A lobbyist with close ties to former Louisiana Alcohol and Tobacco Control Commissioner Troy Hebert has been indicted by a Baton Rouge federal grand jury on more than 30 counts of bestiality and distribution and possession of child pornography. http://news.co.cr/u-s-owner-costa-rica-hotel-faces-online-child-porn-charges/47325/
Christopher G. Young, 53, a prominent lobbyist for the Beer Industry League of Louisiana, is also a brother to former Jefferson Parish President and assistant prosecutor John Young who was an unsuccessful candidate for Lieutenant Governor last fall.
Young is part owner of a hotel in the Central American country of Costa Rica where he was a frequent visitor on business and vacation trips, says Costa Rica Star reporter Jaime Lopez. The indictment says Young received two videos depicting prepubescent boys engaged in bestiality from an associate in that country. From from 2013 through 2015, Young then distributed the pornographic videos to 38 different individuals on 33 separate occasions via his cellphones, the indictment says.
Young is a registered lobbyists for a number of interests, most of which have strong ties to the alcohol and entertainment interests in Louisiana. Young was listed as Executive director of the Louisiana Association of Beverage Alcohol Licensees for which he also was listed as a lobbyist.
Here is a list of Young’s lobbying clients provided by the State Board of Ethics:
I attempted to obtain a comment from one of Young’s biggest clients, the Louisiana Beer Industry League. When I called the number, we had to navigate the usual menu. We were given options to dial different extension numbers to reach Executive Director John Williams, office representatives Nicole Patel and Toni Villa (titles unknown), and finally, Chris Young.
After punching the number for Young, I got several rings and then a voicemail for his extension number (no name). I called back three more times and in succession, punched the numbers for Williams, Patel and Villa. I got only Williams’ voice mail and with Patel’s number, I was routed back to the main menu so I then punched Villa’s number and, voila! She answered. After identifying myself and telling her who I was with, the conversation unfolded this way (my questions in italics; her answers in boldface type):
“I was calling for a comment on the indictment of Chris Young.”
“We have no comment at this time.”
“Is he still employed by the Beer League?”
“He is not an employee.”
“As of when?”
“He has never been an employee.”
“He’s not?” (I’m thinking of that menu option for Young’s telephone extension.)
“He’s a contractor.”
“Is he still under contract?”
“We have no comment.”
So all I got was he (a) is not an employee, he (b) is/was a contractor, but he (c) does/did have his own telephone extension at the Louisiana Beer Industry League.
In addition to his lobbying activities, Young also serves as legal counsel for most, if not all, bars and restaurants coming before ATC for permits to sell alcohol.
One source told LouisianaVoice that after Hebert was named to succeed Murphy Painter as ATC Commissioner, “Young never showed his face at a hearing on permit requests.”
The source, a former ATC agent, said Young was required to appear at the ATC hearings to represent his clients during Painter’s tenure but when Hebert became commissioner, “everything was done behind closed doors.”
How did Young come to represent virtually all applicants for permits to sell alcohol?
Well, it’s easy when you have a close relative in the right place to help.
Chris Young’s sister, Judy Pontin, was installed by Hebert as a $71,000-a-year “Executive Management Officer” for ATC’s New Orleans office in November of 2013. As such, she is in a perfect position to help her brother.
ATC insiders told LouisianaVoice that when an establishment wants to apply for an alcohol permit, or whenever a business experiences problems with ATC, Pontin invariably refers them to Chris Young for legal representation.
We covered that angle back in February when we learned that Hebert intervened in an investigation by ATC agents into a fatal accident in which a man with a blood alcohol content of .307 percent (more than 3½ higher than the .08 percent legal definition of intoxication in Louisiana) and driving at a high rate of speed, struck two bicyclists, killing Nathan Crowson and severely injuring his riding companion, Daniel Morris.
Branch, who had a previous DWI conviction in 2006 and was given a six-month suspended sentence on that occasion, was convicted of vehicular homicide and first degree vehicular negligent injuring and sentenced to 7½ years in prison.
There remained the issue of whether or not The Bulldog, a bar where Branch had been drinking with two friends just before the accident, might be legally liable for continuing to serve Branch after it was evident that he was intoxicated.
Anytime there is an alcohol-related auto accident involving a fatality, the Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control (ATC) investigates whether or not the driver had been served alcohol after it was obvious he was intoxicated. Such customers are supposed to be eighty-sixed, or cut off from being served more alcohol.
The investigation, which would routinely require weeks upon weeks of interviews, document and video review and which normally produce written reports 30 to 40 pages in length, was unusually short in duration and produced a report of a single page.
One page that completely exonerated the bar of any violation.
Initially, two ATC agents, neither of whom now work for the agency, began the investigation by requesting a video of the night in question to determine if Branch displayed any obvious signs of intoxication. They also asked owners of The Bulldog, located on Perkins Road in Baton Rouge, for certain other documents and information, including copies of any and all receipts of alcoholic beverages purchased by Branch.
When the bar initially refused to cooperate, the agents who customarily investigate such cases, obtained a subpoena and served it on the bar.
Enter ATC Commissioner Troy Hebert who, as it happens, is a declared candidate to succeed David Vitter in this year’s election for U.S. Senate.
In an unprecedented move, Hebert, who had zero experience as an investigator, decided he would be the lead investigator of the Bulldog.
What possible motive would Hebert have in rushing through an investigation and issuing a press release on Feb. 9 absolving the bar of any responsibility? Why would he instruct the lead agent on the case to limit his report to one page?
Why would Hebert watch the video footage for only a few seconds before proclaiming he “saw nothing” there? Why not watch the entire video to see if Branch did, in fact, appear intoxicated?
Even more curious, why would Hebert instruct that same agent to return to The Bulldog and retrieve the subpoena the agent had served on the establishment for video and records, thus freeing the bar of any responsibility to turn over key records?
Is it possible that the answer to each of these questions can consist of two words?
Might those two words be Chris Young?
Chris Young was the legal counsel for The Bulldog prior to and throughout the ATC investigation. https://louisianavoice.com/2016/02/10/why-did-atc-commissioner-troy-hebert-intervene-as-lead-investigator-in-fatal-accident-was-it-to-protect-bar-owner/
Baton Rouge television station WAFB said in its online story about the Young pornography indictment that the case “is being investigated by the FBI.” http://www.wafb.com/story/31961141/baton-rouge-attorney-indicted-for-allegedly-distributing-bestiality-porn
LouisianaVoice said in January that the FBI was investigating Hebert for claims that he used his office to extort sex from a female restaurant manager in New Orleans in exchange for fixing her licensing problems. https://louisianavoice.com/2016/01/26/fbi-said-investigating-troy-hebert-for-using-office-to-extort-sex-from-woman-in-exchange-for-fixing-licensing-problems/
All of which leaves two unanswered questions:
- Are we talking about two separate FBI investigations or is there only one and the Young indictment only the first of more to come?
- Was Young indicted in order bring pressure upon him to implicate others further up the food chain?
Only time will provide the answers to those questions.
But one thing is for certain: If Hebert were a serious candidate for U.S. Senate, with even a ghost of a chance for election, you can bet his opponents in this fall’s election would be in a scramble mode today for records, reports and witnesses—anything to tie Hebert to this latest sordid affair, considering his close association with Young.
But in all likelihood, none of the candidates feel that sense of urgency.