More on the LSP Crib

12/17/2017

The (Baton Rouge, LA) Advocate has a front-page story with more details on the infamous “crib” located at the Department of Public Safety’s Baton Rouge compound.

Is it legal? Mike Edmonson’s tax-free lifestyle sparks questions about other Louisiana-paid housing

BY JIM MUSTIAN | jmustian@theadvocate.com

The legislative auditor’s report that lambasted Mike Edmonson reverberated through the state Capitol last week, as lawmakers heard testimony that the former State Police superintendent exploited taxpayer money to provide a life of perks and privilege for his family.

Among the audit’s chief findings was that Edmonson and his family lived rent-free at the State Police compound in Baton Rouge, relying on prisoners for cooking, cleaning and even dog-walking services for nearly nine years.

That allegation — and claims the state dropped the ball by not including the accommodations in Edmonson’s W-2 income — raises questions about similar state-paid housing arrangements extended to certain university presidents, prison wardens and other officials across state government.

Dozens of other state employees who receive complimentary housing do not pay taxes for that benefit because the accommodations are a condition of their employment. That appears to be a key difference in the case of Edmonson, who became the first superintendent to move his family into the Residential Conference Center, a property built in 2002 to house the governor and State Police superintendent during emergency situations.

Edmonson’s successor, Col. Kevin Reeves, now stays at the residence during the week but returns to his home and family in Jackson Parish on weekends. “I do not by any means live in the house,” Reeves said. “It is a place for me to stay and lay my head while I’m here.”

Remember, there’s a special session of the Legislature coming within the next few months, and all we’ll hear from Bel Edwards and the thieves at the State Capitol is that we’re not paying enough taxes.

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Col Reeves Now “Staying” @ Edmonson LSP Crib

12/15/2017

LSP “Crib”, DPS Compound, Independence Blvd, Baton Rouge

Just past the end of Government Street, on land once occupied by the Baton Rouge Downtown Airport sits the Louisiana Department of Safety compound. There, you will find the Louisiana State Police Headquarters, the LSP Training Academy, LSP Crime Lab, the Office of Motor Vehicles, the State Fire Marshal, and the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.

Also, you’ll find a nice crib, the one that was home to former LSP Colonel Mike Edmonson from 2008 to 2017. The one he lived in tax-free, with maid service and meals. We’re not sure how large it is, but a rough guess is 3 thousand square feet. It has a three-car garage, and a basketball goal in the driveway.

Yesterday’s meeting of the Legislative Audit Advisory Council talked about it a good bit, and one of the council members (Rep Blake Miguez) ask new LSP head Col. Kevin Reeves about his housing arrangements.

“Presently, I stay in the housing during the week when I’m in town working on the compound, but I do not by any means live in the house. It is a place for me to stay, lay my head while I’m here,” said Reeves.

It wasn’t made clear in the meeting whether or not Reeves pays taxes on what is obviously a valuable benefit of employment.

See the entire two-hour meeting here.

Your Tax Dollars at Work!!

12/14/2017

From today’s Louisiana State Police Audit:

From February 2013 to February 2016, the City of New Orleans purchased hotel rooms for LSP troopers who resided outside of the New Orleans area who were providing public safety services during Mardi Gras. During this time, records and statements obtained from LSP troopers and others indicate that Colonel Edmonson:

Obtained extra hotel rooms paid for by the City of New Orleans, either in his name or in the name of other LSP troopers;

Allowed his friends and family to stay in those extra hotel rooms free of charge; and

Received reimbursement from LSP for a hotel room in 2014, even though the City of New Orleans purchased a hotel room for him at another hotel.

By providing rooms purchased by the City of New Orleans to his friends and family free of charge, and by receiving an improper reimbursement, Colonel Edmonson may have violated the Louisiana Constitution and state law.

Legislative Audit Advisory Council to hear State Police Audit

12/14/2017

This afternoon’s meeting in Baton Rouge of the Legislative Audit Advisory Council (LAAC) promises to be interesting, with the recent audit of the Louisiana State Police on the agenda to be discussed.

The (Baton Rouge) Advocate’s Jim Mustain has done yeoman work in uncovering the agency’s corruption in several recent stories.

Long-time readers of Lincoln Parish News Online will recall that the LAAC is a joint legislative committee that oversees the Louisiana Legislative Auditor, and meets periodically to review reports and take whatever action is warranted.

Here’s today’s agenda. The meeting is set for 2:30 PM.

This page should have a link that will allow live viewing of the meeting.

1:55 PM, 12/14/17

The complete report, including responses from the personnel involved has been released.

Read it here.

Lincoln Parish Police Jury Adopts Budgets

12/13/2017

Last night’s meeting of the Lincoln Parish Police Jury saw a flurry of budget ordinances passed – amendments to this year’s budgets, and the proposed 2018 budgets.

The 2017 Amended Budget estimates final revenues to come in at $18.08 million, and final expenditures to be the same.

Originally, the 2017 budget estimated revenues and expenditures at $17.57 million.

The 2018 Proposed Budget
estimates revenues and expenditures at $20.14 million.

Also adopted were similar budget ordinances for the Exhibition Center.

See here a more detailed breakdown of revenues and expenditures.

During the Public Works Committee meeting, the 2018 Road Capital Expenditures plan was reviewed and approved.

Among the major projects slated for 2018 are overlay of about two miles of Mitcham Peach Orchard Road ($444 thousand), and a bridge replacement on Big Creek Road ($650 thousand).

There was a question about why the Mitcham Peach Orchard Road was up for overlay, and it was explained that it was one of the more heavily used roads in the parish system.

Lincoln Parish Police Jury Tomorrow

12/11/2017

The Lincoln Parish Police Jury (LPPJ) will meet tomorrow (Tuesday, December 12), Lincoln Parish Court House, third floor.

Public Works Committee (5:30 PM)

Agenda

Police Jury (7:00 PM)

Agenda

Edmonson Update

12/10/2017

Audit: Mike Edmonson’s inner circle received free ‘hotel-style’ rooms at State Police Training Academy

BY JIM MUSTIAN | jmustian@theadvocate.com

State and federal authorities have set their sights on Mike Edmonson, the longtime Louisiana State Police superintendent who retired this year amid a cloud of controversy that has widened recently as investigators examined the lavish lifestyle Edmonson enjoyed for years at taxpayers’ expense.

Among the allegations Edmonson faces is that, unlike previous superintendents, he moved his family into the State Police compound and lived there rent-free for nine years — a benefit that the state apparently did not report to the Internal Revenue Service.

State auditors recently found that the Edmonsons lived off inmate labor, making use of trusties who cooked, cleaned and even walked the family dog at the colonel’s residence. The questionable use of state resources included the construction of a shoe closet for Edmonson’s wife.

But Edmonson’s accommodations aren’t the only living arrangements at the State Police compound that have drawn investigators’ attention.

A few troopers and others in Edmonson’s inner circle also lived in “VIP” housing at State Police training facilities, a perk afforded to them “at no charge and without a public purpose,” according to a report on a lengthy inquiry by the state Legislative Auditor’s Office.

Lincoln “Year ‘Round School” to Begin Next Summer

12/06/2017

A long-held dream of Lincoln School District Superintendent Mike Milstead will come to reality next summer with the addition of thirty additional school days (from 180 to 210) for about 500 students in the Glenview and Cypress Springs Elementary attendance zones.

The Enhanced School Calendar is proposed to begin Monday, June 11, 2018, and run through Friday, July 27, 2018, with a week off for the July 4th holidays. The additional days will be part of the 2018-2019 school year.

Attendance will be voluntary, according to the memo.

See here the memo and proposed calendar.

Milstead told last night’s meeting of the Lincoln Parish School Board that plans were well advanced for implementation.

Said Milstead, “It appears that all faculty members are in place. As far as the extra cost associated with that, we’ll have a report in January or February with what we think it will cost.”

For December, there were few personnel changes to report.

See here the list.

Zoning Changes Introduced @ Ruston City Council

12/05/2017

Some changes to Ruston’s Code of Ordinances for zoning were introduced at last night’s meeting of the Board of Aldermen. The changes include the addition of public multi-sport recreational complexes as a permitted use in the R-1 one-family residential district, the B-2 light business district, and the D-1B research/office business district.

Also, mini warehouses, self storage, and signage are addressed in the proposed ordinance.

Before adoption, presumably at the next council meeting, a public hearing must be held.

See here the proposed ordinance.

A resolution was approved allowing application for a Department of Environmental Quality loan to improve the North Sewage Treatment Plant.

Among the improvements proposed include the clarifiers, filters, headworks, and sludge removal equipment.

Final approval was given for an ordinance establishing the time, date, and place for the Board of Alderman’s monthly meetings for calendar year 2018.

See here the ordinance.

Lincoln School Board Tonight

12/05/2017

The Lincoln Parish School Board will meet tonight (Tuesday, December 5), 6:00 PM, Central Office, 410 South Farmerville Street.

Here’s the agenda.