DOA attorney Carlos Romanach testifies Commissioner Jay Dardenne, Gov. Edwards aid and abet Auction Board appointee Jacob Brown’s Ponzi scheme via green-lighting auction 39 days after $27,000 NSF check issued to state.

Disgraced former Edwards Louisiana Auctioneer Licensing Board appointee Jacob Brown.


In today’s Sound Off Louisiana feature, we provide irrefutable evidence that Louisiana Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne and his boss, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, aided and abetted the auction Ponzi scheme of Edwards’ Louisiana Auctioneer Licensing Board (LALB) appointee Jacob Brown.  First, we’ll present a table timeline of how this transpired, and we’ll follow that up with a seven-minute video of testimony by Division of Administration (DOA) attorney Carlos Romanach, which provided the basis for the timeline:


DateEvent or Circumstance
Early 2017Brown fails to pay numerous private-sector consignors instead diverting their money to fulfill a requirement by the State of Louisiana that $215,000 (the estimated gross sales price per auction) be provided upfront to auction state surplus property.
April 18, 2017State awards auction contract to Brown.
July 8, 2017Auction conducted.  Balance owed by Brown:  $26,920.58
July 18, 2017Brown issues Whitney Bank check # 2502 dated 7/18/17  for $26,920.58.
August 1, 2017Brown’s check returned NSF.
September 9, 2017Brown is permitted to conduct ANOTHER auction for the state!!!!!!!!  A FULL 39 days after obtaining knowledge of the above NSF check, Dardenne and Edwards permitted him to conduct ANOTHER FREAKING AUCTION!!!!!!!!!!!!
September 9, 2017Auction conducted.  Balance owed by Brown:  $148,422.09.
September 21, 2017Brown issues Whitney Bank check # 2514 dated 9/21/17 for $148,422.09.  Why the state would think that check would clear given that the prior one had not been collected can only be described as utterly stupid accommodating on Dardenne and Edwards’ parts!
October 13, 2017Brown’s check returned NSF (why did it take the state almost a month to deposit the freaking check — were they asked to “hold it” as a favor???).

We doubt anyone questions the entries on the preceding table but, just in case anyone wants direct verification, here is a 7-minute uninterrupted video segment of Brown’s July 9, 2018 hearing (which was uploaded by the LALB on October 8, 2018, a full 91 days after the hearing!!!!) wherein Romanach provides the material we present above:

Seven-minute segment of 7/9/18 LALB administrative hearing on former LALB member and auctioneer Jacob Brown (email subscribers may click here to see the video).

Now, folks, we ask our subscribers, if someone had written a hot check for $26,920.58, would you entrust them 39 days after you learned the check was hot to continue performing services for you?  To our subscribers owning small businesses, if that $26,920.58 hot check had been issued to your business, would you continue doing business with the issuer?

Notice how Romanach, at the 4:20 mark of the video, cavalierly states, “At a subsequent auction……,” as if that’s just SOP of Dardenne’s DOA and JBE’s administration notwithstanding the fact they were still out $27,000 from his last auction 52 days before!  That’s the fundamental difference between our subscribers, the vast majority of whom are small business owners, and state government officials, who show reckless disregard for taxpayer funds and instead bend over backwards to permit politically-connected individuals like Brown to bilk us for as much money as they can rather than taking the political risk of saying, “We can’t continue doing business with you.”  One has to also openly question if such aiding and abetting constitutes a crime on the part of one or more individuals who made the decision to permit Brown to conduct another auction knowing full well that the NSF check remained uncollected from the prior auction!

What about all the private-sector victims of Brown?  Perhaps they now have a very plausible cause of action against the State of Louisiana for their losses. After all, Jacob Brown was present for the July 11, 2017 LALB meeting.  He was present for the September 11, 2017 LALB meeting.  He was present for the November 6, 2017 meeting.

That’s plenty of LALB meetings for Jacob Brown to be masquerading around as an upstanding member of Gov. Edwards’ Board given all that Dardenne and Edwards knew about what was going on behind the scenes.  Surely a few attorneys for the victimized private-sector consignors may see fit to sue DOA for aiding and abetting this obvious Ponzi scheme, no?

Under such a scenario, the state may assert that, “Well, we filed suit against Brown on July 6, 2018,” (Note:  Romanach simply read the entire lawsuit into the record as his “testimony”).  If so, a plaintiff attorney can counter that action constituted mere “window dressing” (good luck collecting on a judgment and, to date, Brown hasn’t even been served and Romanach, near the end of the hearing said that nobody knows where he is).  That plaintiff attorney can further assert that DOA, Dardenne, and Edwards all had a duty to act almost a year earlier to shut this Ponzi scheme down and remove Brown from the Board and mitigate private-sector victimization.

Instead, now the State of Louisiana is likely to obtain the lion’s share of the lousy $10,000 bond.  That’s the case because DOA, through its irresponsible action of permitting the September 9, 2017 auction even with an outstanding NSF check inflated its loss needlessly.  Since the $10,000 bond will likely be pro-rated, that means DOA is going to get the lion’s share of that $10,000.

For those curious (as the private-sector victims no doubt are), the entire hearing is available by clicking here.  Also, again for those curious, here’s the LALB’s findings of fact spelling out the three claimants (one of which is DOA) for whom bond claims are being processed by the LALB.  Apparently, East Baton Rouge Parish is simply going to be out the $29,000 in unpaid sales taxes Brown stiffed it on, but for which they too, like the state, are suing to recover.  Note also that an astute and dedicated subscriber has contacted us letting us know that the cover letter mailed by Executive Director Edmonds still identifies Bobby Jindal as Governor nearly three years after he has left office!

One of the most disheartening aspects of this whole incident is that, without Sound Off Louisiana, nobody would have a freaking clue any of this transpired!  WAFB, no doubt in an effort to shield Edwards from adverse news, declined to even reference the fact Brown served on Edwards’ LALB right up to the time this whole Ponzi scheme blew up!  Further, other media outlets like The Advocate haven’t even referenced Brown’s arrest at all, and certainly not the alleged theft of the taxpayers of Louisiana by an appointee of Edwards.  In WAFB’s case, however, we need not worry.  They’ll be only too happy to air “Honor Code” commercials again next year going on the assumption that Edwards has the unmitigated gall to deploy them again!



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Does a person’s affluence (e.g. an auction victim buying a home for $300,500 all cash with no mortgage) impact Auctioneer Board’s willingness to pursue violations or file a bond claim?

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, whose appointments to the Louisiana Auctioneer Licensing Board are coming under close scrutiny for their inconsistency in treatment of auction victims.

Sound Off Louisiana subscribers will recall the video we provided wherein State Rep. Johnny Guinn, R-Jennings, referenced that, “this same individual (Robert Burns, whom he declined to name but only referenced him as a ‘disgruntled auctioneer,’) tried to stir up a big mess inside the (auction) industry a few years back.” (For reference, see from the 4:52 – 5:10 mark of the video just linked).

Guinn actually gave Burns way too much credit because it was actually Guinn’s then-colleague, Rep. Damon Baldone, who, upon being convinced he was the intended victim of an illegal act of shill bidding who “stirred up a big mess.”  How?  By filing HB-1439 of the 2010 Legislative Session.  Basically, Baldone, who felt there was an attempt at “down right theft” (quoting him verbatim) of $55,000 from him, sought to criminalize the practice of shill bidding at auctions with the penalty being equivalent to “theft by nonviolent means.”  Of course, as all Sound Off Louisiana subscribers know by now, auctioneers, including members of the Louisiana Auctioneer Licensing Board (LALB), aren’t bashful about engaging in “down right theft” as evidenced by member Jacob Brown’s recent arrest by Louisiana State Police for writing $175,000+ in worthless checks to the state of Louisiana entailing auctioning of state surplus equipment.

Burns, who served on Gov. Jindal’s LALB at the time of Baldone’s proposal (Jindal would terminate Burns’ services soon thereafter at Guinn’s direct request), attended LALB meetings during which Baldone was the subject of much discussion.  Suffice to say that Adolph Hitler was likely deemed to have better character than Baldone in the eyes of the LALB members once Baldone filed his bill.  Interestingly enough, several comments were made along the lines of Baldone, “being born with a silver spoon in his mouth,” and that he really, “shouldn’t give a d— about another $55,000 given how much he was paying for the house,” for which his final bid was $675,000 (making the total contract price after buyer’s premium tally $742,500).

Well, Baldone did “give a d—,” as would just about anybody irrespective of how wealthy he may be.  In making his arguments in support of his bill, Baldone indicated that such false representations of bids would never be permitted on the stock market, and he made an excellent point in that regard.  We challenge anyone to log onto TD Ameritrade (or other online brokerage) and attempt to execute a trade without either having the cash to buy the security or marginable securities which enable a loan for the proceeds to buy the security.  Sure, one can hit the “send” button, and it will take mere nanoseconds for the “order rejected” screen to appear staring at the individual who attempted to place the order.  Let’s take a brief peek at Baldone posing these arguments and the blowback he got back, primarily from Rep. Barbara Norton, D-Shreveport:

Baldone explains why he has sponsored his anti-shill-bidding initiative.

As stated above, Burns observed first-hand the comments made both by LALB members and audience members at LALB meetings at the time concerning Baldone’s wealth.  Burns found them disturbing because Baldone’s wealth is irrelevant to the question of whether illegal acts transpire!  It’s that simple!

More recently, evidence has been supplied to Sound Off Louisiana that the wealth of Ms. Judy Fasola, who was victimized by notoriously-problematic auctioneer Ken Buhler, may be playing a role in the LALB’s adamant stand that it is not going to file a bond claim to partially recover her losses.  If the LALB ran a search on her at EBRP Clerk of Court (which board attorney Anna Dow is known to have a high propensity to do), they are aware that Fasola, on November 21, 2017, purchased a new home and, in so doing, paid $300,500 in all cash (i.e. with no mortgage to finance her purchase).  We have received concerns indicating that fact may have played a role in the consistent denial of her request that the LALB file a bond claim on her behalf.

Our first step in investigating the potential for the LALB to factor in Fasola’s wealth was to make our own independent verification at EBRP Clerk of Court, and sure enough, we uncovered this transaction (with NO corresponding mortgage) regarding Fasola’s home purchase:



Now consider LALB Executive Director Sandy Edmonds’ response, voicing the sentiments of LALB Chairman Jacob Warren, to Fasola’s most recent request for her bond claim to be filed, which was supplied a mere eight months after Fasola’s purchase:



The letter referenced in the above email follows:


Now, we find it very interesting that Warren provides the justification for the LALB declining to file a bond claim that, “the court has not yet adjudicated your case” regarding a lawsuit Fasola filed against Buhler.  Notice what he says further:  “the board is not in a position to act without some action by the court.”


Well, guess what, folks? The State of Louisiana has sued Jacob Brown for his alleged theft (though, thus far, they have been unable to serve him). That case too has “not been adjudicated;” however, the LALB has already commenced with filing a bond claim to collect on Brown’s actions!


Perhaps the State of Louisiana is deemed to be a little more “broke” than Fasola? That must be the rationale because, otherwise, using Warren’s justification to Fasola (and treating victims in the same manner), the State should have been told, “first fully adjudicate your case against Brown. If you get a judgment that cannot be collected, then we’ll file your bond claim.”


So folks, the moral of the lesson here appears to be that, if you have any level of wealth like Baldone or Fasola, don’t expect any LALB sympathy or action when you are victimized by an auctioneer!


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LSTA to LSPC: “Restricting our political activities is a bold and blatant violation of Louisiana’s Constitution;” files suit to have provisions of Circular 191 declared unconstitutional.

Louisiana State Trooper Association Attorney Floyd Falcon

Literally days after Governor John Bel Edwards was sworn into office, a group of retired troopers asked the Louisiana State Police Commission (LSPC) to investigate campaign contributions made by the Louisiana State Trooper’s Association (LSTA) into Gov. Edwards’ 2015 campaign for Governor.  They asserted that a “straw donor,” David Young, LSTA’s Executive Director, made the contributions, which totaled $8,000, through his personal account but was then reimbursed by the LSTA for those contributions, which constitutes a violation of law.


One retired trooper, Leon “Bucky” Millet, has spearheaded efforts to prohibit the LSTA from making such contributions, and former LSPC Executive Director Cathy Derbonne has publicly stated that the LSPC strong-armed her resignation (which she granted effective January 13, 2017) as a result of her having reported the illegal campaign contributions.  The Louisiana State Board of Ethics investigated the matter and fined the LSTA $5,000 for the violations.  Former LSPC Member Lloyd Grafton, who resigned on February 9, 2017 in frustration of the treatment he asserts Derbonne received, bluntly characterized the campaign contributions, which Edwards refunded but several other political candidates, including former Gov. Bobby Jindal, did not, as “straight up money laundering.”


On Thursday, April 12, 2018, the LSPC withdrew its previously-issued circular on political activity by classified Louisiana State Troopers (Circular 190) and replaced it with Circular 191.  That circular mirrors the same provisions and restrictions which Louisiana State Civil Service utilizes for other state civil service classified employees.


As evidenced in the following brief video highlight from that April 12, 2018 LSPC meeting, the LSPC’s action drew extremely sharp criticism from LSTA attorney Floyd Falcon, who also made a subtle reference of litigation over the LSPC’s action:

LSTA attorney Floyd Falcon, at the April 12, 2018 LSPC meeting, sharply criticizes the LSPC over promulgating Circular 191, followed by LSTA President James O’Quinn openly venting frustration to LSPC Chairman Eulis Simien, Jr. that the Circular would prohibit the LSTA from actively opposing candidates whose platforms do not align with LSTA’s interests.


Falcon is a man of his word entailing the litigation threat as, on August 15, 2018, the LSTA sued the LSPC over what it claims is a “bold and blatant violation” of Louisiana’s Constitution.  The case has been assigned to 19th JDC Judge Michael Caldwell.  We at Sound Off Louisiana commit to attend any and all hearings on this litigation and report the outcome to our subscribers.


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