Date: September 26, 2011
Source: News Room
The saga surrounding a closed New Orleans landfill and accusations of political chicanery unfolds as the owner of that landfill is suing a rival company for employing "dirty tricks," bribing public officials and abusing the political process to shut down competition. According to an Associated Press article, Waste Management of Louisiana has filed a lawsuit claiming that River Birch Inc. and its owners engaged in "unfair competition and outright corruption" to thwart its rivals for debris disposal work after Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005. Waste Management claims that it had to close its eastern New Orleans Chef Menteur Landfill after River Birch engaged in "improper influence" over the landfill approval and permitting process. The lawsuit says River Birch financed "sham lawsuits" and financed a "wide-ranging public opposition campaign" against its landfill. The suit also claims River Birch bribed Henry Mouton, a former Louisiana wildlife official who pleaded guilty in June for accepting more than $463,000 for his work in trying to keep Waste Management's landfill closed. Separately, Waste Management's suit says that River Birch used its influence to rig a $160 million disposal contract with nearby Jefferson Parish. It calls Aaron Broussard, who resigned as parish president last January, a "co-conspirator" in the alleged bid-rigging plot. Waste Management's lawsuit seeks at least $50 million in compensatory damages plus unspecified punitive damages and attorneys' fees and costs.