mercredi 25 février 2015

More stories: Legal clown Doug Handshoe, felon Fred Goodson, and questions about cross-border companies

Slidell Motel, Inc. was a Louisiana company that formed an integral part of the "O'Aces Casino," subject of a federal criminal and State Police investigation in the 1990s. Assets of Slidell Motel and related companies like Truck Stop Gaming were ultimately ordered forfeit by a federal judge as being part of a criminal racketeering enterprise run by Fred Goodson. Blogger Doug Handshoe--who now holds himself out in court documents as a "journalist" who interjects himself into all manner of public controversies--has repeatedly asserted that association with corrupt politicians and alleged racketeering and conspiracy are a matter of great & legitimate public interest. His own background and first-hand knowledge of such activities certainly seems so apropos.

Douglas Handshoe, Treasurer of Slidell Motel,
part of O'Aces Casino

A reliable source has forwarded documents from the Louisiana Secretary of State, and Doug Handshoe officially became Treasurer of Slidell Motel, Inc. sometime between the 1998 and 1999 annual filings. In February, 1999, he was officially recorded as Treasurer alongside convicted felon Fred Goodson as President, who was at the time in federal prison. Lots of questions remaim . . . 

On September 23, 1997, accountant Doug Handshoe, Fred Goodson's son, Alex, and Demetrios Pappas incorporated Interstate Management Services, Inc. across the border in Mississippi. According to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, the Government did not indict Alex Goodson, but had subsequently named him an unindicted co-conspirator. Handshoe's friend Alex was also an intervenor in the forfeiture proceedings.

At the same time, across the border in Louisiana, Handshoe was acting as the accountant for Truck Stop Gaming, another Goodson company ordered forfeit by the federal criminal court, and as part of the related bankruptcy proceeding. Goodson was convicted on June 27 and sentenced on October 15 of that year, so this was a period when Goodson was already found guilty but free pending sentencing for one count of RICO, one count of RICO conspiracy, two counts of mail fraud, five counts of money laundering and three counts of the use of interstate communications in aid of state bribery. His daughter and Alex's sister, Maria, was found guilty of one count of mail fraud in connection with Truck Stop Gaming, Ltd.'s 1995 license renewal application.

Slidell Motel had been formed in 1988 by Fred Goodson, Panagiottis Hirris, and Demetrios Pappas, all of Sidell, Louisiana. Goodson's wife Martha joined that trio as a shareholder, with the four holding all the shares. Goodson had a habit of incorporating lots of companies.

In February, 1997, having not yet been convicted, Goodson was still personally signing Louisiana Secretary of State documents on the dotted line as President, with Mr. Hirras still Treasurer.  By 1998, however, Goodson's signature on the official Secretary of State renewal papers looks like it was made with a stamp, and his phone number suddenly changed to Mississippi, with a 601 area code. That stamped signature makes sense, of course, because Handshoe's business partner Fred Goodson was at that time in federal prison. Not sure how stamping someone's name on official registration papers while he or she is in prison accords with Louisiana law or accounting ethics. . . . especially for a company that was supposed to be sold off by court order.

On the 1999 filing, the longstanding address for Slidell Motel suddenly changed to Morgan Bluff Road in Pearl River; Martha became the Registered Agent and Pappas and Hirras were out as officers. Martha signed for Fred as President (still in prison). Doug Handshoe was in as Treasurer, with Goodson remaining President, Martha as Secretary, and back to a Louisiana area code for the phone number. Pappas, though, had by now turned up over at Interstate Management in Mississippi.

On April 13, 1999, the bankruptcy court granted an order appointing Handshoe as "liquidating agent" for Truck Stop Gaming's real estate, after he had already served as company accountant for 2 years.

No annual report for Slidell Motel was filed in 2000.

In 2001, Fred Goodson was still President, with Martha signing for him under a power of attorney, instead of using a stamp. Guess they thought better of that. Handshoe remained signing as Treasurer.

Mr. Doug stayed on as Treasurer until 2006, the last year a filing was made. The Secretary of State wrote a warning letter in 2010.


So, what about Handshoe and other Goodson corporations? And Handshoe's role as both accountant for the Goodsons and liquidator for the government? As always stated in previous posts, there's no indication Handshoe was ever under criminal investigation along with Fred and Maria Goodson. Martha Goodson, Pappas, and Hirras all escaped indictment as well.

The crimnal forfeiture bankruptcy case was wrapped up on September 19, 2005. 

So, there's a few questions:
  • According to contemporary press reports, federal judge Vance ordered Fred Goodson to forfeit his ownership in Slidell Motel in August, 1997, in yet Goodson stayed on as President of that corporation alongside Handshoe as Treasurer even while in prison and long thereafter, even while Handshoe was supposedly working as "liquidating agent" and, so Handshoe claims, also for the Department of Justice. Was this forfeiture--or seeming lack thereof-- in accord with the the Order of Judge Vance?
  • Why were Handshoe and unindicted co-conspirator Alex Goodson incorporating a new entity in Mississippi at the same time Handshoe was supposed to be participating in a bankruptcy and liquidation of Goodson assets in Louisiana?
  • Is it normal and ethical for an accountant to become an officer of a corporation that he or she is purportedly also liquidating the assets of under court order, but that never happens? Slidell Motel kept on filing renewals into 2006.
  • Is it normal and ethical for an accountant to become an incorporator and officer of a corporation in one state when one is working under orders of the federal district court in another state on liquidating assets ordered forfeit by the federal judge as the proceeds of criminal activity, along with the son and brother of the convicted felons involved?
  • Who was Demetrios Pappas, part of both Slidell Motel and Interstate Management?
  • What was H.O.M., Inc. of Mississippi, another Goodson company across the Louisiana border, of which Handshoe was Registered Agent?
Time will tell . . .

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