Public’s already-anemic confidence in ethics of Louisiana attorneys likely to take further hit with St. Tammany Parish CFO Kelly Rabalais’ victory over Jack Whitehead for Louisiana State Bar Association Board of Governor’s Fifth District seat.

 

St. Tammany Parish Council Chief Administrative Officer Kelly Rabalais.

Earlier this month, we provided subscribers with our take on the impending election to fill the Fifth District seat on the Louisiana State Bar Association.  In today’s segment, Sound Off Louisiana founder Robert Burns provides his take on the election’s results:

Burns provides assessment of the results of the 5th District seat on the Louisiana State Bar Association election between Kelly Rabalais and Jack Whitehead.  CLICK HERE for the election’s results as well as plethora of litigation pertaining to St. Tammany Parish controversies that have resulted in absolutely staggering legal costs for the Parish’s government.

 

In the video above, Burns explains why, by his own admission, he gets so worked up over the nature of the litigation entailing St. Tammany Parish Government (i.e. access to public records).  In doing so, Burns references his own extensive litigation history with the Louisiana Auctioneer Licensing Board (LALB) which has always entailed access to public records and/or alleged violations of Louisiana’s open meetings laws.

Burns also explains why he feels the election of Rabalais will further erode the already-anemic confidence Louisiana folk have in the legal profession in the state.

In so doing, Burns references a complaint he filed with the Louisiana Office of Disciplinary Counsel (ODC) against convicted felon Larry S. Bankston.  Burns had expressed his concerns to three (3) LALB members about the agency’s Executive Director, Sandy Edmonds, routinely engaging in payroll fraud.  Edmonds would routinely engage in acts such as 1) relaxing on a beach in Orange Beach, Alabama; 2) visiting Disneyworld with the family for a week; 3) visiting relatives in Oklahoma; 4) going sightseeing in New York, and for all such leisure activities for which Edmonds was not even in the state of Louisiana nor making any pretense of working, she would report being “on the clock” with the LALB.

Burns indicated to the ODC that Bankston acted unethically when, upon those three LALB members supplying Bankston with Burns’ email of concern, Bankston opted to convene an Administrative Hearing against Burns rather than insist the members of the LALB take corrective action regarding the payroll fraud!  The ODC’s response?  In a letter dated January 27, 2014 signed by Eric McClendon, Deputy Disciplinary Counsel at the ODC, McClendon indicated that the ODC would be taking no action!  McClendon’s letter prompted this VERY terse letter back to McClendon from Burns the very next day, January 28, 2014.

In the above video, Burns references the LALB, via Bankston, having filed a “Writ of Attachment” against Burns.  That whole episode is provided below:


LALB and its attorney, Larry S. Bankston, endure utterly embarrassing defeat in 19th JDC on July 22, 2013 entailing ill-advised pursuit of Writ of Attachment against LAPA Vice President Robert Burns.  Video above contains excerpts of LALB meetings of 3/26/13 & 5/20/13, both of which entailed Administrative Hearings on notoriously-problematic auctioneer Ken Buhler.  

Oral arguments were before Judge Todd Hernandez on July 22, 2013, and he issued this ruling DENYING the LALB’s Writ on August 28, 2013.  Judge Hernandez supplied a one-sentence explanation:  “the subpoena at issue has now been served.”  The Board and Mr. Bankston were well-aware the subpoena had been served and, in fact, they filed the Petition for Writ six (6) days AFTER it was served!!!!  You read correctly!  They filed the Writ SIX (6) days AFTER the subpoena was served (subpoena served 5/7/13 and Petition for Writ filed 5/13/13)!!

 So, at the end of the day, the LALB flushes YET ANOTHER approximate $2,100 on more legal fees in its ongoing relentless and fruitless pursuit of LAPA Vice President Robert Burns.

How easy was it for Burns to defeat the LALB’s Petition for Writ?  It took Burns a mere 25 minutes to draft this 3-Page Opposition Memorandum.   Meanwhile, as evidenced by the above “flush” link, Mr. Bankston and his associate, Jenna Linn, billed the LALB for an astounding 16.2 hours to pursue the Writ!!!. 

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There are at least some attorneys who strive to instill some level of ethics within the profession.  One such gentleman is Mr. Richard E. Gerard, Jr., who issued this STRONG dissent against Bankston being reinstated to the practice of law in Louisiana.

Unfortunately, the profession seems to be heavily dominated by attorneys demonstrating that their ethics are suspect as evidenced by Ms. Rabalais’ handling of public records requests entailing St. Tammany Parish Government.  Accordingly, her election to the Fifth District seat on the Louisiana State Bar Association provides yet more ammunition for the sentiments that Gerard expresses in his dissenting opinion just linked.  Specifically, just like Bankston being readmitted to the practice of law, we believe that, in electing Ms. Rabalais to the position she will now hold for three years, attorneys eligible to vote in that Fifth District seat have “sent the wrong message” to the citizens of Louisiana.

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