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Archive for the ‘Contract, Contracts’ Category

As we face the end of eight years of ineptitude, deceit, and whoopee cushion governance, LouisianaVoice is proud to announce our first ever election of John Martin Hays Memorial Boob of the Year.

There are no prizes, just a poll of our readership as to whom the honor should go in our debut survey.

Hays was publisher of a weekly publication called appropriately enough, the Morning Paper in Ruston until his death last year. He relished nothing more than feasting on the carcasses of bloated egos. He single-handedly exposed a major Ponzi scheme in North Louisiana, sending the operator to prison. That got him some major ink in the Atlanta Constitution and the New York Times.

The problem of course, is trying to narrow the field to make the final selection manageable.

The obvious choice for most would be Bobby Jindal, but there are so many other deserving candidates that we caution readers not to make hasty decisions. After all, we wouldn’t want to slight anyone who has worked so hard for the honor.

So, without further ado, here are the nominees, along with a brief synopsis of their accomplishments.

  • Bobby Jindal: Mismanaged the state budget for an unprecedented eight consecutive years. At least there’s something to be said for consistency. In his eight-year reign of error (mostly spent in states other than Louisiana) he managed to cut higher education more than any other state; he robbed public education to reward for-profit charter schools and virtual schools; he gave away the state’s Charity Hospital system (he awarded a contract to the new operators—a contract with 50 blank pages which is now the subject of what is expected to be a prolonged legal battle; he appointed political donors to prestigious boards and commissions, including the LSU Board of Supervisors which, under his direction, fired two distinguished doctors, the school’s president and its legal counsel; He trumped up bogus charges against the director of the State Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control (ATC) to appease mega-donor Tom Benson and to appoint the husband of his children’s pediatrician to head up the agency; he forced state offices to pay higher rent in order to again accommodate Benson by signing a costly lease agreement with Benson Towers; rather than consider alternative ideas, he simply fired, or teagued, anyone who disagreed with him on any point; he refused Medicaid expansion, thus depriving anywhere from 250,000 to 400,000 low-income citizens needed medical care; he tried unsuccessfully to ram through pension reform that would have been devastating to state employees; he insisted on handing out contract after contract to attorney Jimmy Faircloth who is still searching for his first courtroom victory after receiving well more than $1 million in legal fees; he spurned a major federal grant that would have brought high-speed broadband internet to Louisiana’s rural parishes; he stole $4 million from the developmentally disadvantaged citizens so he could give it to the owner of a $75 million Indianapolis-type race track—a family member of another major donor and one of the richest families in the state; he abandoned his duties as governor to seek the Republican presidential nomination, a quest recognized by everyone but him as a fantasy; he ran up millions of dollars in costs of State Police security in such out-of-state locations as Iowa, New Hampshire, Ohio, and South Carolina; he had the State Police helicopter give rides to his children, and the list goes on.
  • Attorney General Buddy Caldwell: All he did was completely botch the entire CNSI contract mess which today languishes in state district court in Baton Rouge; He consistently turned a blind eye to corruption and violations of various state laws while ringing up what he thought was an impressive record of going after consumer fraud (Hey, Buddy, those credit care scam artists are still calling my phone multiple times a day!); and his concession speech on election night was one for the books—a total and unconditional embarrassment of monumental proportions.
  • Kristy Nichols: What can we say? This is the commissioner of administration who managed to delay complying to our legal public records request for three entire months but managed to comply to an identical request by a friendly legislator within 10 days; We sued her and won and she has chosen to spend more state money (your dollars, by the way) in appealing a meager $800 (plus court costs and legal fees) judgment in our favor; it was her office that came down hard on good and decent employees of the State Land Office who she thought were leaking information to LouisianaVoice (they weren’t); she first reduced premiums for state employee health coverage in order to free up money to help plug a state budget deficit all the while whittling away at a $500 million reserve fund to practically nothing which in turn produced draconian premium increases and coverage cuts for employees and retirees (and during legislative hearings on the fiasco, she ducked out to take her daughter to a boy-band concert in New Orleans where she was allowed to occupy the governor’s private Superdome suite.
  • Troy Hebert: appointed by Jindal to head up ATC which quickly turned in a mass exodus of qualified, dedicated agents; he used state funds to purchase a synthetic drug sniffing dog (hint: there is no such thing as a synthetic drug sniffing dog because synthetic ingredients constantly change; this was just another dog, albeit an expensive one); he launched a racist campaign to rid his agency of black agents; while still a legislator, he was a partner in a firm that negotiated contracts with the state for hurricane debris cleanup.
  • Mike Edmonson: Oh, where do we start? Well, of course there is that retirement pay increase bill amendment back in 2014; there is the complete breakdown of morale, particularly in Troop D; then, there was the promotion of Tommy Lewis to Troop F Commander three years after he sneaked an underage woman into a casino in Vicksburg (he was subsequently fined $600 by the Mississippi Gaming Commission but only after first identifying himself as the executive officer of Troop F and asking if something “could be worked out.”); allowing Deputy Undersecretary Jill Boudreaux to take advantage of a lucrative buyout incentive for early retirement (which, in her case, came to $46,000, plus another $13,000 of unused annual leave) only to retire for one day and return the next—at a promotion to Undersecretary. She was subsequently ordered to repay the $56,000 but thanks to friends in high places, the money has never been repaid (maybe incoming Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne would like to revisit that matter); consistent inconsistency in administering discipline to officers who stray—such as attempting unsuccessfully to fire one trooper for assaulting a suspect (even though the suspect never made such a claim) while doing practically nothing to another state trooper who twice had sex with a woman while on duty—once in the back seat of his patrol car.
  • David Vitter: what can we say? The odds-on favorite to walk into the governor’s office, he blew $10 million—and the election. His dalliance with prostitutes, his amateurish spying on a John Bel Edwards supporter, an auto accident with a campaign worker who also headed up the Super PAC that first savaged his Republican opponents in the primary, turning Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne and Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle irreversibly against him and driving their supporters to Edwards’s camp. In short, he could write the manual on blowing an election.
  • The entire State Legislature: for passing that idiotic (and most likely illegal) budget on the last day of the session but only after Grover Norquist was consulted about the acceptability of a little tax deception; for allowing Jindal to run roughshod over them on such matters as education reform, hospital privatization, pension reform and financing recurring expenses with one-time money; for being generally spineless in all matters legislative and deferring to an absentee governor with a personal agenda.

Those are our nominees but only after some serious paring down the list.

Go to our comments section to cast your vote in 25 words or less. The deadline is Friday, Dec. 18.

As much as you might like, you are allowed to vote only once.

 

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If you were to seek two cases that stand as glaring testimony to the way in which the Jindal administration employs a double standard in addressing legal and ethical issues, you need look no further than the cases involving Murphy Painter and Jeff Mercer.

Though the men never met and while one was a state employee and the other a private contractor, together, the two represent the composite poster child for victims of political favoritism and corruption. Both fell prey to unethical behavior and of the way political priorities have been set by the Jindal administration for the past eight years.

We have chronicled the manner in which Jindal and his henchmen made Painter a scapegoat by firing him from his post as director of the State Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control (ATC). We have shown how, when he refused to knuckle under and bend the rules for the benefit of Anheuser-Busch distributor Southern Eagle, SMG (the Louisiana Superdome management company), the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District (LSED) Board, and Tom Benson, Jindal not only fired Painter but even tried (unsuccessfully) to prosecute him in federal district court on bogus criminal charges of computer fraud.

Not only was Painter acquitted of all (there were 42 counts, none of which stuck) charges, but the state then was required to repay Painter’s legal costs of $474,000.

http://louisianavoice.com/2014/10/24/another-embarrassment-for-jindal-ex-atc-commissioner-murphy-painter-wins-defamation-suit-against-his-accuser/

LouisianaVoice was the first—and only—news service to suggest (correctly, it turned out) that Painter, instead of a criminal, was the victim of a political scheme intended to remove him from his position after he refused to approve an incomplete application by SMG for a permit to erect a large tent at Benson’s Champions Square adjacent to Benson Towers across from the Superdome. The tent was to house beer sales by Southern Eagle on Saints game days. http://louisianavoice.com/2013/02/06/emerging-claims-lawsuits-could-transform-murphy-painter-from-predator-to-all-too-familiar-victim-of-jindal-reprisals/

Jindal executive counsel Stephen Waguespack, now President of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI), insisted—twice—that the permit be expedited, Painter asked that he put his concerns in writing but Waguespack responded that he was far too busy to reduce his demands to writing (which would’ve left a paper trail, don’t you see).

Instead, Painter was simply fired and SMG got its permit. Of course, it was mere coincidence that the Benson family, SMG, its law firm, Southern Eagle and members of the LSED Board had combined to dump more than $207,000 into Jindal’s campaigns between 2002 and 2012.

Quick as the Jindal crowd was to administer justice (read reprisals) in the Painter case, it was painfully slow in ferreting out reports of corruption in one of the largest agencies in the state—the Department of Transportation and Development—and even slower in addressing those reports with the proper corrective measures. The fact is, nothing was ever done about reports of attempted shakedowns of a DOTD contractor and the subsequent harassment of that same contractor that eventually put him out of business.

It turned out to be an expensive oversight on the state’s part.

On Friday, a 12-person jury returned a unanimous verdict in which it awarded Jeff Mercer of Mangham $20 million, plus eight years (and counting) of judicial interest for allowing DOTD supervisors to condone demands of cash and equipment from Mercer by a DOTD inspector (we call that extortion where I come from; the inspector allegedly threatened Mercer with inspection problems with his work). Moreover, Mercer was able to prove that DOTD deliberately withheld payments for work performed by Mercer as payback for his whistleblowing, first reported by LouisianaVoice in April of 2012. http://louisianavoice.com/2014/04/09/contractor-claims-in-lawsuit-that-dotd-official-attempted-shake-down-for-cash-equipment-during-monroe-work/

http://louisianavoice.com/2015/12/05/story-of-attempted-contractor-shakedown-broken-2-years-ago-by-louisianavoice-results-in-20-million-verdict-against-state/

Mercer had even taken his complaint to the governor’s office, but nothing was ever done. No referral to the Inspector General’s office. The IG, by the way, works directly for and answers only to the governor and was prompt enough to bring charges against Painter three years ago.

So, the question must be asked: why was the governor’s office not front and center in taking appropriate action on reports of extortion, threats of federal prosecution against Mercer, and refusals to pay for work performed by him?

Why was the demand for compliance so urgent in the Painter case and the concern so lacking in the Mercer case?

To paraphrase Jindal: two words.

Campaign contributions.

Benson, SMG, and members of the LSED Board were major Jindal campaign contributors. Mercer was not.

Benson and his associates were friends of Jindal and as such, they possessed massive political power that the governor could not ignore—nor did he wish to.

Mercer was a small contractor from the small North Louisiana town of Mangham, situated about halfway between Winnsboro and Rayville—and smaller than each of those. He was not influential.

He was, they thought, an insignificant little nobody who could be ignored because he had neither the influence nor the political muscle to make himself heard over the rattle of dinner plates at the governor’s mansion or over the lofty, self-serving campaign rhetoric about Jindal’s gold standard of ethics.

The administration, it turns out, committed the worst tactical error possible in warfare and politics: it vastly underestimated the determination of a little man when he is truly pissed and it woefully underestimated the indignation and ire of a 12-person jury upon their hearing of the injustice heaped upon one of their own by an uncaring bureaucracy and of the unscrupulous actions of those within that same bureaucracy.

And boy, does it ever feel good when the underdog wins one!

 

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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

http://law.justia.com/codes/louisiana/2011/rs/title37/rs37-3507-2

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.

http://lsbpie.com/lawregulations.aspx

ETHICS AND PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR LAWS

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.

PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR INVOICE SHOWING KAREN MOORHEAD AS WORKING FOR HIM (BEGINNING PAGE 58)

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.

http://louisianavoice.com/2014/03/07/state-board-employs-intimidation-harassment-to-generate-funds-to-pay-for-lucrative-contracts-worth-millions-of-dollars/

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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In a state drowning in consulting contracts, what’s one more?

Bobby Jindal is a lame duck governor who long ago set his sights on bigger and better things. He has abdicated every aspect of his office except the salary, free housing and state police security that go with the title. In reality, he has turned the reins of state government over to subordinates who are equally distracted in exploring their own future employment prospects.

His only concerns in almost eight years in office, besides setting himself up to run for President, have been (a) appointing generous campaign donors to positions on state boards and commissions and (b) privatizing state agencies by handing them over to political supporters.

To that end there has been a proliferation of consulting contracts during the Jindal years. The legislative auditor reported in May that there were 19,000 state contracts totaling more than $21 billion.

So as his term enters its final months and as Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols has less than a month before moving on to do for Ochsner Health System what she’s done for the state, what’s another $500,000?

LouisianaVoice has learned that Nichols signed off on a $497,000 contract with ComPsych Corp. and its affiliate, FMLASource, Inc. of Chicago, to administer the state’s Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) program. FMLA CONTRACT

It is no small irony that Nichols signed off on the contract on May 19, less than two weeks after the legislative auditor’s report of May 6 which was highly critical of the manner in which contracts are issued with little or no oversight.

The latest contract removes the responsibility for approving FMLA for state employees and hands it over to yet another private contractor.

Apparently FMLA was just one more thing the Jindal administration has determined state employees are incapable of administering—even though they have done so since the act was approved by Congress in 1993.

Because no state employees stand to lose their jobs over this latest move, the contract would seem to simply be another consulting contract doled out by the administration, obligating the state to more unnecessary expenditures.

Whether it’s farming out the Office of Risk Management, Office of Group Benefits, funding voucher and charter schools, or implementing prison or hospital privatization—it’s obvious that Jindal has been following the game plan of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to the letter. That plan calls for privatizing virtually every facet of state government. If you don’t think the repeated cuts to higher education and health care were calculated moves toward ALEC’s goals, think again.

The contract runs from May 17, 2015 through May 16, 2016, and the state agreed to pay FMLAServices $1.45 per state employee per month up to the yearly maximum of $497,222.

Agencies for which FMLAServices will administer FMLA include the:

  • Division of Administration;
  • Department of Economic Development;
  • Department of Corrections;
  • Department of Public Safety;
  • Office of Juvenile Justice;
  • Department of Health and Hospitals;
  • Department of Children and Family Services;
  • Department of Revenue;
  • Department of Transportation and Development.

The legislative auditor’s report noted that there is really no way of accurately tracking the number or amount of state contracts. STATE CONTRACTS AUDIT REPORT

“As of November 2014, Louisiana had at least 14,693 active contracts totaling approximately $21.3 billion in CFMS. However, CFMS, which is used by OCR to track and monitor Executive Branch agency contract information, does not contain every state contract.

“Although CFMS, which is a part of the Integrated Statewide Information System (ISIS), tracks most contracts, primarily Executive Branch agencies use this system. For example, Louisiana State University obtained its own procurement tracking system within the last year, and most state regulatory boards and commissions do not use CFMS (Contract Financial Management System). As a result, there is no centralized database where legislators and other stakeholders can easily determine the actual number and dollar amount of all state contracts. Therefore, the total number and dollar amount of existing state contracts as of November 2014 could be much higher.”

The audit report also said:

  • State law (R.S. 39:1490) requires that OCR (Office of Contractual Review) adopt rules and regulations for the procurement, management, control, and disposition of all professional, personal, consulting, and social services contracts required by state agencies. According to OCR, it reviews these types of contracts for appropriateness of contract terms and language, signature authorities, evidence of funding and compliance with applicable laws, regulations, executive orders, and policies. OCR also reviews agencies’ procurement processes against competitive solicitation requirements of law. The contracting entity is responsible for justifying the need for the contract and conducting a cost-benefit analysis if required.
  • However, state law does not require that a centralized entity approve all state contracts.
  • According to the CFMS User Guide, OCR is only required to approve seven of the 20 possible contract types in CFMS. The remaining 13 types accounted for 8,068 contracts totaling approximately $6.2 billion as of November 2014. Exhibit 2 lists the 20 types of contracts in
  • CFMS and whether or not OCR is required to approve each type, including the total number and dollar amount of these contracts.
  • In fiscal year 2014, 72 agencies approved 4,599 contracts totaling more than $278 million.

The Office of Contractual Review was since been merged with the Office of State Procurement last Jan. 1.

 

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