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:
|Date||Event or Circumstance|
|Early 2017||Brown 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, 2017||State awards auction contract to Brown.|
|July 8, 2017||Auction conducted. Balance owed by Brown: $26,920.58|
|July 18, 2017||Brown issues Whitney Bank check # 2502 dated 7/18/17 for $26,920.58.|
|August 1, 2017||Brown’s check returned NSF.|
|September 9, 2017||Brown 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, 2017||Auction conducted. Balance owed by Brown: $148,422.09.|
|September 21, 2017||Brown 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, 2017||Brown’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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