Gov. Landry’s contempt for Louisiana citizens on public records serves as abject lesson for need for “lemon law” for Governors, and it’s time to return him to the lot as being severely defective.

Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry

By now, everyone is well aware of Gov. Landry’s staunch efforts to block every public records request we’ve made since he assumed office entailing Louisiana State Police (LSP).

As we illustrated in our last feature, he is now adamant (and quite pompous as well) in seeking to do the same with every Louisiana citizen.

We were present at the Louisiana Senate and Governmental Affairs Committee yesterday (Wednesday, April 17, 2024) on SB-482 by Senator Heather Cloud (R-Turkey Creek) (we’re nicknaming her “Ms. Priss”). This is a video blog, so here we go, folks:

Highlights of Cloud (a/k/a “Ms. Priss”) presenting her bill.  Though Cloud admits to not being an attorney (though not on the above video of highlights), she had her talking points on a laptop on court cases that were virtually certainly supplied by Landry’s Executive Counsel, Angelique Freel (whom we met one time while she served at the AG’s Office and were less than impressed).  She certainly used them to talk down to members of the Committee (hence, the nickname “Ms. Priss”).

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Note in the video above that Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser is on record as supporting the bill, as is Attorney General Liz Murrill, and a source tells us that Treasurer John Fleming is in support of the bill as well.

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Prominent media and public records attorney Scott Sternberg only needs a few minutes to authoritatively counter Ms. Priss’ arguments.

Investigative reporters Lee Zurik and Chris Nakamoto slam Cloud’s bill along with Rebecca Mowbray, President and CEO of the Bureau of Governmental Research, who also testified against Cloud’s bill.

 Belinda Parker-Brown, Rev. Freddie Lee Phillips, and Steven Procopio, President of the Public Affairs Research Council, testify in opposition to Cloud’s bill.

Though Rev. Phillips is vague in the content he uncovered in his quest for public records, the reality is that he was suspicious that Gov. John Bel Edwards was being less than candid when Phillips directly confronted him on Edwards’ removal of him from the Auctioneer Licensing Board only about 20 days after appointing him.

What he uncovered (after first seeing this wide open appeal for auctioneers across the state to urge Louisiana Senators NOT to confirm Phillips) was, through his public records requests, auctioneers throughout Louisiana did in fact send emails to Senators asking them not to confirm Phillips.

Thus, Edwards’ statement that he had made an “over commitment” was a demonstrably false statement, and Edwards simply removed Phillips due to all the pressure from Phillips’ auctioneer colleagues (coincidentally all white back then as Phillips is the first — and for a LONG time only — African Auctioneer in Louisiana).

For the record, Phillips subsequently formed the Freddie Phillips School of Auctioneering, which was the FIRST online auction school in the entire nation! Through his school, there are now about six (6) African American auctioneers.  [Full Disclosure:  Burns to this day remains an instructor at the school].

WBRZ Managing Editor Kelly Kissell and Bruce Reilly, Deputy Director of VOTE (Voice of the Experienced) testify against Cloud’s bill.

 Dovetailing on commentary by Sen. Greg Miller, R-NORCO, Billy Broussard testifies against Cloud’s bill.

Let us point out just a few quick things entailing Broussard:

1.  As he indicated, his attorney as apparent fraud was being perpetrated in the aftermath of Hurricane Rita was then private citizen Jeff Landry, whom 16th JDC Judge David Ritchie faulted for “filing an illegal lien.”  Ritchie even went so far as to tell Broussard to, “choose your attorney carefully.”.

2.  Once Broussard started obtaining too many public records which clearly outlined the alleged fraud he references on the video above, he was placed under a Restraining Order prohibiting him from making public records requests or speaking with members of the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury.

3.  In a meeting with Broussard at the Legislative Auditor’s Office on or about February 3, 2019, Sound Off Louisiana founder Robert Burns witnessed first-hand John Morehead rebuffing Broussard’s claims of fraud by saying that it wasn’t possible given that, “Dan Kennedy with FEMA signed off on all of this debris removal.”  Burns also witnessed Brossard say that, “I’m telling you that I was on this project virtually every day, and I have yet to meet Dan Kennedy!”

4.  It was at the conclusion of that meeting, when Burns himself (who is an inactive CPA) stated to then-Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera:  “Correct me if I’m wrong, but your office is examining the documentation only on the back end, and nobody from your office is out at these sites performing any kind of inspection on whether the debris removal is eligible for FEMA reimbursement or not.”  Purpera stated that Burns’ statement was correct and that no physical inspections of debris removal are performed by the Legislative Auditor’s Office.

5.  At a subsequent meeting with the Legislative Auditor’s Office, at which Sen. Blake Miguez was present and then-Senator Fred Mills attended via teleconference of Wednesday, February 6, 2019, Burns again witnessed (and videotaped) Broussard playing an audio recording file in which Mark DeBosier, former Deputy Director of GOHSEP, bragged of the ability to get the Legislative Auditor’s Office to, “close their eyes, stick their fingers in their ears, and we make sure there’s no fingerprints on it.”    [Note:  CLICK HERE for a crystal clear audio file of DeBosier’s statements.]

Our point is that, when Broussard indicates that he has the documentation to back up his claims of fraud, he means it, and that includes this damning email indicating that a way will be found to get FEMA reimbursement, “whether it is FEMA eligible or not,” along with this even more damning email wherein Kelly Fontenot sends an email to DAN KENNEDY point-blank saying, “We need those GPS locations to go away!!”

On the video above, Broussard reveals the fact that Landry is his cousin.  It’s truly ironic that Broussard’s own cousin, Louisiana Governor Jeff Landry, seeks to block citizens from obtaining the same type of damning material Broussard obtained solely and exclusively from his public records requests!

Sound Off Louisiana founder Robert Burns, along with C. J. Matthews, testify against Cloud’s bill.

Our site visitors will recall our extensive series on former Ascension Parish Captain C. J. Matthews and the corruption he alleges has been rampant at the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office with him supplying us (which we provide to visitors) with extensive documentation he obtained via his own public records requests.

After former Representative Barry Ivey (though he doesn’t like that title and wants as much distance as possible placed between his name and the Louisiana Legislature) testifies to the fact that Landry sued an Advocate reporter for making a public records request (for more details, scroll to the near-end of this feature), Sen. Cloud, who was MIA, came in to close on her bill.

 Drum roll please………….Here’s the vote, but note the eight-second delay between Chairman Fields asking, “What’s your pleasure?” and anyone volunteering to say the first word!!!!!!!!!  We guess everyone’s a tad nervous about risking their political careers to follow an egomaniac, narcissistic Governor of Louisiana in the person of Jeff Landry.

From our vantage point, Jeff Landry is the car-equivalent of a clunker, and Louisiana needs a “lemon law” so that we can just return him to the lot because he is obviously severely defective!

Since we can’t just return him to the lot, our approach is to adopt one simple slogan:

  “Garret Graves ’27!”

CLICK HERE to see this train wreck bill presentation in its entirety.

Sen. President Henry says he may need to “have conversations” with Sen. Cloud about her public records bill.

Appearing at the Baton Rouge Press Club’s meeting of Monday, April 8, 2024, Louisiana Senate President Cameron Henry (R-Metairie) fields a question by Sound Off Louisiana founder Robert Burns regarding bills filed on the last day to do so in the current Legislative session entailing restricting access to public records.

Executive Summary for Gov. Landry:

Whenever your name is being directly linked to former Gov. Bobby Jindal, our advice is to reverse that phenomenon  as quickly as possible!

The very day after we published this feature about Gov. Landry, acting through LSP Col. Hodges, blocking our LSP public records requests, The Advocate quickly followed in publishing this feature entailing key Landry Senate supporters filing bills to “gut” Louisiana’s Public Records Laws.

By far the most restrictive of the bills is SB-482 by Sen. Heather Cloud (R- Turkey Creek).  From the preceding Advocate feature:

Cloud’s Senate Bill 482 goes the furthest of those bills by gutting from the list of records eligible for public access all documents that detail “deliberations” in government work. It would exempt documents containing “advisory opinions, recommendations and deliberations” that feed into any government decision or policy-making choices.

Watchdog groups and attorneys dealing with public information issues decried the bill Wednesday. Melia Cerrato, a Sunshine Legal Fellow at Tulane University’s First Amendment Law Clinic, called it “extremely alarming” and said it risked violating the state’s constitution.

“This will create government secrecy on a level that should alarm people regardless of where they are on the political spectrum,” Cerrato said. “This is bad government.”

Cloud in a text message said she was traveling and unable to fully comment on SB 482

Translation (entailing Cloud):  She has no clue what’s even in the bill and merely agreed to slap her name on it at the last second at Gov. Landry’s request!

Again, from the above-linked article:

Kate Kelly, the governor’s press secretary, said lawmakers filed dozens of bills in the hours before the deadline and that Landry’s staff is “still sifting through them.”

Do Landry’s folk really believe the citizens of Louisiana are so stupid as to believe these Senators fell out of bed and filed these bills?  They were all filed at the direct request of Gov. Landry, so what a crock Kelly’s quote is!

Again, from the above-linked article:

Asked if Landry supports her bill, Cloud said in a text message, “I sure hope so.”

Well, duh!  Given that Landry is the one who is behind the bill and merely using Cloud’s name as sponsor, one can only figure that, well, duh, Landry supports it!

A dedicated Sound Off Louisiana fan texted us the Advocate article the very morning it was published.  Burns immediately responded with the following text to a high-ranking member of Jindal’s  Landry’s top brass (sent on April 4, 2024 @ 7:58 a.m.):

Has Jeff Landry lost his freaking mind?:

https://www.nola.com/news/politics/legislature/louisiana-lawmakers-try-gutting-state-public-records-law/article_9cb3ea3e-f208-11ee-9c44-2b09aba6de20.html

He has TOTALLY stonewalled my PRRs on LSP and now this horse manure?????

This better not get signed into law or he won’t get my vote or support for being President of a Civic association!!!!!

This is worse than Bobby Jindal 2.0!!!!!

I’m so mad with him right now I could bite a 10-penny nail!!

One of the reasons we’ve waited so long to publish this feature is that Burns needed an extended period to calm down to compose something fit for print!

So, on Monday, April 8, 2024, Senate President Cameron Henry was the guest speaker at the Baton Rouge Press Club, so Burns decided that was a great opportunity to get his thoughts on the bills [though Burns did inadvertently fail to recognize that Sen. Jay Morris is no longer in the House of Representatives and, like so many other former Republican House Members, is now a Member of the Louisiana Senate — hey, he’s only been there four (4) years, give us a little time!!].  Here’s what President Henry had to say:


Louisiana Sen. President Cameron Henry responds to Burns’ question about the public records requests bills filed on the last day of the current Legislative session for filing bills.

Notice President Henry’s repeated references to former Gov. Bobby Jindal as he discusses Sen. Cloud’s bill!  We know Gov. Landry is a busy man, so we provided the “executive summary” at the top of this feature for his convenience.

We want to now strongly, strongly, strongly, encourage every single person who is reading this feature to take just 14 minutes of your time to listen to the following broadcast of Tuesday, April 9, 2024 on WWL Radio in New Orleans by former Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand:

 

Any politician in favor of restricting public records aren’t worth your vote.

 

The reason we are so strongly encouraging everyone to listen to Norman’s 14-minute broadcast linked above is that, being honest, we could work for a week to try and be as articulate about the matter as Norman and not succeed.  His broadcast is THAT good!!

With that, let’s update everyone on our public records request on the male trooper having allegedly sent a text picture of his genitalia to a female trooper followed by a text saying, “You could have this!”  That is the first linked-feature above:

1.  LSP asked us to resubmit the public records request because the timeframe we supplied for the alleged incident (November 1, 2023 through March 18, 2024) didn’t cover it.  LSP also asked us:  “Do you want the number of complaints or do you want the complaints themselves?”

2.  We responded indicating that we want all complaints against the trooper from the time he was first employed by LSP through the then-current date of April 8, 2024.

3.  We reached out to our sources for the initial feature, and they all said, “Oh, there’s a ton of them.  He’s been doing things like that throughout his LSP career.”

Perhaps those are inconvenient facts that Gov. Landry and LSP Col. Hodges want to conceal from us, but we’ll also point out that we have two other public records requests for which Landry/Hodges have done nothing but stonewall us on, and we can’t help but wonder if perhaps that served as a catalyst for the bills filed on the last day of session (particularly Cloud’s).

Finally, we committed we’d keep our visitors up-to-date on the matter of former LSP Trooper and alleged domestic abuser Michael Satcher, II and Landry’s soft plea deal.  Here’s what we’re told went down in court on Monday, April 8, 2024:

1.  The case was postponed again.  This time to April 25, 2024.  The stated reason was to, “give all parties time to review the evidence.”

2.  The judge declined to grant any sanity commission.

3.  An inference was made that Satcher’s probation would likely be revoked (NEVER should have been extended to him by “tough on crime” — except for domestic abusers and/or politically-connected LSP Troopers — then-Attorney General Jeff Landry in the first place!!).

The folk we’ve consulted with regarding Satcher’s present situation is that he’s likely looking at “significant” jail time notwithstanding retired Judge Swent’s (allegedly Satcher’s great aunt) efforts to come to his rescue pulling the despicable act she attempted as outlined on the just-linked feature.

So, folks, we’ll keep our site visitors updated on LSP corruption and the Commander In Chief of LSP’s (LA-1, Gov. Jeff Landry’s) less-than-subtle efforts to shield the public from knowing about such corruption!

 

Gov. Landry continues LSP cover-ups, corruption as transfer of female trooper allegedly arises after problematic male trooper reportedly texted picture of his genitalia followed by text of: “You could have this!”

Lead-in photo feature supplied to us by the late C. B. Forgotston, who would frequently use the photo as he wrote about Louisiana State Police (LSP) coverups and corruption under then-Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and then-LSP Col. Mike Edmonson.

On November 16, 2023, we openly posed the question of whether then-Gov. Elect Jeff Landry had, “boxed himself into two horrendously-bad choices for LSP Colonel:”  #1) the Louisiana Sheriff’s Association (LSA) ordained choice of Frank Besson, and #2) his long-time friend, Robert Hodges.

Then on March 6, 2024, when we provided this update on the prosecution of New Orleans physician Dr. Shiva Akula, we devoted 3-1/2 minutes of the video of that feature to the, “not a very good foot” that Sound Off Louisiana founder, Robert Burns, and Gov. Landry’s hand-picked LSP Colonel, Robert Hodges, have gotten off to (at least according to Burns’ version of events).  Let’s present just that 3-1/2 minutes of that video at this time:

March 6, 2024:  Burns explains that, in contrast to Billy Broussard, who has repeatedly praised LSP Col. Robert Hodges, Burns explains that he and Hodges have, “not started off on a very good foot,” and specifically references Hodges’ blocking of public records requests made by Burns.

In the preceding video, Burns indicated that, in one of the two instances of him making a public records request (which Landry/Hodges denied), he was, “willing to give Hodges the benefit of the doubt” in that Hodges has told Burns that records do not exist notwithstanding the fact that Burns has LSP sources who are adamant that they do in fact exist.

In the 26 days that have passed since we published that video, Burns has been provided with what he deems to be irrefutable evidence that the documents do in fact exist and that Hodges is merely being “less than candid” (a polite phrase that judges use with attorneys whom they assert are lying to the court) in telling Burns that they do not exist.  Hence, Burns is no longer willing to give Hodges, “the benefit of the doubt.”

What has provoked the ire of Burns even more is Gov. Jeff Landry, operating through his long-time friend, Robert Hodges, stonewalling Burns on obtaining a mere listing of transfers which have taken place under Hodges’ watch.  While Burns was vague about the nature of his request on the video above, that is what the request was.

As Burns indicated on the video above, LSP provided statutory provisions by which it asserts it can block Burns’ request for the documents.  Let’s supply Burns’ request and LSP’s response at this time (we’ve supplied hyperlinks to the referenced Louisiana statutes LSP asserted):

The Louisiana Department of Public Safety, Public Safety Services received a public information request from you on February 21, 2024. Your request mentioned:

“Documentation pertaining to any transfers within LSP departments. Feel free to provide as little documentation as may be the case in order to merely provide the following: 1) name of trooper transferred, 2) department transferred from, 3) department transferred to, and 4) effective date of transfer.”

The Louisiana Department of Public Safety, Public Safety Services has reviewed your request and has determined that the records requested are exempt from disclosure under FOIA for the following reasons:

Investigative Tools, Intelligence, Security – LA R. S. 44:3(A)(3) exempts investigative tools, intelligence and security information.

LA R. S. 44:3(A)(5) Records containing the identity of an undercover police officer or records which would tend to reveal the identity of an undercover police officer.

As Burns indicated on the video above, he altered the request to make it, “extremely benign.” Here is what Burns sent as a response:

….let’s do this:

I am modifying the public records request to EXCLUDE the trooper’s name regarding each transfer.

You may feel free to redact the name of the trooper or, if more convenient, produce a document indicating how many troopers have been transferred away from any given department and how many troopers have been into any given department.

LSP’s response?  They re-asserted the first statutory exemption referenced above!  That is NOT a joke!  So, Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry and his hand-picked LSP Colonel, Robert Hodges, actually have the unmitigated gall to assert that merely providing the NUMBER of transfers into and out of various departments somehow compromises LSP’s “investigative tools, intelligence, and security information.”  Of all the responses we’ve ever gotten to the hundreds (if not thousands) of public records requests we’ve made in this blog’s nine-year existence, that one takes the cake!  It takes the absolute cake!

Now, our sources tell us that Hodges knows there is a ton of trooper anger over these transfers for which multiple sources have told us Hodges has done nothing more that place “his cronies” in the positions for which others were transferred out of.

We are certainly willing to accept those sources’ words for the angst Hodges’ actions have created among many affected troopers; however, we had a more direct reason for seeking the transfers:  we were looking for one name in particular to appear on the list to buttress what we were told happened that caused the transfer.

One of our absolute-best LSP sources contacted us and told us that a male trooper (whom we are declining to publish the name of) sent a text of his genitalia to a female trooper (whom we’re also declining to provide the name of) and followed that text up with a second text of, “You could have this!”

Our source tells us that Hodges has, “swept this whole matter under the rug” (hence our resurrection of Forgotston’s lead-in photo) by transferring the recipient of the offensive text messages to a different shift and providing the assurance that, “You won’t have to see him or interact with him going forward.”

Now, while we have made an editorial decision not to publish the name of the trooper who allegedly sent the offensive texts, that certainly doesn’t mean that we don’t know his name.

Furthermore, we made public records request for any complaint filed against the male trooper (which we were informed was an action taken by the female trooper).

While LSP has not yet provided any such complaint and, especially given LSP’s absolute stonewalling regarding the mere NUMBER of transfers into and out of various departments (we’ve been told that number is 120, with approximately 37 transfers to staff the resurrected Troop N in New Orleans), we certainly aren’t under any illusions that LSP would actually surrender such a document to us!

It’s intriguing, however, that, unlike the request for which Gov. Landry, again acting through long-time friend and LSP Colonel, Robert Hodges, has been “less than candid” about the existence of documents for another completely separate request,  LSP has declined to indicate to us that no complaint exists against the male sexting trooper as it did on that completely separate request!

Given that it has now been 14 days since we made the request for the complaint, combined with the fact that it took a mere couple of days for the response “less than candid” (our contention) entailing records not existing on that other completely separate request, we are firmly convinced that the complaint does in fact exist.

In fact, while LSP’s contrasting actions on our two requests do not constitute absolute proof of the existence of the complaint, we feel very, very strongly that the complaint document exists, thus we’re proceeding forward with this feature even without the complaint in our possession.

Gov. Landry’s stonewalling actions entailing our public record requests  merely continue a recurring theme for Landry dating back to his long sordid history of handing similar matters while serving as Attorney General, to wit:

1.  Actively protecting and running interference for the Head of his Criminal Division, Pat Magee, and his unwanted sexual communications to females in the AG office.

Eerily similar to what Gov. Landry appears to be doing with us, then-AG Jeff Landry actively fought The Advocate’s public records request entailing Magee just as he is fighting Sound Off Louisiana’s public records requests.  In fact, let’s embed the video from that article:

Advocate reporters Andrea Gallo and Gordon Russell discuss then-AG Jeff Landry’s defense of former Chief Criminal prosecutor Pat Magee.

What is galling beyond belief about the above matter is that then-AG Jeff Landry took the “bizarre” step of actually suing reporter Andrea Gallo (see beginning at the 6:00 mark of the video above and going forward to the 7:20 mark of the video) for her even making the public records request!

We watched the court hearing entailing Landry and Gallo transpiring before then-19th JDC Judge Tim Kelley (via Zoom as restrictions were still in place entailing Covid) and, quite frankly, it was an utter embarrassment to watch Landry’s attorneys explain why he sued Gallo!

Similarly to Gallo, since we are actively contemplating a lawsuit against Landry’s hand-picked LSP Colonel, Robert Hodges (particularly for his refusal to release any document demonstrating the NUMBER of transfers into and out of the various departments within  LSP) since he is LSP’s “Custodian of Records,” perhaps Landry is contemplating a similar lawsuit against Burns for having the gall to even make the recent public records requests.

Landry certainly set precedent in suing Gallo, so why should we have any inkling that we would be immune to such an asinine act on Landry’s part?

Well, all we can say is that, if he goes down that road, Burns is not going to be anywhere near as congenial as Gallo was regarding her matter.

By the way, for the record, The Advocate and Gallo retained prominent media attorney Scott Sternberg, and the end result was Gallo obtaining the requested record, and we taxpayers got hit with the tab for the legal fees associated with Landry’s asinine maneuver to block her efforts to delve into his good buddy Pat Magee!

2.  Landry’s sweetheart plea deal offered to alleged domestic abuser former LSP Trooper Michael Lynn Satcher II.  As followers of this blog know by now, Satcher showed his appreciation to Governor Landry’s generosity by allegedly re-offending mere days after he obtained Landry’s sweetheart plea deal.  For those curious, Satcher’s next court hearing on his most recent conduct is in a week (on Monday, April 8, 2024), and we’ll update his status once that hearing transpires.  In the meantime, he continues to be the guest of the Rapides Parish Prison, where he has now spent about four months.

While we work on an “end around” regarding Landry’s obstructionist acts in blocking our other public records requests, we’re going to conclude this feature by indicating our firm convictions as outlined below since we view this trooper’s alleged actions to be even more serious than those of Magee:

1.  Any LSP Trooper who would send a photo of his genetalia to a female trooper and follow that text photo up with a text of, “You could have this!” is a disgrace to the LSP uniform, has no business wearing it, and should be terminated immediately!

2.  Any LSP Colonel who actively engages in, “sweeping the whole incident under the rug” in the manner Hodges is alleged to have done is abjectly unqualified to serve as Colonel of LSP and should be removed from his position immediately.

3.  Any Governor who would either give the directive for an LSP Colonel to, “sweep the trooper’s alleged sex texting acts under the rug,” or condone such an act by his hand-picked LSP Colonel, is abjectly unqualified to serve as Governor of Louisiana and should be voted out of office in the 2027 gubernatorial election campaign.

When we gave Gov. Landry our “back-handed endorsement,” we made it clear our rationale for doing so was two-fold:  #1) the fact that it was inevitable that he was going to be the next Governor of Louisiana and, #2) we viewed an outright primary win where he got just barely over 50 percent of the vote to be preferable to a slaughtering of Democrat Shawn Wilson, a scenario in which we openly predicted a 65 percent plus vote for Landry.

In short, we expressed concern that Landry would engage in the exact type of “sweep under the rug” acts as Governor that we know first-hand that he did as Attorney General, and we wanted to be able to, during his first term as Governor, invoke the phrase, “Governor, half of the people of this state did NOT want you as Governor.”

We are choosing this matter to be our first occasion to invoke that phrase and openly making our sentiments known that, if he doesn’t take action to clean up the mess he has both inherited at LSP and that, through acts such as we’ve outlined in this feature, actually continue to perpetuate the disgraceful acts of LSP troopers, we are prepared to openly oppose his re-election efforts in 2027.

Somehow, we believe we may have plenty of company and, maybe, just maybe, U. S. Congressman Garret Graves had good reason for steadfastly refusing to ever hop on board the “Jeff Landry for Governor train.”