Louisiana Auctioneer Licensing Board Member Darlene Jacobs-Levy
Viewers will recall from part one of this series that we demonstrated Darlene Jacobs-Levy totally imploding during the “wrongful death” civil trial for which she served as plaintiff attorney representing Sharon Arway, the widow of Andrew Arway, against Louisiana State Police (LSP) and LSP Trooper Phillip Tagliarino after Tagliarino regrettably had to take Arway’s life during a routine DWI stop on March 24, 2004. Jacobs-Levy, who covertly ousted Rev. Freddie Lee Phillips on the Louisiana Auctioneer Licensing Board (LALB) in order to grab his seat for herself (see email at the bottom of this post) was extremely angry at comments made by Sound Off Louisiana founder Robert Burns, an instructor at the newly-formed Freddie Phillips School of Auctioneering, which were published in an Advocate article on the trial’s first day.
Several retired LSP Troopers have inquired of Sound Off Louisiana just how much this case may have cost the taxpayers of Louisiana. While we do not have a figure to provide, the pre-trial order leaves little doubt that it was likely in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. As viewers will recall from part one of this series, one of LSP’s expert witnesses made two statements which Burns openly told Jacobs he felt were devastating to her case. Those statements follow:
- Tagliarino displayed far more restraint and patience than he or most any other officer would have demonstrated under similar circumstances.
- Just as Tagliarino had stated on the stand, to have retreated to his vehicle, as Jacobs kept insisting Tagliarino should have done, would “violate every aspect of training these officers receive for situations like this. Mobility is the best friend of the officer. To have retreated to his vehicle would have left him as a sitting duck.”
Viewers may recall Jacobs characterized this LSP expert witness to Burns as a “paid whore.” When told of the likely cost of the case, one retired LSP Trooper, upon viewing the DWI stop included in part one of this series, said to Sound Off Louisiana, “Well, if she had hired an expert witness, and surely she could have found her own ‘paid whore,’ he or she would have told her filing a lawsuit would be futile because the officer was totally justified in his action.”
Jacobs-Levy, upon losing in grand fashion, also objected to Andrew Blanchfield, attorney for LSP, drafting a judgment of the jury’s findings casting court costs to plaintiff since that is the normal practice (i.e. casting court costs to the losing party) and what is called for by Louisiana Statute. Consequently, she objected and stated that each party should bear its own costs. That prompted Blanchfield to have to expend yet more taxpayer dollars to request yet another court hearing during which he could argue, on behalf of Attorney General Jeff Landry, that court costs should be taxed to the losing party, the Arway estate in this instance. When the hearing was conducted, Jacobs suffered yet another humiliating defeat as District Judge Wilson Fields indicated that he intends to “follow the statute” and tax court costs against plaintiff (though he did indicate he first wants to see what those costs total).
In part two of this fascinating series, we examine how Jacobs-Levy, 87 days after the judgment went against her, defiantly declared that Rev. Freddie Phillips is operating an “illegal school” and that she will “personally file a complaint against the school for offering online content.” Never mind that, at the March 6, 2017 LALB meeting, Jacobs openly asked if online instruction would be included, and Rev. Phillips indicated that it most certainly would. As the late C. B. Forgotston used to say, “You can’t make this stuff up, folks,” so we’ll just let the following 12+ minute video of highlights from the March 6, 2017 and September 11, 2017 LALB meetings speak for itself:
Highlights of approval of Freddie Phillips School of Auctioneering on March 6, 2017 and Darlene Jacobs-Levy’s subsequent hostile statements about the school and Rev. Phillips on September 11, 2017.
As a result of the developments depicted in the video above, on October 23, 2017, Rev. Phillips mailed a certified letter to Jacob Warren, Chairman of the LALB, and sent separate certified copies of the letters to Gov. John Bel Edwards; Matthew Block, Gov. Edwards’ Executive Counsel; Ellen Palmintier, Head of Gov. Edwards’ Boards and Commissions, and Emalie Boyce, newly-appointed Executive Director of Louisiana’s Division of Administrative Law. The letter is 33 pages in length and depicts numerous allegations of alleged racial prejudice against Rev. Phillips, including this most recent incident. The following bullet points outline some of the main highlights of the 33-page letter:
1. In 2009, as an LALB member under Gov. Bobby Jindal, Phillips being voted down 5-2 to attend the NAA Convention as an LALB backup representative (i.e. to attend ONLY if neither the Chairman nor Vice Chairman opted to attend), with long-time Chairman Buster Gay saying, “We’re kind of careful who we send to the convention.” Additionally, then-LALB Vice Chairman Tessa Steinkamp stated: “I wouldn’t want you to represent this Board!”
2. Despite being specifically asked to attend a Legislative Committee meeting by then-State Rep. Regina Barrow, who represented Rev. Phillips and who was floored by the comments linked in # 1 above, Rev. Phillips was singled out NOT to be paid per diem for that meeting. Phillips notes in the letter that he never received a dime for attending that meeting.
3. Phillips being threatened with a lawsuit for challenging LALB expenditures.
4. Phillips, as a sitting LALB member, being threatened with his license by multiple LALB members for making public record requests to substantiate his allegation of payroll fraud against LALB Executive Director Sandy Edmonds (Note: His efforts led to former WAFB investigative reporter Paul Gates showing up at the March 21, 2011 LALB meeting to inquire about the payroll fraud and, upon Gates having to drop the matter due to his own Alzheimer’s diagnosis, subsequently led to this damning Legislative Auditor’s Report dated February 28, 2012 and then subsequently to this damning Louisiana Inspector General report of December 9, 2013).
5. Two LALB members, including current Vice Chairman James Sims (characterized as a “North Louisiana redneck” by then-consumer member Greg Bordelon, who was the other culprit) responding to the roll call of November 5, 2012 with “I’s here,” at the first meeting Rev. Phillips missed since being named an LALB member in June of 2008.
6. Rev. Phillips, at the September 19, 2011 LALB meeting, being asked FOUR TIMES by the LALB’s attorney, Anna Dow, “Are you carrying a weapon?”
7. Four of the five auctioneer members on the LALB (it has two consumer members who are not auctioneers) are members of the Louisiana Auctioneer Association (LAA) and, on April 26, 2016, LAA President Wiley Collins distributed a letter indicating the organization was “unanimous” in its opposition to Rev. Phillips serving on the LALB. The LAA also published the letter on its website as well as to its wide-open Facebook page.
8. “Legendary” auctioneer Keith Babb, who is known to be close friends with LALB Member and Vice Chairman James Sims, having fired off an email of May 18, 2016 expressing great disdain for Phillips and openly bragging of the success of their efforts to have Rev. Phillips removed from the LALB after Gov. Edwards appointed him on April 20, 2016.
9. The Darlene Jacobs-Levy email to her Sen. J. P. Morrell on prominent display at the bottom of this post.
So, there you have it folks!! The LALB is next scheduled to deliberate the fate of the Freddie Phillips School of Auctioneering on Monday, November 6, 2017 (though Phillips has asserted that Sims, Jacobs-Levy, Jeff Henderson, and Jacob Brown must be recused due to conflicts or outright prejudice as Phillips asserts is the case for Jacobs-Levy). We’ll certainly be there and provide an update on this fascinating series!
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