Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards touting his West Point Honor Code in the 2015 election for Governor of Louisiana.
Today, Sound Off Louisiana, acting through its founder, Robert Burns, issued a formal challenge to Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards to “walk the walk” on his West Point Honor Code. Specifically Burns has requested, via a certified letter to Edwards mailed today, that he issue an order for the Louisiana Auctioneer Licensing Board (LALB) to remit a check to the State of Louisiana for $175,342.67. That is the amount that one of Governor Edwards’ LALB appointees, Jacob Brown, son of convicted felon auctioneer Cecil Brown, has allegedly stolen from Louisiana taxpayers, with the likelihood being very high that our taxpayer funds were diverted so Brown could support a drug habit for which, fortunately, according to reports we’ve been provided, he has sought treatment.
The letter mailed to Gov. Edwards, along with a VERY brief (i.e. 88-second) video entailing the letter’s content follows:
Video of Gov. Edwards espousing his West Point Honor Code, followed by his LALB appointees on January 27, 2017 (at the very time Brown was allegedly perpetrating many of these thefts, with Brown himself seated closest to the camera) explaining why they are NOT going to increase the $10,000 bond coverage that would have helped protect taxpayers against actions such as Brown’s. The video also depicts past instances of members raising concerns that the Governor (Jindal at the time) would “raid our funds” or “confiscate” our money (to thus demonstrate that Edwards has that same power). Finally, for purposes of the third-to-last and second-to-last bullet points in the letter to Edwards (see below), brief footage is provided entailing Edwards’ “prostitutes over patriots” ad campaign. CLICK HERE for the certified letter sent to Gov. Edwards, which is also provided below:
Now the above video and the letter speak for themselves, so we’ll only add two points.
First, when former LALB Chairman Gay mentions in the preceding video that he sent “four or five members to the NAA convention because the Governor was going to confiscate our funds,” it should be pointed out that Gay did so in direct defiance of a directive by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor which said he could not do so. Of course, Gay let that directive go right out the window and invited the entire seven-member board, including the consumer members, to attend (one consumer — i.e. non-auctioneer — of whom did attend).
Gay’s dismissal of the Legislative Auditor’s directive essentially mirrored the LALB’s dismissal of Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera directing the LALB that it had to recover the overpayments to Executive Director Sandy Edmonds for her payroll irregularities. However, it should be noted that the LALB Members did insist Edmonds reimburse the LALB for a small amount upon the Inspector General placing her under another inspection entailing cell-phone surveillance after the Legislative Auditor requested that they do so. The Inspector General noted considerably more payroll fraud during the brief period during which they monitored her cell phone locations, and she subsequently admitted to claiming working hours during several out-of-state vacations, including a full week spent in Disneyworld in Orlando, even though she failed to mention one New York sightseeing trip to them and fessed up only after they placed her cell phone records in front of her, after which she immediately stated, “I’m not saying anything further.”
It’s also worth nothing that Gay was “demoted” from LALB Chairman to just a regular LALB Member after the Inspector General’s Office launched an investigation entailing alleged travel voucher fraud on the parts of both him and Consumer Member Ray Camp, who was simultaneously removed from the LALB for his role in the alleged travel voucher fraud.
Secondly, LALB Member Darlene Jacobs-Levy, in the preceding video, essentially voices the same sentiments that we are voicing in that she essentially advocates that Edwards issue a directive for the LALB to reimburse the state. She states, as justification for her opposition to increasing the bond coverage amount from $10,000 to an amount which would have provided far more additional protection to us taxpayers: “We do have a surplus in our accounts right now and, unless good cause could be shown….I would vote against an increase (from the $10,000 presently required).”
We’d like to make a final observation. Simultaneously to this feature being released, the LALB is convening a meeting with a major item of concern to them being on their agenda. That agenda item follows:
As is obvious, the LALB is concerned about a 588% increase in its liability insurance premium which they are being assessed by the Office of Risk Management (ORM). The agency’s premium is going up from $437 to $3,007 per year! Well:
===> NEWS FLASH # 1, LALB: Insurance companies are not stupid! They tend to be pretty good at factoring in risk when they quote their premiums to you, so take that 588% increase as a little hint!
===> NEWS FLASH # 2, LALB: When you engage in activities such as the following:
#1) hiring a convicted felon attorney (former State Sen. Larry S. Bankston) for the purpose of prosecuting whistleblowers who report your Executive Director for the payroll fraud referenced above and for which the Inspector General validates as routinely transpiring,
#2) openly testifying in Louisiana Legislative Committee hearings as being supportive of the illegal practice of shill bidding,
#3) taking adamant stands that you will not increase bond coverage to protect the consumers you assert you want to protect,
4) covering up (and flat-out sweeping her silence and culpability under the rug) for a previous LALB Chairman, Tessa Steinkamp, who, in her position as Treasurer of New Orleans Auction Galleries (NOAG), concealed all that firm’s massive auction violations to include: a) 52 consignors’ claims which were unpaid to the tune of $562,000+, defrauding Los Angeles auction bidder Massoud Pouratian of $114,000 that he bid on painting forgeries, and defrauding Danny Pun out of $127,950 that he bid on a fake chicken blood stone and fake Jade Chinese table screen,
and of course, let us not forget,
#5) enabling a member to falsely portray to the public, “You can trust me. The Governor has appointed me to the LALB.” Then thereafter those to whom such assurances were made end up fleeced for tens of thousands of dollars (with attorneys reading this post being more than welcome to see their contact information and complaints on full display here),
why, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to assess that your likelihood of being sued left and right is now exponential. Apparently, Rep. Johnny Guinn’s soothing words of, “We have good members on the Auctioneer Licensing Board, and they do their jobs,” simply were inadequate to override insurers’ concerns regarding the preceding episodes (and we could cite TONS more)! Hence, the skyrocketing of your insurance premium!
We’re going to make a final request of our subscribers which we’ve never done before (and likely won’t ever do again). If you agree with us that Gov. Edwards should issue an order for our taxpayer funds to be recovered from the LALB, we respectfully ask you to Facebook share this feature and get it spread far and wide to maximize the pressure on him to do so. If you may be so inclined, we invite you to also call Gov. Edwards’ office at 225-342-7015 and help in the effort to recover the $175,342.67 of which we’ve been swindled!
So, Gov. Edwards, how about it? Are you going to “walk the walk,” exercise your power, and uphold your West Point Honor Code and insist that the LALB reimburse us taxpayers for our $175,342.67 that your LALB appointee has fleeced us out of after your administration entrusted him and his company with contracts for the auctioning of our state surplus property?
Alternatively, are you going to permit the proceeds from such auctions of our surplus holdings to be, in all likelihood, diverted to support one of your appointee’s drug habit? If it’s the latter, surely 2019 campaign commercials running with intimidating background tones with the narrator stating: “John Bel Edwards chose drug addicts over taxpayers,” wouldn’t be unfair given your invocation of “David Vitter chose prostitutes over patriots,” now would it?
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