Monday, August 1, 2016

Did Mississippi get hustled again?

Remember that $36 million help the Mississippi legislature gave earlier this year  to Edison Chouest? It appears the company played a similar game in Louisiana using the same tactics: promise jobs, promise investment,  or promise the world and watch the politicians fall all over themselves as they rush to dole out the dough.   Unfortunately for Louisiana and the working people who pay the bills, this friendly bout of crony capitalism has not worked out too well.  Fox 8 (NOLA) reported Friday:

In 2008, the state of Louisiana signed an agreement with LaShip LLC, a subsidiary of Edison Chouest Offshore. In that agreement, LaShip committed to hiring 1,000 new employees for new positions, with a total payroll of $54 million. The positions and payroll had to be sustained for 42 months, from September 2012 until the end of 2015.

But in August 2012, the state amended that agreement, giving LaShip more time to meet their job guarantees. They moved the start date from September 2012 to March 2014, the end date to June 2017. In return the state invested $42 million in the shipbuilding facility.

According to Chouest's website, "LaShip is an ultra-modern facility and is now the largest shipyard in the Chouest family of companies."

The state handed over the money. But LaShip has underperformed on the job commitments; they are not fulfilling the contract right now.

"They are out of compliance with the contract," confirms Don Pierson, Gov. John Bel Edwards' pick to lead the state's Department of Economic Development.

LaShip likely wanted to amend that original agreement because of low job numbers.  In March 2012, when those job guarantees were supposed to begin, LaShip had half the committed amount: 507 of the 1,000 jobs promised. That initial contract should have expired at the end of last year; if the company hadn't signed an extension, they would have fallen below that 1,000 job benchmark in 24 of the 42 months. The amendment created a new timetable.

 But the jobs still aren't there.  In the first quarter of 2016, LaShip had just 232 jobs.  Again, they promised 1,000....

 But there's more.  Remember, LaShip is a subsidiary of Edison Chouest.  Edison Chouest is also a parent to North American Fabricators, another shipbuilding company.  North American Fabricators' facility is closed.  The company isn't even referenced on the Chouest website.

 Even though LaShip promised the state new jobs, it doesn't appear that it actually happened.  The state admits Edison Chouest simply transferred the workers from their shuttered company to the new one - and got a large incentive package for it.  Rest of the article and video.

Anita Lee reported in the Sun-Herald last March that Edison Chouest was laying off employees at one plant while it got $36 million for a sister plant:

While state officials announced with much fanfare a deal that is supposed to create 1,000 jobs on the Coast at a new company, Topship, they've been mum about layoffs at a sister company, Gulf Ship.

I'm trying to find out just how many people Gulf Ship employs and just how many have been recently laid off. If you have been laid off recently by Gulf Ship, or know of someone who has, I'd love to hear from you. You can email me at

Gulf Ship employed about 600 workers when the oil industry was booming, but was down to 300 employees a few months back, according to Bill Hessell, executive director of the Harrison County Development Commission. Hessell said he hasn't checked Gulf Ship's employment figures lately.

Both Topship and Gulf Ship, which opened in Gulfport in 2006, are subsidiaries of Edison Chouest Offshore. ECO was founded in 1960 in the little town of Galliano, La., and is today a major player in the global transportation industry.

Gulf Ship builds supply boats for the oil industry. Topship also plans to build vessels for the oil industry. CEO Gary Chouest said specific plans for Topship manufacturing are still being finalized...

Gulf Ship gets a tax break from the county. Topship is receiving a bundle of tax incentives, breaks and government funding – $11 million from the state, $25 million of the port's federal funds for Katrina relief.

I sent a list of questions about Topship and Gulf Ship to the deal's broker, the Mississippi Development Authority, on Wednesday. Still waiting to hear back. Rest  of post

Beef Plant, Kior, Twin Creeks, Stion.......


Bill Dees said...

For the life of me I can't understand why folks keep voting for Mississippi Republicans. They'll pass laws at the drop of a hat to drug test poor Mississippi citizens on public assistance, but won't bother to even superficially vet a foreign corporation before giving it millions in taxpayer dollars. Wake up folks! The Republican "leadership" doesn't care about you unless you're a fat cat rich white guy.

Beef Plant? said...

What's the alternative Dees? The Yeller Dog buffoons who ruled the roost before?

Anonymous said...

Nothing unusual. A company slips a little money in the pocket of some politician and they are set. Nothing matters except the cash going to the politicians. It isn't their money they are wasting. Why should they worry about it especially when their pocket is full?

Anonymous said...

@ August 1, 2016 at 9:00 AM

You take the alternative and make sure they don't follow the same exact model of the asshats you gave the last term to. Its that simple. You voted out the Dems for the Beef Plant and gave the power to Repubs to fix, instead they just worried about two guys screwing than getting real sh*t done and shelling out corporate welfare this go round! I've had enough! Time for them to go, they had their turn and you see what they've done with it.

Kingfish said...

Go to the actual Fox story and you will see something that shows why we have a problem with the Jackson media. Read the bylines and you will see "investigative producer". The Jackson tv stations rarely produce this type of journalism because none of them have an investigative producer.

Half the time the reporter is someone who has been out of journalism school for only a couple of years. Doesn't know anything but how to write a story. No science, business, or other backgrounds. Then they are told to go cover something or investigate. TV stations in larger markets have the same reporters but that reporter gets the support of an investigative producer. That doesn't happen in the Jackson area and is why you don't see stories such as this one on tv or on the websites.

Anonymous said...

9:07, You should have learned by now that when it comes to crooked and useless politicians there is no difference in democrats and republicans. What difference does it make when you are just going to trade one for the other? Both are the same.
What makes people forget so soon?

Anonymous said...

@ 10:24am

There's a clear difference between the two party's. When you look at the platforms. Where they became the same is when you give them super majorities and let them control every facet of government, from state wide office to the legislature. With absolute power, comes absolute corruption. But the parties are definitely different when it comes to platforms: gay marriage, medicaid expansion, workers rights, voters rights, taxation are definitely talking points for both party's whether they oppose or advocates.

Anonymous said...

I agree 11:13 AM. The Democrats are absolutely corrupt.

Anonymous said...

Both parties are the same when it comes to dishonesty, lack of knowledge, and inexperience. Most of the real difference is with things that no govt. officials should have any say in.

Anonymous said...

How much had the state of Mississippi lost on KIOR plant in Columbus - worse than the beef plant!

Anonymous said...

@ 11:35

Who's running the state right now? How can anyone be corrupt if they don't have the power?

Anonymous said...

11:13 am You are absolutely right about absolute power corrupting absolutely. You are absolutely wrong in believing that a party platform has any meaning whatsoever.
During the years either party has been in power, especially on the national scene, they ignore their platforms.
The reason is simple, much of both platforms is hogwash and they know it. The items in the platform exist to play to cater to party bases and in response to the policies of the party that holds power.
Don't believe that? See if you can dig up the party platforms from the 50's. The GOP was pro Civil Rights and pro abortion. Why? Because African Americans were Republicans and the South ( where they couldn't vote) wasn't in play. Catholics who were anti-abortion were Democrats.
This wasn't such a problem because we had State Courts, the Federal Courts and The Supreme Court and The Fourth Estate to protect us from political nonsense. Sadly, the courts have been politicized and the Fourth Estate is corporately owned and all about profit not professionalism . KF is absolutely right about " investigative reporters" but there are no longer "research departments" in the media that once vetted a person's claims or the facts purported BEFORE they went public with a story or event. There was even a movie about a news researcher and a reporter starring Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy and that's BEFORE researching the facts of an issue was easy and required a paper in a large city to have an extensive reference library.
Now, " reporters" are the inexperienced young people KF described and sadly, think a press release or information from the director or committee chairman is the same as attending the meeting about which they are reporting!

Corruption Has No Face said...

The primary difference in perception and reality of the parties is there was effectively no internet and no such thing as Facebook and Twitter when Mississippi Democrats were in charge for a century.

An ex-sheriff from Bolivar, a worm-farmer and a casket-salesman pretty much had free reign. And at the end of the day, they could yuck it up at Tico's over a fifth of Scotch and nobody was the wiser. Well, except the waitress.

Anonymous said...

Too many news sources are using their time and resources trying to defend one side against the other. Just one look at any news station should tell a person which side their favorite news has decided to defend. There is no more reporting, just opinions. Even the comics have become politicalized.

Anonymous said...

@ 7:11 AM
@ 9:06 AM
@ 9:43 AM

Great points by all! Well said indeed!

Anonymous said...

The real question is who did Mississippi get hustled by and how? The proposed Topship shipyard is no different than another Coast project called the Island View Casino's newly renovated hotel tower on the south side 90.They both are being paid with the taxpayer's money to do what they were going to do anyway.Who really greased the tracks to get both approved to receive the windfalls? Would you believe they both paid the same consultant lots of money to make it happen? Yes they did.One call was all it took.

Anonymous said...

Our govt. is so crooked that people just ignore it. Ms. is a welfare state. As long as the checks keep coming from uncle Sugar everyone is happy.

2016 Hottest Reporter Poll

Suscribe to latest on JJ.

Recent Comments

Search Jackson Jambalaya

Subscribe to JJ's Youtube channel

Who is the hottest reporter?


Who is the Hottest Reporter in Jackson?

Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS