IDB’s Steinmetz continues governmental double-standard as she once again uses Rev. Freddie Lee Phillips as her favorite “whipping boy.”


IDB Chairman Deborah Steinmetz

 

In our most recent Sound Off Louisiana feature, we outlined LPB President and CEO Beth Courtney as  another example of state agency prima donna personalities who operate with reckless disregard for ethics and laws, with their ensuing irresponsibility costing Louisiana taxpayers hundreds of thousands (and in some instances, such as Murphy Painter, literally millions) of dollars in legal defense costs when justifiable lawsuits are filed by victims of these governmental “leaders” run amok.

Today we examine yet another such prima donna:  Ms. Deborah Steinmetz, Chairperson of the Louisiana State Interior Design Board (IDB).  In the following video, Rev. Freddie Lee Phillips, who has steadfastly  hounded Steinmetz and IDB Vice Chairman T. L. Ritchie about IDB payroll fraud, expresses his frustration that an item he sought on the February 16, 2017 IDB agenda (requiring IDB Executive Assistant Sandy Edmonds to actually report to the office for some meaningful number of hours to justify her salary) was being denied.  He was especially frustrated at the means the Board chose to communicate that denial to him:


Phillips sought to have his agenda request discussed by the Board, but instead he was served with this
one-page UNSIGNED certified letter
immediately before the meeting indicating that his request had been denied.

As is obvious, Steinmetz has her lieutenants, Sandy Edmonds, who has been cited for engaging in rampant payroll fraud, and Anna Dow (attorney for IDB) read Phillips the “riot act” for their contention that he is not maintaining a valid mailing address on file with the Auctioneer Licensing Board (see the return certified letter link above).

Well, the very next day, Phillips sent a certified letter to Steinmetz.  Guess what?  The letter was returned undeliverable.  This undeliverable notice transpired despite the fact that Phillips used  Steinmetz’s mailing address as readily posted on her corporate website.  Moreover, unlike Phillips, whose house continues to be flooded and not yet fully restored, Steinmetz’s office in New Orleans didn’t flood at all!

At next week’s IDB meeting (4/25 @ 12:30 p.m.), will Ms. Dow and Ms. Edmonds be equally vigilant in reading Steinmetz the “riot act” for failing to maintain a deliverable address the way they had no qualms in doing entailing Phillips in the video above?   Alternatively, perhaps they will do as Dot Efferson was honest enough to do in the lawsuit referenced in the Courtney feature above and just admit that “Courtney Steinmetz is too powerful.”

Steinmetz continues actions like this, yet she makes no effort whatsoever to execute her fiduciary duty to the IDB licensees and the taxpayers of Louisiana to ensure their resources aren’t wasted by actions such as Edmonds relaxing on a beach in Orange Beach, Alabama, visiting Disneyworld FOR A FULL WEEK, visiting relatives in Kansas, going on excursions to New York and New Jersey, all while claiming she was “hard at  work” for Louisiana taxpayers by reporting being “on the clock” during all these excursions!

On Tuesday (4/18) of this week, Rep. Rick EdmondsRep. Alan Seabaugh, and Rep. Blake Miguez all gave resounding addresses to a group of about 120 grassroots activists of the Louisiana Chapter of Americans for Prosperity.  Each of them gave very impressive presentations; however, Rep. Miguez’s presentation really stood out.

He gave first-hand accounts entailing how, as a result of the oil industry’s downturn, many of his constituents have lost their jobs and have seen their household incomes plummet.  He said it’s particularly hard for them to recognize a need for yet more tax increases given what they are going through in their lives.

Perhaps Ms. Steinmetz may be willing to make an appearance before Miguez’s constituents who have endured such hardships and explain just how she justifies permitting Ms. Edmonds, the wife of an interior designer who happens to teach at LSU and reports to IDB Vice Chairman T. L. Ritchie, to be so entitled to draw checks while sunbathing in Orange Beach, Alabama.

How about it, Ms. Steinmetz, willing to take that challenge?

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Did LPB’s Beth Courtney strong-arm disabled underling into retiring “to avoid possible layoffs?”


LPB President & CEO, Beth Courtney

 

In our latest Sound Off Louisiana feature, we continue illustrating examples of agencies of the State of Louisiana being sued for either employee/contractor retaliation or whistle blowing.  Our latest feature outlines the alleged actions of Beth Courtney, President and CEO of Louisiana Public Broadcasting (LPB):


Sound Off Louisiana’s founder, Robert Burns, narrates the highpoints of litigation filed by Dr. Ellen Wydra against LPB entailing allegations of discrimination and retaliation on the part of Beth Courtney, President and CEO of LPB, a taxpayer-subsidized Louisiana broadcasting network.

Supporting Documentation and Links:

1. Wydra’s lawsuit filed on November 5, 2010.

2. Addendum to Wydra’s lawsuit filed on January 25, 2017.

3.  Article entailing alleged whistle-blower and former LPB award-winning reporter Jeff Duhe‘ outlining extensive nepotism involving Courtney and her husband, Bob (formerly assistant news director and capitol correspondent for WBRZ Channel 2 in Baton Rouge).

4.   The Louisiana Board of Ethics’ assessing of $10,000 in fines against Courtney Communications and Beth Courtney entailing the ethics violations referenced in # 3 above.

5.  Another Duhe’ related article exposing Courtney’s apparent frequent use of profanity (including the “f word” — see paragraph 10) and totalitarian rule when addressing her underlings.

6.  Beth Courtney’s presentation to the Baton Rouge Rotary Club on May 22, 2013 at Boudreaux’s in Baton Rouge.

Wydra’s lawsuit is assigned to 19th JDC Judge Tim Kelley, and it is scheduled to commence on September 18, 2017 (though Courtney reportedly wants all of those details kept “hush-hush”).  Assuming no settlement is reached before that time, Sound Off Louisiana will certainly attend and alert our viewers as to the outcome.

 If you would like to be added to our Sound Off Louisiana email list to be notified of future Sound Off posts, simply scroll to the very bottom of this page (mobile devices) or to the end of the right-hand column (desktops) and 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. 

As Gov. Edwards and U. S. Rep. Garret Graves exchange verbal attacks over flood relief, the contract for that relief becomes even murkier from recent court filings.


U. S. Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA).

 

 In our previous Sound Off Louisiana feature, we featured U. S. Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) grilling Gov. John  Bel Edwards on recent actions of Louisiana State Contractor Board attorney (and convicted felon) Larry S. Bankston.  In our latest feature, we capture the highlights of a feisty exchange between Gov. Edwards and U. S. Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA) and, thereafter, provide a few documents of interest in the IEM litigation entailing the flood relief contract:

Edwards / Graves Exchange (plus quick segment of Meadows grilling Edwards for those who may have missed it previously).

Meanwhile, in 19th Judicial District Court in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, IEM, the successful bidder for the flood relief contract (at $250 million), has filed court documents indicating that the second-place bidder, PDRM (at $315 million), falsely represented that two companies were part of the “PDRM team.”

Both companies say such assertions to the Division of Administration are “categorically false” and that the use of their names was “unauthorized:”  See letters of Core Construction and Roy Anderson Corp.  

 

To the contrary, within IEM’s application for a residential contractor license, which was received by the Louisiana State Board of Contractors on February 17, 2017, glowing letters of recommendation for IEM Vice President Jon Mabry are included.  Who supplied the glowing recommendations?:   Core Construction and Roy Anderson

 

The application was further buttressed by a strong  letter of recommendation from U. S. Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS).  Nevertheless, on March 9, 2017, convicted felon Larry S. Bankston, acting as “advising attorney” for the Louisiana State Board of Contractors, provided his assessment of IEM’s licensure status.   In so doing, he declared both IEM and PDRM as “disqualified” due to their lack of a residential contractor license at the time proposals were solicited.  That development is what led to Meadows’ sharp attacks of Gov. Edwards in the final minute or so of the above video.  [Note:  CLICK HERE for the IEM application in its entirety.]

Should be interesting to see just how this flood relief contract quagmire is resolved.

Update:  April 13, 2017 @ 11:00 a.m.

The Edwards administration resolved the matter by announcing that IEM was, for the second time, awarded the contract.  That action was smart on Edwards’ part because to have done otherwise would have only intensified the spotlight exposing underhanded dealings and corruption in Louisiana at a time when flood victims have no tolerance whatsoever for such.  Those victims merely want to be able to make progess toward recovering from the disasters of March and August of 2016 as qickly as possible.

If you would like to be added to our Sound Off Louisiana email list to be notified of future Sound Off posts, simply scroll to the very bottom of this page (mobile devices) or to the end of the right-hand column (desktops) and 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.