Cosmetology Instructor Nelda Dural
Sound Off Louisiana viewers may recall a previous post entailing cosmetology instructor Nelda Dural. In that post, it was revealed that Louisiana State Board of Cosmetology (LSBC) Executive Director Steve Young, as stated on videotape of the “hearing,” told prospective students not to attend Dural’s Iberia Cosmetology Institute because it represented a “threatening environment.” Interestingly, LSBC legal counsel Sheri Morris did not place Young on the witness stand to refute the sworn testimony of both Dural and students that Young issued such directives to prospective students. Further, during the entirety of Dural’s three-day hearing, the LSBC failed to put on a single shred of evidenced to substantiate any “threat” conditions at the school aside from students indicating Young told them it was such an environment and Nelda testifying that students told her Young had made such statements to them.
We have held off presenting what punishment the LSBC inflicted upon Dural in order to provide her attorney, Edward Landry, time to respond to the board’s suspension of Dural’s license subject to her paying an astounding $43,000 in administrative hearing costs. When combined with the fines levied against Dural, the cost for her to remain in business totaled nearly $50,000 for “violations” such as failing to employ two instructors when, as Dural readily pointed out at the link above, the LSBC granted an exemption for another school entailing the two-instructor statute only eight weeks earlier (see video on link). It is abundantly clear that the two-instructor rule, which became a statute in 2010 and was pushed by the Jindal appointees to the LSBC (the vast majority of whom are school owners) had one single purpose in mind: drive small school operators like Dural out of business. The old rule required the hiring of a second instructor only if a class had 20 or more students enrolled. That made logical sense because an instructor can only spread himself so thin. What sense, however, does it make force a school to have to utilize two instructors for classes as small as two students? For the record, Dural testified that her class size was typically 6-8 students.
The experience of Dural largely echoes the experiences of numerous Vietnamese manicurists which prompted this post of former U. S. Congressman Joseph Cao wherein Cao vented frustration before a Louisiana Senate Committee entailing the LSBC’s “lawlessness” (a highly detailed link is provided on the post to extensively document Cao’s frustration, including a link for a class action lawsuit he filed against the LSBC).
Sound Off founder Robert Burns attended the December 7, 2015 LSBC meeting to again express his dismay at alleged infractions which are now appearing by the dozens at every LSBC meeting, all of which are against Vietnamese manicurists and salon owners. Burns also made it crystal clear that the LSBC was not to convene an executive session to discuss the litigation because it had “failed miserably” to properly document the agenda to permit such an executive session to transpire. Here is a link for a 3-minute video of Burns doing so:
Burns makes his sentiments known about the
LSBC’s enforcement practices.
Morris tersely interrupted Burns to indicate there would be no executive session for the purpose of discussing litigation. What turned out to be shocking (and quite bewildering) was that Morris declined to discuss pending litigation AT ALL during the entire meeting! Apparently, there was no belief that the LSBC members should be apprised of Dural’s appeal of the LSBC’s hearing to 19th JDC. Landry, Dural’s attorney, sought an immediate stay of the LSBC’s action, which 19th JDC Judge Donald Johnson granted. That prompted Morris to file this motion to have the stay vacated. A hearing to vacate the stay was ordered for November 9, 2015; however, Landry sought a continuance due to a conflict he had with a Lafayette court hearing. Although Landry provided documented evidence of his conflict, he stated that Morris “refused to be cooperative entailing rescheduling the hearing.” Judge Johnson therefore continued the hearing until November 23, 2015. The file contains no reason why (but the likely explanation being Thanksgiving holidays), but Judge Johnson then rescheduled the hearing for January 11, 2016. Sound Off Louisiana will certainly attend, assuming a State holiday isn’t declared for the inauguration of Governor-Elect Edwards, and observe the proceeding.
Meanwhile, in the aforementioned class action lawsuit, Celia Cangelosi, the other LSBC attorney, who is named personally as a defendant in the suit, filed a Motion for Summary Judgment entailing one plaintiff based upon prescription (she alleges Hanh Hoang’s claims of acts constituting discrimination transpired more than one year prior to the suit being filed). Interestingly, on page four of Cangelosi’s motion (filed on 11/15/15), she reveals that, during deposition testimony, Hanh Hoang testified that LSBC inspector Margaret Keller stated, “you take care of me, and I take care of you.” Hoang later testified at the deposition that: “I think she (Keller) was trying to get me to bribe her.” Cangelosi also points out in her filing that Hoang’s brother-in-law is none other than class action plaintiffs’ lawyer, former Congressman Joseph Cao. Attorneys on the Sound Off distribution list (and others merely curious) are welcome to read Cangelosi’s recent filing in its entirety.
It just seems amazing that Morris would deem there to be no need for the LSBC members to be apprised of developments in the class action lawsuit. It’s an open question if LSBC members are even aware at this point that Dural has sued the board, and one source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said, “I seriously doubt they do. These attorneys keep them on a needs-to-know basis, and most times both they and Executive Director Steve Young deem them to need to know very little other than their own overly-flowery portrayals to the board.”
If Hoang’s allegations of bribery are true, they would dovetail on bribes LSBC’s Winn Johnson accepted for selling answers to the state exam for $500/pop.
Although it appears LSBC Executive Director Steve Young is as responsible, if not more so, than individual board members for the LSBC’s problems, in the following video, Young prepared board members for their potential exits upon the swearing in of Governor-Elect Edwards:
Young announces one board member’s resignation
and an expected change in the LSBC’s composition upon
the swearing in of Governor-Elect John Bel Edwards.
Without question, both Governor-Elect John Bel Edwards and Attorney General-Elect Jeff Landry face major hurdles entailing this particular board. Edwards will have to name new board members, and Landry will have to decide how to handle the existing class-action lawsuit going forward. To date, current Attorney General James D. “Buddy” Caldwell has been perfectly content to permit his former campaign treasurer, Wade Shows, to pile up around $300,000 in legal fees defending the suit. Thus, there has been no incentive for Caldwell to attempt to resolve the Vietnamese manicurists’ plights; furthermore, as pointed out in Landry’s ads entailing the “Buddy System,” the exact opposite has been true, and there’s been a vested interest in Caldwell dragging the litigation out as it has enriched his “buddy” Wade Shows.
Meanwhile, the counter-productive, anti-business, anti-free-trade, harassing nature of many occupational licensing boards and commissions across the country which, as evidenced by the LSBC, frequently serve as nothing more than Mafia entities utilizing Gestapo-like enforcement provisions, has prompted the Koch Brothers to pledge $900 million to work with President Obama and his successor to dismantle these obstructionist boards and commissions. The cosmetology industry has wasted no time calling their practitioners to battle. It is the sincere hope of Sound Off Louisiana that Governor-Elect John Bel Edwards will work diligently with President Obama and end the blatant discrimination that boards like Louisiana’s Interior Design Board have permitted to transpire in this state (for far more information on that particular board, visit the Abolish IDB website). Reining in these boards and commissions has very strong bipartisan support. Perhaps with the $900 million the Koch brothers have pledged to dismantling these job-killing, obstructionist entities, progress which is long, long overdue may finally be forthcoming.
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