Archive for April, 2013

Port Allen, LA Update – 4/30/13


Hearing delayed in case against Port Allen mayor

PORT ALLEN — A state district court judge on Tuesday pushed back the start of a hearing in which a Port Allen official is seeking a permanent injunction against Port Allen Mayor Demetric “Deedy” Slaughter until May 29.

District Judge Alvin Batiste reset the hearing after meeting behind closed doors Tuesday morning with the attorneys representing the mayor and the city’s Chief Financial Officer Audrey McCain.

Batiste was also expected to hear arguments Tuesday for a petition of contempt McCain also filed against Slaughter.

McCain filed the petition for contempt on April 4 accusing the mayor of ignoring Batiste’s Feb. 20 preliminary injunction blocking Slaughter from taking adverse employment actions against McCain. The judge issued the injunction after he nullified the mayor’s Feb. 11 attempt to fire McCain.


LP Fire Chair Thompson Fired


Tom Thompson, controversial long-time chairman of the Lincoln Parish Fire District No. 1 Board of Commissioners, was tonight replaced by the Town of Vienna’s Council.

Replacing Thompson will be Vienna Councilman Keith Brasuell.

Voting for Brasuell were Billy Talton and Linda Graham, with Brasuell abstaining. The action came at a special called meeting of the council at the Vienna Town Hall.

Last week, Vienna Mayor Walter Carpenter received an opinion by Third Judicial (Lincoln, Union Parishes) District Attorney Robert Levy that indicated Thompson’s term expired at the end of 2012.

See here the document.

Carpenter said that they appreciated Thompson’s service on the fire board, but that “the village has decided to go a different route.”

Thompson had become increasingly controversial over the past year, often firing off harsh letters to fellow board members, Lincoln Parish police jurors, and area mayors.

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Where Our State Tax Dollars Go


State auditor says film tax credits cost Louisiana $170 million in lost taxes in 2010

Louisiana Economic Development granted an estimated $196.8 million in motion picture credits, while the state received about $27 million in tax revenue from the program, according to the audit. The review was done to evaluate how the state measures the financial impact of the program and the way it is administered.


Remember Rocky Branch School


Voters of Union Parish need to remember what happened back in 2005 when the Union Parish School Board pulled the plug on Rocky Branch School, after promising not to do so.

Next week, Union voters will be asked to approve MORE TAXES to fund more construction and operation.

The closure of Rocky Branch and the resulting citizen backlash is generally considered to have caused the creation of D’Arbonne Woods Charter School.

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Roberts Moves for Garnishment of Jonesboro’s Payroll Account


Former Town of Jonesboro Fire Chief David Roberts has filed a motion for garnishment of the town’s payroll account to satisfy his judgement for back pay.

See here the motion.

The underlying action was a lawsuit by Jonesboro’s former Fire Chief David Roberts against the town. He won the judgement last year that said the town did not properly terminate him in January 2011, and was owed over $30 thousand in back pay.

The town has appealed the judgement.

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Union Parish School Board Wants More Property Taxes


Union super: Tax would lift sub-minimal schools

Union Parish Superintendent George Cannon is on the road talking about the district’s latest tax proposals that he and the board say are “imperative” to the operation of the district.

Two tax proposals will be on Saturday’s ballot. Both are new property taxes; one a 20-year bond issue to fund renovations and the other a 10-year millage for operations.

Union Parish School District

Higher Ed Roundup – 4/27/13


LSU to appeal judge’s ruling in presidential search case

LSU ‘confident’ ruling on presidential search names will be overturned, chairman says

LP Fire’s Thompson Wrecks AG Opinion


A law cited by Lincoln Parish Fire District No. 1 Board of Commissioner’s presumed Chairman Tom Thompson may result in the untended consequence of wrecking a Louisiana Attorney General (AG) opinion that he had solicited.

In a 3/27/13 letter, the AG opined:

…pursuant to La. R.S. 42:64(A)(1), the Mayor of Simsboro may not simultaneously hold a position of Commissioner on the Lincoln Parish Fire District No. 1 Board of Commissioners.

See here the opinion.

Thompson had challenged the legitimacy of Village of Simsboro Mayor Willie Hendricks’ appointment to the board because of the state’s prohibition against dual office holding.

See here Thompson’s 3/21/2013 letter to Hendricks.

See also a 3/21/13 Thompson letter to Village of Downsville’s board member Layne Parnell.

However, in a 3/26/13 letter to Dubach Mayor Robert Jensen, Thompson cites LA RS 40:1506 G.(1):

The district shall be governed by a board of commissioners consisting of one representative of each subdistrict appointed by the governing body of the subdistrict. Each subdistrict representative on the board shall be a resident of the subdistrict and may be a member of the governing body of the subdistrict.

Looks like Hendricks is fully qualified to serve on the board, according to the law. So much for “opinions” from the AG.

OPPJ Special Meeting Tomorrow


A special called meeting of the Ouachita Parish Police Jury (OPPJ) has been set for Noon tomorrow (Friday, 4/26/13), Ouachita Parish Court House, second floor jury conference room.

See here the agenda.

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DA Stewart Fires Assistant in Claiborne – Newell Likely Opponent in ’14


The Haynesville (LA) News
Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Claiborne Parish Police Jury met in regular session Wednesday, April 10, 2013.

President Scott Davidson said, “For those who are not aware Danny Newell was recently fired by the district attorney because he indicated he would run for the DA position in the October 2014 election. Even though he has several big cases coming up the DA decided to fire him and bring in a new assistant DA from outside the parish.”

Attorneys Lea Hall and Kenny Haynes of Shreveport have been hired to replace Newell and former ADA Jim Colvin.

Davidson said that Newell has offered via of a letter to continue to represent the Jury at no charge until the beginning of the next DA’s term in 2015.

Davidson said, “Danny has represented the Jury for 16 years and he knows what our needs are and when you bring someone in from out of the parish they won’t have a clue what is going on. Danny felt like it was his obligation to continue representing us and we appreciate him for stepping up to the plate.”

In a unanimous decision the Police Jury will continue using the services of Newell for their legal matters.

The News has retained copies of letters between DA Jonathan Stewart and Newell concerning the above-mentioned termination.

Stewart asked for Newell’s resignation effective March 31st in a faxed letter on March 28th stating he has already hired Lea Hall to assume his position. Stewart asked Newell to meet with Hall to assist with the transition after his vacation.

Newell responded on March 29th, “My intent is and always has been to resign on or around January 2014 before any campaigning started. I have advised you of my intent to run on numerous occasions since October 2012. I do not feel it would be in the best interest of Claiborne Parish for me to resign at this time. I have spent hundreds of hours getting ready for several major felony criminal trials including the trial of Cameron Cockrell and Jermaine Johnson for aggravated rape on May 20th. I have a special setting for the Patishi Kirk murder trial on July 22nd; and I am in discussions to get a special setting for the second defendant in the Butch Bays murder trial-Hardy Taylor. I do not believe another attorney even with my assistance could be ready for these cases in the manner that I could and they must be tried now-time is running out.”

Newell concluded the March 29th letter by saying he could not with a clear conscience resign his position at this time and if Stewart did not want him to continue on his staff he would need to fire him.

In a letter on April 1st Stewart said, “In our last conversation I told you that, of course, you could not announce your intention to run against me and me pay you to work as an Assistant District Attorney. I think your announced intention to run and then stay on the District Attorney’s payroll until January 2014 is completely unrealistic. Please consider this letter as official notification that your last day of employment as a state warranted Assistant District Attorney for the Second Judicial District is Monday, April 1, 2013.”

Stewart concluded his April 1st letter saying that he would like for Newell to meet with Hall to discuss transition on his cases and they could certainly be ready to try Kirk on July 22nd, handle the special setting for the Taylor trial but may have to continue the Cockrell and Johnson trail set for May 20th.

Newell responded to his termination on April 8th. “My termination certainly is not in the best interests of the citizens of Claiborne Parish; victims, Butch Bays, Vincent Dunn and the rape victim; and the law enforcement officers who have investigated these crimes. Since I have a keen interest in seeing that justice is done for these victims I will assist my replacement in whatever way I can with these trials.”

Political ads paid for by Stewart, which ran in The Haynesville News in 2000 when he ran against current Judge Glenn Fallin for 2nd District Judge and in 2008 when he ran for his current DA position stated that he was still employed by the District Attorney’s office while campaigning and running for political office.