Sunday, April 16, 2006
In Louisiana, private property can be taken and transferred to another owner. Louisiana calls this Expropriation, which means to take without asking .
In 2001, Self-serving Legislation, House Bill 1136 by Rep. Francis C. Thompson allowed sale of land taken by Eminent Domain to Third Party without first offering to sell back to original owner. Thompson is currently selling lakefront lots for personal gain.
Thompson’s buddy, Sen. Ben Nevers creator of the Washington Parish Reservoir is proposing the taking of Cemeteries, Churches, and Ancestral homes.
Sen. Nevers also seems to be a two faced supporter of Senate Bill 1, Legislation preventing property from being taken for Economic Development, and has proposed legislation to the contrary.
Sen. Nevers is proposing Senate Bill 639 creating the Washington Parish Economic Development Commission with Expropriation Powers to take and sell property taken by his appointed members.
The broad taxing authority granted in this Legislation is essentially "taxation without representation" with an appointed commission able to obtain Millions in Bond Money.
Letter to the Local and Municipal Affairs Committee
Dear Senator Fields:
As a citizen of Washington Parish, I wish to let all of you know that I and many others in my parish oppose SB 639 in its current form. The abuse of Eminent Domain is alive and well in Washington Parish in regards to the Washington Parish reservoir, and the 13 other reservoir districts with expropriation powers in our state.
To create an Economic Development District with expropriation powers will only perpetuate the problem of the abuse that currently exists. I believe that economic development can occur without trampling on the property rights of our citizens.
The citizens of Washington Parish are not opposed to economic development and growth; however, we are opposed to the use of Eminent Domain for economic development, and unnecessary purposes.
Regretfully, there are those who abuse the Eminent Domain law. SB 639 in its current form will give unlimited expropriation powers to an appointed commission. SB 639 is in direct conflict with SB 1 that is currently before a committee.
The property owners of Washington Parish might as well consider themselves the same as citizens of Cuba, China or some other communist country where you can have use of your property until someone else wants to take it from you.
I promise you that the majority of the citizens of Washington Parish do not know that this bill gives expropriation powers to a commission. I'm sure Senator Nevers posted a legal notice; however, he didn't mention the use of Eminent Domain in the notice.
Please take the time to read this dangerous bill, and put yourselves in the shoes of those who it will affect. http://www.legis.state.la.us/billdata/streamdocument.asp?did=377506
I ask that you amend SB 639 by removing the expropriation powers, and to give the voters of Washington Parish the opportunity to select their own commissioners by ballot. I believe this is a reasonable request.
Jalon Pittman Beech
Sunday, April 02, 2006
By Christopher Tidmore
As she opened the regular legislative session, Governor Blanco went off the official text--released to the press and originally published here on Bayoubuzz.com.
When discussing the state purchase of land in North Louisiana, Blanco added, "Before you jump to a conclusion, let me assure you Francis Thompson does not own the land."
That line, as columnist Charlie Davis has observed, "brought down the house". It did so with good reason. Rep. Francis Thompson has created a multimillion dollar business regarding state purchases of rural land--and converting that land into artificial lakes. From profiting on property sales on land that the State Representative owns and converting into new lakes to collecting large consulting fees for the construction of the artificial reservoirs, his family has financially benefited off this state program.
For example as the Monroe News Star pointed out, Rep. Thompson's brother Michael receives a consulting fee of $100,000 per year per lake for the construction of the artificial reservoirs in rural areas--paid for by the state.
According to news sources, Mike Thompson is the Reservoir governmental consultant for Allen, Washington, Morehouse, Caldwell, and LaSalle parishes, and proposed Reservoir projects in western Ouachita, Jackson, and Lincoln parishes. Thanks mainly to the intervention of his legislator brother, the state approved $41,975,000 approved for 12 new reservoirs in 2004.
Moreover, Francis Thompson seems to be helping his brother and close political ally Terry Denmon of Denmon Engineering by creating Reservoirs in Richland, Ouachita, Allen, Caldwell, Morehouse, promoting them in Washington, and other Parishes.
Currently, there are thirty lakes, fourteen of them artificial, supported in the legislature by Thompson, as economic development projects. They certainly have helped the Thompson family.
As the News Star and talkshow host Moon Griffon have pointed out, the most famous Poverty Point Reservoir, created in 1992 by Rep. Francis Thompson, was built by political ally Terry Denmon with Michael Thompson as project Director, and now as the well paid director of the Golf Course. The keyed gate entry began by Legislator Developers as private enterprise has cost taxpayers $40 Million approved for 2005.
An Audit in 2002, reported by the newspaper, shows Taxpayers paid $1.2 million to develop the island lots at Poverty Point Reservoir sold for $621,200 dollars to ThompsonÂ´s neighbor. Audit also shows Taxpayers paid $2.2 Million for keyed gate entry private road to the lots, and $.3 million for an office protection system or burglar alarm. Legislator Developer Thompson's CYPRESS COVE AT POVERTY POINT-LLC, and his next-door neighbor are realizing personal gain selling Lakefront lots.
(Interestingly, Rep. Thompson passed House Bill 1136 in 2001 allowing sale of land taken by Eminent Domain to Third Party without first offering to sell back to original owner, a matter in part under debate in this current session.)
Desire to protect his profitable side venture may have led Thompson to a quid pro quo with Francis Heitmeier over the maneuvers to kill the unified Levee Board, in fact.
In the closing days of the Special Session, Senator Francis Heitmeier attempted countless parliamentary procedures to amend, undermine, and even kill Senator Walter Boasso's unified regional levee board. While a two board solution did emerge, thanks in large part to the West Bank Democrat, attempts to undermine the required appointment of qualified engineers and hydrologists to the panels was not as successful.
Heitmeier's hostility to the single levee board surprised few in the media. Members of the Senator's own family received multi-million dollar contracts from the Orleans Levee District, not to mention the largess enjoyed Heitmeier's friends and political allies.
Less well observed was the alliance of Heitmeier's friend in the House, Rep. Francis Thompson, in every corresponding parliamentary maneuver to kill the single board. The North Louisiana legislator had seemingly little to gain from the change in Levee construction oversight.
However, Thompson was almost as vigilant as Heitmeier at times. Insiders, who asked not to be named, tell Bayoubuzz.com that the reason was simple. They say the North Louisianan owed the West Bank Orleanian for the aid in building artificial lakes across rural Louisiana
aid in building artificial lakes across rural Louisiana