The Pearl River Board of Aldermen, in a split vote, followed the town's Planning Commission recommendation to annex a 6-acre parcel of land off Louisiana 41 as R-1 Residential. However, the decision was not made quickly, nor quietly.Discussion began with Planning Commission Chairman Sam Phillips opposing his own commission's recommendation and ended with Mayor James Lavigne threatening to have the Pearl River Police Department escort members of the audience out of the building for a short stay behind bars.The parcel of land owned by Le Pauvre Garcon, which includes Toby Lowe, Ross Lagarde and Fred H. Goodson, had asked for the 6-acre parcel to be zoned B-2 Commercial, which is the same as the land along Louisiana 41.. . .Goodson and his partners did not shed any light on future business ventures involving the property except to say they were trying to compliment the community and were still marketing the property. A hardware store was mentioned, but Goodson indicated more commercial depth would be necessary for such a development.Pearl River resident Sparkman "Sparky" Long said, "We keep hearing (the development) won't be a truck stop or video poker but no one is saying what will be there."Long's comments were followed by loud discussion with multiple people calling out comments simultaneously, which prompted Lavigne to insist that the crowd cool down. "The next outburst and you will be going to the back," Lavigne said, pointing to the nearby jail area. "The police are here."
It will be remembered that in 1997 Mr. Goodson was convicted of one count of RICO, one count of RICO conspiracy, and two counts of mail fraud (in connection with the 1994 and 1995 Truck Stop Gaming, Ltd. gaming license renewal applications). The jury additionally convicted Goodson of five counts of money laundering and three counts of the use of interstate communications in aid of state bribery. His daughter, Maria, was found guilty of one count of mail fraud in connection with TSG, Ltd.'s 1995 license renewal application. His son Alex was named as involved in the coverup, but never indicted.
Such history explains "Sparky" Long's concerns about Mr. Goodson's current plans for his Pearl River land.
Why the coverup, Mr. Doug?
Just over the border in Mississippi, avowed anti-gay blogger Doug Handshoe has tried to explain away his past association with Fred H. Goodson, O'Aces Casino, and the Slidell truck stop as simply playing the role of a court-sanctioned accountant liquidating the assets of Truck Stop Gaming, Ltd. --in cooperation with the Department of Justice, no less. But, already, something didn't seem straightforward about Handshoe's representations. As seen in a previous post, his talk of appointment as Liquidating Agent in 1999 neatly glossed over his work as the Goodson's & Truck Stop Gaming's accountant long before then.
But there's more than that.
In comments on Slabbed, Handshoe makes certain representations, even referring to Real-Malice:
And again in further conversation with "On A Steed":
"A CPA was indicted which was why I was brought in.""I was retained to liquidate assets to satisfy forfeitures." "I was hired after all hell had broken loose . . . "
The only problem with Mr. Handshoe's story is the facts as reported by news media at the time.
Sources say Handshoe became corporate Treasurer of Slidell Motel, Inc. before the criminal indictments in 1996 and the court-ordered liquidation started in 1997. It was 1995 when Louisiana State Police shut down the video poker operation. Goodson was also in prison, still President of Slidell Motel while Handshoe was Treasurer. As noted, Handshoe was also accountant for Truck Stop Gaming, Ltd. before he was appointed Liquidating Agent. He was registered agent for another Goodson company, H.O.M. of Mississippi, also well before the criminal investigations started in 1995/96.
So why the seeming incapacity to be completely forthcoming in Mr. Handshoe's online explications? Why the whitewash and coverup? What does Mr. Doug mean when he says that he "gained a lifetime client" out of the Goodson criminal prosecution? What does he mean by "that bunch"?
On July 28, 1996, the Baton Rouge Advocate reported on the criminal indictments:
A federal grand jury in New Orleans on Friday indicted a former state senator, a Slidell businessman and his daughter and a New Orleans lawyer on charges of racketeering, conspiracy, bribery and other illegal activities.
Fred H. Goodson - A Slidell businessman and a principal in a number of businesses, including FHG Corp., SMFM Management Corp., Magnolia Investments Ltd., Slidell Union 76 Auto/Truck Plaza Inc., Slidell Motel Inc. and Tempico Inc.
. . .
On or about April 8, 1995, Fred Goodson was told by the accountant for Truck Stop Gaming Ltd. that, as a result of the failure to transfer ownership out of the Goodson children's name, there would be serious tax consequences.
On or about April 10, 1995, Fred Goodson and Cleveland were told by the accountant for Truck Stop Gaming Ltd. that, because of the failure to file periodic tax returns regarding the profits made during 1994 by Truck Stop Gaming Ltd, there would be substantial penalties owned to the Internal Revenue Service.
On or about April 13, 1995, Cleveland explained to Maria Goodson his plan for evading the payment of "a huge penalty" on the money earned by Truck Stop Gaming Ltd. in 1994.
On or about April 17, 1995, Cleveland and the Goodsons caused a false and fraudulent "legal bill" and a false and fraudulent "management services bill" to be prepared as part of an effort to eliminate the need to pay income taxes owed.
Reading what Doug Handshoe has to say, you might think that the corporation he was an officer for--Slidell Motel-- had nothing to do with the criminal investigation, prosecutions, convictions, and court-ordered forfeiture. But that doesn't seem to be the case either. On May 16, 1997, the Times-Picayune reported on the playing of FBI tapes of a wire-tapped Fred Goodson during the trial:
According to Goodson, state Rep. Raymond "La La" Lalonde was especially wary of the appearance of taking money from the truck stops. He said Lalonde would take checks from attorneys for other companies related to the truck stop owners in "small amounts" - $250, $350 and $400.
Goodson explained his own technique for getting campaign donations to legislators who didn't want checks directly from gambling interests. He said he attached his truck stop business card to checks drawn on a Slidell motel he owns.On July 21, 1997, the Advocate continued its coverage of the conviction of Mr. Handshoe's fellow corporate officer and client:
On August 27, 1997, the Times-Picayune reported that the corporation Handshoe was Treasurer for, Slidell Motel, was indeed part of the criminal scheme, and the federal court ordered it forfeit as well:Under federal racketeering laws, prosecutors are trying to seize $15.6 million in Goodson -related business interests, including a Slidell motel and truck stop that served as home for O'Aces.Another $1.3 million in profits from O'Aces is targeted under a money laundering seizure. Since O'Aces' true ownership was disguised under the names of Goodson's adult children, it was an illegal gambling operation and its proceeds are subject to seizure, prosecutors contend.
The next question, beyond why Mr. Doug is covering up his exact role in the Goodson criminal enterprise, is what was Mr. Handshoe doing forming a corporation with the Goodsons in Mississippi in 1997 at the same time as they were all liquidating millions of dollars of assets under court order in western Louisiana? Where did all that money go? What was that "happy ending"?
U.S. District Judge Sarah Vance, who presided over their lengthy trial, also refused to order a new trial for Bankston, father-daughter video poker truck stop owners Fred and Maria Goodson, and the Goodsons' longtime New Orleans attorney, Carl Cleveland.In addition, Vance ordered Fred Goodson , who once operated the now-defunct O'Aces video poker lounge in Slidell, and Cleveland to forfeit more than $3.7 million apiece in U.S. currency to the government. More than $3.1 million of that $3.7 million figure was O'Aces' net profits from July 1994 through August 1995.The judge also ordered Fred Goodson to forfeit his interests in O'Aces, Truck Stop Gaming Ltd., the Slidell Union 76 Auto/Truck Plaza and Slidell Motel. She ordered Cleveland to forfeit his interests in Truck Stop Gaming and O'Aces. Fred Goodson's children, Alex and Maria tried hard to get their money out of Truck Stop Gaming, petitioning the court and launching an appeal. Handshoe indeed went to St. Stanislaus High School with Alex, same graduating class in fact, and according to his own statement still acts as a Goodson family accountant.
When you need an accountant who knows all about criminal RICO, who ya gonna call?