Don Quixote, Jimmy Faircloth, Chicago Cubs, Bobby Jindal William Jennings Bryan, LSU Board of Stuporvisors, Minnesota Vikings, Jimmy Faircloth (again), Houston Astros, Bobby Jindal, Charlie Brown.
They all have one thing in common—the inability to grasp the brass ring. Yeah, we know, the Minnesota Vikings went to the Super Bowl four times, but how many of those did they win? The same number Jimmy Faircloth has won going to bat for Bobby Jindal in the state courts on various issues pushed by the governor.
Like Charlie Brown, Faircloth keeps trying to kick the football being held and suddenly pulled away by Lucy, aka Bobby Jindal only to fall flat time after time.
The futility of the Cubs and Astros should by now be familiar to Faircloth who this week was again shot down by the Louisiana Supreme Court, this time on the issue of turning over the list of semifinalists and finalists for the LSU presidency.
That list apparently is the equivalent to a closely guarded state secret and even now Faircloth refuses to capitulate to the state’s high court.
“Writ denied. Stay denied” was the terse message in the Supreme Court’s ruling. During my 20 years with the Office of Risk Management where I worked with state attorneys to defend lawsuits against the state, that language meant one thing: we write a check to the plaintiff. Period.
Ah, but the ever-optimistic Faircloth proclaimed that those four words were “not a comment by the Supreme Court one way or another concerning who’s right or wrong on the lawsuit.”
“That’s simply the court saying we’re not going to hear the case now.”
Uh, Jimmy, loyalty to one’s boss is a fine attribute. But there comes a time when those of common sense must understand the finality of an issue and throw in the towel.
This is one of those times.
It is more than apparent by now that Faircloth/Jindal/LSU is not going to emerge victorious in this little showdown over the public’s right to know what its representatives are doing behind closed doors.
The continued resistance to the courts and the insistence that the records do not have to be produced only feeds an already growing suspicion about the forthrightness, honesty, and candor of this administration which has managed to operate in the dark shadows of obscurity, ambiguity and deceitfulness during Jindal’s nearly seven years in office.
Requests for public records by LouisianaVoice—records that are in no way protected—have been met time after time after time after time by delaying tactics, generally preceded by a cryptic email that reads, “Pursuant to your public records request, we are still searching for records and reviewing them for exemptions and privileges. Once finished, we will contact you regarding delivery of the records. At that time, all non-exempt records will be made available to you.”
This was the message from Division of Administration (DOA) attorney David Boggs on Aug. 7 to a request we submitted on Aug. 1. The Boggs response was already three working days late by the time he sent his response. The state’s public records law stipulates that records must be made available immediately upon request unless they are unavailable in which case the custodian of the record must respond in writing as to when the records will be available within three working days.
LouisianaVoice is still waiting for the records we requested 29 days—20 working days—ago. At the minimum fine of $100 per day, that comes to $2,000 for each of the seven records we requested, or $14,000 total.
The LSU litigation, however, has inspired us. District Court Judge Janice Clark imposed a $500 per day fine for LSU’s non-compliance. That bill currently totals more than $50,000.
We will likewise request the $500 per day fine, plus court costs, attorney fees and damages. The $500 per day fine alone comes to $70,000—money we can certainly use but which the taxpayers of Louisiana would not be asked to pay if the administration had simply complied with the law as public servants are expected to—and should—do.
Jimmy Faircloth, David Boggs or whomever DOA designates may wish to prepare for another defense after we file suit.
Not that he minds. Whenever he is given one of these dogs to defend, he simply turns on the time clock and the meter begins ticking—at the expense of you, the taxpayer. And he has done quite well defending indefensible lawsuits from pension reform to vouchers to public records. He has been paid more than $1 million to date by the Jindal administration, enough to place him in the upper tier of state legal contractors.