Tuesday, July 07, 2009

How Things Work: Louisiana Edition

Long-time LPF blog readers will recall Bill Oliver, the president of AT&T Louisiana with something less than fondness. Oliver was (and is) the man at the helm of AT&T Louisiana that directed the campaign that sought to prevent Lafayette from building its own competitive network. Oliver's signature style in Lafayette was back-room dealing and public bluster. The back-room dealing, at least, he brought to the national level as the Advocate article indicates:
"Another old Jefferson cohort was Bill Oliver, president of AT&T Louisiana in New Orleans. Oliver, who has known Jefferson for 16 years, would go on hunting trips with him, attended the Kentucky Derby with him and once served as king of Washington Mardi Gras, where four of Jefferson’s five daughters served as queens.

When Jefferson asked Oliver to look into iGate and its unique technology of transmitting audio, video and data over copper wire, Oliver agreed out of “a combination of friendship and respect.” The two companies never linked, but Oliver ran the idea by his product representatives for Jefferson, he told the jury.

“It mattered to me that he was a member of Congress and I was reporting back to him,” Oliver said."
The reporter doesn't say if the prosecutors asked who paid for those hunting trips and the Mardi Gras Ball expenses (both peculiarities are traditional forms of influence-peddling in the Gret State). Nor does it note how the trip to Derby was financed. The story's intro does note that Oliver would take trips on the company's Lear jet with Jefferson's wife. It would also be interesting to know if AT&T's "product representatives" actually sold any of the third party iGate tech—and, if so, who got the commissions...

Lagniappe:
Oliver, BellSouth, and the infamous push poll.
Oliver threatens to pull Cingular call center from Lafayettte (twice)
Oliver tries to deny having threatened Lafayette.
Oliver's offers to partner with LUS prove "insincere" as BellSouth launches lawsuit.
Oliver, New Orleans, and Lafayette

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