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Archive for the ‘Courts’ Category

Before you accept the state’s Shelter at Home program, you may want to consider the quality of workmanship—or lack thereof—that some 2016 flood victims who have participated are experiencing. http://www.theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/news/politics/article_3116e8b6-7abb-11e6-91c5-d3139b79d965.html?sr_source=lift_amplify

While you should beware of shoddy work by contractors, you should also consider that all work done will likely need to be re-done and makeshift (inferior) plumbing will have to be replaced at your cost.

If that is not enough to convince you, you may wish to follow an important trial scheduled to begin in the 19th Judicial District courtroom of District Judge Tim Kelly on October 3.

The upcoming trial is over the foreclosure on rental property owned by Metairie resident Tony Pelicano and his company, L&T Development. Pelicano also has legal action pending against defendants the State of Louisiana through the Office of Community Development, The Shaw Group, Inc., Woodrow Wilson Construction Co., both of Baton Rouge, and Western Surety Co. of Sioux Falls, S.D.

Pelicano purchased a rental house on Turnbull Street in Metairie on April 28, 2005, just in time for it to be heavily damaged four months and one day later when Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans on Aug. 29.

Pelicano, like victims of the flood almost exactly 11 years later (Aug. 11-14), was solicited by the state to take part in a state-sponsored recovery program.

In the case of Katrina, it was the Office of Community Development (OCD) that oversaw the Post-Katrina Disaster Housing Assistance and Household Transition Program. https://www.huduser.gov/portal/pdredge/pdr_edge_research_041913.html

With the floods of 2016, it is the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) that took over the Shelter at Home Program.

http://gov.louisiana.gov/page/shelter-at-home-program

The Shelter at Home Program provides up to $15,000 to make a flood-damaged home habitable while the dwelling is being repaired. But the homeowner has no say in the choosing of a contractor to do the work. Nor does the homeowner receive any of that $15,000; all monies paid out go to the contractor.

Sound familiar? It should. It’s déjà vu all over again.

Despite the fact that Tony Pelicano is himself a contractor, he was told that not only could he not select his contractor for the Rental Assistance Program, but he could not even do the work himself. Nor did he receive funds to pay the contractor; that was paid by the State Office of Community Development directly to the contractor.

In both cases, the homeowner has no say about the quality of work, is unable to withhold payment should the contractor, who was not of his choosing, should do substandard work. http://www.wafb.com/story/33133888/video-raises-questions-about-shelter-at-home-program

http://www.wbrz.com/news/shelter-at-home-program-leaves-mess-in-st-amant-home/

And that is precisely why Pelicano is headed for trial the first week in October.

At the outset, a community block grant was awarded in the amount of $75,000 with the additional $14,595 in costs to be paid by Pelicano at closing.

OCD then selected Woodrow Wilson Construction Co. to serve as contractor. When Pelicano requested the ability to select his own contractor, “OCD advised him he was not entitled to have any say nor (sic) input with respect to the employment of Woodrow Wilson for the rehabilitation and reconstruction project,” one of Pelicano’s court filings says.

In September, 2009, Pelicano was personally solicited by the State of Louisiana, through Mark Maier, Program Director of the Small Rental Property Program for OCD and a principal of Maier Consulting, to submit an application to become the first test applicant with the Small Rental Program through the State Office of Community Development, Pelicano says in a sworn affidavit.

“This Program administers federal funds to small rental property owners in order to facilitate the reconstruction of small rental properties in order to return them to commerce, post-Katrina, and provide affordable housing for Katrina victims,” he said. “This is accomplished through a forgivable loan of $75,000.00 and we personally put up the additional sum of $14,595.00 from our own personal funds.

In May 2012, Pelicano said he attended a meeting in Baton Rouge attended by Maier, OCD Supervisor for the Small Rental Program Brad Swayze and Dan Rees, also of OCD. When Pelicano protested that construction change orders were made without his knowledge or consent, he says he was threatened and told he had no rights to his own property. Pelicano claims he was told if he contacted the media, his bank note would be accelerated and that a lawsuit would be filed against him—“threats that OCD fulfilled,” he says.

Those change orders included, among others:

  • Substituting non-pressure treated lumber instead of the pressure treated lumber called for in the building specifications;
  • Sloppy fittings of windows which allowed moisture to invade the structure;
  • Relocating the hot water heater to a location that could pose a threat of fire, and
  • Cutting a hole in the door in order to make the hot water tank fit.

Pelicano subsequently hired a professional engineering and inspection firm, Gurtler Brothers of New Orleans, to evaluate the reconstruction efforts. He presented copies of the firm’s photos-and-report and asked that immediate action be taken to remedy the conditions of the property.

“OCD refused,” he says, “and instead, contacted another construction company, Lago Construction Co. (which is not an engineering nor a qualified inspection firm) to conduct an ‘impartial’ inspection.”

Lago then issued a report passing off defects “as either minor or simply not in need of fixing,” Pelicano says.

Incredibly, Pelicano later learned that Lago was a business partner with Maier Consulting, headed by that same Mark Maier who simultaneously served as Program Director of the Small Rental Property Program for OCD. http://images.bimedia.net/documents/Lago+-+SRPP+Labor+Analysis+10-25-12.pdf

No conflict of interest there, right?

Oh, wait. It gets better.

The head of Lago, Praveen Kailas, whose family poured more than $23,000 into Bobby Jindal’s campaigns in 2003, 2007 and 2011, pleaded guilty in 2013 to federal charges of fraudulent billing in the…(wait for it)….Louisiana Road Home’s Small Rental Property Program. http://www.claimsjournal.com/news/southcentral/2013/08/22/235416.htm

Jindal’s office said it launched an internal investigation but dropped the probe when Mark Maier, the consultant (and, did we mention, coincidentally, Program Director of the Small Rental Property Program for OCD?) wrote a note absolving Lago of any wrongdoing.

He wrote a note, folks, clearing his business partner of wrongdoing but relied on that same business partner to block recovery by a man ripped off by the very program he headed.

Perhaps someone should have written a note for Richard Nixon, or John Wayne Gacy, or Mark David Chapman, or John Hinckley, Jr., or former U.S. Rep. William Jefferson, or former Federal Judge Thomas Porteous.

We could go on but you get the idea: He wrote a damned note to clear his partner but that same tainted relationship played a major role in events that today see the state trying to foreclose on Tony Pelicano.

What could possibly be wrong with this picture?

What could possibly go wrong with the Shelter at Home Program?

And did Jindal return any of that $23,000 from the third (at a minimum) convicted felon who contributed big bucks to his campaigns?

Or did he write a note on their behalf?

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You may have seen one or more of a series of http://www.vote-4-energy.org/ television ads by the American Petroleum Institute (API) that have been running on a more regular basis than lawyer commercials recently.

Intended to give us a warm fuzzy feeling about Big Oil, it’s no coincidence they’re airing in an election year.

The primary trade association of the oil and gas industry, API boasts nearly 400 members. http://www.polluterwatch.com/american-petroleum-institute

Though it spent only about $200,000 on the 2012 election, it literally pours money into other programs—$33 million on lobbying between 2008 and 2012—and was instrumental in funding a $27 million anti-science “scientific” study to refute research linking benzene to cancer.

API was also not above embellishing job creation claims, touting 20,000 new jobs as opposed to the 6,000 estimated by the U.S. State Department and Cornell University.

API also donated money to the National Science Teachers Association for distributing a short film promoting the petroleum industry. http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/American_Petroleum_Institute#Concerns_about_API-funded_research

If there remains any doubt to the underlying intent of the recent glut of ads, a leaked memo written by API CEO Jack Gerard in August 2009 revealed that a number of trade groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers, coordinated “Energy Citizens’ rallies in key Congressional districts in an effort to ramp up political opposition to climate and energy legislation.

Directly funded and organized by API and member companies, the “rallies” were coordinated by oil lobbyists and API member Chevron even bused it employees to events.

API also contributed $25,000 to Americans for Prosperity, the Tea Party organization founded and chaired by billionaire oilman David Koch. http://www.opensecrets.org/news/2012/03/energy-industry-trade-groups/

Which brings up Koch Industries, headed by David and brother Charles, both major players in the American political arena.

In just one state for example, Texas, the Kochs are proving our repeated position that money has supplanted the importance of voters in influencing election outcomes by dumping money into the campaigns of 66 candidates—15 for the U.S. House of Representatives, three for the Texas Supreme Court, 31 for the Texas House of Representatives, 16 for the State Senate and one for the State Railroad Commission (the Texas equivalent to the Louisiana Public Service Commission).

Here is a complete state-by-state listing of Koch-supported candidates (Note: only legally-required reported contributions are listed but Koch, in addition to monetary contributions has been known to exert pressure on its employees as to which candidates they should support.

And it’s not as if the Kochs are alone, nor is this an effort to say that only Republicans are beneficiaries of the avalanche of campaign funds that has occurred since the 2010 Citizens United decision by the U.S. Supreme Court opened the spigot of campaign cash.

Politics has become a game played by any billionaire with an agenda—to the overall detriment of the average citizen, whose numbers comprise 99.9 percent of the nation’s population. https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/politics/superpac-donors-2016/

So just how much Super PAC money, so-called outside spending (which does not include individual contributions to thousands of candidates in federal, state and local elections), was lavished on behalf of or in opposition to candidates in the 2012 elections?

The 1,310 super PACs raised $828.2 million for the 2012 election cycle, which was just two years after Citizens United, and spent $609.4 million. https://www.opensecrets.org/outsidespending/summ.php?cycle=2012&chrt=V&type=S

This year, in the Presidential, and Congressional elections alone, spending has already surpassed $1.8 billion. Of that amount, more than $248 million has come from PACs. http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2016/03/daily-chart-1

Before all is said and done, it is expected that more than $5 billion will be spent on the Presidential election. That figure includes money to be spent by candidates, political parties and outside groups (PACs), and includes money spent on presidential primaries—more than double the cost of the 2012 campaign.

All of which raises a moral question: if political donors are so civic-minded (as most insist they are) as opposed to an eagerness to promote a personal agenda (as most will go to great lengths to deny), why don’t they put their money to use for an even greater good?

Has it ever crossed the minds of the Kochs or any of the other members of the mega-rich influence-purchasers what even a small portion of that kind of money would mean to St. Jude or other children’s hospitals?

Have they ever considered underwriting cancer research on such a scale? What about feeding the hungry or even helping restore the country’s crumbling infrastructure? After all, they use the same highways, rely on the same water and sewer services, depend on the same police and fire protection.

So much good could be accomplished with the billions of dollars that are wasted on the campaigns whose promises are as empty and meaningless as the hopes and dreams of the poorest of our poor?

Yes, the Kochs give millions to charities but then spearhead coalitions of businesses and industries that pour hundreds of millions into efforts to pass anti-environmental legislation or they endow chairs at schools like Florida State University on condition that they get the final say in the hiring of faculty members who will teach their political and economic philosophy.

http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2015/10/spreading-the-free-market-gospel/413239/

But we as a nation have somehow seen a trend away from using our wealth to accomplish the greater good for all our citizens. Instead, we’re seeing the wealthiest using their monetary buying power to purchase influence so they can accumulate even more wealth.

And we wonder why there is an ever-widening disconnect from the American political process.

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They have full arrest powers but instead of patrolling the state’s highways and arresting drug dealers, they patrol the more placid State Capitol complex.

You won’t see them providing security for the governor or trotting onto the field at Tiger Stadium along with Les Miles and the Tiger football team. Nor will you ever see their commander standing stoically behind the governor during press briefings.

They’re not even allowed to head up security at the Capitol during the legislative session. That honor goes to the more glamorous State Police detail.

They have the same arrest powers as the high-profile State Troopers, charged with enforcing the same laws for the benefit of public safety and protection of the state’s citizens while securing the safety of the myriad of state offices.

And they must go through the same training and certification qualifications as State Troopers.

Though Department of Public Safety (DPS) officers conduct investigations and all other duties that State Troopers perform, they are, for all intents and purposes, invisible to all but state employees. Both they and the more prestigious Louisiana State Police (LSP) are part of the Department of Public Safety and both patrol the entire state. But make no mistake, the DPS Police are the stepchildren of DPS.

Held to the same standards as State Troopers, State Capitol Police get the equivalent of table scraps. DPS police patrol throughout the state in patrol cars eight- to 10 years old and with as much as 300,000 miles on them, according to one DPS officer.

State Police Superintendent Mike Edmonson, meanwhile, just got a brand new SUV issued to him. “Edmonson tells us over and over that he’s ‘working’ on something,” the DPS officer said. “I guess that ‘something’ was that $43,000 raise he got on August 1. I guess it’s good to be the king when your living expenses are paid by somebody else.”

Despite repeated promises, pay for DPS police officers lags further and further behind that of their counterparts over at Independence Park.

The evidence is right there in black and white for all to see.

Here is the comparison between comparable ranks, based on years of service:

  • DPS Police Officer 2: $24,066 to $57,900 per year;
  • State Trooper: $46,600 to $94,750;

 

  • DPS Sergeant: $29,500 to $66,300;
  • LSP Sergeant: $51,500 to $104,700;

 

  • DPS Lieutenant: $33,758 to $75,920;
  • LSP Lieutenant: $56,900 to $115,700.

Adding insult to injury, the DPS pay grid stops at the rank of lieutenant, meaning $75,920 is the most a DPS officer can anticipate making.

The LSP pay grid, on the other hand, keeps going to Captain ($64,750 to $131,670) and major ($69,300 to $140,900).

Edmonson, who was not making the pay grid maximum (he was making $134,351.10), was recently granted a $43,100 pay increase to $177,435.96. The increase was approved by Gov. John Bel Edwards’ Chief of Staff Ben Nevers who previously served in the State Senate.

Nevers received $1,500 in campaign contributions from the Louisiana State Troopers Association (LSTA) last year. The controversial contribution was funneled through LSTA Executive Director David Young who was reimbursed by the LSTA.

Others who got raises included Edmonson’s Chief of Staff Charles Dupuy ($140,890.10 to $161,304.78), Jason Starnes (promoted to Lt. Col. And raised in salary from $128,934.26 to $150,751.90, and Deputy Superintendents Adam White, Glenn Staton and Murphy Paul, both receiving raises from $140,900 to $150,750. All this despite an executive order issued by Gov. John Bel Edwards freezing all merit increases from June 29, 2016 through June 29, 2017.

http://www.doa.la.gov/osr/other/JBE%202016/JBE16-32.htm

With the latest glut of increases, Edmonson, Dupuy, Starnes, Staton, Paul and White all now make salaries that exceed the maximums on the State Police pay grid.

When Edmonson came to the Louisiana State Police Commission last month with the proposal to create the new position to which Starnes was approved by the LSPA last week, he told commission members there would be no additional costs but Starnes got an immediate increase of $21,850. Moreover, the opening for the new post was never formally announced, thus barring others the opportunity to apply for the position.

LouisianaVoice has learned that several legislators are upset at the latest pay raises, Edmonson’s in particular, and that the Legislative Fiscal Office has begun inquiries as to who authorized them.

This gambit comes only two years after a furtive attempt to increase Edmonson’s retirement benefits by $55,000 per year despite his having locked his retirement years before by opting to participate in the former Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP).

LouisianaVoice learned of the attempt, made via an amendment to an obscure bill in the closing hours of the 2014 legislative session. That attempt, from which Edmonson attempted to disassociate himself, was thwarted by a combination of negative public reaction and by a lawsuit filed by State Sen. Dan Claitor (R-Baton Rouge).

But now he’s back and time it looks as though he may have focused unwanted attention on himself and his agency.

Sometimes it’s best to keep a low profile, but in the case of DPS, it certainly hasn’t been very profitable—or fair.

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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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Call it the summer doldrums or whatever you wish. The truth is there hasn’t been much political blog activity—from any of us.

It’s not that there is a dearth of news to report; between killings by cops, killings of cops, terrorist attacks, political accusations, political promises that border on fantasy, e-mail scandals and plagiarized speeches, there’s more than enough to go around. But somehow, we’ve become inured, victims of a malady we can only identify as scandal fatigue for lack of a better term.

But LouisianaVoice, with the help of a couple of volunteer researchers, is working on a project that should generate considerable readership interest—unless, of course, readers are also victims of the summertime lethargy that seems to be at least somewhat contagious.

But we’d be less than honest if we didn’t admit we get pretty discouraged when we expose wrongdoing—some of it even criminal in nature—on the part of elected and appointed officials and nothing is done about it.

What more needs to be done, for example, than to point out the illegal use of campaign funds for such personal use as season tickets to sporting events, luxury car leases and even paying ethics violation fines and personal federal income taxes from campaign funds? Yet, nothing is done.

https://louisianavoice.com/2015/05/17/improper-spending-of-campaign-funds-appears-to-be-the-rule-rather-than-the-exception-in-louisiana-random-check-reveals/

What more needs to be done than to publish official investigative reports of a state trooper having sex in his patrol car while on duty to bring severe disciplinary action down on that officer?

https://louisianavoice.com/2015/10/04/you-couldnt-time-an-egg-with-this-guy-state-police-lt-has-sex-twice-on-duty-once-in-back-seat-of-patrol-car-still-on-job/

It took LouisianaVoice weeks and many stories before official action was finally taken against a state trooper who went home to sleep during his shift so that he could work his second job the next day before he was finally fired. And even though we revealed that his supervisor allowed this practice to go on for years, the supervisor was simply transferred—even after we published audio recordings of that same supervisor refusing to accept a citizen’s complaint after he had denied refusing the complaint.

https://louisianavoice.com/2015/09/11/gift-cards-for-tickets-payroll-chicanery-quotas-short-shifts-the-norm-in-troop-d-troopers-express-dismay-at-problems/

After we ran a story about a legislator, who made thousands of dollars by purchasing stock in a company he knew was going to be approved for a major program with the Department of Education, that legislator was re-elected.

https://louisianavoice.com/2014/03/27/senate-education-chairman-appel-purchases-discovery-stock-week-before-company-enters-into-state-techbook-agreement/

When we outed Frederick Tombar III, the $260,000 per year director of the Louisiana Housing Corporation, over his sexually explicit emails sent to two female employees, he promptly resigned only to turn up at Cornerstone Government Affairs, a consulting company headed by former Louisiana Commissioners of Administration Mark Drennan and Paul Rainwater.

https://louisianavoice.com/category/campaign-contributions/page/9/

When we ran the story of a clerk in Fourth Judicial District Court in Monroe with ties to powerful attorney and banking interests who was failing to show up for work, both the Louisiana Attorney General the Office of Inspector General punted on their investigations.

When a north Louisiana contractor sued the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development over attempts by DOTD employees to extort payoff money from him, he won more than $20 million. Instead of paying up as it should, however, the state simply said it doesn’t have the money to pay the contractor who was forced into bankruptcy by the department’s criminal activity. Yet, no one at DOTD was fired, much less prosecuted.

http://www.thenewsstar.com/story/news/local/2015/12/04/contractor-wins-20m-suit-against-dotd/76813444/

Department of Public Safety Deputy Undersecretary Jill Boudreaux twerked the system by taking an incentive buyout for early retirement that netted her an extra $59,000. She promptly promoted herself and came back to work the next day at a salary bump. Ordered to repay the $59,000 by then Commissioner of Administration Angele Davis, she never did.

https://louisianavoice.com/2014/08/24/edmonson-not-the-first-in-dps-to-try-state-ripoff-subterfuge-undersecretary-retiresre-hires-keeps-46k-incentive-payout/

But a caseworker for the understaffed and overworked Office of Children and Family Services was arrested with all the appropriate posturing and chest-thumping by law enforcement officials—including State Police—for payroll fraud after allegedly falsifying reports on monthly in-home visits with children in foster care.

https://louisianavoice.com/2016/03/13/dcfs-funding-slashed-necessitating-driveway-visits-but-overworked-caseworker-is-arrested-for-falsifying-records/

The lesson here is obvious: if you’re politically connected, you can scarf off $59,000 with no repercussions but if you’re a lowly civil servant striving to meet impossible work demands brought about by budgetary cuts, you’re SOL. It’s not that we condone the payroll falsification, but justice should that should be administered evenly and blindly—but somehow never is.

The stories we have written about the Louisiana State Board of Dentistry and what the board does to dentists to destroy their practices and their very lives are horrific. Some of the investigative tactics and the retributions against defenseless dentists are sadistic at best and criminal at worst. Yet the board is allowed to continue its practices unchecked.

And as recently as May 2, we have the announcement from Gov. John Bel Edwards of the appointment of TERRENCE LOCKETT of Baton Rouge to the Louisiana Auctioneers Licensing Board. His appointment was made despite his being ordered in 2013 to pay $600 in penalties for his failure to file lobbying expenditure reports from March-December 2011 and his second-offense DWI in April 2014, which was reduced to a first-offense DWI.

http://gov.louisiana.gov/news/gov-edwards-announces-boards-and-commissions-appointments-5-2

By now, you’ve probably detected a trend.

It’s more than a little frustrating to see these transgressions reported, to know they are seen by those in a position to do something, and yet see these same ones in charge do nothing—or do so little as to make any discipline meaningless.

LouisianaVoice over the next few days will examine ethics fines that have gone uncollected for years, critical legislative audits of state agencies about which nothing seems to get done, and campaign contributions and lobbying activity that fortify the positions of special interests while diminishing to virtual insignificance the influence and interests of Louisiana’s citizens.

And nothing gets done.

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