Reed’s divorce record reviewed by grand jury

Former 22nd Judicial District Attorney Walter Reed’s divorce settlement with his second wife in 2004 has been sealed for nearly 11 years, but that doesn’t mean no one has seen it.

A federal grand jury that has been investigating Reed apparently viewed the divorce records on Aug. 28, according to a subpoena from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The subpoena, which was sent to St. Tammany Parish Clerk of Court Malise Prieto on Aug. 13 by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jordan Ginsberg, sought all the documents connected to the divorce, which was made final on Nov. 4, 2004, as well as any financial statements and public records requests in the sealed file.

Other subpoenas in the investigation were sent to Leo Hemelt, a former assistant district attorney who sometimes filled in for Walter Reed in doing legal work for St. Tammany Parish Hospital; WVUE-TV; and the Castine Center, where Reed held a political fundraiser.

But now, anyone can see the records of the divorce that dissolved Walter Reed’s 13-year marriage to attorney Shawn Craddock Reed.

Judge William Burris unsealed the records in an order dated Thursday, with the agreement of both parties and their legal counsel. The move followed a request by an attorney for WWL-TV.

The original order to seal the divorce, dated March 29, 2004, cited potentially sensitive information, as well as the desire of both parties to resolve their differences amicably.

Nothing startling emerges from the record, however. Shawn Reed kept the couple’s Covington home, which is now on the market for $2.875 million, plus her law office on North Columbia Street, all interest in her law firms and proceeds from any litigation for which she was counsel. She was to pay Walter Reed $200,000 as his half-share of the net equity in their office property.

He kept another Covington house, a 1957 Chevrolet Bel-Air and his pension from the District Attorney’s Office.

French Quarter panel short on members

Fewer eyes are watching over the city’s oldest buildings these days.

The Vieux Carre Commission is short two members with the death of longtime Chairman Ralph Lupin 10 months ago and the recent resignation of Pio Lyons.

The commission is supposed to have nine members. The mayor can name three. He appoints the others from lists of candidates submitted by the Louisiana Historical Society, the Louisiana State Museum Board, the Chamber of Commerce and the American Institute of Architects. With the exception of the AIA, which has three representatives on the board, each agency is represented by one member. Commissioners serve four-year terms.

A replacement for Lyons, who represented the AIA, may not be far off. A member of the organization’s local office said Friday that it has submitted a list of candidates to Mayor Mitch Landrieu.

When Lupin, who died in May, will be replaced seems less certain. Lupin represented the State Museum, which now has no representation on the commission charged with protecting the historical integrity of French Quarter structures, including the museum’s buildings.

Jacques Berry, a spokesman for Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, whose office oversees the State Museum, said the museum board has not moved to submit any names to the mayor. The matter was scheduled to be taken up at the board’s meeting Monday but was removed from the agenda, Berry said. He said he did not know why the matter was deferred but that he “definitely anticipates them getting it done at the next meeting.”

Brad Howard and Hayne Rainey, spokesmen for the Mayor’s Office, did not respond to several requests for comment.

Mandeville councilman stirs pot with letter

If Mandeville’s fractious politics could get any more combative, a March 8 email from Councilman Ernest Burguieres may have done the trick.

Burguieres represents District 3 on the five-member council. His district is centered in Old Mandeville, an area dotted with restaurants, shops and other businesses as well as residences. It includes the lakefront, a popular destination for joggers, families, dog walkers and others.

Burguieres’ letter drew sharp distinctions between Old Mandeville and the rest of the city.

“Old Mandeville is a unique community that really has very little in common with the western part of the city,” his email began. “The western part of the city could be almost anywhere.”

He said Old Mandeville is pedestrian-friendly and diverse — at least in lifestyle and look — while the western part of the city is a car-centered series of subdivisions. He compared the struggles that face Old Mandeville to those of the French Quarter: “a constant tug between commercial ventures and residents.”

West Mandeville, on the other hand, is made up of “typical modern subdivisions that are isolated islands in the forest,” he said.

Not surprisingly, Burguieres’ words were not warmly received.

“I support the whole city, not just my area,” said David Ellis, who represents District 1, which includes the western part of the city. “We all put a lot of tax money, grit and care into the city.”

Ellis said Burguieres’ words would not help bring the city together.

“I don’t want to get into an east-west thing, and there does need to be a little bit more congeniality,” he said. “Some of those words might be over the top.”

District 2 Councilwoman Carla Buchholz shook her head and laughed when asked about Burguieres’ letter. “I just don’t know what I want to say about that,” she said.

Mayor Donald Villere, who frequently clashes with Burguieres, said the comments were counterproductive. “Why does he want to drive a wedge between the east and west parts of the city?” he asked.

Just before the council’s Thursday night meeting, Burguieres seemed untroubled by the furor.

“I am just promoting my side — the east side of things,” he said.

Compiled by staff writers Sara Pagones, Jaquetta White and Faimon A. Roberts III.

Editor’s note: This story was changed March 16 to correct the name of the person who resigned from the Vieux Carre Commission. Pio Lyons has resigned; C.J. Blanda, who was appointed by the Louisiana Historical Society, remains a member of the board.

Editor’s note: This story was changed March 17 to correct the property for which Walter Reed was to be paid $200,000 in his divorce settlement. The payment was for his share of the net equity in the couple’s law office, not their home.