Dr. Jeet Patel, who was appointed by Gov. John Bel Edwards to the Louisiana State Board of Dentistry on January 18, 2019, is reportedly not going to be confirmed by the Louisiana Senate due to a full-court press being waged by North Louisiana dentists to block Patel’s Senate confirmation.
On April 20, 2016, Gov. John Bel Edwards appointed Rev. Freddie Lee Phillips, Louisiana’s first and only African-American auctioneer, to the Louisiana Auctioneer Licensing Board (LALB). The Louisiana Auctioneer’s Association (LAA), an industry trade group comprised of largely elderly Caucasian men, went into immediate overdrive to block Edwards’ appointment of Phillips to the LALB.
How did they do so? Six days after Phillips’ appointment, LAA President Wiley Collins distributed this letter dated April 26, 2016 to “Senators, fellow auctioneers, and Association Members” urging for Phillips’ confirmation by the Louisiana Senate not to transpire. The preceding letter was also immediately placed as a brochure link on the LAA’s website as well as placed on prominent display on the LAA’s Facebook page. One day prior to Collins’ letter, auction license holder (we’ve yet to see any evidence she’s conducted the first auction) Darlene Jacobs-Levy, a heavy-hitter in political contributions to Democratic candidates, led the charge of auctioneers sending emails to their State Senators to oppose Phillips’ confirmation.
On Thursday, May 5, 2016 (a mere 15 days after appointing him), Edwards caved to the foregoing intense pressure, and he terminated Phillips’ service on the LALB, thus sparing the Louisiana Senate from even having to consider Phillips’ confirmation. Four days later, on May 9, 2016, Edwards appeared before the Baton Rouge Press Club, where Phillips directly confronted Edwards on terminating him from the LALB. It’s extremely rare to see someone directly confronting a sitting Governor face-to-face about an action of that same Governor, so let’s take just a moment to see Phillips challenging Edwards’ decision and the “excuse” Edwards gave for his move, shall we?:
Phillips confronts Edwards on May 9, 2016 entailing his termination from the LALB four days before.
As is obvious, Edwards point-blank lied (sorry, there’s just no other characterization to make, and we don’t like using the word “lied” unless we feel we have no choice) in stating that, “We made a mistake…..We committed to more people than we should have, and I had to rescind one, and I rescinded yours.” The simple reality is that the material linked above is 100 PERCENT responsible for Edwards’ action, but admitting that fact, especially entailing Louisiana’s first and only African-American auctioneer in its history as being on the receiving end of Edwards’ caving, would have been a political disaster for Edwards. That is to say, he couldn’t tell the truth and simply state, “Well, look, a ton of good ‘ole boy auctioneers were mad as hell with me for appointing you in the first place, so I had to go ahead and remove you due to the pressure my office was receiving to do so.” It was much more convenient to simply break from his much-touted “Honor Code” and lie, and anyone can see him doing so in the video above!
As most Sound Off Louisiana subscribers know by now, Edwards opted to cast his lot with auctioneer Jacob Brown (son of convicted felon Cecil Brown of the Edwin Edwards era) rather than Phillips. The result, which largely could be expected, is that Brown allegedly stole over $200,000 from taxpayers ($180,000 to State of Louisiana taxpayers and $28,000 to East Baton Rouge Parish taxpayers) to support his drug habit after Edwards officials awarded him state contracts, notwithstanding ethics laws that prohibited Brown or his firm from bidding on those very same contracts! Of course, in the mainstream media, one never heard a word about the fact Jacob Brown was even an appointee of Edwards. It’s absolutely amazing that news organizations claiming to be legitimate sources tasked with keeping the public informed can simply overlook such minor details in their reporting on Louisiana State Police’s arrest of Brown.
Speaking of Brown, just to bring our subscribers up to speed, he was scheduled for arraignment in 19th JDC in January of 2019; however, he failed to show up in court, which prompted a warrant to be issued for his arrest. His sister, Millie Claire Brown, who served as his surety in posting a $75,000 bond, testified that, despite her best efforts, she was unable to locate him to ensure his presence in court. He has, however, subsequently been located and did appear in court a few days ago. At that time, the arrest warrant was recalled and the arraignment was continued until June 21, 2019 at 9:00 a.m. in Judge Higginbotham’s courtroom.
Gov. Edwards is now confronted with a nearly-identical situation to Phillips entailing the Louisiana State Board of Dentistry (LSBD). Edwards appointed Dr. Jeet Patel to the LSBD on January 18, 2019. Similarly to Phillips, the Dentistry profession’s good ‘ole boy network kicked into overdrive seeking for the Louisiana Senate to decline to confirm Patel’s appointment.
Sound Off Louisiana subscribers are well aware of the many posts we’ve made on the corruption on the LSBD, a fact which is now merely accepted because of the overwhelming evidence of that corruption. Subscribers are also aware that we began providing video coverage of LSBD meetings on March 15, 2019. That was the first meeting for Dr. Patel to attend (Edwards flushed Phillips four days before he could attend his first LALB meeting) as a Member of the Board, so let’s take just 30 seconds to watch him introduce himself (and we apologize in that we were attempting to get our camera set up and it pulled away from Dr. Patel on a couple of occasions):
Patel introduces himself to his colleagues on the LSBD on March 15, 2019.
As is obvious in the preceding video, Dr. Patel is excited to serve on the LSBD. He is now asserting, however, that the March 15, 2019 meeting may be his first and last meeting as he indicates that North Louisiana dentists strongly oppose his appointment to the Board, and we’re told they’re having State Senator Francis Thompson do the heavy lifting and carry the water for them in essentially blackballing Patel from confirmation by the full Louisiana Senate. We believe there is no better way to educate our viewers on Patel’s assertions than to provide an email he sent to Thompson on Friday, April 12, 2019 at 10:12 p.m. entailing the situation. Here’s that email with a few highlights included:
At this point, Gov. Edwards is at a fork in the road. Will he do as he did with Phillips and cave to the obvious pressure of the good ‘ole boy network of dentists, or will he for once show at least a modicum of the “Honor Code” he touted over and over in the 2015 campaign and demonstrate resistance to the dentistry network of good ‘ole boys and stand by Patel? The ball’s in Gov. Edwards’ court.
We feel compelled to conclude with one final observation. At the March 15, 2019 LSBD meeting referenced above, Dr. Kenneth Starling referred to some of the past LSBD’s members as “monsters.” His adjective to describe these members drew the immediate wrath of Patricia A. “Patti” Hanson, the hygienist representative on the Board, who resides in Jennings, Louisiana. Let’s take a look at what she had to say to Starling when he referenced some past members as “monsters.”:
Dr. Starling calls some past LSBD members “monsters” and draws the immediate wrath of hygienist member “Patti” Hanson.
First, our advice to Ms. Hanson is to grow some thicker skin! Secondly, based on all of the pure, rank corruption and allegations of outright criminal acts of the LSBD we watched as testimony before the Louisiana Senate Commerce Committee on April 4, 2018, Starling was far too kind to merely reference these despicable people as “monsters.”
Finally, if Ms. Hanson may have been (or is) one of those “good” LSBD members, then she had an obligation to join with any such other “good” LSBD members and take action to remedy the mass corruption on the Board! It’s THAT simple.
That’s what Sound Off Louisiana founder Robert Burns, when he served on Jindal’s LALB, did in his extensive efforts to fight shill bidding (an ILLEGAL practice) in the auction profession! Were there consequences? Hell, yes! The material at the previous link so infuriated the good ‘ole boy network of auctioneers that they demanded that State Rep. John E. “Johnny” Guinn, an auctioneer himself who also resides in the same town as Hanson (Jennings) have then-Gov. Jindal remove Burns from the LALB. Guinn was only too happy to oblige, and he drafted this two-sentence letter of August 30, 2010 to Gov. Jindal.
Jindal, who by that time was rapidly planting the seeds of what would ultimately cause his initiative to become President of the United States (if anyone can call that ill-fated, feeble attempt an initiative) to be doomed before it ever got off the ground, was only too happy to oblige in terminating Burns’ LALB service on September 10, 2010.
So, Ms. Hanson, unless you can provide us with documentation such as we’ve supplied you above, it sure appears to us you were more than willing to “go along to get along” with these LSBD members. Accordingly, your taking of umbrage with Dr. Starling as depicted in the preceding video falls on TOTAL deaf ears with us!
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