Cogmetology Board Attorney Celia Cangelosi
When I formed this blog, it was never my intent to publish any Sound Off features of my own but rather to permit others the avenue to do so. Having said that, whenever any state agency, in this case the Louisiana Sate Board of Cosmetology (LSBC), so arrogantly flaunts its gestapo tactics and its attorneys, in this case Celia Cangelosi and Sheri Morris, display unparalleled complacency and lack of comprehension of Louisiana’s open meetings laws, I feel I have little choice but to break my original intent and make a Sound Off post of my own.
Readers may recall a very detailed article I drafted which expanded upon former U. S. Congressman Joseph Cao’s frustration and claims of lawlessness on the part of the LSBC.
That article was followed by cosmetology instructor Nelda Dural Sounding Off on the LSBC echoing Congressman Cao’s sentiments. Dural voiced her frustration at being singled out for being mandated to employ two instructors when the LSBC, only weeks before, granted an exemption to one of its favored instructors.
The two-instructor requirement is a statute passed in 2010 in what appears to be an obvious effort to drive small schools like Nelda’s out of business. The prior requirement was that a second instructor was required only if the number of students exceeded 20. Now, schools are required to have a minimum of two instructors irrespective of how small their classes may be! Coincidentally, three of the LSBC’s members, Chairman Frances Hand, Lora Moreau, and Michelle Hays, operate large cosmetology schools.
A statute is a statute! The LSBC does not possess the authority to permit exemptions to a statute; nevertheless, attorneys Cangelosi and Morris sat right in the room and said nothing when the board approved the exemption linked above!
As if the two-instructor cram down to Dural is not bad enough, both Dural and a past student testified that LSBC Executive Director Steve Young told prospective students not to attend Dural’s school and, as a result, she testified that attendance at her school plummeted, thereby inflicting significant financial harm to her. Interestingly enough, lead prosecutor of Dural, LSBC attorney Morris, who openly advocated to LSBC members to revoke Dural’s teaching license, did not place Young on the witness stand to refute either the student or Dural’s testimony. If in fact Young did not blackball Dural’s school, it would seem the LSBC would place him on the stand and have him adamantly deny the allegation. The fact he did not take the stand infers that he either did in fact make the statements or else would have been in a position to have to perjure himself in saying that he did not make such statements. Basically, it was a horrible implicit expression of guilt on Young’s part for which both he and the board may be exposed to open-ended liability.
The 4th video entails Young blatantly lying to his LSBC members in stating that California licensing authorities are “removing their seals” from their certifications which are used for reciprocal licenses in Louisiana. Quite frankly, I did not believe one Vietnamese manicurist when he told me Young was lying. I countered that there would be no way he would be stupid enough (the words I used) to point-blank lie to his own board with a video camera going! Nevertheless, a public records request and a call to California licensing authorities readily revealed the fact that Young had in fact point-blank lied to his board members in an apparent self-motivated (or board-motivated) drive to suspend Louisiana’s reciprocity with California.
The 6th video entails attorney Cangelosi exposing rank ignorance about the fact that it is illegal to perform nail services in an esthetics salon. Vietnamese manicurists obtained licenses to operate esthetic salons which were approved by the LSBC, only to face subsequent violations in being accused of performing illegal nail operations at their freshly-licensed esthetic salons! In the video, Cangelosi even had to make the utterly embarrassing admission that “somebody licensed them,” but then Morris, in an attempt to bail Cangelosi out of an incredible embarrassment, said it was “friends” who told Vietnamese manicurists that they could perform nail operations in esthetic salons. Gee, who has the sole and exclusive authority to issue licenses? Last I checked, it is the LSBC and not “friends” of these Vietnamese manicurists!
Referencing Dural above, the LSBC has now spent four days conducting a so-called hearing on her, and it was their intent to enter into “deliberations” on Monday, July 13, 2015. I could sense Nelda was uneasy about the LSBC going behind closed doors into executive session to determine her fate. I informed both her and her attorney, Edward Landry, that she had every right to insist that the deliberations take place in an open forum pursuant to LA R. S. 42:17(A)(1). Nelda made it crystal clear that she wanted the deliberations in the open.
This time it was Morris’ turn to be the complacent and abrasive attorney! She got quite testy with me and said that I was stating “my interpretation” of the statue (a standard b/s line attorneys use when they haven’t even read the statute in question and are winging it). I shot back to her (admittedly in a not-so-friendly tone) that it most certainly was NOT my interpretation of the statute. I further informed her that, if she did not bring the closed-door deliberations to an immediate halt, given Dural’s emphatic statement that she wanted deliberations conducted in the open, if Dural didn’t sue for an open meetings violation, I would!
Landry, Dural’s attorney, then opened the door to the meeting room and informed the LSBC and Cangelosi that he’d been provided with clear evidence that they were violating the open meetings law and that he objected vehemently to continued closed-door deliberations. Cangelosi, in her usual flippant demeanor, responded, “so noted.” Nevertheless, two minutes later, the door was opened, and it was declared that deliberations would be conducted in an open format. Ironically, they’d planned to be in closed-door deliberations for hours and therefore saw no need for a court reporter until much later that afternoon. Consequently, with deliberations now open, they had to call the court reporter, and we all had to wait 40 minutes before any open deliberations could even be commenced.
At the LSBC meeting of Monday, August 3, 2015, it became readily apparent that my exposure of the kangaroo court operations of the LSBC as well as its corrupt nature and associated cronyism have taken a toll on the membership, particularly Chairman Frances Hand. As evidence of that fact, I provide the following 4-minute video clip which readily reveals their frustration:
LSBC attorney Cangelosi, enforcing the will of her
client, LSBC members, insists that Burns move
to the very back corner of the room for videotaping.
Burns had been near the board table for prior meetings, and
he certainly posed no problem in terms of interrupting
decorum, which is the only restriction the LSBC can
implement. The LSBC also attempts to ignore Burns’
desire to make public comment regarding consent
agreements (virtually all of which entail
More evidence of an out-of-control LSBC is this KSLA feature news report on the LSBC giving grief to a young lady providing a mobile salon for the benefit of her elderly clientele. The comments on that article are quite interesting, including one cosmetologist who readily states that the LSBC is “corrupt.” The general public certainly appears not to be in the corner of the LSBC and views them as an impediment to a lady with a creative idea for assisting the elderly in nursing homes being able to take some added pride in their existence and enjoyment of life! As of the time I am composing this post, 600 signatures have signed up seeking for Young and the LSBC to back off and permit her to operate.
Sadly, the LSBC is far from alone regarding corruption and lawlessness among boards and commissions in Louisiana. Other boards and commissions with similar proclivities include: Louisiana Auctioneer Licensing Board, Louisiana State Board of Examiners of Interior Designers, and the poster child for corrupt boards (and BY FAR the one with the most egregious corruption I’ve ever encountered), the Louisiana State Board of Dentistry.
These boards and commissions are becoming such an unbelievable impediment to small business operations in Louisiana that Gov. Vitter will have little choice but to take major action to rein in the damaging impacts they have on Louisiana’s small business environment. He has publicly stated a willingness to do so, and it’s my sincere hope that he follows through and take action to rein in the rank corruption and cronyism which is so rampant in this obscure operations of Louisiana state government.
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