Renee Gill Pratt says she is no friend of Archie Jefferson, and other political notes

Pratt not pleased by Jefferson reference

Former City Councilwoman and convicted felon Renee Gill Pratt really dislikes her longtime boyfriend and alleged co-conspirator’s little brother. She’s always hated Archie Jefferson, she said this week. And she still hates him.

That’s why she was upset when she read an article in The Advocate last weekend that described her as being in “his circle.”

Gill Pratt was the longtime partner of Archie Jefferson’s brother, Mose, who was also a convicted felon and died in prison. Gill Pratt was close to his other brother, U.S. Rep. William Jefferson, now serving time in federal prison for a bribery conviction that involved federal agents finding $90,000 hidden in his freezer.

Gill Pratt was convicted of racketeering in a scheme in which members of the Jefferson family, including Mose and former 4th District Tax Assessor Betty Jefferson, looted bogus Central City charities of more than $1 million. She was sentenced to 87 months, but was offered the unusual allowance of staying out of jail pending her appeal.

But, she said Tuesday, she was offended by the assertion that she was in the same circle as Archie Jefferson, who she always though was a “scam artist,” she said.

“I was never associated with Archie Jefferson,” she said. “He wasn’t a part of the political organization.”

Indeed, Archie Jefferson — long considered the black sheep of the mighty Jefferson clan — was the only and unlikely sibling not taken down by the sprawling scandal.

By the time the feds closed in on the Jeffersons’ political organization, Archie Jefferson was already a convicted felon, disbarred attorney and accused tax cheat. He’s been implicated in variety of misdeeds: lying on a credit card application, practicing law without a license, using drugs, writing bad checks, illegally razing a historic home and forging judges’ signatures to let inmates out of jail.

But his repeated public shaming paled in comparison to the ones his siblings would later endure — until his wife was found murdered in her home in May 2012.

Sandra Peters Jefferson was bludgeoned so badly on their bedroom floor that police at first believed she’d been shot in the head.

Archie Jefferson was the primary suspect.

The New Orleans Police Department, more than a year later, has yet to arrest anyone for the crime. They said recently that he remains a person of interest.

Gill Pratt meanwhile is asking a federal appeals court to reconsider her 87-month sentence on the racketeering charge, arguing that she was robbed of a fair trial by the original judge who heard her case.

She also said Tuesday that Archie was not the only Jefferson she never cared for. She similarly disliked Betty Jefferson, who pleaded guilty in the same scheme and twice testified against Gill Pratt.

N.O. tourism group treks to Charleston

If you want to lure tourists, you’ve got to act like one.

That seemed to be the strategy for a clutch of officials from New Orleans this week, who booked a flight to Charleston, S.C., in order to study the city’s “unique approach to balancing the needs of city residents with the economic benefits of tourism.”

Kristin Gisleson Palmer, from the City Council; Mark Romig, CEO of the New Orleans Tourism and Marketing Corp.; and Scott Hutcheson, the mayor’s advisor on the cultural economy, all took the trip.

They were hosted by the head of Charleston’s Tourism Commission, Vanessa Turner Maybank.

“The Charleston Tourism Commission is a leader in showing how cities can protect their cultural and historical legacies, serve their citizens and also appeal to tourists,” Gisleson Palmer said. “There doesn’t need to be a trade-off between quality of life for residents and tourists.”

Compiled by
the New Orleans bureau