Archive for the ‘Boards’ Category

Imagine your dentist boss comes to you with a proposition:

Why don’t you help the board investigator do investigations for the board of dentistry? You can make some extra spending money by posing as a patient and presenting fake symptoms and false medical histories in hopes of gaining information and diagnosis that could be used against dentists in board hearings. The board can really use your help in putting the bad guys away.

What could go wrong, right? Your boss is a long-time member of the Louisiana State Board of Dentistry. He assures you this is done all the time. He even nicknames you “The Pink Panther” for your investigative efforts. Your thoughts go to all the extra money you will have for Christmas gifts this year.

A similar scenario happened with Karen Moorhead when she worked as a dental assistant for Dr. White Graves, a long-time board member, in Monroe. Moorhead testified that she worked “six or seven” undercover operations for board investigator Camp Morrison. She even testified to working undercover as an employee in an office that was under investigation by the LSBD.

The only problem is that no one told Ms. Moorhead what she was doing was against the law. Louisiana requires anyone getting paid to do undercover investigations have a valid private investigator’s license. Anyone caught doing this type of work without one is in violation of Louisiana criminal law, subjecting the offender for fines of up to $10,000 and up to a year in jail.

R.S 37:3507.2


It shall be unlawful for any person knowingly to commit any of the following acts:

(1) Provide contract or private investigator service without possessing a valid license.

(2) Employ an individual to perform the duties of a private investigator who is not the holder of a valid registration card.



Ms. Moorhead has found herself a defendant in an ongoing civil trial since 2011 because of this highly questionable and unethical, if not illegal, activity. Instead of hiring an independent attorney, she relied on the attorney provided by the board of dentistry, the very organization that got her in trouble in the first place. In fact, the board had the legislature change the law in order to cover her defense. She now claims attorney-client privilege with the Louisiana Attorney General’s office, and claims insurance coverage underwritten for state civil service employees. Never mind that Moorhead was an independent contractor doing work for a board contractor. Morrison’s contract specifically required him to hold an errors and omissions (E&O) insurance policy for such purposes that indemnifies the state against his actions. One former board member contends that the LSBD has spent over $500k on this suit. (Any state employee who is the subject of a civil lawsuit for actions taken in the scope of his or her employment is entitled to legal representation provided at the state’s expense. In the case of criminal prosecution for job-related actions, the employee may retain legal counsel of the employee’s choice and is entitled to have those legal costs reimbursed in the event of an acquittal. Moorhead, as a contractor, should not be entitled to legal representation provided by the state.)

More troubling, however, is the advice that her attorney has given her. The attorney Professional Rules of Conduct prohibit representing multiple clients when a conflict of interest exists between them. Barbara Melton, law partner to infamous Jimmy Faircloth, is a contract attorney for the board of dentistry—and she is defending both board investigator Camp Morrison and Moorhead at the same time. According to some legal analysts, that’s a major conundrum. One legal expert laid it out like this, “It’s apparent that Moorhead and Morrison may not share the same best interests. If I was hired to do a completely illegal job and was told that it was legal by supposedly reputable people and then found myself sued over it that would be a problem. I wouldn’t hesitate to sue the investigator, the board of dentistry, and possibly the boss that suggested the employment and got me into this mess in the first place.”

However, that’s not the advice that Melton seems to have given her. How could she recommend suing the board of dentistry and Morrison, who are both her clients? That recommendation should be off the table. Because of this conflict and lack of sound advice, Moorhead could find her troubles just beginning.

Several dentists have come together and are planning to file a civil class action suit against the Board of Dentistry and its agents. Moorhead’s involvement in “six or seven” cases, makes her the glue that ties this class action together. Moorhead may also have perjured herself in at least one deposition and during a board hearing. Finally, a recent affidavit from a Kenner dentist and Camp Morrison’s own billing records have Moorhead working undercover in an office that the board was investigating.

Although Moorhead originally bragged about working in this office, her story has changed and she remembers seeking but never being offered the job. This stands in stark contrast to the affidavit and billing records in hand. It’s possible that Moorhead may now risk jail time for perjury and continued ligation from multiple sources. She may have also committed tax fraud by not properly listing the income from these undercover jobs. Many believe the trouble Moorhead may be facing stems from the questionable legal advice she has been given. Meanwhile, the board attorney Barbara Melton has never missed a paycheck. She continues to represent the board of dentistry as a contract attorney.

Moorhead may want to check on her legal options, which some insist should include possibly adding her attorney to the list of people to sue. Moorhead certainly doesn’t appear to be innocent of the claims against her. But instead of stopping and ceasing to dig, her attorney appears to have helped her dig the hole deeper. It now appears to be one which she may not be able to escape.

The question must now be where the Attorney General’s office is in all this mess.

Buddy Caldwell is quick to issue press releases about child porn arrests, consumer fraud and CNSI. But he has been shamefully silent on the issue of going after offending power-mad, ego-driven Board of Dentistry members. These members have repeatedly demonstrated their intent to persecute dentists not in response to legitimate complaints but pursuant to board-initiated complaints generated by investigators and legal counsel. There is more than ample evidence to show that the board is set not on cleaning up the industry but in extracting hundreds of thousands of dollars from dentists denied the opportunity to properly defend themselves before a kangaroo court comprised of the same board members who bring the charges.

And while the attorney general’s job is to represent state agencies, he could be doing the board a service by offering his counsel to refrain from tromping on dentists’ due process rights. After all, should a class action lawsuit ensue, it’s going to cost the state a boatload of money to defend—and to pay any adverse judgment if that is the result. For no other reason than preventive maintenance, Caldwell should be offering his advice.

What has transpired thus far comes nowhere near the concept of due process. An attorney general committed to doing the job he was elected would have addressed this glaring problem long ago.


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By numerous accounts, the Louisiana State Board of Dentistry has allegedly operated like a crime syndicate for at least two decades and is responsible for the possible harassment, extortion, money laundering, and fraud of its agents. These allegations have been made for years but may now be proven. State and federal criminal charges are expected in the upcoming months. At least one legal expert expects federal racketeering laws to be used to prosecute former board agents, and possibly even current or former board members and staff. A paralleling class-action civil suit may not be too far behind.

The board investigator was employed by the LSBD for over two decades until his contract was recently terminated. He roamed the state, under color of law, harassing dentists and beating the bushes to generate revenue. Not surprisingly, he had state contracts that allowed him to self-generate his own fees. He seemed to be aided by the board general counsel, who often served in dual capacity as board counsel and board prosecutor, a violation of legal ethics rules and common sense. Because he only had a duty to his client the board of dentistry to act in its best interest, anyone that he prosecuted was denied due process. The same would be true if a police force handled its own prosecutions without an independent prosecutor; there would be no fundamental perception of fairness. He has also been known to hide behind the cloak of administrative law in denying defendants’ rights afforded under the US Constitution. He self-generated his own fees, and had apparently selfish financial motives for seeing dentists prosecuted. In 2012, he was found by the Louisiana 4th Circuit Court of Appeals to have violated the due process of a Louisiana dentist. This investigator and attorney were perhaps given cover by a few complicit board members and staff to carry out their harassment and extortion schemes.

The investigator has employed unlicensed investigators for years in what many have deemed elaborate entrapment schemes. His undercover operations sent in phony patients to dental offices, often complaining about fake symptoms and giving false medical histories. This was done for the purpose of collecting information to be used against dentists being investigated by the board for prosecution. At least one woman used in this capacity has even perjured herself under oath. The same unlicensed investigator that initially claimed under oath to have worked 6-7 investigations and even bragged about working in a dental office that was being investigated. Although she seems to have developed amnesia and has recanted previous testimony, she now claims she has only worked one or two investigations and applied-for but never actually worked in an office undercover. However, a Kenner dentist has issued a sworn affidavit saying that she indeed held employment in HIS office during the time the board was investigating complaints against him. Conducting investigations without a license is a violation of Louisiana law and carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail and up to a $10,000 fine. The dental board has been no help in getting to the truth. An unnamed state official recently stated “The board of dentistry has circled the wagons and is being uncooperative with our investigation.”

It is believed that the investigator has been utilizing these undercover investigators for decades, but he denies that claim. He has testified that the first time he did this was in 2007, although there are numerous contradictions to this testimony. One dentist claims he sent in an undercover operative into his office in 2006. When it was realized that He had broken the law in his investigation, the Louisiana Attorney General’s office stepped in to stop the investigation and future prosecution. The current board president acknowledged in a hearing that these undercover ops have been used for years by the dental board in their investigations. One former board member, that held his board position for almost 30 years, testified that the board has been doing this since “before I was born.” Based on his appearance, one might estimate that to be around the turn of the last century.

The investigator is currently under investigation by the PI board for utilizing unlicensed investigators. The Louisiana State Board of Private Investigator Examiners opened an investigation into his illegal activity and the scope exploded because of major criminal implications. The LSBPIE pulled in other state and federal agencies once it realized that he perjured himself, filed fraudulent reports with the board, created false scenarios that were used to prosecute dentists, and even submitted multiple fraudulent billing records to the state of Louisiana. These tactics have also gotten the investigator and two of his unlicensed investigators into trouble in a civil lawsuit. Not surprisingly, the board of dentistry purportedly misled the legislature into changing the law to cover the legal expenses of both the investigator and the unlicensed investigators being sued for entrapment. By one former board member’s account, the board of dentistry has spent over $500K defending the investigator, who was a state contractor, and two unlicensed investigators he hired as his “independent contractors”; this despite the fact that his contract held a specific clause requiring him to carry an insurance policy that indemnifies the state against such lawsuits. All three defendants claim to be utilizing insurance coverage earmarked specifically for Louisiana civil service employees, The legal defense of these defendants, although they have clearly broken the law, is being funded by the tax dollars of Louisiana citizens.


The attorney also finds himself in hot water with the Louisiana Bar and recently had his contract with the board terminated. He had a complaint turned into the Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Committee for violating a dentist’s due process. This fact can’t be denied after a decision by a Louisiana appeals court in Haygood v. LSBD. In the aforementioned case, the board general counsel acted in the role of “independent counselor,” a role that requires neutrality and separation from the board. This independence isn’t possible since he was the board’s general counsel. He used his position to antagonize, harass, and control the board hearing to ensure a favorable verdict for the board of dentistry. Such tactics are the very reason that the LSBD has NEVER lost a board hearing. In his response to the bar complaint, he noted that he simply served in the capacity of independent counsel, and that he took NO part in the investigation or the deliberations. However, according to his own billing records, eye-witness testimony, and emails, both responses are demonstrably false. He was actively involved in the investigation from the onset, and even recommended fines and penalties that were harsher than what the disciplinary panel wanted to levy during deliberations. He is awaiting a hearing by the Bar, and one legal analyst predicts he may be disbarred or not allowed to practice administrative law for an extending period of time.

The next few months will prove crucial as investigations continue and indictments are issued. One dentist predicts the investigator will be the first to fall, but will not go down alone. He appears extremely bitter about his recent departure from the board and the way he was let go after two decades of service. According to a former board member, a long-time board employee recently left the board because of the egregious acts committed by the board over the last several years. These acts are believed to have been documented and turned over to state authorities in their criminal investigation. This allegedly includes information about a board employee that destroyed evidence in the case of a medical doctor that was harassed by dental board agents. This same employee has testified to working an undercover op, posing as a patient in a Lafayette dental office under investigation. Finally, it is believed this employee may have committed payroll fraud, as it is believed she was clocked in at the board of dentistry while she was attending college classes and finishing up her degree. The truth of these apparent criminal acts, stands in stark contrast to board president’s story that former board employee left because of the impending move of the board office to Baton Rouge that will occur in 2017.

Louisiana dentists that believe they have been unfairly targeted or prosecuted are beginning to ban together to file a joint civil action against the board and these agents.

The Power Broker

Barry Ogden ruled the Louisiana State Board of Dentistry with an iron fist for over two decades, armed with a complicit general counsel and a rogue investigator. The three men were nicknamed the “un-holy trinity” by those observers that followed their trail of tears. In the 2014 legislative session, state senator Martini introduced and passed legislation, with the goal of curbing these abuses.


Ogden has recently testified to the abuses of power, lack of transparency, and due process violations that took place under his watch. Anyone committed to justice and fairness should be alarmed.  Anyone fined or punished under these men should take notice. According to Ogden, your constitutional rights were probably violated, although he doesn’t actually come out and say it. Nevertheless, it’s hard for him to hide the big, giant pink elephant in the room. But he thinks you are probably “making a mountain out of a mole hill.”

Ogden, known for his fashionable footwear, kicks caution to the wind and plays fast and furious with laws he doesn’t seem to understand, he misinterprets, or chooses to ignore out of convenience. Ogden discusses:

  • How he ignored the internal rules the board set up to help avoid violating someone’s due process.
  • How the disciplinary oversight committee operates from a set of secretive, evolving rules.
  • How investigations require no due process, and “whatever happens, happens.”
  • How the board has no need for burden of proof through informal or Bertucci hearings (which are a waste of time in his opinion)
  • How a burden of proof  is only required in formal hearing, which the board NEVER loses
  • How the board has a system of informal hearings, where 3 dentists vote and Ogden and the president may choose to override when they are sure they have gotten it wrong or don’t understand the issue.
  • How Camp Morrison has utilized unlicensed investigators for years, a violation of state law, and considered an entrapment scheme by many.
  • How Morrison’s job is to “do justice” and “there is no need for truthfulness in an investigation.”

These are just a few of the hits. Ogden continuously serves and volleys with the truth like he has played in more than his fair share of ping pong matches. But that’s a story for another day. He reveals some interesting facts about a certain board member that had dementia, the rifts between the LSBD and the LDA, and the fact that the LSBD should have no deference over fee disputes.  Ogden claims, “We only got complaints on advertising from other dentists who was just siccing a dog on a competitor.”

If you or anyone you know believe they have been the recipient of these malicious schemes, please contact boardclassactionsuit@gmail.com and share your story.



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The Louisiana Auctioneers Licensing Board doesn’t like former board member Robert Burns. Neither does the board’s attorney, convicted felon Larry Bankston.

That’s understandable. They haven’t like him since he uncovered payroll fraud and other irregularities and was bounced off the board by Bobby Jindal, whose idea of accountability is to hold whistleblowers fully accountable. When he was shown the door, Burns began video recording board meetings. During one meeting he even captured the board’s attorney saying Jindal’s office had advised the board not to worry about a legislative auditor’s report critical of illegal payments and illegal pay raises to part time executive assistant Sandy Edmonds.

Burns can be much like a canker sore when he puts his mind to it—irritating, always there, and impossible to ignore. But there’s nothing in the state public meeting statutes that says spectators—or media—must be liked. In fact, when the media (and Burns, through his newly-launched Web blog, is a member of the media whether that fits the board’s definition or not) become too cozy with public officials, then they no longer serve their purpose as the public watchdog.

Today (Aug. 31), we received a disturbing email from Burns. The Louisiana Auctioneer Licensing Board is considering turning off and removing his video recorder if he leaves it unmanned to go to the restroom or leaves the room for any other reason. “Frequently I am the only one in attendance” at board meetings, Burns wrote. True, the Auctioneer Licensing Board flies pretty much under the radar and attracts little to no media attention other than from Burns.

“If I need to go to the restroom or something,” he continued, “I leave the video camera running while on its unipod.” (I still don’t know why he doesn’t invest in a tripod which, unlike a unipod, is free-standing, but that’s another story.)

The AGENDA released for Tuesday’s (Sept. 1) meeting contains item number 8, which says:

  • Revision of Board Meeting Rules- In the event that the public videos or records the proceedings, such equipment must be manned at all times. Any equipment left unattended will be removed and turned off.

Now I am no attorney, though Mr. Bankston is, or at least he has been since he got the Louisiana Supreme Court to reinstate his licenses after his release from prison.

In 1994, then-State Sen. Bankston (D-Baton Rouge), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee (appropriately enough), met in his law office with one Fred Goodson, owner of a video poker truck stop in Slidell. There followed a discussion of a plan to manipulate the legislative process so as to protect the interest of video poker companies.

And what did Bankston get as quid pro quo? Well, it seems he owned a beachfront condominium in Gulf Shores, Alabama, so Goodson agreed to pay Bankston $1,555 per month for the “non-use” lease of the condo—a bribe, as it were.

Indicted on October of 1996, he was convicted on two counts of racketeering the following year and sentenced to a 41-month sentence in federal prison and ordered to pay a $20,000 fine.

He was released on Nov. 6, 2000, and served the remainder of his term in a half-way house in Baton Rouge. He was disbarred on March 9, 2002, retroactive to Nov. 19, 1997, but on Feb. 5, 2004, with only one dissenting vote, the Supreme Court’s disciplinary committee recommended that he be re-admitted to the bar.

So today, he provides legal advice to the Auctioneer Licensing Board—a board that winks and looks the other way at payroll fraud on behalf of one of its part time employees.

“If the proposed rule passes,” Burns wrote, “the board apparently believes it has the right to ‘remove and turn off’ any video recording equipment left running. I see nothing in the statute that requires any equipment to be manned, nor do I see where they have any authority to tamper with my video equipment, much less ‘remove it.’

“This is just another effort by a public body hell-bent on deterring public transparency,” he said, adding that he was going to go on the assumption that Attorney General Buddy Caldwell “has been perfectly willing to aid and abet” in the proposed action.

Duly indignant over this flagrant violation of state law, I fired off my own email to the board which first cited the applicable state law on public meetings:

  • The law grants the public the right to attend and record the deliberations of public bodies including city and parish governing bodies; school boards; levee boards; port commissions; boards of public utilities; planning, zoning and airport commissions; other state, local or special district boards, commissions or authorities with policy making, advisory or administrative functions; and committees or subcommittees of those bodies. Judicial proceedings are exempted.

After providing that remedial lesson on the law, I wrote:

I am given to understand this item is to discuss a new rule which would allow the board to turn off Mr. Burns’ video recorder should he have to leave the meeting for a few minutes for any reason. I have a problem with this and I am personally prepared to take you to court over both.

First of all, you have no right to tamper with his video equipment. It is perfectly within the law for him to record the meetings as per the section on public meetings laws highlighted above. Whether he happens to be in the room at the time or not is irrelevant. It is his equipment, not yours, and he has every right under law to record any open meeting.

Moreover, if you follow through on this action, I will pay the costs of Mr. Burns’ filing a lawsuit holding the board chairperson and its legal counsel personally liable for all applicable fines and legal costs. Mr. Burns will not only file suit for damages under the open meetings laws but for harassment and intimidation, as well.

There’s another twist in this sordid soap opera. Item 2 on the agenda calls for a discussion of Burns. He recently lost a public records lawsuit against the board, not because he was wrong in his contention, but because, in the presiding judge’s words, the office of Attorney General Buddy Caldwell gave the board bad advice.

Be that as it may, the agenda said that the discussion of Burns may require an executive session.

Not so!

The only reason for an executive, or closed session is to discuss ongoing negotiations, pending litigation or personnel matters. In the case of Burns, he is not an employee of the board, so any claim of discussing personnel would be invalid as would any claim of ongoing negotiations. As for pending litigation, it is no longer pending. The ruling has been made and the case is over, so all excuses for executive session are out the window. So, if there is to be a discussion of Burns, he has every right under law to insist that all such discussion be done in open session for all (including video cameras) to see and hear. If the board does otherwise, it will be yet another claim in future litigation.

In fact, the board is now skating dangerously close to civil rights violations, which would throw any lawsuit into federal court.


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Two emails popped up on our computer on Wednesday that we simply could not ignore and while the messages concern men who have an intense dislike for each other, the emails are nevertheless related in ways that should offend every voter citizen in Louisiana.

If you were not already turned off by Bobby Jindal and David Vitter, these should do it. If not, then you are part of the problem.

The first is a response to one of our readers from U.S. Sen. David Vitter, the odds-on favorite to become Louisiana’s next governor.

Our reader had written Vitter to ask for his support for a constitutional amendment to overturn the 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court decision that said corporations and unions may not be restricted from spending money to support or denounce individual candidates in elections, in effect giving corporations the same rights as citizens. (The exception is that citizens may be sentenced to prison terms for white collar crimes while corporations may only be fined—usually in amounts far less than the financial gains realized from the criminal activity.)

Anyone who still does not see the manner in which money buys elections in this country—from legislators all the way up to president of the United States—either is a special interest lobbyist, a corporatist power broker, or someone who lives under a rock.

Vitter, in his response, somehow managed to morph the request for the regulation of campaign finance to the muzzling of free speech. “Thank you for contacting me in support of a constitutional amendment that would allow Congress and states to regulate campaign finance and political speech,” he said.

“As you know,” he said, “more than 40 Senate Democrats are supporting an amendment to the Constitution to allow regulations on political speech during federal elections. This proposal comes in response to multiple United States Supreme Court cases upholding the free speech protections enshrined in the First Amendment.”

Right away, he manages to turn it into a Democrat vs. Republican rather than a bipartisan issue. Somehow, when they get to Washington, they just have to make everything an us vs. them fight—like it would kill them to ever admit anyone in the other party might have a good idea. No wonder Congress has such a low approval rating, right down there with televangelists. And we just as quickly get the feeling that Vitter isn’t going to be very sympathetic to any suggestion of campaign reform. Not that’s any real surprise; a special super political action committee was set up on Vitter’s behalf earlier this year to help catapult him into the governor’s office. That PAC, The Fund for Louisiana’s Future, immediately funneled more than $3 million into his campaign.

But back to his email:

“Proponents of the amendment argue that corporations and individuals should be limited in their ability to indirectly support or oppose federal candidates, but the amendment would grant Congress power to pass new statutory limitations on political speech that could impact anyone,” he said.

Oh, please.

“I fear that its adoption would allow Congress to regulate everyone from the Sierra Club to the National Rifle Association, pro-life and pro-choice groups, and could even suppress publishers and producers from releasing new books and movies that pertain to a candidate.”

What unmitigated B.S.

“Moreover, nothing in this amendment is limited to corporations or billionaires; it could easily include limitations on the rights of every American. A free society must engage in robust discourse in search of truth,” he continued in his self-serving gooneybabble.

“Objectionable speech should be confronted in the free marketplace of ideas where the best ideas win out, not through government regulations.

“Never in the history of the Constitution have we amended the Bill of Rights. I firmly disagree that we should do so now, especially not a right so fundamental to who we are as a nation. Although we disagree, rest assured that I will keep your thoughts in mind.”

So the bottom line is Mr. Vitter, who desires to be our next governor, wants corporations, lobbyists and special interest organizations with the financial clout to continue to buy access while drowning out our voices—to club our ideas, letters, emails and small (read: meaningless) contributions into so much pulp with their millions of dollars.

Mr. Vitter’s version of free speech—speech that favors those who are connected and who have the financial resources to purchase elections and politicians—is precisely what is wrong with the political system in the United States—and Louisiana.

The plain truth is Vitter is trying to purchase the governor’s office with his PAC and well-heeled political supporters who are contributing to his campaign not in the interest of good government but in the expectation of some quid pro quo in the form of contracts or favorable legislation. In other words, the buddy system wins, the state of Louisiana loses.

That email is just the sort of thing that State Rep. John Bel Edwards (D-Amite) should plaster all over every newspaper and television station in the state to show the real manner in which David Vitter views democracy and free speech.

And those views have nothing to do with representative government. They are to be used as a vehicle to roll over honest, hard-working citizens and, in the process, to make them think he’s doing them a favor. It’s all about convincing the great unwashed to vote against their own best interests by waving the flag and finding new enemies to hate.

The other email was a report in Wednesday’s online edition of the Baton Rouge Business Report, edited by Rolfe McCollister, a Jindal appointee to the LSU Board of Supervisors and who served as campaign treasurer of Jindal’s gubernatorial campaign and who now serves a treasurer of his presidential campaign.

That story said Jindal, who announced he was a candidate for the Republican Presidential nomination just a week before the close of the second quarter fundraising period, raised $578,758 in that first week.

In all, he has raised more than $9 million, with the bulk of that (more than $8.6 million) raised through super PACs—the American Future Project, Believe Again, and the America Next non-profit—which only reinforces what we said above about the unlevel playing field created by PACs.

The report said that 87 percent of Jindal’s campaign donors contributed $100 or less.

That’s the same kind of garbage he once tried to feed us about the contributions to his governor’s campaign. Trouble is, readers should not listen to what he says but rather to what is not said.

In poring over his initial presidential campaign report (yes, we do that), we found 180 contributors gave the maximum $2,700. That included multiple members of the same household, or in the case of the Madden Construction family in Minden, eight separate Maddens contributed $2,700 each.

The 180 individual donors combined to account for $486,000 of that $578,758. Two of those donors were listed as giving additional checks of $5,400 each (which exceeds federal limits, but we’ll leave that to the Federal Elections Commission). Moreover, an organization identified as the Smoke Bend Political Action Committee ponied up another $5,000.

That runs the subtotal to $501,800.

Continuing down the list, we find that 14 individuals gave $1,000 each, 21 gave $500 each, 42 contributed $250 each, five gave $350 and two more chipped in $300 each.

Altogether, that comes to $538,800, or 93 percent of the total $578,758 and it leaves only about $40,000 for that 87 percent who gave $100 or less. Don’t listen to what they say; hear what they’re not saying.

So the point is, the big money donors simply overwhelm the small donors and to say that most of his donors were small donors is deliberately misleading and disingenuous.

But just for argument’s sake, let’s take a look at a few of major donors.

  • Rolfe McCollister (LSU Board of Supervisors member) and Gene McCollister of Baton Rouge, $2700 each;
  • Hank Danos (LSU Board) and Rodlyn Danos of Larose, $2700 each;
  • Jack Lawton (LSU Board) and Holly Lawton of Lake Charles, $2700 each;
  • Jim McCrery (LSU Board), $2700;
  • Robert Yarborough (LSU Board) and Marsha Yarborough of Baton Rouge, $2700 each;
  • Chester Lee Mallett (LSU Board) and son Brad Mallett of Iowa, LA., $2700 each;
  • James Moore (LSU Board) and Lynn Moore of Monroe, $2700 each;
  • Scott Ballard (LSU Board) and Kristi Ballard of Covington, $2700 each;
  • Blake Chatelain (LSU Board) of Alexandria, $2700;
  • David Madden, Connie Madden, Sharon Madden, Lydia Madden, James Madden, John Madden, Melissa Madden and Douglas Madden, all of Minden, $2700 each;
  • Former Congressman Robert Livingston and Bonnie Livingston of Alexandria, VA., $2700 each;
  • Former Commissioner of Administration Paul Rainwater of Baton Rouge, $2700;
  • Louisiana Department of Revenue Secretary Tim Barfield and Nan Barfield of Baton Rouge, $2700 each;
  • Publisher of Baton Rouge Business Report Julio Melara of Baton Rouge, appointed by Jindal to the Louisiana Stadium & Exposition District, $2700;
  • Robert Bruno of Covington, appointed by Jindal to the Louisiana Stadium & Exposition District, $2700;
  • J.E. Brignac of Prairieville, appointed by Jindal to the Louisiana Stadium & Exposition District, $2700;
  • William Windham of Bossier City, appointed by Jindal to the Louisiana Stadium & Exposition District, and Carol Windham, $2700 each;
  • Former Jindal Executive Counsel Jimmy Faircloth of Pineville, $2700.

Those are just a few, but they account for $94,500. Not too much in the way of contributions outside Louisiana. Apparently the price of being appointed to a prestigious board or commission is not only to vote the way you’re told (see LSU board’s vote on firing presidents, doctors and attorneys, and on giving away state hospitals) but to pony up campaign funds when the boss comes calling.

Conspicuously absent (with only a couple of exceptions), however, were the names of Indian-Americans who practically lined up to contribute to his gubernatorial campaigns of 2003, 2007 and 2011 before watching in dismay as he began to distance himself from his Indian heritage, claiming that he did not believe in hyphenated-Americans.


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By Robert Burns (Special to LouisianaVoice)

On Monday, November 5, 2012, the Louisiana Auctioneer Licensing Board (LALB) conducted a meeting at which two members, Vice President James Sims and Greg Bordelon, engaged in racist roll call responses. Because the meeting was quietly moved up by nearly three weeks, neither I nor Rev. Freddie Lee Phillips, Louisiana’s only African American auctioneer in its history, were aware of it and thus didn’t attend (our only absence in seven years).

Upon learning of the meeting, I made a public records request for an audio recording of it.  My request was ignored for almost a month, so I threatened litigation. Reluctantly, the LALB provided the recording.  Phillips, who thought I was joking about the racist responses, was justifiably outraged when he heard the tape. He wanted the Jindal Administration to hear the recording, so I supplied it to them. Meanwhile, an Advocate reporter, Ted Griggs, took an interest in the matter, and published this article on December 22, 2012. Jindal called upon the inspector general (IG) to “investigate” the matter. That “investigation” concluded with the release of this this report on February 20, 2013 in which the behavior is excused as mere “diabetes and dentures” flaring up for Sims and Bordelon merely “mocking Sims as a North Louisiana redneck.” Griggs published a follow-up story on the IG’s report soon after its release.

I was intrigued by the recording’s revelation of LALB members, especially Vice Chairman James Sims, lambasting Jindal over his freezing their per diem payments. Despite Jindal’s signing this Executive Order effective August 5, 2012, LALB members defied the order and accepted payments for the September 2012 meeting. I raised this issue privately with LALB Attorney Larry S. Bankston via email, and he responded with an email assuring me I could address my concerns at the next meeting (January 8, 2013). Meanwhile, Phillips wanted to address the roll call responses as part of the approval of the November 5, 2012 minutes. Phillips wanted verbatim roll call responses entered into the record of those minutes.

When January 8, 2013 rolled around, Bankston was emphatic that neither Phillips nor I would be permitted to speak on our respective issues as evidenced in this video.

Louisiana Revised Statute 42:14(D) mandates an opportunity for public comment on any meeting agenda item for which a vote is taken. Since the minutes of the prior meeting requires a vote for adoption, as does approval of financials (within which the illegal per diem payments constituted a line item), Phillips and I filed this open meetings law violation lawsuit pro se on March 6, 2013. In an effort to maximize his billings to his LALB client, Bankston filed back-to-back Dilatory Exception motions (a fruitless legal technique to drag out a case’s duration). The first motion, for which oral arguments were heard on July 22, 2013, resulted in Judge Hernandez granting a 30-day period to amend the lawsuit to more succinctly state a cause of action. The second motion, for which oral arguments were heard on February 3, 2014, was denied, thus forcing Bankston to file an answer to the suit over a year after it had been filed.             Because the case was a clear violation of the law, Phillips and I filed a Motion for Summary Judgment on May 12, 2014.  Oral arguments on our motion were heard by Hernandez on August 4, 2014. We argued that the case was a violation of the open meetings laws and we were therefore entitled to $100 each from the board members for denying us the right to speak on items clearly on the agenda. In a motion for summary judgment, one side (us in this instance) argues that no issues of material fact exist which can permit the case to continue to trial; therefore, judgment should be granted to the moving party as a matter of law. Upon the conclusion of oral arguments on August 4, 2014, Judge Hernandez took the matter under advisement, saying, “It will all boil down to whether the court finds there is a matter of material fact to permit the case to continue.”

Bankston filed his own Motion for Summary Judgment for the LALB for which oral arguments were set for September 15, 2014. Meanwhile, in a continued effort to maximize his legal billings, Bankston took depositions for both Phillips and myself. For Phillips, Bankston argued he suffered “no harm” from not being able to address the roll call response, to which Phillips told Hernandez, “I was unable to defend my culture, my heritage, or to confront the two board members directly on their actions.”

Bankston also argued that, because per diem payments were not a line-item on the agenda, the LALB violated nothing in terms of denying me the opportunity to speak. Never mind that per diem payments were a line item on the financials and that those very financials containing the illegal payments were being approved at that January 8, 2013 meeting. Never mind that Bankston had provided me with an email on December 23, 2012 which said that I would be permitted to address my concerns. If one isn’t permitted to discuss such an integral component of the financial statements being approved, what can the public state regarding the financials at the meeting? Bankston also posed the argument that, because I had informed Jindal’s office that the LALB was defying his executive order and Jindal’s office had demanded that the board members refund the per diem overpayments as a result, my goal had been accomplished notwithstanding the fact I was not permitted to discuss the matter at a public meeting.

Judge Hernandez again took the matter under advisement. When no ruling was issued prior to the November 4, 2014 election, I told Phillips, who resides in Hernandez’s district, that was a very bad sign. I said if Hernandez were to issue a ruling against us before the election, the contents of his ruling may cause Phillips to implore his congregation, relatives, and friends to vote for Hernandez’s opposition. Because of that, Hernandez was delaying making his ruling until after the election. If so, he was smart because he barely survived a strong challenge by Democrat Collette Greggs (53-47).

Judge Hernandez issued his ruling granting Bankston’s Motion for Summary Judgment more than 60 days after the election. In doing so, Hernandez went from openly questioning if any issue of material fact existed on Aug. 4, 2014, to permitting defendants to continue toward a trial, in effect saying plaintiffs had no basis for proceeding with trial!

Hernandez said in his ruling, “The agenda did not include the subject of per diem payments,” and he therefore ruled that the board would be required to add the line item of per diem payments to the agenda to permit discussion! So, using Hernandez’s “logic,” a board guilty of making illegal payments must vote to add a line item entailing the illegal payments in order for the public to address them! Don’t hold your breath waiting for that to occur. Hernandez’s ruling not only makes a mockery of LA R. S. 42:14(D), but his ruling makes the court culpable in attempts to keep illegal payments by board members. Moreover, the court is made to appear even more culpable than those seeking to keep the illegal payments. His ruling sends a horrible message to members of the public seeking to hold public bodies accountable.

Hernandez went on to say that, even if a violation of the open meetings law transpired on January 8, 2013, it was remedied at the March LALB meeting. The fact that a judge has to say, “even if a violation occurred,” is a point-blank statement that an issue of material fact exists in the case and therefore he was bound by law to deny Bankston’s motion and permit the matter to continue to trial.

We wanted to appeal Hernandez’s ruling as it’s doubtful any three-judge panel of the First Circuit would have upheld his ruling. State agencies, with infinite resources of taxpayer dollars, routinely appeal rulings knowing they stand no chance of being overturned.  LouisianaVoice readers may recall an article on the CNSI trial in which Judge Kelley told the state’s attorneys “there is nothing to appeal because this matter is that clear,” regarding Bruce Greenstein having waived attorney-client privilege. Nevertheless, at a cost approximating $30,000, the state appealed Kelley’s ruling, only for it to be upheld.

My attorney informed me it would cost about $9,000 to appeal Hernandez’s ruling and even if we prevailed, there was no way to recover that $9,000. Hence, we had little choice but to walk away. That’s why Judge Caldwell’s “split the baby” ruling in the Tom Aswell’s public records request lawsuit last week felt like such a victory from my vantage point. A judge finally provided some relief to the “small guy.”


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