St Tammany DA Update – 6/16/14

Hopefuls starting to line up for St. Tammany DA race – Incumbent Walter Reed has not announced plans

Amid a slew of unflattering media reports about 22nd Judicial District Attorney Walter Reed’s campaign expenditures and business ventures, and with federal agents showing up at Reed’s office armed with grand-jury subpoenas, it’s no wonder that, for the first time in 18 years, some local lawyers are actively expressing an interest in running for the post.

Several names are being tossed around as potential candidates, but as of Friday, only Roy Burns, a Covington lawyer, was willing to say he is definitely in the race. That was confirmed by James Hartman, whom Burns has hired as a political consultant.

Another rumored candidate, District Judge Raymond Childress, said he was honored that his name had come up and that the job “was certainly something to consider.” But he said he had made no decision and noted that if he did opt to throw his hat in the ring, he would be required to resign his judicial post. Childress faces re-election Nov. 4 as well.

Another rumored candidate, St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Brian Trainor, said the post is something he would consider. Trainor said a number of people have reached out to him and pledged their support should he decide to run.

If he was elected, Trainor said, “it would be an honor to serve as district attorney,” but he emphasized that he is also proud to serve in his current position.

Reed, who has been the district attorney for St. Tammany and Washington parishes since 1984, has not faced a challenger since 1996. He has given no formal indication of whether he will run this year, though he filed his 180-days-prior-to-primary campaign finance disclosure form with the state Ethics Administration, showing that he had $319,102 in his war chest.

DA’s gold business included partnership with convict

by SARA PAGONES and KATIE MOORE

In summer 2010, gold was about a year away from its dizzying $1,900-an-ounce peak, but the precious metal’s rising price was enough to convince Eric Cazaubon, who was rebuilding his life after a felony drug conviction, to stop selling used cars and buy and sell gold instead.

He was not alone in seeing a financial opportunity. That same year, St. Tammany Parish District Attorney Walter Reed went into the gold-buying business with Yancie “Bubba” Moseley III.

Moseley began approaching other buyers, and one of the places he went was St. Tammany Wholesale Gold, the business that Cazaubon — a man on active probation in Reed’s jurisdiction — had just opened at the site of his former car lot on Gause Boulevard West.

They struck a deal under which Moseley and Reed, through their brand-new business, would provide Cazaubon cash to buy gold in exchange for a hefty chunk of Cazaubon’s profits. But the agreement was short-lived, and within weeks after they severed ties, Cazaubon’s home and business were raided by probation agents and other law enforcement officers. Soon, an assistant to Reed was arguing before a judge that the shop owner’s probation should be revoked.

Reed was included as a partner in the filings for the following year, but his 2010 financial disclosure form makes clear that he was a partner from the company’s inception. The form doesn’t say how much income the side business generates for Reed, who is the highest-paid district attorney in Louisiana with an annual salary of nearly $190,000. The DA lists additional income in the six figures from his private law practice and the gold business.

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