Date: June 1, 2011
Source: News Room
A former Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries commissioner, Henry Mouton, recently pleaded guilty in federal court to a conspiracy charge for accepting $267,940 in payoffs from the owners of a private landfill company to lobby against a competing landfill. Mouton was indicted Feb. 25 on eight counts of conspiracy, accepting payoffs and lying to federal agents. Prosecutors alleged that he used his official state position to lobby against the reopening of the Old Gentilly Landfill in eastern New Orleans without disclosing that he was accepting money from a rival landfill called River Birch. According to reports in the New Orleans Times-Picayune, River Birch has spent considerable sums in its lobbying efforts to reclose the Old Gentilly Landfill, opened after Hurricane Katrina, to close the Two Rivers Recycling Landfill in Catahoula Parish, and even to temporarily close for the next 25 years the nearby Jefferson Parish Landfill. Its efforts also include providing helicopter tours of the rival landfills for various local and environmental officials. The company's activities have attracted the attention of the FBI which raided its offices in September, prior to the indictment of Mouton. River Birch is owned by Fred Heebe and his stepfather, Jim Ward.
See also: "Former Louisiana Official Accused of Taking Bribes to Fight Landfill," (www.wasteinfo.com/news/wbj20110315C.htm).