Public’s already-anemic confidence in ethics of Louisiana attorneys likely to take further hit with St. Tammany Parish CFO Kelly Rabalais’ victory over Jack Whitehead for Louisiana State Bar Association Board of Governor’s Fifth District seat.

 

St. Tammany Parish Council Chief Administrative Officer Kelly Rabalais.

Earlier this month, we provided subscribers with our take on the impending election to fill the Fifth District seat on the Louisiana State Bar Association.  In today’s segment, Sound Off Louisiana founder Robert Burns provides his take on the election’s results:

Burns provides assessment of the results of the 5th District seat on the Louisiana State Bar Association election between Kelly Rabalais and Jack Whitehead.  CLICK HERE for the election’s results as well as plethora of litigation pertaining to St. Tammany Parish controversies that have resulted in absolutely staggering legal costs for the Parish’s government.

 

In the video above, Burns explains why, by his own admission, he gets so worked up over the nature of the litigation entailing St. Tammany Parish Government (i.e. access to public records).  In doing so, Burns references his own extensive litigation history with the Louisiana Auctioneer Licensing Board (LALB) which has always entailed access to public records and/or alleged violations of Louisiana’s open meetings laws.

Burns also explains why he feels the election of Rabalais will further erode the already-anemic confidence Louisiana folk have in the legal profession in the state.

In so doing, Burns references a complaint he filed with the Louisiana Office of Disciplinary Counsel (ODC) against convicted felon Larry S. Bankston.  Burns had expressed his concerns to three (3) LALB members about the agency’s Executive Director, Sandy Edmonds, routinely engaging in payroll fraud.  Edmonds would routinely engage in acts such as 1) relaxing on a beach in Orange Beach, Alabama; 2) visiting Disneyworld with the family for a week; 3) visiting relatives in Oklahoma; 4) going sightseeing in New York, and for all such leisure activities for which Edmonds was not even in the state of Louisiana nor making any pretense of working, she would report being “on the clock” with the LALB.

Burns indicated to the ODC that Bankston acted unethically when, upon those three LALB members supplying Bankston with Burns’ email of concern, Bankston opted to convene an Administrative Hearing against Burns rather than insist the members of the LALB take corrective action regarding the payroll fraud!  The ODC’s response?  In a letter dated January 27, 2014 signed by Eric McClendon, Deputy Disciplinary Counsel at the ODC, McClendon indicated that the ODC would be taking no action!  McClendon’s letter prompted this VERY terse letter back to McClendon from Burns the very next day, January 28, 2014.

In the above video, Burns references the LALB, via Bankston, having filed a “Writ of Attachment” against Burns.  That whole episode is provided below:


LALB and its attorney, Larry S. Bankston, endure utterly embarrassing defeat in 19th JDC on July 22, 2013 entailing ill-advised pursuit of Writ of Attachment against LAPA Vice President Robert Burns.  Video above contains excerpts of LALB meetings of 3/26/13 & 5/20/13, both of which entailed Administrative Hearings on notoriously-problematic auctioneer Ken Buhler.  

Oral arguments were before Judge Todd Hernandez on July 22, 2013, and he issued this ruling DENYING the LALB’s Writ on August 28, 2013.  Judge Hernandez supplied a one-sentence explanation:  “the subpoena at issue has now been served.”  The Board and Mr. Bankston were well-aware the subpoena had been served and, in fact, they filed the Petition for Writ six (6) days AFTER it was served!!!!  You read correctly!  They filed the Writ SIX (6) days AFTER the subpoena was served (subpoena served 5/7/13 and Petition for Writ filed 5/13/13)!!

 So, at the end of the day, the LALB flushes YET ANOTHER approximate $2,100 on more legal fees in its ongoing relentless and fruitless pursuit of LAPA Vice President Robert Burns.

How easy was it for Burns to defeat the LALB’s Petition for Writ?  It took Burns a mere 25 minutes to draft this 3-Page Opposition Memorandum.   Meanwhile, as evidenced by the above “flush” link, Mr. Bankston and his associate, Jenna Linn, billed the LALB for an astounding 16.2 hours to pursue the Writ!!!. 

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There are at least some attorneys who strive to instill some level of ethics within the profession.  One such gentleman is Mr. Richard E. Gerard, Jr., who issued this STRONG dissent against Bankston being reinstated to the practice of law in Louisiana.

Unfortunately, the profession seems to be heavily dominated by attorneys demonstrating that their ethics are suspect as evidenced by Ms. Rabalais’ handling of public records requests entailing St. Tammany Parish Government.  Accordingly, her election to the Fifth District seat on the Louisiana State Bar Association provides yet more ammunition for the sentiments that Gerard expresses in his dissenting opinion just linked.  Specifically, just like Bankston being readmitted to the practice of law, we believe that, in electing Ms. Rabalais to the position she will now hold for three years, attorneys eligible to vote in that Fifth District seat have “sent the wrong message” to the citizens of Louisiana.

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Gov. Edwards bows to attorney cabal and insists on the re-hiring of Stephen Holliday after his arrest for striking his daughter with a closed fist in the face and left forearm, resulting in school nurse alerting authorities.

Stephen Holliday, Gov. Edwards’ Director of Commercial Trucking within the Office of Multimodial Commerce.

Viewers will recall our first feature entailing Gov. Edwards’ controversial hiring of Stephen Holliday, who presently serves as the Commercial Trucking Director of the Office of Multimodal Commerce.  For this Sound Off Louisiana feature, we’re going to dispense with our usual obligatory video (though a brief, one-minute video exists on our prior feature if anyone would like to view it) and get straight into providing more detail (along with our support documents) on Holliday’s “domestic abuse.”

Let’s consider the following sequence of events which we’ve now been told transpired:

1.  Holliday is hired by Edwards in 2016 as an Executive Management Officer for the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF).

2.  The then-Secretary of LDWF, Charlie Melancon, uncovers the fact Holliday had a domestic abuse conviction the prior year and therefore seeks Holliday’s immediate resignation, which Holliday reluctantly provides.

3.  Edwards convinces Melancon to resign.

4.  Edwards insists LDWF re-hire Holliday, but the agency refuses.

5.  After staying in limbo for about a year, Holliday is quietly hired to his present position in January, 2018.

Why was Edwards so adamant that Holliday be hired?  Simple.  Because his attorney cabal of supporters, the same crew of characters who arranged for a New Orleans blogger to conduct a video interview with a prostitute who would state (falsely) that then-U. S. Sen. David Vitter, Edwards’ opponent, “got me pregnant and then insisted that I have an abortion” told him to.  That’s why!  They went to those lengths because they very much feared Vitter’s “Together Louisiana Strong” platform to institute tort reform (and most especially reducing the jury trial threshold to zero) in Louisiana.  In short, Vitter was going to annihilate their business model (the ones that keep the television station ads going non-stop during daytime TV shows and on evening newscasts).

Well, let’s just examine exactly what that attorney cabal managed to pull off by flexing their collective muscles with old “Honor Code” shall we?

 First, we have the Affidavit of Probably Cause on Holliday’s arrest.  Let’s take a look (here’s a link for the Domestic Battery Abuse Statute ):

 

 

Now, by our own admission, the arresting officer’s handwriting is not the best, so we’ve created a document with his written account typed, which follows:

 

So, we have “Honor Code” Gov. Edwards’ attorney cabal flexing their muscles to go to bat for Mr. Holliday who, as is easily ascertained above, struck his daughter with a closed fist in the face and left forearm, thus causing the school nurse to need to alert authorities.

Next, as part of the ongoing arrangement for Holliday and his former wife to provide for their daughter, a fairly routine judgment was entered into Court on January 20, 2016 calling for each parent’s financial responsibilities for the young lady.  However, as perhaps could be expected given Holliday’s actions (e.g. running from police) in our first feature, Holliday didn’t cooperate.  Accordingly, his ex-wife initiated Contempt of Court proceedings.

We are told that, while working at LDWF, Holiday would be “hold up” in an office unwilling to come out or answer the door.  That is quite plausible because, unable to serve Holliday with the Contempt of Court documents, his ex-wife had to resort to hiring a private process-server, who ultimately got him served at 8:40 a.m. on October 5, 2016:

 

 

 

The list of potential witnesses which his ex-wife supplied to the Court for the Contempt of Court hearing makes for interesting viewing as well.  Let’s take a look, shall we?

Holliday saw fit to honor the Court with his presence for the hearing on October 11, 2016, at which time a Consent Judgment was agreed to and formally entered into the Court record on November 16, 2016, and the Rule for Contempt of Court against Holliday was dismissed

 

We reached out to Gov. Edwards’ Office for comment, but they have not responded to our phone call seeking comment nor our email seeking comment.  Of course, that just may be because, when Gov. Edwards appeared at the Baton Rouge Press Club on January 7, 2019 and Robert Burns was engaging in an exchange with LaTonya Smith Scott, AARP’s State Communications Director, after the meeting and after Scott had grilled Gov. Edwards on home health care for Louisiana’s elderly population, Richard Carbo, Edwards’ newly appointed Campaign Chairman, came right up, interrupted the conversation between Scott and Burns and told Scott, “Don’t listen to him.  He doesn’t publish anything but junk.”

 

Perhaps we’ve pleased Mr. Carbo with this latest installment of “junk.”

 

 

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Gov. Edwards hires convicted domestic abuser Stephen Holliday, a disgraced, twice-suspended attorney not once, but twice during his first term in office.

Stephen Holliday, Gov. John Bel Edwards’ Commercial Trucking Director of the “Office of Multimodal Commerce.”

In today’s edition of Sound Off Louisiana, founder Robert Burns provides a brief (just over a minute) introduction of Gov. Edwards again flaunting his 2015 “Honor Code” with his repetitive hiring of Stephen Holliday:

Burns provides brief overview of the disgraced Stephen Holliday and why Edwards was so adamant about him being hired, despite his despicable past acts to include a DOMESTIC ABUSE CONVICTION in 2015 MERE MONTHS before Edwards took office.

Stephen Holliday was convicted of domestic abuse in 2015 (see below).  Nevertheless, Gov. Edwards has, for a SECOND time in his first term,  awarded him a lucrative Executive Position within his Administration.

Since January 2018, Holliday has served as the Commercial Trucking Director of the “Office of Multimodal Commerce.”  With the exception of possibly driving a truck drunk (see below), Holliday has no prior experience related to commercial trucking.

The office he “oversees” is yet another layer of bureaucracy within DOTD.  The Office was created  via Act 719 of the 2014 Louisiana Legislature.

Ironically, in creating this new Division, the author of the legislation, State Sen. Norby Chabert, R-Houma, stated that his legislation would “help the state capitalize on potential business opportunities.”

The Hayride’s Scott McKay had an interesting encounter with Chabert on Monday, May 22, 2017, and McKay has characterized Chabert as “another nail in the coffin” of political conservatism at the State Capitol.

Given Edwards’ hiring of Holliday, it sure as heck looks to us like, contrary to Chabert’s statement that the newly-formed bureaucracy would “help the state capitalize on potential business opportunities,” what it’s serving as is a mechanism for governors like John Bel Edwards to use as slush funds for pure rank pork to engage in political cronyism .

For example and hypothetically, let’s just suppose for a moment that Baton Rouge attorney Ted Jones, who is known to have played a significant financial role in Edwards’ 2015 election to become Governor, were to lean upon Edwards to help Holliday out (they’re believed to have close family ties), could that explain Edwards’ apparent ease with which he abandoned his much-touted West Point Honor Code and thereafter hired a convicted domestic abuser?  Heck, if Jones or any other attorney hypothetically leaned on Edwards to hire Holliday, if he’s such a great cracker jack attorney, why didn’t any such leaner (Jones or otherwise) step up to the plate and hire him at their own firm(s) rather than dumping him off as a deadhead to the taxpayers of Louisiana?

If someone did “lean” on Gov. Edwards for the taxpayers to provide Holliday with a deadhead job (and sources tell us that such a “leaning” on Edwards  most assuredly transpired), then it sure looks to us like Chabert’s legislation has allowed someone who could never hold down a job in the private sector with his despicable conduct (see below), to enable the “good ole Louisiana State Government Tit” to be there to supply plenty of taxpayer milk!  Perhaps that explains why historically only 11% of Louisiana gas taxes have gone to actual highway, road, and bridge construction and repair  or why, Alan Seabaugh (R-Shreveport), who is seeking to be Louisiana’s next Speaker of the House, was not at all off base when he called for whopping off about 3,000 heads at DOTD!

Now, as we’ve mentioned, Edwards hired Holliday not once, but twice!  Holliday was first hired by Edwards in 2016 as an Executive Management Officer for the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF).  Sources have stated that Holliday’s resignation from LDWF came as a result of former LDWF Secretary Charlie Melancon becoming aware of the domestic abuse conviction.  Melancon felt compelled to seek Holliday’s resignation as a result of Melancon’s own exploitation during his 2010 campaign for U. S. Senator, at which time he hammered Vitter over an aide having engaged in domestic abuse.   Apparently, Melancon felt a need to be consistent in his strong stand against domestic abusers whereas Edwards, as evidenced by him hiring Holliday at the Office of Multimodal Commerce, WHEN HE KNEW DARN WELL HOLLIDAY HAD COMMITTED DOMESTIC ABUSE, can conveniently let his “Honor Code” phase in and out.

Also, as we’ve already stated before, and as relayed in this Times Picayune article, Edwards was obviously oblivious to Johnny Anderson’s past history at Southern University, which was readily available to Edwards and included sexual harassment claims by nine (9) women!

Will the many women who were justifiably outraged at Vitter having such a person on his staff, particularly the female “Republicans for John Bel Edwards” have the same outrage with Edwards over his hiring of Holliday, not once, but TWICE?  Will they demand Holliday’s immediate resignation?  For that matter, will the mainstream media even bother with reporting on Edwards’ hypocrisy regarding hiring a domestic abuser, or does the mainstream media view that only as a sin for Vitter?

So, we have a pretty simple question at this point:  Is THIS the type of “Honor Code” voters, particularly those “Republicans for John Bel Edwards” signed up for when they supported him to be a Governor who would “not lie, cheat, steal nor tolerate those who do?”  We’ll see if there are any thoughts from those Republicans on how all that is working out, particularly women who may be offended at his efforts to provide for a convicted domestic abuser by awarding him such lucrative positions within his Administration.

Support Links for this Feature (together with other findings of the Office of Disciplinary Counsel such as Holliday driving around intoxicated with a minor child in the passenger seat, bashing in his ex-wife’s boyfriend’s truck WHILE HOLDING HIS CHILD IN THE OTHER HAND, falsely stating (i.e. lying) that a Gold Club stripper was driving his vehicle after he fled from police after another traffic stop, etc. — in other words, just the type person to fit the bill for Edwards’ commitment to “not tolerate those who lie, cheat or steal.”):

1.  Louisiana ODC recommendation of August 18, 2008.

2.  Holliday’s bar suspension for DOMESTIC ABUSE in 2015.

 

 

 

 

 

If you would like to be added to our Sound Off Louisiana email list to be notified of future posts, simply go to our home page and scroll to the bottom (mobile devices) or to the top of the right-hand column (desktops).  Supply your email address within the subscribe box.  You’ll then receive an automated email from Word Press, and all you have to do is click on the blue “confirm follow” bar contained within that email, and you’ll begin receiving great posts such as the preceding one above.