perricone retired from Letten’s office.

In Heebe’s latest suit, he claims the postings from “eweman” contain thematic and linguistic signposts that point unmistakably in the direction of Mann.

letten-400×225United States Attorney Jim Letten announced Friday afternoon that his office would recuse itself from the River Birch investigation.

The move follows the retirement of prosecutor Sal Perricone who admitted he used an assumed name to post blogs on a website regarding cases under investigation or prosecution Letten’s office.

River Birch co-owner Fred Heebe used his own investigators and accused Perricone of making the comments involving the investigation.

Letten says the FBI and IRS will continue to handle their parts of the investigation.

captureU.S. Attorney Jim Letten said one of his prosecutors used the name “Henry L. Mencken1951″ to post comments about River Birch landfill owner Fred Heebe and others.

At a press conference Thursday afternoon Letten said “Henry L. Mencken1951″ is federal prosecutor Sal Perricone.

Letten fielded questions about Perricone’s posts which are said to include President Barack Obama, Mose Jefferson and other well known figures.

Letten says Perricone has been recused from the River Birch Landfill case.

The investigation into Perricone started Monday when Heebe filed a petition in Civil District Court accusing him of being “Henry L. Mencken1951″.

Perricone is a former New Orleans Police Officer and F.B.I. special agent.

Letten says very high levels of the Department of Justice have been notified about Perricone’s behavior. He says an internal investigation is pending.

Perricone has not been disciplined.

Letten says no other members of the U.S. Attorney’s Office knew about Perricone’s posts until his confession.

Letten refused to speculate on what will happen to Perricone and says all of his prosecutors know they aren’t supposed to comment on ongoing cases.

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