Former member of Gov. Edwards’ Auction Board, Jacob Brown, who was arrested on Tuesday, July 17, 2018 for allegedly issuing $175,000 in worthless checks, many of which are purported to be to the State of Louisiana entailing his auctioning of State surplus equipment.
Our recent post on the arrest of Gov. John Bel “Honor Code” Edwards’ Louisiana Auctioneer Licensing Board (LALB) appointee, Jacob Brown, is proving to be one of our most popular features judging by Facebook shares (119 at the time of this writing), so we’re going to stay committed to keeping subscribers abreast of developments on Brown’s criminal charges, especially since WAFB, in its feature on Brown’s arrest for issuing $175,000 in worthless checks, failed to even mention that Brown is one of Gov. Edwards’ LALB appointees (though he was VERY quietly removed leading up to his arrest).
In keeping our subscribers up to date on developments, we have submitted a public records request to Louisiana State Police (LSP) for a copy of Brown’s arrest warrant. LSP has responded indicating that “we estimate the time to fulfill your request is 30 days.” It’s our understanding that many LSP Troopers are presently cruising in international waters for the Louisiana State Trooper Association’s annual convention, so perhaps such a lengthy expected period to fulfill a request for a single document is understandable.
In the meantime, let’s share with our subscribers a lawsuit filed by East Baton Rouge Parish (EBRP) sales tax authorities entailing $29,000 in alleged unpaid sales taxes to the parish. Since the document speaks for itself, we will do nothing more than provide it below:
Now, for those unfamiliar with auctions within EBRP, all auctioneers are required to have a city auctioneer’s license and to carry a bond in favor of EBRP for $5,000 to cover the Parish being stiffed on such sales taxes. Anyone care to bet that the LALB (and, of course, Gov. “Honor Code”) permitted Jacob Brown to operate without such a bond? Sound Off Louisiana founder Robert Burns, who was a real estate auctioneer for 10 years based in EBRP who auctioned nothing but real estate (for which no sales taxes are due) found the cost of the bond to be outrageous, and he expressed as much to City-Parish officials. Their response: “Well, the high cost of the bond is a function of all the auctioneers who don’t pay the sales taxes they owe the Parish, especially the ones who aren’t even based in this Parish.”
That argument is no doubt correct, as examples abound of auctioneers stiffing sales tax authorities in EBRP. For example, Barbara Bonnette, another former LALB member based in Alexandria, Louisiana, was also accused of stiffing EBRP tax authorities on two auctions she conducted in 2007. Of course, even if Brown had the sales tax bond (trust us, he didn’t, and the LALB “let him slide” as they do so much other corruption throughout the state), $5,000 would have only covered 16% of what he has allegedly stiffed EBRP taxing authorities on.
For subscribers interested in Brown’s arrest, his bond, and who posted it, those details are available on the following document which we provide at this time:
Now, perhaps nobody was more infuriated at Brown’s arrest than a lady named Judy Fasola. She was fleeced in 2013 by notoriously-problematic auctioneer Ken Buhler.
For those subscribers unfamiliar with Buhler, his auction license was revoked in 2006 when he stiffed an ungodly number of bidders and consignors alike, including an elderly lady named Ms. Linda Williams, who appeared before the LALB when Buhler sought to have his license reinstated in late 2010.
Sound Off Louisiana founder Robert Burns, who was a relatively new LALB member appointed in Jindal’s first term, made it crystal clear to the Jindal administration that, under NO circumstances would he vote to reinstate Buhler’s license (then-LALB member Rev. Freddie Lee Phillips joined Burns in his opposition to Buhler).
The LALB was to vote on Buhler’s reinstatement on September 17, 2010 (they ultimately approved reinstating him, with Phillips the lone dissenting vote). True to Jindal’s corruption-to-the-core nature, Burns was notified by the Jindal Administration on September 10, 2010 (seven days before the Buhler vote) that his services were no longer needed on the LALB and his membership was being terminated (Jindal had previously requested Burns’ resignation the day before, to which Burns declined). When Burns asked for the rationale for the termination, Jindal “special assistant” Jonathan Ringo would state nothing beyond, “things just aren’t working out.”
Burns was replaced immediately with 84-year-old Ewell “Lamar” Little, who’d been retired as an active auctioneer for a very protracted period, who was totally on board with reinstating Buhler’s license, and he cast his vote for that reinstatement seven days after his appointment. We’ll let our subscribers decide just what “may not be working out,” just as we’re quite content permitting Jindal to ponder why his political stock subsequently plummeted to the extent that Presidential candidate Donald Trump could accurately note, entailing Jindal’s dilusional quest for POTUS, “I don’t recognize a candidate who can’t even clear 2% in the polls.”
Burns had made it clear that the LALB was acting irresponsibly in renewing Buhler’s license, particularly in light of the fact that, even at the time of his requested renewal, he was facing a civil trial which was pending in the Middle District of Louisiana entailing the fraudulent use of interstate commerce instrumentalities. A mere nine months later, Buhler was hit with approximately $200,000 in civil judgments by the Federal court once a jury found him liable of the fraudulent use of such instrumentalities. We wish those who obtained the judgments the best of luck in collecting!
Well, as the old saying goes, “a leopard doesn’t change its spots,” and Buhler was up to his old tricks once again. Folks, if you’ve never watched a single video Sound Off Louisiana has published, we strongly encourage you to watch the video below of Buhler victim, Judy Fasola, as she vents her frustration at the LALB. The LALB, despite having fined Buhler’s company, Estate Auction Services, $1,000 for Buhler’s handling of Fasola’s auctions (they were to be a series of Friday night auctions until Fasola claims she discovered Buhler was simply selling her items, potentially not even at auction, to family and friends at bargain-basement prices), was adamant that it would not file a bond claim on Fasola’s behalf. That’s the case despite the LALB having told her that it WOULD file a bond claim on her behalf!
Here’s the video folks (cameras don’t lie, and this performance by the LALB was priceless — especially the emphatic way they deny any special treatment for Brant Thompson, son of State Sen. Francis Thompson, entailing filing a bond claim on his behalf!):
Fasola vents frustration with LALB over its steadfast refusal to file a bond claim on her behalf entailing an auction by Ken Buhler.
Support Documents to Fasola claims on the preceding video:
2. Thompson’s VERY terse two-page response (note Thompson was smart enough to Cc Gov. Bobby Jindal’s then Head of Boards and Commissions, Holly Robinson).
3. One-minute video of Thompson appearing before the LALB and them providing him the greased rail he wanted to file a bond claim and them even going so far as to treat him like royalty and indicating just how happy they’ll be to file a bond of up to $10,000 for his losses.
The above video speaks for itself, so we’re going to add no commentary to it other than to reference the links beneath it to support Fasola’s claims of favoritism to Thompson. Further, they are so fixated on trying to convince Fasola they didn’t know who Brant Thompson was that they overlook the fact their own investigator said he could find “no evidence that Mr. Thompson consigned anything to this auction whatsoever!” That should have been a major concern for them irrespective of whom Thompson may be related to.
Ms. Fasola contacted Sound Off Louisiana very distraught at the arrest of Jacob Brown. It seems that Fasola was under a misguided perception that the “new” LALB under Gov. “Honor Code” would view her situation differently than the LALB depicted on the video above, who were all Jindal appointees.
She informed us that she contacted Jacob Warren, Honor Code’s hand-picked Chairman and fellow Amite, Louisiana resident, in June of last year and sought for him to place an item on the agenda for reconsideration of her having a bond claim filed on her behalf. She indicated to us that Warren sent her a letter indicating that her request was denied. When we asked her for a copy, she indicated that it, along with most of her other personal belongings, were destroyed in a fire that transpired at her home in July of 2017. Accordingly, we made public records request of the LALB, and they provided us with the following correspondence from Warren to Fasola:
In his letter, Warren states that, because Fasola sued Buhler, they will do nothing until she gets a judgment that can’t be collected.
When Fasola visited with her attorney, Mike Davis, he agreed to file the lawsuit (drafted pro se even though Davis made an error and forgot to remove the phrase “appearing through undersigned counsel” in its opening paragraph even though it was filed pro se and called for Fasola’s — not Davis’ — signature at the end) for one purpose and one purpose only: to keep the LALB’s continued foot-dragging on filing a bond claim from causing the prescription period of three years for the LALB to file such a bond claim from expiring!
Davis, who drafted the lawsuit as a favor to Fasola for her enthusiastic support of him as he was running for a 19th JDC judgeship at the time, upon losing the race for judgeship, wasted no time sending Fasola a correspondence stating that he “didn’t have the expertise” to proceed forward with the litigation. He then referred her to attorney David Opperman, who has himself been the subject of adverse press of late. Opperman then sent her a correspondence stating that the only condition under which he would accept the case was if Fasola provided an up-front $10,000 retainer. Naturally, that was cost prohibitive since, though she says her losses exceeded the amount of the LALB minimum bond of $10,000, she would accept that to close the book on this sordid mess.
During the meeting at which Fasola vented her frustration to the LALB as depicted in the video above, we make note of the fact that Rev. Freddie Lee Phillips, Louisiana’s first and only African-American auctioneer in its history, made public comment stating that the LALB members should not treat Fasola differently than Brant Thomson. Let’s take a look at what he had to say in that regard:
Rev. Phillips tells LALB members they should not treat Fasola differently than Thompson.
Of course, as most Sound Off Louisiana subscribers are aware by now, Phillips applied to Gov. Edwards to be a member of his LALB, and Edwards issued a press release dated April 20, 2016 proudly announcing Phillips as his newest LALB member. That action created a firestorm within the Louisiana auctioneer “good ‘ole boy” system that caused some massive and very public appeals for auctioneers to literally flood their Louisiana State Senators’ offices with correspondence asking them to NOT confirm Phillips’ appointment to the LALB and for calls for Edwards to rescind the appointment. Let’s take a look at one such Facebook appeal (click on the image to enlarge it for reading purposes):
See, folks, the absolute last thing that the LALB wanted was for Rev. Freddie Lee Phillips to be able to sit in on the Board’s Executive Sessions (of which they convene at every single meeting to discuss all the auctioneer wrongdoing going on in Louisiana totally outside of the public eye and devoid of public scrutiny) because he would cause trouble in not going along with covering up such massive wrongdoing. Hence, they lobbied their elected officials to simply either #1) fail to confirm Rev. Phillips (see just one such email by clicking here), or #2) having Gov. Edwards rescind Phillips’ appointment. As our long-time subscribers know, Gov. John Bel “Honor Code” Edwards caved to these massive appeals and rescinded Phillips’ appointment on May 5, 2016, a mere 15 days after he’d made the appointment. Four days later, when “Honor Code” lied through his teeth and said he rescinded the appointment as a result of a “prior commitment,” Phillips confronted him head-on entailing the rescission.
Fasola supplied us with a copy of an email she sent to Warren asking for her request to have a bond claim filed by the LALB on her behalf to be placed on the September 10, 2018 agenda. When we publish the next edition of this series, we’ll let everyone know what Warren’s response to Fasola is.
So, that will provide just a little history on one of the most corrupt occupational licensing boards in this state, the LALB. Once LSP provides us with a copy of the arrest report of the distinguished “Honor Code” appointee above, Jacob Brown, we’ll provide another installment to this series and we’ll include yet another victim who was screwed, glued, and tattooed by this LALB, 83-year-old widow, Betty Jo Story.
In the meantime, anybody feeling like getting all pumped up to go bid at a Louisiana auction? Maybe bold enough to consign merchandise to be sold at auction? If any such person is inclined to do so, surely the top-notch LALB appointees of Gov. John Bel “Honor Code” Edwards, as depicted on full display above, will give any such individual immense confidence and reassurance that, should anything go wrong, that individual can surely count on the upstanding members of the LALB to protect him!
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