WWL-AM: We stand behind Garland



Those hoping for a complete explanation by WWL-AM radio host Garland Robinette were no doubt disappointed this morning, as the host punted on explaining the details of a $250,000 personal loan he and his wife received from River Birch landfill owner Fred Heebe — a friend of the family whose Waggaman landfill, co-owned by stepfather Jim Ward, was the subject of a $160 million contract from Jefferson Parish.

"I would like nothing more than to respond to each and every allegation, because I have answers for each and every allegation,” Robinette said at the top of his popular "Think Tank" morning show on "The Big 870." “But I’ve been asked to refrain from discussing these matters."

Robinette never said who asked him to "refrain from discussing these matters," but did add, "I can look my wife and my daughter in the eye … and tell you the public, that I have done absolutely nothing wrong."

He then went on to host his program with no further mention of the controversy.

Heebe and his landfill contract are part of a 21-month-old ongoing federal investigation in Jefferson Parish. In September 2010, federal officials raided River Birch offices in Gretna, seizing computers and other documents and sparking a lawsuit by Heebe and Ward, who claimed the feds lifted property unrelated to the investigation. (In late 2010, U.S. District Judge Ginger Berrigan agreed, ordering the feds to return some properties.) Meanwhile, In late May, former Louisiana Wildlife & Fisheries head Henry Mouton pleaded guilty in federal court to accepting more than $460,000 in bribes from an unnamed co-conspirator in a case involving another landfill. A statement by the U.S. Department of Justice said Mouton "accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes and illegal payoffs from Co-conspirator A who used Mouton, and specifically his influence, to keep the Old Gentilly Landfill in New Orleans closed and to prevent the permitting of the Two Rivers Recycling Landfill in Catahoula Parish." Mouton is scheduled to be sentenced early next year.

Meanwhile, WWL-AM is standing by Robinette. In a statement this afternoon, the station said:

In December 2010, Garland Robinette informed WWL about a loan he and his wife Nancy received in 2007 relating to a piece of property they owned, which Garland confirms is due and will be satisfied in October of this year. We do not intend to comment on it publicly any further and do not expect this matter to affect Garland's status with WWL. We expect him to continue his unique and vital role addressing on WWL the important issues facing New Orleans and the Gulf South.

"My opinions are not and have not ever been for sale," Robinette told his audience this morning. "I would never dishonor your trust, nor my family’s."

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