So much for “first and foremost, it must be a trooper” as State Police hires non-trooper Carl Bruce Stamey for lucrative Air Support pilot position.


Louisiana State Police Command Inspector Mark Morrison (front right) explains to the Louisiana State Police Commission (LSPC) on November 8, 2018 that “first and foremost” pilots hired for LSP’s Air Support Unit “must be troopers.”  Air Support Command Pilot Steven Lee (front left) looks on, while Morrison’s wife, Faye Morrison (LSP Legal Counsel) listens in (second row far left), as does Retired LSP Lieutenant Leon “Bucky” Millet (second row far right).

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Addendum (4/30/21 @ 12:23 p.m.):  Early this morning, we got official confirmation that YET ANOTHER Alexandria Trooper was hired for the most recent pilot opening as confirmed by LSPC Executive Director Jason Hannaman:

From: Jason Hannaman <Jason.Hannaman@LA.GOV>
Sent: Friday, April 30, 2021 11:45 AM
To: Robert Burns <robert@soundoffla.com>
Subject: RE: Erin Williams

 

State Police Trooper Joseph Dessens was promoted to State Police Pilot on 2/9/2021.

Dessens was hired as a trooper as part of the 2006 Class of Cadets.  From the preceding link:

TROOP E-Alexandria

  • Joseph Dessens
  • John Dauzat
  • William Martin
  • Alison McCampbell
  • James Rougeou
  • Joseph Simms

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When we first exposed the extensive problems entailing disgraced former Louisiana State Police (LSP) Air Support pilot Michael Satcher, who faces felony criminal domestic abuse charges in Rapides Parish, we soon found ourselves inundated with material originating from multiple sources expressing thanks that a media outlet was, “finally delving into the corruption at LSP Air Support.”

We learned one thing really fast from these sources.  The pilot positions at LSP are highly coveted.  Not only do they pay more than standard trooper salaries, but they carry an added level of prestige which is magnified by the fact that they fly dignitaries like the Governor of Louisiana on a routine basis.

Though our sources literally plopped a multitude of complaints and allegations about LSP Air Support’s management in our laps, they all shared one point in common for which they had universal fury.  Specifically, they all represented to us that LSP Air Support was actively in negotiations to hire a pilot from outside of LSP.  They then contended that such a hiring constituted a direct violation of LSP hiring policy entailing those positions.

That prompted us (with the assistance of LSP retired Lt. Leon “Bucky” Millet) to search for video of a meeting of the Louisiana State Police Commission (LSPC) featuring Mark Morrison.  He is a Command Inspector at LSP as well as the husband of LSP Legal Counsel Faye Morrison.

Thanks to Millet, the video was quickly found.  Mark Morrison was questioned by LSPC Member Brian Crawford entailing whether LSP Air Support hires from within LSP ranks or goes outside to fill a position.  Here is Morrison’s verbatim response:

First and foremost, is that you’re a trooper.  You know.  At heart, we’re all troopers, and the bond that links us together is the fact that we’re all troopers, and we all started at Troop A.  So, it will come from an active duty trooper within State Police who meets the qualifications that are listed in here.

Crawford even followed up his question to ask that, upon that position being filled, would that then create an opening for another trooper to apply and obtain entry into the vacated position of the pilot being promoted (i.e. keep the hiring within the LSP family and free up a space for a trooper to enter Air Support and obtain a much-coveted pilot position).  Morrison responded, “Yes, sir.  That is my understanding.”

Let’s take (literally) just one minute to watch a video clip of that exchange, shall we?


11/8/18 LSPC Meeting:  Mark Morrison responds to LSPC Member Brian Crawford’s inquiry of whether the requested pilot position will be filled from within LSP ranks or whether someone from outside the agency will fill the position.

We were repeatedly guided entailing what documentation to seek from LSP Legal Counsel Faye Morrison in order to substantiate the hiring of a non-trooper, whom they openly identified as “Carl Bruce Stamey.”  They further indicated that he is “good friends with Steven Lee.”  They then added that essentially nobody is hired at LSP Air Support unless they are either “in tight” with Lee, live in or around the Alexandria area, where Lee resides (recall Satcher is from Alexandria), or ideally from Lee’s perspective, both.

These sources have openly questioned how a state agency such as LSP, which is headquartered in Baton Rouge, can essentially have a Division (Air Support) that is remotely headquartered in Alexandria, as they contend Air Support is.  These sources have offered reasons why Lee has such a strong preference for friends or Alexandria-area residents to be hired over other troopers.  We won’t comment on those reasons, but we believe our subscribers can deploy common sense to know why that’s the case if these troopers’ accusations are accurate.

At any rate, every time we modified our public records request to Faye Morrison over the course of about five months (and we made 3-4 such requests) to substantiate the planned hiring of Stamey, we ran into brick walls.  Morrison repeatedly indicated to us that LSP did not consider the requested documentation public record.

On December 28, 2020, we asked for a printout of the posting of the position.  We did so because we’d met with a source who told us he’d viewed it and contended that he, “knew the fix was in for Stamey to get the job because they included some obscure condition that the candidate had to have knowledge of vegetation.”  Stamey, a long-time DEQ employee, would be the only applicant with such knowledge.  Let us reproduce Morrison’s response to our request, even as it pertained to the mere job posting:

Mr. Burns:  please be advised that in response to items 3 and 4 of the request below, the documentation responsive to those requests is still in use and not yet public.  As such, those requests are denied at this time.  fdm

We would note that Morrison issued that response on January 27, 2021, which was a full 30 days after our request, only to then tell us that we would not be obtaining the records (item 4 Morrison references was nothing more than the job posting) for the reason she stated above.

We’re obviously not going to reveal one of our several sources entailing LSP Air Support’s operations; however, we will reproduce his reaction to Morrison’s response above:

If you can get all of those reports back to you.  If they did there some real good stuff in there that I can not talk about.  I highly doubt they will release that kind of information.

How’s that for a blunt assessment of LSP’s recent trumpeting of transparency?

Given the above, we decided that, at some point, LSP would either hire Stamey or they would not.  Accordingly, we waited an extended period and, on Monday, April 5, 2021, we made the following simple public records request:

Any documentation evidencing Mr. Bruce Stamey now being employed by Louisiana State Police.

Finally, we could no longer be given the run around by LSP (which has recently demonstrated that the agency seems to have obtained a patent on blocking the receipt of blatantly-obvious public records) and the gig, as they say, was finally up!  LSP had little choice but to provide us with this document.  As is obvious from the document, Lee requested that Stamey be hired on as an Aircraft Chief Fleet Pilot at a salary of $97,700 a year effective February 6, 2021 (a mere 10 days after Morrison denied our public records requests).  Stamey has held the position since that date, or for 82 days as of the date of this feature being published.

Now, we believe that a respectable LSPC would issue a command that Lee and Morrison appear before the Commission and answer the question of why Morrison’s statements above have proven to be demonstratively false.  We also believe that a respectable LSPC would also make the following inquiries of Lee and Morrison:

  1.  How many pilots have received fixed-wing, multi-engine certifications paid for by taxpayers?
  2. How does LSP justify that expense given that LSP has never owned such aircraft?
  3. Does obtaining such certification enable one to obtain a more lucrative private-industry pilot position more readily?
  4. How many such pilots have resigned from LSP soon after obtaining the certifications and for what reasons (we know of three and the reasons thereof and would love to see if Morrison/Lee would be truthful to the Commission)?
  5. Has any pilot employed by LSP Air Support ever paid out of his own pocket to obtain fixed-wing, multi-engine certification?  If so, who?  Did he take annual leave to obtain the certification?
  6. Were other pilots’ tuition for fixed-wing, multi-engine certifications paid for by taxpayers or the pilots themselves?  Were they required to take annual leave for school?
  7. Can you account for the discrepancy, if one in fact exists, between responses to items 5 and 6 above?
  8. Does LSP plan to (or has it already) obtain(ed)  the transfer of a fixed-wing, multi-engine aircraft constructed in or around the year 1976 from DEQ to LSP, making that aircraft the first such aircraft in LSP’s possession?
  9. Will Mr. Stamey provide fixed-wing, multi-engine certification training in house?
  10. Was that the primary reason he was hired?
  11. Was the pilot position posting custom-tailored to fit Mr. Stamey?
  12. Is the LSP Air Support Unit being utilized as a means for pilots to obtain credentials enabling them to depart for greener pastures in the private sector with advanced knowledge that their tenures at LSP Air Support are likely to be short-lived once such positions can be obtained?
  13. Why is there such a preference given to Alexandria-area applicants for pilot positions and why have so many historically been chosen from that area?
  14. Was a trooper newly-hired in the Air Support Unit told, “We have no idea how you pulled this off, but that’s not the way it works around here.  We determine who is hired, and you certainly weren’t someone we recommended for hire!”?
  15. Was the trooper referenced in the previous question denied access to the facility on his first day on the job and obtained such access only by having a guard open the gate for him?
  16. Did the trooper referenced in the prior two questions sign in the log book at the facility as “pilot” only to have the word “pilot” stricken out by one or more of his superiors at LSP’s Air Support Unit?
  17. Did the trooper referenced in the prior three questions become so frustrated with the work environment at LSP’s Air Support Unit and the hostility he endured at that Unit that he requested a transfer soon after being hired at Air Support and was in fact soon thereafter transferred to LSP’s Gaming Enforcement Division?

Those are just a few questions that “inquiring minds” (especially the minds of many LSP Troopers with pilot aspirations) would like to obtain answers to and which they’d love to see the LSPC pose of Morrison and Lee.

Again, we believe that’s what a respectable LSPC would do.  We’ll see if this LSPC does what we believe would be respectable.  If so, we’ll certainly film such an event and ensure those who would love to see such questions posed by the LSPC receive the video by way of a Sound Off Louisiana feature!

So, how about it, LSPC?  We anxiously await publication of the next agenda!

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.

 

The “other” Jacob Brown, alleged issuer of $180,000 in NSF checks to the State, faces criminal trial on Wednesday. We’ll be there!

Former auctioneer and appointee of Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, Jacob Brown, who faces a criminal trial on Wednesday, April 28, 2021 for allegedly issuing $180,000 in worthless checks to the State of Louisiana soon after Gov. Edwards appointed him to the Louisiana Auctioneer’s Licensing Board.

Long-time Sound Off Louisiana subscribers may recall that Jacob Brown (the auctioneer, not the Louisiana State Trooper in the news so much lately) was arrested on July 18, 2018.  For a review and for the benefit of new subscribers, here’s WAFB’s coverage of that arrest:


WAFB’s Crime Stoppers Profile Crime Stoppers profile of Brown as well as his arrest.

The above WAFB feature certainly provides the “Joe Friday, just the facts ma’am” story, but we’d like to expand it just a bit with some background.

Gov. Edwards placed Jacob Brown on the Louisiana Auctioneer Licensing Board (LALB) simultaneously with his removal (only 16 days after appointing him) of Louisiana’s then-only African American auctioneer from that Board, Rev. Freddie Lee Phillips.  Anyone is welcome to see Rev. Phillips confront Edwards head-on about his decision to remove him from the LALB (again, only 16 days after appointing him) by  CLICKING HERE.

So, out with Phillips and in with Brown, who is the son of convicted felon (and Edwin Edwards associate) Cecil Brown, who accompanied former Gov. Edwin Edwards on an extended stay in Federal Prison.

As the old saying goes, “Like father, like son.”  No sooner had Brown been appointed to the LALB than did the tag-team of Edwards and his Commissioner of Administration, Jay Dardenne, who is presently a semi-finalist to become LSU’s next President, award Brown with lucrative contracts for the sale of State surplus property.  Let’s take a look at just how that worked out for us taxpayers, shall we?

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 in order to qualify 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!  That is NOT a misprint!  A FULL 39 days after obtaining knowledge of the above NSF check, Dardenne and Edwards permitted Brown to conduct another 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 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 LALB hearing (which was uploaded by the LALB on October 8, 2018, a full 91 days after the hearing!!!!) wherein Division of Administration attorney Carlos 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.

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?

Also, Brown allegedly stiffed East Baton Rouge Parish (EBRP) entailing not paying sales taxes on the auctions. Here’s the lawsuit EBRP officials filed in response:

For what it’s worth, the State of Louisiana filed a civil suit against Brown.  The private-sector victims of Brown’s actions pretty much just had to take their lumps and settle for a pro-rated share of the lousy $10,000 bond auctioneers are required to carry as a condition of licensure in Louisiana (the state got the lion’s share of that since losses are aggregated and claims paid on a pro-rata basis).

Obviously, Edwards had little choice but to remove Brown from the LALB for stiffing the State and EBRP and his failure to tender marketable title on automobiles which Brown’s company auctioned.

We have followed Brown’s criminal proceedings and, after numerous delays, the trial is now set for this Wednesday (April 28, 2021).  We commit to attend the trial and report on its outcome to our subscribers.

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.

Louisiana NAACP showers praise and adoration on Gov. Edwards, but were some members’ concerns over Louisiana law enforcement actions for black arrestees brushed aside?

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, who was the special guest speaker at the NAACP Zoom meeting of Monday, April 19, 2021.

Gov. John Bel Edwards was the guest speaker at the Zoom meeting of the Louisiana NAACP on Monday, April 19, 2021.

We want to begin this feature by expressing thanks to Gov. Edwards and to the Louisiana NAACP for permitting us to attend the meeting via Zoom.  Sound Off Louisiana was an invited guest for the meeting, and we sincerely appreciate the invitation permitting us to attend the meeting.

Let’s break down the segments of the meeting with a series of video clips for viewers to choose which ones they may have interest in viewing:


The meeting officially kicks off with a musical introduction to welcome Gov. Edwards.


Immediately after the musical introduction came the invocation.


After the invocation, Louisiana NAACP President Michael McClanahan gave a very strong and authoritative introduction of Gov. Edwards in which he (Edwards) was showered with praise and adoration.


Obviously realizing there was an 800-pound gorilla in the room, Gov. Edwards, early on during his prepared remarks, addressed concerns of Louisiana NAACP members entailing law enforcement actions across the U. S. entailing the arrests of African American men.


Further into his prepared remarks, Gov. Edwards stressed current Legislative initiatives such as reducing gender inequality in pay for women, his strong support for an increase in Louisiana’s minimum wage, and a bill he actively supports to alter factors which automobile insurers are permitted to consider when setting automobile insurance rates in Louisiana.  [Editor’s Note:  Someone chose to exit the meeting, and that caused the windows of attendees to be pushed upward.  Unfortunately, we did not catch the fact that had transpired, and so much of the video above is of another attendee who, like us, wasn’t sitting directly in front of the computer monitor.  We apologize for this occurrence.]


Gov. Edwards takes one of several pre-submitted questions in addressing NAACP members’ desires for minority judge(s) in Terrebonne Parish.


Gov. Edwards responds to another pre-submitted question regarding a planned upcoming meeting with President Biden to discuss Louisiana’s role during a transition period away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy.


Gov. Edwards responds to another pre-submitted question entailing redistricting and whether or not he would veto any redistricting bill which does not create a second minority district in the U. S. Congress in Louisiana.


Gov. Edwards responds to a pre-submitted question inquiring about his endorsement process and asking why he failed to endorse the Democratic front runner in the recent special U. S. Congressional District 5 in Louisiana race made necessary by the death of Congressman-elect Luke Letlow from COVID.


Gov. Edwards begins taking live questions, with the first being if he would pardon “wrongfully-convicted inmates” at Louisiana prisons and a follow-up question regarding work programs to ensure released inmates do not cause a homelessness problem in Louisiana.


Gov. Edwards takes the second (and last) live question, which pertained to providing for broadband internet access to rural areas and areas in North Louisiana.  Thereafter, McClanahan and Gov. Edwards exchanged pleasantries, and McClanahan invited Gov. Edwards to join the NAACP at its annual convention beginning on September 16, 2021.  Gov. Edwards stated that, if he’s invited, he’d be delighted to, “celebrate part of the day of my 55th birthday on September 16 with everyone.”  McClanahan indicated the NAACP would ensure cake and ice cream are available for the celebration.


McClanahan began to wrap up the meeting by stressing the desire to stay vigilant in the fight against COVID, by making an open endorsement of Dr. Cassie Williams for this Saturday’s special election to fill a vacancy on the BESE Board, and by encouraging everyone to show up at the polls on Saturday and vote in the special election for U. S. Congress District 2 from Louisiana which became open after former U. S. Congressman Cedric Richmond accepted a position as Senior Advisor to President Biden and Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement.

As we mentioned at the outset of this feature, we were invited guests of the meeting.  As such, we therefore believe that our role is appropriately limited to merely providing the contents of the meeting as we’ve done above.  We do not believe it would be appropriate for us to make our own commentary because, as we’ve stressed, we were invited guests of Gov. Edwards and the Louisiana NAACP.

Having said that, what we do feel is certainly fair game for us to report upon is that our phone rang the day after the meeting with an NAACP member who was not happy at all with the meeting.  What we found out is that we made a serious error when we turned our camera off right where the very last video ends above.

We are told that the meeting erupted into fireworks thereafter with some very sharp criticism of President McClanahan for, in these members’ opinion, being deceptive about the nature of the meeting with Gov. Edwards.  Specifically, they contend that communication promoting the meeting indicated there would be opportunities for open questions posed to Gov. Edwards regarding very specific matters entailing Louisiana State Police news reports of excessive force in recent arrests of African American men in Louisiana.  There were other questions regarding prison inmates in Louisiana which these members expressed frustration that went unaddressed.

We can only apologize both to our subscribers and to the NAACP members who wished to voice their frustration at the inability to pose what they deem as “hard questions” of Gov. Edwards during the meeting.  We have been informed that there likely will be a separate Zoom meeting during which these frustrations are aired.  If so, we will be happy to publish the content of that Zoom meeting just as we did the one above.  Further, if such a Zoom meeting materializes, we commit to provide Gov. Edwards with unlimited and unedited camera time to respond to any concerns which these NAACP members feel were not addressed during the meeting outlined above.

With the disclosure of the previous paragraph out of the way, if anyone wishes to view the meeting from start to the point we turned the camera off (and we again apologize for doing so about eight minutes too soon from what we’ve been told), we welcome any such person to do so by merely CLICKING HERE.

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.