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This is a story that Troy Hebert asked us to write.

It is also a story with much ado about formers.

Former Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control (ATC) Director and current candidate for U.S. Senator Troy Hebert emailed LouisianaVoice earlier this week with a copy of a news story from the New Orleans CityBusiness Report, which quoted from a Baton Rouge Advocate story that Hebert had been cleared of wrongdoing in connection with alleged preferential treatment of certain applicants for liquor licenses from ATC. http://www.theadvertiser.com/story/news/2016/09/19/fbi-clears-former-atc-commissioner-troy-hebert/90714008/

With all the third-person reporting swirling around FBI agent Maurice Hattier Jr., former liquor lobbyist Chris Young, his brother, former Jefferson Parish President and former candidate for Lieutenant Governor John Young, and former State Sen. Julie Quinn, it’s rather difficult to stay focused on the actual legal proceedings in which Chris Young was asking Middle District Federal Court in Baton Rouge to formally dismiss child pornography charges against him.

Okay, that’s formal, not former, but you get the drift.

Chris Young, you will remember, was indicted on child porn charges after he forwarded a text containing a video of an underage boy having sex with a donkey (this sounds more and more like a Farrelly Brothers comedy https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farrelly_brothers).

Hattier allegedly tried (rather crudely, if true) to lean on Chris Young to give up Hebert in order to grease the skids on his investigation of Hebert.

(Putting Hebert’s guilt or innocence aside, it is disconcerting to note that the FBI more and more relies on strong-arm tactics and witness intimidation to produce the desired results in its efforts to obtain indictments and convictions instead of traditional, less tainted methods.)

The sister of John and Chris Young was hired by Hebert for the New Orleans ATC office and sources told LouisianaVoice that anyone desiring a liquor permit from the state was referred to Chris Young for legal representation. Those same sources said that Chris Young rarely, if ever, actually appeared before an ATC hearing. Instead, sources said, all the details were worked out by Chris Young and Hebert behind closed doors.

The CityBusiness story said Hattier testified that the FBI had closed its investigation of claims of public corruption on Hebert’s part.

But things got really weird.

While correctly citing a joint effort by LouisianaVoice and Lee Zurick of WVUE-TV in New Orleans as the original source of the FBI investigation, CityBusiness then veered far off course when it reported, “Speculation centered on New Orleans attorney Julie Quinn as the source” of our story.

While CityBusiness is correct in saying we relied upon anonymous sources (because the sources feared retaliation if their identities were revealed) we can say with absolute certainty that Julie Quinn was not—repeat, was not—one of our sources.

Moreover, Quinn, a former state senator and former fiancé of John Young, was also described by CityBusiness as having competed with Chris Young for alcohol clients and having had “a rocky relationship with Chris Young while dating John Young.

“Quinn’s legal clients have run into ATC trouble with various permit issues and a strip club sting (Operation Trick or Treat was a statewide sting joint operation of ATC and Louisiana State Police last October) that involved drugs and prostitution.

Quinn on Monday told LouisianaVoice she had never represented a client before ATC. “I don’t do liquor licenses and I have never in my career represented a single client in a liquor permit matter,” she said.

Here is a copy of the email we received on Monday from Troy Hebert:

From: Troy Hebert [mailto:troyhebert@yahoo.com]

Sent: Monday, September 19, 2016 10:03 AM

To: Subject: Fw: Press Release: FBI clears former ATC Commissioner Troy Hebert

All,

Please see the following article from the New Orleans Business Report. I respectfully ask that your media outlet give this story the same coverage/space/time to clear my good name as when/if your media outlet first reported the story. 

Sincerely,

Troy Hebert

U.S. Senate Candidate

No problem, Troy. Perhaps this will jump start your campaign and get your poll numbers up to 1 percent.

Top of Form

 

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It’s been more than a year since Troy Hebert showed up at State Civil Service hearing over his firing of former Alcohol and Tobacco Control (ATC) agent Brett Tingle with five taxpayer-paid attorneys in tow.

That was the hearing from which Hebert tried unsuccessfully to bar LouisianaVoice only to be told a public hearing meant that it was…well, public. https://louisianavoice.com/2015/07/10/civil-service-hearing-for-fired-atc-agent-continued-to-sept-after-settlement-talks-break-down-troy-didnt-want-us-there/

It was during the proceedings that fateful day (July 10, 2015) that Hebert, then the ATC Director but now a minor (and boy, do we mean minor) no-show (as in the polls) candidate for the U.S. Senate, made such a big production of releasing the contents of private cell phone text messages by Tingle. https://louisianavoice.com/2015/09/27/troy-hebert-may-have-violated-state-constitution-in-releasing-contents-of-private-text-messages-in-effort-to-discredit-agent/

It was a move (mis)calculated to embarrass Tingle publicly and to weaken his appeal before the Civil Service hearing officer.

On Tuesday, Sept. 13, however, it was Hebert, Bobby Jindal’s fair-haired boy, who was dealt a little embarrassment. file:///C:/Users/Tom/AppData/Local/Microsoft/Windows/INetCache/Content.Outlook/CKN53EOO/2016%2009%2013%2032%20Order_Mo%20to%20Dismiss%20(003).pdf

U.S. District Judge John W. deGravelles of Louisiana’s Middle District in Baton Rouge ruled that the privacy of Tingle’s cell phone was protected under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Fourth+Amendment and under  Article I § 5 of the Louisiana Constitution.  Louisiana courts have established that Article I § 5 provides greater protection of privacy rights than the Fourth Amendment. https://louisianavoice.com/2015/09/27/troy-hebert-may-have-violated-state-constitution-in-releasing-contents-of-private-text-messages-in-effort-to-discredit-agent/

At the same time Judge deGravelles, while dismissing some parts of Tingle’s lawsuit, left intact the most serious of the claims when he ruled that Hebert may have defamed Tingle on three separate accounts by:

  • Releasing the contents of the text messages;
  • Implying publicly that Tingle was in some way involved in the theft and burning of Hebert’s state vehicle when he said, if a person would “connect the dots,” it would be easy to determine who vandalized the vehicle;
  • Making statements about Tingle in his termination letter and in news releases.

deGravelle’s defamation ruling opens the door to Tingle’s seeking substantial monetary damages.

Because Tingle’s lawsuit is against Hebert personally and not the state, Hebert would be solely liable for any damage award if found liable.

Reached at his home Tuesday night, Tingle said he had not had a chance to read the six-page ruling but he had discussed it with his attorney, J. Arthur Smith, III. “I’m delighted at what I’ve heard,” he said.

Hebert has been the subject of several stories by LouisianaVoice over the past few years—ever since his appointment to succeed Murphy Painter as ATC head when the Jindal administration attempted to frame Painter on trumped up charges when he wouldn’t play ball with Stephen Waguespack and the rest of Jindal’s junior varsity team. https://louisianavoice.com/2014/10/24/another-embarrassment-for-jindal-ex-atc-commissioner-murphy-painter-wins-defamation-suit-against-his-accuser/

Besides his bizarre behavior in person-to-person dealings with his agents, he also has been known to assign a female agent to undercover drug enforcement in New Orleans bars and then to assign her to uniformed patrol at the same establishments the following week, a move that could have endangered her life.

He also transferred a black agent from New Orleans to Shreveport on a full time basis with less than a full day’s notice, supposedly as a way to force the agent’s resignation and was said to have confided in one of his white agents that he intended to force blacks out of the agency.

And then there was this story that LouisianaVoice broke last January: 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 in all, it’s not been a very good year for Troy Hebert who, in the last poll we saw, polled exactly 0%. You’d think that with 24 candidates in the race to succeed U.S. Sen David Vitter, Hebert would pull at least 1% just by accident.

Shoot, even our former governor, ol’ what’s his name, did better than that in his comical run for the Republican presidential nomination.

But for what it’s worth, Troy, if it came down to a choice between you and David Duke, we’d be out campaigning for you. Thankfully, however, it looks as though it may be between the two of you for 24th place.

 

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Does systematic racial discrimination as an unspoken policy exist on a widespread basis within the Louisiana Department of Public Safety (DPS)?

If claims contained in a LAWSUIT filed against Louisiana State Police (LSP) in Baton Rouge State District Court are borne out, allegations that include a claim that job openings were not properly posted so as to allow the promotion of pre-selected applicants, the answer would be an unqualified yes.

And what’s more, the silent policy of excluding blacks from promotional opportunities originates in the highest administrative offices of LSP, i.e. those of State Police Superintendent Col. Mike Edmonson, according to the petition filed by 21-year law enforcement veteran Kevin Sulcer.

 Sulcer, a Senior Trooper/Detective, who has been with LSP for the past 12 years, is “the only black Detective at headquarters in the Baton Rouge area,” his petition says. Moreover, he says, there is only one black LSP Detective in New Orleans and the LSP Narcotics and Intelligence Divisions have no black Troopers or Investigators.

“Every black Detective has either left the department or (has) been transferred,” his petition says.

Sulcer is represented by Baton Rouge attorneys Jill Craft and Crystal Bounds.

The claims laid out in Sulcer’s lawsuit, if true, would appear to be yet another in an ever-growing number of allegations of favoritism, mismanagement and poor morale among rank and file State Troopers. 

Sulcer claims he and other black Troopers have been subjected to harsher penalties for minor offenses than have their white counterparts.

As an example, he singled out Lt. Col. Charles Dupuy (Deputy Superintendent/Chief of Staff) who he said forced him to write a 3,000-word essay (reminiscent of Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control former director Troy Hebert who is currently polling 0% in his bid to succeed U.S. Sen. David Vitter) when he was attending LSP training academy but never required white Cadets to do so.

Besides Dupuy, Sulcer also specifically names Col. Mike Edmonson, his brother and Command Inspector Maj. Paul Edmonson, Dupuy’s wife, Commander Kelly Dupuy (can you say nepotism?), Head of Internal Affairs Maj. Catherine Flinchum, Internal Affairs Commander David McClendon, Internal Affairs Executive Officer Lt. Aaron Marcelle, Master Trooper Kevin Ducote, and Lt. Chris Holmes as being part of a pattern of discriminatory policy within LSP.

Sulcer said in his lawsuit that Holmes berated him because of his race for leaving his vehicle running while he interviewed an inmate. As he left the interview, Sulcer said he noticed another Trooper’s unoccupied vehicle idling. “Col. Edmonson was parked in front of this officer’s unit and did nothing to reprimand him,” the petition says.

The incident prompted an Internal Affairs investigation of what Sulcer says was a “minor infraction” that should have been handled by Sulcer’s supervisor. (This the same Internal Affairs Division that refused to investigate a Trooper’s harassment of a citizen in Lake Charles and which refused to conduct a thorough investigation of a Trooper habitually leaving his shift after only a couple of hours to go home to sleep—until LouisianaVoice drew so much attention to the two cases that IT finally was forced to conduct a superficial investigation.)

Sulcer received a letter of reprimand for leaving his vehicle running and for the encounter with Holmes on Oct. 30, 2015. He filed an official appeal of the letter to Mike Edmonson on Nov. 6, 2015. Edmonson has yet to respond to that appeal, the petition says.

But the most egregious act of discrimination, the petition says, concerns an opening for a polygraph position.

“LSP handpicked a white employee, Donnie Guitreau, to fill the polygraph position,” Sulcer said. But manner in which it was done, if Sulcer is correct, would appear to be a blatant violation of State Civil Service procedures.

“Mr. Guitreau was not qualified for the position (so) LSP sent him to polygraph school before the position opening was posted or formally announced,” the petition says. “After Mr. Guitreau completed the school, LSP then posted the position, leaving him the only ‘qualified’ applicant.”

Sulcer says he has more law enforcement experience than Guitreau. Moreover, he says, Guitreau “has a disciplinary history whereas (Sulcer) does not.”

He also claims that LSP failed to have in force an effective policy regarding racial discrimination/harassment and reprisal/retaliation in the workplace and that LSP has refused to address his complaints.

If LSP’s past history is any indication, reprisals against Sulcer have only just begun (with apologies to Karen and Richard Carpenter).

 

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Poor Troy Hebert. Like his mentor, Bobby Jindal, he just can’t seem to get any traction or notice in a crowded field of candidates.

Unlike Jindal, however, instead of sending out daily email blasts from Iowa proclaiming the glass to be half full (when in reality, the glass was just dirty and needed washing), Hebert, one of 24 candidates for the U.S. Senate, is making his case in the courts.

He should be right at home there, given the number of times he was sued by agents he fired and/or harassed during his tenure as Jindal’s Commissioner of Alcohol and Tobacco Control (ATC).

Where Jindal resigned himself to the kiddie table at the Republican debates in Iowa’s debates that more resembled a bunch of hogs trying to get to the slop trough (and we all know by now that the biggest pig of all, Trump, ultimately prevailed, causing the others to squeal pretty loudly), Hebert is suing a polling firm because he was incorrectly identified as a (gasp!) Republican!

Hebert, a former Democrat while serving as a State Representative from the parishes of Vermilion and Iberia, is a declared Independent, running without party affiliation.

He doesn’t seem to be commanding the same respect as a candidate that he did as head of ATC where employees were required to stand and chirp, “Good morning, Commissioner,” when he entered the room.

So he’s claiming in his lawsuit that a May poll (not to be confused with a maypole) conducted by Southern Media and Opinion Research and its veteran pollster Bernie Pinsonat was “flawed” because it incorrectly identified him as a Republican.

He said the polling firm is incompetent at best and committing fraud at worst by “intentionally misleading respondents,” adding in a whine reminiscent of Trump himself, that “the system is definitely rigged against independent candidates” because the survey was used to keep him from participating in two candidate forums.

Pinsonat, in something of an understatement, said identifying Hebert as an Independent would not get him better numbers.

Hebert says he was not allowed to participate in a June 29 forum sponsored by the Louisiana chapter of the National Federation of Independent Businesses and the Louisiana Restaurant Association.

He was also turned away, he said, from a July 28 event put on by the Louisiana Municipal Association because he didn’t reach the required 5 percent in the Southern Media survey.

In that poll for the period of May 19-23, State Treasurer John Kennedy and “Undecided” were neck and neck at 32 percent. The only other candidate to touch double digits was U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany with 10 percent. Hebert, with 2 percent, edged out Eric Skrmetta, who got 1 percent.

At least Hebert can take some comfort in the knowledge that he did better in that poll than his former boss did in any of the polls in Iowa.

Of course he still has an outside shot of making the runoff—if he can only persuade Jindal to endorse one of the other candidates

 

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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.

https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1697&dat=20030620&id=bCgqAAAAIBAJ&sjid=MUgEAAAAIBAJ&pg=6713,2339971&hl=en

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:

CHRISTOPHER GERARD YOUNG
2016: Local / Legislative / Executive
P.O. BOX 55297
METAIRIE, LOUISIANA 70055
504-915-5953
DAVID BRIGGS ENTERPRISES, INC.
Legislative / Executive
Active: 1/25/2009 – current
641 PAPWORTH AVENUE
METAIRIE, LOUISIANA 70005
BEER INDUSTRY LEAGUE OF LOUISIANA
Legislative / Executive
Active: 1/25/2009 – current
575 N. 8TH STREET
BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA 70802
LOUISIANA ASSOCIATION OF BEVERAGE ALCOHOL LICENSEES, INC.
Legislative / Executive
Active: 1/25/2009 – current
P.O. BOX 55012
METAIRIE, LOUISIANA 70055
WINE AND SPIRITS FOUNDATION OF LOUISIANA, INC.
Legislative / Executive
Active: 1/25/2009 – current
575 N. 8TH STREET
BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA 70802
TIPITINA’S FOUNDATION, INC.
Legislative / Executive
Active: 1/25/2009 – current
4040 TULANE AVENUE, SUITE 8000
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA 70119
RXPATH
Legislative / Executive
Active: 1/23/2012 – current
641 PAPWORTH
METAIRIE, LOUISIANA 70005
FRENCH QUARTER BUSINESS LEAGUE
Legislative / Local
Active: 4/1/2014 – current
119 MULBERRY DRIVE
METAIRIE, LOUISIANA 70005

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.

http://theadvocate.com/news/11878236-123/baton-rouge-man-joseph-branch

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.

http://www.wbrc.com/story/16903763/bar-cleared-in-fatal-crash

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.

 

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