Monday, September 19

Don't tempt us, Mr. Huey

Because Pundita earlier passed along two reports (NBC and NEWSWEEK) about the Orleans Levee Board's investigation of a New Orleans radio show host, I thought it only fair to give the board's president a chance to present his side of the story:
"Breaking a long silence over a bizarre controversy, Orleans Levee District (OLD) President Jim Huey says that, contrary to news reports, he did not authorize a cloak-and-dagger investigation of controversial right-wing radio talk show host Robert Namer, a vocal critic of the levee board.

Huey also discounts new allegations by attorney Patrick Klotz, who says the board also conducted private investigations of three of his clients, all critics of OLD themselves. [...]
Those quotes from a September 11, 2001 Gambit Weekly exclusive interview. Understandably New Orleanians had other things on their mind that day, so Mr. Huey's convoluted defense of his actions, and the board's, seems to have flown under the radar all these years -- at least, until the wake of Katrina.

Huey goes on to explain that actually he approved a cloak-and-dagger investigation into how board documents were "leaving the levee district," which included spying on Namer, and that actually the investigation cost $15,000 not the widely reported figure of $45,000.
"It did get a little out of hand and a little bizarre," he says, referring to one video surveillance episode in which a pair of trousers was secretly photographed in the studio of Namer's radio station (an incident dubbed "trousercam" by board attorneys).
Namer's attorney, Robert Harvey, gets in the last word: what do the probes of levee board critics "have to do with flood control?"

But to this and all other criticism since he took over presidency of the board in 1996, Huey has a stock reply: "If I'm doing something wrong, hang me."

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