So I dug into Walt Bennetti’s background beginning with his time in Louisiana based on his “about walt” page on his campaign website and I find it curious that when the circumstance suits him, Walt defines the companies he worked for and provides a tremendous amount of detail. However, when it doesn’t, he’s awfully short on specifics……
In 1995, I began consulting a family-owned company in New Iberia that owned a radio station, two magazines and a billboard company. Until the owner called me, the only thing I knew about New Iberia was that they made Tabasco there (now the company says Tabasco is made on Avery Island). I had been to Louisiana many times but, this time was different and in early 1996, I moved to Louisiana and settled in Acadiana, living in New Iberia and, after a few years, moved to Broussard, a suburb of Lafayette about 10 minutes from New Iberia. During the mid-1990’s, the media industry consolidated and consulting work, particularly in radio, declined.
Ok, so Bennetti and his family’s mailbox & copy shop is failing (as evidenced by the information in the disciplinary action against his legal counsel) and his marriage ends in Tampa FL, all sometime before 1998. Somehow he ends up in Lafayette and then New Iberia. Nothing much is said about this big move 1/3 of the way across the country and his work in Louisiana as a radio consultant, nor is the business named, he does however, introduce the topic of a print magazine….. But consider this, consultants don’t move to the places where they have contracts, they work from where they are and fly/drive to meetings or presentations. The people who move and settle in the area where the business operates are called employees. He sites no friends, no significant others, no real relationships, just an opportunity or maybe even a whim. As will become a recurring theme of abandonment, one is led to believe that he abandoned his career that he claims to love (radio/TV/media/consulting) on a whim, to start a print magazine.
In late 1998, I launched a magazine in Baton Rouge, commuting daily from New Iberia. The magazine published one issue and closed.
Bennetti devotes one sentence to this failed endeavor in his bio, but the records tell an amazing amount more…. In December 1998, Bennetti signed a mortgage for a commercial building from the New Richmond Corporation on North Harrell’s Ferry Road in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Seven days later, in January 1999, the owner of New Richmond Corp, Henry Charles Silvio recorded the mortgage. In a story reported by Richard Rainey on NOLA.com, Mr. Bennetti couldn’t explain how this $320,000.00 (+8% interest) mortgage came to hold his signature. Despite being notarized and showing a clear legal description derived from a meets and bounds survey (things that are developed for the sale of a specific, individual plot of land) . Also included in the document were Walt’s social security number and other personal information regarding his marital status, the name of his former wife and the city & state where they were divorced, these are purposely added to this purchase instrument to demonstrate his right to a clear title. This information that would never be included in a random property lease. Bennetti eventually ran away from the bond for deed arrangement with Mr. Silvio once his business was all falling apart.
- First the mortgage document – Bennetti BRLA Mortgage 12-1998 – Copy
- Next is the Bennetti BRLA Mortgage Suit 4-1999 – Copy, which states the extremes Mr. Silvio was required to do to take his building back
- Finally Bennetti BRLA Mortgage – Petition to enforce the order and remove Bennetti as owner via sheriff’s sale.
Bennetti dodged service and forced the owner to spend much more money on appointing counsel to represent him. And even though Walt wouldn’t let himself be found for service, he was right there all along. In fact as you can see from these documents, Bennetti Dispute w-Parsons Tennent 6-1999 – Copy he ends up in another lawsuit for trying to collect rent from the existing tenants, on a building he didn’t own and NEVER EVEN PAID THE FIRST DOLLAR FOR,. He did all of this while his rights were being removed through adjudication, leaving the building to be sold by the sheriff at auction. Contrary to the head scratching story he gave Rich Rainey of NOLA.Com http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2011/10/mystery_mortgage_leaves_jeffer.html – he can’t remember signing a mortgage, which is convenient since he probably doesn’t want anyone to remember the threat to take the property of the Parsons company or the accompanying law suit to protect their interests. So far, Mr. Bennetti’s travels south of I-10 have been less than stellar and we’ve not yet told the story of the Capitol City Now, his one issue printed magazine.
Capitol City Now’s story is best told by the Greater Baton Rouge Business Report – a sort of a cross between New Orleans Gambit & City Business.
The Greater Baton Rouge Business Report dated 1/5/99 “Boasting more choice in editorial content and advertising, a new weekly alternative news magazine is set to launch in Baton Rouge later this month, adding to the city’s growing field of publications. Capital City Now will hit local newsstands on Jan. 21, said owner and publisher Walter A. Bennetti, a New Iberia businessman. His plan is ambitious–a tabloid-size, four-color, glossy magazine with a circulation of 60,000 distributed in East Baton Rouge, West Baton Rouge, Iberville, West Feliciana, Livingston, Pointe Coupee and Ascension parishes. It will have one of the area’s largest circulations, second only to the Advocate, Baton Rouge’s daily newspaper . … “
Only a short time later, Bennetti made more news in Baton Rouge Capitol City Now – BR Business Report 1999 – Copy when his magazine hit the skids in a huge way.
Now I don’t want to pile on, but it’s kind of spectacularly amazing that Benetti got the State Attorney General looking up his businesses practices in only a few short weeks after he opened the door…….
He provides a lot of specifics about this next period when he worked in the convenience store industry, but in 2001, about the time when Mr. Bennetti leaving his job with Racetrac Petroleum, Mr. Bennetti was sued by a company called GZA Environmental in Shreveport LA by the Babovich & Speadle LLP law firm over $4580 on an open account. I can’t figure why he would need such an account and there are no records to show that Mr. Bennetti ever resolved this matter.
I could write more, but this is a lot for today and I’ll stop – if you are keeping track, that’s 4 lawsuits in three cities since his move to Louisiana to say nothing of his being investigated by the State Attorney General…..
Soon I’ll get into my feelings regarding the way Mr. Bennetti treats women, highlight his obstructionist behavior and show the ways he’s cost the City of Kenner money.