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William ‘Cold Cash’ Jefferson’s Family Values

A newsworthy “editorial” from, of all places, the New Orleans Times-Picayune:

Let’s hear it for Jefferson family values

Friday, June 06, 2008
James Gill

Congressman “Dollar” Bill Jefferson, D-New Orleans, must be one proud patriarch.

To judge from the federal indictments that continue to rain down, his kinfolk were filled with a desire to be just like him.

They could not, of course, hope to emulate the scale of his alleged scams and shakedowns, which, as befits a politician in such exalted office, played out across two continents.

But there were no flies on the local team either, according to the feds. While Dollar Bill awaits trial in Northern Virginia, the New Orleans feds have indicted Dollar Bill’s sister, New Orleans Assessor Betty Jefferson, his brother Mose and his niece Angela Coleman.

Year in, year out, those three pocketed huge amounts of public money supposedly appropriated to help the needy, according to the indictment. No doubt they now yearn for the days when Dollar Bill’s old sidekick Eddie Jordan was U.S. attorney.

When President Bush appointed Jim Letten to replace Jordan, the family might have been wise to draw in its horns or at least to make some show of charitable endeavor. But its organizations just kept raking in the dough without so much as putting out a sign or publishing a phone number. The city’s myriad dispossessed can have had no idea all that money was sloshing around for their supposed benefit.

Stealing public money, it turns out, is pretty straightforward, provided you have friends and relatives in Baton Rouge and Washington. And you certainly have them if your patriarch is Dollar Bill, who was a state senator until his election to Congress 18 years ago.

Jefferson family organizations were major beneficiaries of slush funds in the gift of individual state legislators, who included Dollar Bill’s protégée Renee Gill Pratt and his daughter Jalila. Between them they steered some $5 million to organizations controlled by Aunt Betty, Uncle Mose and Cousin Angela.

The purported New Orleans charities also proved quite adept at extracting money from the feds, and, although nobody knows what if any influences were brought to bear, it is a fair bet that Dollar Bill did not object.

If securing grants was more or less a breeze, stealing the money required no great ingenuity either. According to the feds, the family members would establish bank accounts with themselves as the only authorized signatories and divert the proceeds to their own accounts while submitting fraudulent reports to the state and federal governments.

Letten said at a press conference Wednesday that some of the government money may have actually been used for legitimate charitable purposes, but it cannot have amounted to much, given the astonishing greed that seems to be a Jefferson family curse.

Betty Jefferson and her daughter Coleman, for instance, were given control of $178,000 from the state in 2001/2002 “to train, counsel and focus on the broad problems of black males between the ages of 9 through 21.” By the time they, and brother Mose, had done skimming, only $1,971 remained in the kitty. The problems of black males no doubt remained as broad as ever.

By 2003/2004 it was the plight of pregnant teenagers that touched the hearts of the Jefferson family, which received $99,350 from the federal Department of Education to alleviate their plight. The Jeffersons stole more than $60,000 of that grant, according to the indictment.

There are so many examples of embezzlement under cover of good works that the indictment runs to 46 pages. The Jefferson family established the supposed non-profits that are the focus of the indictment in the early 1990s, and must have developed a sense of invulnerability, although this does not appear to have been a sophisticated conspiracy. The thefts were so brazen that they were bound to come to light once the feds moved in.

Betty Jefferson, Mose Jefferson and Angela Coleman made out checks to several unnamed relatives as conduits for the embezzled money, according to the indictment, although it is not clear whether those relatives were knowingly complicit. Meanwhile, Dollar Bill, according to the Virginia feds, stashed his illicit loot in shell corporations controlled by his wife and daughters, who have, however, not been indicted.

Still, as Dollar Bill surveys his extended family, he must be impressed with the spirit of emulation that has gripped at least some of them. The only member of his family currently in prison is his brother-in-law, the crooked state judge Alan Green, but you have to wonder how long that will last.

One suspects that Mr. Jefferson’s doings are not at all rare in Democrat machine run towns.

And, lest we forget, we will even have the chance to elect a hardworking machine politician and professional vote buyer President.

Isn’t that wonderful?

It should probably go without saying that the indicted Mr. Jefferson is a Democrat “superdelegate” long since pledged to Mr. Obama.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, June 6th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

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