Sales of my latest book, Louisiana’s Rogue Sheriffs: A Culture of Corruption (see image of book cover in column to the right of this post), are progressing at a rather brisk pace.

I’m also informed that the book was the topic of considerable conversation at the Louisiana Sheriffs’ Association’s annual training conference this past weekend at L’auberge Casino Resort in Lake Charles.

That’s okay. As Uncle Earl Long was known to say, “There ain’t no bad publicity as long as they spell my name right.”

The book, 350 pages in length explores the shenanigans of a litany of past and present Louisiana sheriffs who didn’t even blink an eye at theft, drug dealing, malfeasance, human rights violations, and even murder. An sample chapter from the book can be found at the bottom of this post.

I will be a guest of Jim Engster on his Louisiana Public Radio program, Talk Louisiana, Friday at 9 a.m. You may listen in by logging onto http://www.jimengster.com/ Friday at 9:00.

On Saturday, I will have my first book signing at Cavalier House Books in Denham Springs. I purposely chose Cavalier’s because that’s where I had my first book signing for my earlier book, Louisiana Rocks: The True Genesis of Rock & Roll.

I’m also scheduled for a biographical profile and review of Louisiana’s Rogue Sheriffs in CENLA FOCUS, an online Alexandria publication.

Of course, no book promotion would be complete without a book signing and lecture at the Louisiana State Library’s 16th annual Louisiana Book Festival, scheduled for Saturday, November 2. Always the highlight of the year for book lovers, last year’s festival attracted more than 26,000 visitors. I will attend the festival’s Authors’ Party the evening of Friday, November 1 and on Saturday, in addition to signing copies of the book, I will give a lecture on some of the more colorful Louisiana sheriffs in the basement of the Louisiana State Capitol.

To obtain your copy of the book, which is not yet in area book stores, you may click on the yellow Donate Button with Credit Cards button also located in the column to the right of this post to pay by credit card. The book sells for $30 and if you order by clicking on the yellow button, be sure to send a separate email to louisianavoice@outlook.com giving me your mailing address.

You may also order the book from Amazon but for some reason, they listed the price at $35. I did not authorize that price and I would recommend purchasing directly from me to save $5. If you prefer not to order by credit card, you may send a check for $30 to Tom Aswell, P.O. Box 922, Denham Springs, LA. 70727.

As promised, here is an excerpt from the book:

Bobby Tardo, Duffy Breaux: Lafourche Parish

Some people take their politics a little more seriously than others.

Take, for example, Cyrus “Bobby” Tardo. Elected sheriff of Lafourche Parish in 1971, he was defeated for reelection by Duffy Breaux in 1975. That he went on to be elected parish president in 1983 was of little consequence to Tardo. Losing in ‘75 to the man he had defeated four years earlier apparently was more than he could stomach. After all, he had given Breaux a job after Breaux, who finished third in that ’71 election, endorsed Tardo over his runoff opponent—only to have Breaux run against him in the very next election.

On December 15, 1988, Breaux and Deputy Daniel Leche were leaving a senior citizen Christmas party at the Thibodaux Civic Center. A grocery bag was on the ground next to Breaux’s vehicle and as he approached it, the sheriff kicked the bag with his foot. As he did so, an explosion rocked the still evening air as shrapnel and nails tore into Breaux’s leg, nearly severing his foot.

Marshall McClendon, 42, a former New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Gonzales police officer who had once worked for Tardo during his one term as sheriff as well as having served as an Ascension Parish sheriff’s deputy, had detonated a bomb by remote control in an attempt on Breaux’s life. Tardo had paid McClendon and John Tullier, Jr. of St. Amant, age 23, $8,000 with the promise of another $12,000 if Breaux died. A third man, former Houma police officer Ralph Bergeron, 42, was also charged with conspiracy to violate and of violation of the Organized Crime Control Act and illegal possession of a destructive device.

Bergeron and Tullier conducted surveillance of Breaux several times before the bombing was actually carried out, the affidavit said.

An informant who admitted his involvement in the attempt on Breaux’s life told federal agents that Tardo had supplied the money to have Breaux murdered, according to a federal affidavit that outlined allegations against the men. The informant said Tardo also gave McClendon an additional $2,000 for his participation in the bombing.

The affidavit released at a press conference by U.S. Attorney John Volz said Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) agents monitored a conversation between Tardo and the informant. It was during that meeting that Tardo affirmed his knowledge of the bombing, admitted to paying McClendon the extra $2,000, gave the confidential source $100 to help him get out of town, and admitted that he, Tardo, had entered into an agreement with McClendon that called for McClendon to maintain silence if arrested.

Tardo, a retired state trooper who was working as a private investigator and an insurance agent at the time the bombing was carried out, was sentenced to 29 years, five-months in prison but served less than three years of that sentence. He died of heart failure on April 30, 1992, in the Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Missouri where he had been transferred after becoming ill. He never left federal custody following his February 2, 1989 arrest. He was only 61 at the time of his death.

Tullier was sentenced to 19 years, eight months while McClendon was given a 24-year sentence and Bergeron was sentenced to 11 years imprisonment.

Breaux, meanwhile, would go on to serve as sheriff for 16 years, until 1992, when he, too, ran afoul of the law.

Breaux, who began his career in law enforcement as a dispatcher for the sheriff’s office, pleaded guilty in 1993 to mail fraud, conspiracy and obstruction of justice for deals in which he was involved while sheriff. At the center of the charges was a scheme to defraud Lafourche Parish of more than $100,000 through Shield Land, a company owned by Breaux and his Chief Deputy, Eddie Duet. The sheriff’s office contracted with local banks which paid for the storage of mobile homes. Because Breaux and Duet owned the land where the trailers were stored, they profited directly from the transactions.

Breaux served more than four years in federal prison in Montgomery, Alabama, and was released in 1997. He died eight years later, on December 13, 2005, of complications from pneumonia. He was 77.


There are certain procedures that must be followed in submitting public records requests to public agencies and with many agencies, if the procedure is not followed to the letter, you will find cooperation nonexistent.

Such is the case with Dr. Arnold Feldman, a pain management physician whose license was suspended by the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners which, just to be sure that he has been silenced, imposed a half-million dollar fine against him.

Dr. Feldman is unfamiliar with the proper method of making public records requests, as evidenced by a number of his requests that LouisianaVoice has obtained. For example, he has on occasion asked for general information instead of requesting specific documents.

In such cases the board, like many state agencies, is unforgiving, responding that his request is “overly broad” without explaining how—or by not responding at all.

It helps if you preface your request with: “Pursuant to the Public Records Act of Louisiana (R.S. 44:1 et seq.), I respectfully request the opportunity to review the following information:

Then you may wish to quote certain passages from the state’s public records statute, i.e. the penalties that non-compliance with the request carry. That puts officials on notice that you are knowledgeable about the public records statute.

And even though Dr. Feldman’s request did not follow these procedures, there are those occasions where the official response is so absurd that the official efforts to deny information becomes obvious.

For example, Dr. Feldman made one request that granted, did not follow protocol when he inquired as to whether or not Hammond attorney George M. Papale had ever been elected as a judge (he has not).

And while the request itself did not specifically ask for a public record, the board’s response in a JULY 9 LETTER by Dr. Vincent Culotta, executive director of the board, was laughable—and incorrect:

“…responses to public records requests are sometimes done with the assistance of counsel and we object to producing such information such information for your request on grounds of attorney-client and work product privileges.”

That is pure B.S. and Culotta knows it. And if he doesn’t, he should be fired because it’s part of his job to know.

Virtually every state agency, upon receiving any request for public records, runs that request by its legal counsel—meaning that practically all public records requests are done “with the assistance of counsel.”

By that line of reasoning, all public records requests could be refused.

A week earlier, in a JULY 2 LETTER, Dr. Culotta responded to Dr. Feldman:

“Specifically, you requested: ‘Has George Papale, who has been paid by this board, ever been an elected judge? Please provide me with a copy of his complete file.’

“I outline for you the objections of the Board to the scope of your request and specifically assert these objections to the production of any of the materials listed therein, if any exists, for the following, non-exhaustive reasons:”

One of the reasons given cited a state statute which provides that the “records and documents in the possession of any agency or any officer or employee thereof, including any written conclusions therefrom, which are deemed confidential and privileged shall not be subject to subpoena by any person or other state or federal agency.”

The key here is the phrase “which are deemed confidential and privileged.”

In the case of all public employees, from the governor on down, certain information is considered public information. This includes job titles, dates of hire and termination, salaries, official travel records, and expense vouchers (hotels, meals, mileage) and payments. In the cases of contract employees, copies of such contracts, terms of payment, job duties, invoices and payments are all considered public records.

How do I know this? I have made similar requests—and received documents—from many state agencies, one of the most frequent being the Louisiana State Police and the Department of Public Safety and Corrections.

In cases of denial of a valid request, the requester may file a lawsuit against the agency and the person making the decision to deny the records. If the requester prevails, the agency or individual making the decision can be fined up to $100 per day, plus court costs and attorney fees, for denial of each request.

How do I know this? I have been successful in three of four lawsuits over public records or illegal executive sessions of a public body.

As with the State Board of Dentistry, the Board of Medical Examiners is flexing its enforcement muscle against those who do not have the expertise or the financial resources to fight back. A half-million-dollar fine is overkill in every possible consideration. Doctors and dentists have been broken and their careers left in tatters because of similar oppressive, dictatorial actions and it’s long past the time they should be reined in.

And for the record, attorney George Papale is still under contract to the Board of Medical Examiners even after his—and his daughter’s—employment was TERMINATED by another regulatory board, the Louisiana Physical Therapy Board.

The two attorneys had their contracts terminated following widespread complaints about the board’s handling of sexual misconduct cases.

The board was ripped by lawmakers after it was learned it had failed to revoke licenses after physical therapists settled claims of sexual misconduct with patients.

Baton Rouge physical therapist Philippe Veeters was charged with sexual battery and accused of assaulting nine patients but instead of revoking his license, the board merely suspended his license for nine months, prompting State Sen. J.P. Morrell (D-New Orleans) to call the action a “slap on the wrist.”

Dr. Feldman should re-phrase his requests and if unsuccessful, seek a legal solution.

That’s not legal advice; it’s advice from one who has been down the same road on many occasions.

When high-profile people move together in a tight circle, it’s sometimes difficult to break out of their orbit.

And no matter how often or how loudly Trump’s rabid supporters chant “Lock her up” at the mere mention of Hillary Clinton, there’s that inescapable fact that Trump and the Clintons were in that tight little circle of New York society and both Trump and Bill Clinton rubbed elbows with accused human trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.

That’s guilt by association and no matter what size blinders Trump’s evangelical followers choose to wear. They simply cannot get past the inconvenient fact that Trump (a) knew of Epstein’s preference for young (read: underage) girls and (b) thought Epstein was a “lot of fun” and a “terrific guy.”

For those same evangelicals to continue their blind loyalty to a man with zero morals and less than zero compassion for his fellow man is to expose them as the hypocrites of the highest order. Their devotion to such a man exposes the Big Lie: their profession to worship and attempt to emulate the one upon which their entire faith is supposedly based: Jesus.

And for Trump to continue to encourage that now all-too-familiar chant is to ignore a dark side of his character that has been exposed in the Billy Bush ACCESS HOLLYWOOD tapes and other offensive quotes as documented HERE (particularly numbers 4 and 5).

Hard-core Trump supporters, of course, will dismiss this story out of hand as “fake news” while at the same time clinging with maniacal fervor to that long-debunked ALEX JONES-perpetuated conspiracy Pizzagate theory that Hillary Clinton and John Podesta were involved in child sex-trafficking through a Washington, D.C. pizza parlor.

(And just in case you aren’t an evangelical but support Trump on the basis of a robust economy he inherited from Barack Obama—after the Wall Street collapse under George W. Bush—you might do well to remember that Hitler restored Germany’s economy—and gave the world the Volkswagen Beetle—and Mussolini “made the trains run on time,” which makes your reasoning a little suspect. And if you don’t agree that Obama handed Trump a thriving economy, look it up before firing off your half-baked comments suggesting that anyone who has anything favorable to say about Obama is a “libtard.”)

But I digress. Let’s get back to Jeffrey Epstein, Trump, Bill Clinton, Steven Hoffenberg and Alexander Acosta and that tight little circle I mentioned at the outset. And please take note that I haven’t said anything about collusion or obstruction. This is a whole ‘nother matter—and it really leaves egg on the collective faces of those evangelical Trump worshipers who have adopted him as their very own false prophet (or perhaps more appropriately, “profit”).

So, just who is this Jeffrey Epstein I keep mentioning? I’m glad you asked because for the evangelicals, there’s a special Ruston connection.

Epstein is a wealthy hedge fund manager who once hobnobbed with Bill Clinton, England’s Prince Andrew, and a one-time Palm Beach neighbor—one Donald J. Trump.

Anyone who keeps up with the news is aware that Epstein was arrested Saturday in New York on new sex-trafficking charges that date back to the early 2000s and which involve accusations of his having paid underage girls for massages and for molesting them in his Florida and New York homes.

The arrest comes amid renewed examination of a one-time secret—but now out of the bag—plea deal engineered then former Miami U.S. Attorney-turned-Trump labor secretary Alexander Acosta ((I almost used the Latin term for Acosta’s career transition, but thought better of it). Under that deal, Epstein, instead of a possible life sentence, received only 13 months in jail and he was required to reach financial settlements with dozens of his one-time teenage victims and to register as a sex offender.

A federal judge ruled earlier this year that Epstein’s victims should have been consulted under federal law about the terms of the deal, an “oversight” that federal prosecutors have admitted falls short of the “government’s dedication to serve victims to the best of its ability” and that the victims should have been communicated with “in a straightforward and transparent way.”

Court records in Florida reveal that at least 40 underage girls were brought into Epstein’s Palm Beach mansion for sexual encounters after female fixers found suitable girls in Eastern Europe and other parts of the world. Girls were also brought to Epstein homes in New Mexico, New York and to a private Caribbean island, court documents say.

His arrest Saturday came only days after the unsealing of nearly 2,000 pages of records in a since-settled defamation case also involving Epstein.

Nebraska Republican Sen. Ben Sasse, in calling Epstein a “monster (who) received a pathetically soft sentence,” released a statement calling for Epstein to be held without bail pending trial. He said his victims deserve “nothing less than justice. Justice doesn’t depend on the size of your bank account.”

As a sidebar to all this sleazy mess, Law Newz, an online legal news service, reported on Monday (July 4) that Trump himself is accused of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl in Epstein’s presence in 1994.

In the Doe v. Donald J. Trump federal civil case, a witness statement is attached to the lawsuit in which the alleged witness claims to have “personally witnessed the plaintiff being forced to perform various sexual acts with Mr. Trump and Mr. Epstein. Both Mr. Trump and Mr. Epstein were advised that she was 13 years old.”

The witness statement went on to say, “I personally witnessed four sexual encounters that the plaintiff was forced to have with Mr. Trump during this period, including the fourth of these encounters where Mr. Trump forcibly raped her despite her pleas to stop.”


Of course, so-called witnesses can—and often do—say things under oath that are far removed from the truth. LouisianaVoice is in no position to authenticate or refute the claims but the fact that they are now part of court record gives them added significance.


For his part, Trump is ON RECORD as tweeting back in 2002 about what a wonderful pal Epstein was.

Epstein’s mentor was one STEVEN HOFFENBERG, who headed up Towers Financial Corporation (TFC) which swindled millions of dollars from more than 200,000 investors from the late 1980s and early 1990s in what at the time was the largest Ponzi scheme in history (before Bernie Madoff).

Hoffenberg was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison, fined and ordered to make restitution of more than $450 million to his victims.

And just who was it who ultimately blew the whistle on Hoffenberg, exposed his racket to the feds and initiated his prosecution and conviction?

Why, none other than Ruston’s very own weekly newspaper publisher, the late JOHN MARTIN HAYS, who was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for his work on a series of stories on Hoffenberg and his gigantic scam in his Morning Paper, which ceased publication only weeks before his death from cancer. Hoffenberg could never wrap his brain around the fact that a small-town weekly newspaper publisher could bring down a powerful New York scam artist.

But he did.

Hoffenberg claims that Epstein ran the show and their differences have devolved into seamy LITIGATION with each side making all sorts of claims against each other.

Though he failed to fully repay those whom he cheated, Hoffenberg did manage in 2016 to establish a super PAC for the benefit of DONALD TRUMP’S CANDIDACY and pledged $50 million of his own money in an effort to raise $1 billion on Trump’s behalf—and even managed to exchange his wedding vows in front of Trump Tower in Manhattan.

And what was Hoffenberg’s latest scheme? Perhaps the evangelicals who so adore Trump may wish to pay attention as this could involve them directly.

Thrown into the mix of this bizarre story is Hoffenberg’s latest scheme, the “Christ Card,” a special “Christian” credit card being peddled to churches across the U.S. “The Christ Card holders have the benefit of gaining discounts in all of their purchases under the Walk in Grace serving out Lord Jesus Christ as customers and as our partners in faith, in our Christ Card family,” says Hoffenberg’s pitch on his Towers Investors Group Web page, of all places. http://towersinvestors.com/portfolio-view/christ-card/

Hoffenberg claims to have been converted to Christianity while serving time for cheating investors and now he’s pushing an idea that has spawned numerous scams—Christian debt. This, of course, is not say his promotion is another scam but he does have the pedigree as one who preys on others’ and as one ready, willing and able to lighten unsuspecting victims’ wallets.

He claimed three years ago to have already completed the negotiation phase for the marketing of the card to more than 700,000 registered Christian churches in the U.S., according to another Web page of WHAM, Inc. http://whaminc.us/investor-questions-wham-answers

Perhaps he could call his latest enterprise “Credit with God, Girls from Epstein and Votes for Trump.”


My new book, Louisiana’s Rogue Sheriffs: A Culture of Corruption, is scheduled to hit the stands later this week.

The book profiles cases of malfeasance, mismanagement, theft, and murder tied to several parish sheriffs, along with stories of some of the state’s more colorful but less felonious sheriffs to grace the front pages of the state’s newspapers.

Coincidentally, the Louisiana Sheriff’s Association is scheduled to hold its Sheriffs’ and Wardens’ Annual Training Conference on July 14-17 at the L’auberge Casino Resort in Lake Charles.

The event is open to active sheriffs and deputies, retirees and, of course, vendors.

It’s somewhat interesting that the conference is being held in a casino.

Culture of Corruption indeed.

The LSA has also announced that it is launching a statewide PUBLIC AWARENESS CAMPAIGN on the role of the Louisiana Sheriff. It’s unknown if the presentation has been shown to Louisiana sheriffs and deputies.

Registration for the conference (no vendors) will be held from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, July 14. Also at 1 p.m., the Louisiana Sheriffs’ Law Enforcement Program (LSLEP) Board of Managers will meet. LSLEP is the risk management arm of the LSA which has paid out more $6 million in judgments and settlements since 2015, more than $2.5 million of that by Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal, who just can’t seem to stay out of trouble.

The LSA general membership meeting will be from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

On Monday, registration (no vendors) will be from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Here’s a good one: Sheriffs’ Training will be held from 1 p.m. to 3  p.m. on Monday. Additional training will be from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday and from 9:15 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. on Wednesday. Wardens’ Training will be from 9 a.m. to noon on Tuesday, July 16.

And what would a sheriffs’ conference be without a slew of vendors’ exhibitions: from 7 a.m. to noon and from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday and 7 a.m. to noon on Wednesday.

Or the breakfast with vendors at 7 a.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday and the President’s/Vendors’ reception from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday.

The board of directors meeting of the The Louisiana Sheriffs’ and Deputies’ Political Action Committee (LASHADPAC) will be held on the opening day from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

And then there’s the all-important golf tournament that tees off at 8 a.m. on Sunday ($125 entry fee).

I thought about paying an entry fee and setting up a vendor’s table at the conference to sell my book but everyone I asked said it might be a bad idea.

So, here’s the deal. I’m offering signed copies of the book to readers for 30 bucks. You may purchase the book by credit care by clicking on the yellow Donate Button with Credit Cards button at the upper right of this post. If that doesn’t work for you, you may send a check for $30 to Tom Aswell, P.O. Box 922, Denham Springs, LA. 70727.

The books will be mailed as soon as they are delivered by the printer on Wednesday.

When I decided to write a book about corruption, malfeasance and mismanagement in sheriffs’ departments, I could have written a book about the worst of the worst in all 50 states. A book of that magnitude would, in all likelihood, comprise several volumes.

Instead, I decided to narrow the focus to just Louisiana when I wrote Louisiana’s Rogue Sheriffs: A Culture of Corruption.


Turns out, it’s downright uncanny how similar a Louisiana sheriff’s office is to sheriffs’ offices in other states.

Take the former sheriff of Covington County, Alabama, which sits adjacent to the Florida panhandle, just a few miles due north of Destin.

When challenger Blake Turman defeated incumbent sheriff DENNIS MEEKS, Turman walked into his new office only to find that records had been destroyed and that tens of thousands of public dollars were missing from sheriff’s office public accounts. Also missing were more than $100,000 of military surplus equipment and a $2,800 closed-circuit camera system.

It was pretty much the same story in Marshall County, Alabama, when Phil Sims defeated longtime Sheriff J. SCOTT WALLS. When Sims took over for Walls, he found a box of government-issued smartphones, each with multiple holes drilled through them. Hard drives had been removed from computers in the former sheriff’s and his chief deputy’s offices. As with the case of Covington County, reams of records were missing. Even more alarming, Sims discovered that in the months following Walls’s loss, tens of thousands of dollars from the sheriff’s office’s general fund had been wired to the outgoing sheriff and more than $30,000 was missing from the commissary fund.

In fact, nine outgoing sheriffs in ALABAMA took steps that their successors said negatively affected their ability to perform their new jobs.

Chapters 10 and 26 of Louisiana’s Rogue Sheriffs describe similar events in two Louisiana parishes, Tangipahoa and St. Tammany.

When Daniel Edwards defeated Edward Layrisson in 2003, he didn’t take office until mid-2004 and when he did, he found an office that was suffocating under a $722,000 IRS lien, frozen bank accounts and computers wiped clean and serving no function other than “oversize paper weights.”

Before that, when Layrisson defeated Daniel Edwards’s father, Frank Edwards, back in 1979, the office was in dire financial straits. Deputies had been laid off and equipment sold off to the point that the department had only two patrol units, a few rifles, and some microfilming equipment. This despite the fact that Frank Edwards, while in office, had somehow found the funds to purchase 35,000 sportsman license holders embossed with “Compliments of Frank M. Edwards, Sheriff,” 20,000 pocket-sized first aid kits and 200 boxes of candy-coated gum. A state auditor’s report said that Edwards rented his own farm to the sheriff’s office for “undercover investigations” for $500 per month and paid Tom Gillen, who managed his unsuccessful re-election campaign, $20,000 for a history of the parish which was never published.

Just down I-12 a few miles is St. Tammany Parish where, in 2015, Slidell Police Chief Randy Smith pulled off an improbable upset of incumbent Sheriff Jack Strain.

The night he took the oath of office, he dispatched several deputies to enter the parish work release building in Slidell to take control of the center. What they discovered were missing security cameras and televisions and computers containing information about inmates gone, all removed by St. Tammany Workforce Solutions as its personnel walked out the door. While legal since the company had purchased the equipment, it made for a difficult transition for the new administration.

Of course, Strain had other problems as well, having been recently arrested on June 11 on state charges of rape, incest and indecent behavior with a juvenile. As it happened, I had submitted the manuscript to the printer earlier that day and, upon hearing of the arrest, had to retrieve it and update the chapter on Strain.

These are just two of the stories contained in the 44 chapters of the 370-page book. There are even a couple of humorous stories involving sheriffs of two northeast Louisiana parishes.

If you really want to know how Louisiana sheriffs’ departments can skate on the thin edge of the law, you will want to read this book. The cost is $30. You can order by clicking on the yellow Donate Button with Credit Cards button to the upper right. Be sure to send an email to louisianavoice@outlook.com giving me your mailing address. If that doesn’t work for you, you can mail a check to me, Tom Aswell, P.O. Box 922, Denham Springs, Louisiana 70727 for your signed copy.



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