April 23, 2012

Another Scandal: Loomis Snooped in Superdome

Saints GM Mickey Loomis, according to an ESPN report today, had a communications device modified to listen in on opposing coaching staffs in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome as far back as 2002.

Loomis via Saints PR VP Greg Bensel said that the allegations are "1000% inaccurate" and are proven by "no evidence."

The alleged eavesdropping would be a serious violation of league rules and also a federal crime.

The ESPN report, citing an unnamed source, indicates that former Saints GM Randy Mueller had a receiving device for overhearing the radio communications in the Superdome beginning in 2000, such as voice communication between coaches using headsets.

Loomis, starting in 2002, used the device to overhear the "offensive and defensive" coaching calls of the visiting teams.  One particular device was in effect through the 2002-2004 seasons and was removed when the Superdome was after Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005.

Given that the allegations are of potentially illegal behavior eight years ago, it is not known how the Saints will be disciplined by the league.  Federal charges if levied would be brought by US Attorney Jim Letten, who also holds information on the Saints' vicodin theft, abuse and coverup scandal.

ESPN reported Monday night that federal  charges involving electronic wiretapping have a statute of limitations of five years.

The allegations further tarnishes the Saints franchise's reputation, which has been stained from top to bottom.  Given the deluge of bad news for the Saints franchise, it is not surprising that allegations of past improprieties are emerging from the woodwork.

Loomis joined the Saints in 2000 and was hired with Mueller, and took over the General Manager position when Mueller was fired in 2002.

Meanwhile, Saints owner and executive vice president Rita Benson Leblanc has been a no-show at recent press conferences and appearances involving Tom Benson's purchase of the New Orleans Hornets.

It is now reported by the Times-Picayune that Benson Leblanc is "some form of unofficial paid administrative leave" after shirking her business responsibilities and "a pattern of behavior that needed to be corrected."  The move leaves both franchises with an uncertain succession plan.

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