Lincoln Clerk Public Records Suit Settled, Records Released

The public records lawsuit Page v Cook was settled this morning in Third Judicial (Lincoln, Union Parishes) District Court in Ruston, after Lincoln Parish Clerk of Court Linda Cook agreed to release travel and conference records sought by plaintiff Ashley Page, who is also a candidate for the position held by Cook.

Appearing for Cook was Ruston attorney Mike Coyle, and presiding was Division A Judge Cynthia Woodard.

After conferring with Cook, Coyle told the judge that they had reached an amicable agreement, and Page acknowledged that if the records she sought were produced, the suit would be terminated.

Entered into evidence was correspondence between Coyle and Page.

See here the document.

As for the conference and travel records released, two instances are notable.

The LA Nuts & Bolts Fun Judicial Seminar is held in early June each year in Destin, FL area, and is billed as focusing on:

…practical issues facing courthouse folks on a daily basis. ALL Louisiana court officials are invited to attend this annual seminar to improve how we work together to serve the public.

Here is the 2015 agenda.

In 2014 and 2015, the event was held at the Embassy Suites Hotel.

Rather than stay at the hotel where the conference was held, it appears Cook rented condos for both years.

In 2014, two checks for $1,297 each were paid to what appears to be a rental agency in Cummings, GA. Noted on the check stub was “Beach Retreat 411.”

See here the documents.

For 2015, a check for $3,794 was paid to Condos on 30A, LLC, 115 Sunset Cove, Niceville, FL, and noted as “Lodging for Nuts & Bolts June 6 thru June 13, 2015.”

See here the documents.

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32 Responses to “Lincoln Clerk Public Records Suit Settled, Records Released”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    What would be more interesting would be to see if Linda Cook actually attended the seminar or just used it to fund a vacation. More times than not these people never attend the conference only the bars and beach.

    • Anonymous Says:

      Is it illegal for her to charge the taxpayers for a $4k condo VS a $400 hotel room? Who decides what is a “valid business expense”

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Having been in Florida when this conference occurs, I’ve run across a few of our elected court officials and their family. I do not think Linda Cook is alone. i would be interested to see if the judges billed the tax payers as well. I know my condo was 4,500 a week right in the midst of them.

  3. kbp Says:

    Did the taxpayers have to pay for “Ruston attorney Mike Coyle” to handle a case like this …where the public information had been improperly withheld?

  4. LetErFlow Says:

    Bob Levy et al used to go to Florida every year to some sort of seminar; was it this same one?
    Ok, more than $50,000 was charged to travel by the office last year; what else happened?
    It’s nice to have plenty of money. or so I have heard…

  5. Anonymous Says:

    People can believe what they want but the gentleman that does this page has been following Ashley around like a dog in heat. People need to remember that Ashley wants a follower base its obvious by all of her posts on Ruston Rants. She hasn’t been getting any “followers” so she has deleted many comments on there. When she doesn’t get the reaction she wants she deletes everything. Even Satan has followers so don’t fall prey to Ashley. She’s a mental case and is doing hateful things right now. Think about all the money she is costing the clerks office right now. They are basically working for her based on all of the requests she has been asking for. Not to mention her using Ruston Rants as a place to plead her case. That’s really classy! The documents were never withheld from her. She requests documents then she doesn’t show up to get them. So then she says they didn’t give them to her. This is all part of her little plan. People can’t be this stupid to believe all her lies and manipulative ways. She has had this all planned out all along. People of her mental state do this kind of thing. A mental case with a little bit of sense is very dangerous. People need to be praying for her and that she doesn’t end up in office. There are enough crazy, manipulative, shady, evil, people in office. We don’t need any more.

    • kbp Says:

      So bad is okay if you think it could be worse?

      • Anonymous Says:

        English please?

        • kbp Says:

          The “Anon” I replied too appears to be choosing the lesser of two evils (it could be worse).

          • Anonymous Says:

            You obviously don’t know Linda Cook. She is the sweetest, most humble, hard working, precious, honest, Christian woman I know.

            • JJ Says:

              Fine Christian woman! Are you high?! Making the Office pay for 8 days for her and her alone to attend a 2 day event is malfeasance!

            • JJ Says:

              Humble?! Did you see the ad she ran in the RDL boasting about her perfect family? That’s a slap in the face to people. She’s a greedy hog at the trough and she needs to go. Ashley has her own way of doing things, but she is not “mental”. You, however, must be.

    • Anonymous Says:

      I would bet a dollar that this author works for the clerk.

      • Anonymous Says:

        No I don’t work for the clerk. Not even close.

      • James Says:

        You must not know Ashley Page……ask any lawyer or judge in Lincoln or the surrounding parishes

        • Anonymous Says:

          Trust me I know her. My post above is about her and is a pretty good description.

          • JJ Says:

            Your post is the ranting of a lunatic. Nothing more. Comparing this woman to Satan? Really?! She taught my child in Sunday School at Temple. I got to know her quite well and your characterization could not be further from the truth.

        • Anonymous Says:

          Oh and how I know all about her is through other attorneys and other important positions in LP.

          • JJ Says:

            So, you don’t know her…. She must not be too crazy; she passed two bar exams and doesn’t lose cases. Js…

  6. Mr. E Says:

    Lot of interesting points to consider. There is no mention of whether the events in question were attended only by Linda Cook or if she was accompanied by a portion of her staff. If she was accompanied by staff, then renting the condo might have been a more fiscally attractive option than dropping $400 a night per room. The article does not mention whether staff accompanied Cook, so we are left to speculate with the implication that Cook traveled to these events alone.

    No mention has been made of Ashley Page’s ability as a lawyer. Is she seeking political office because she is a mediocre attorney unable to build a practice in notoriously insular Ruston? What exactly is her motivation for seeking the Clerk of Court position? We’re never told of that. We’re only told she is seeking records from the current Clerk to make her case to the voters that a change is needed with the implication that Linda Cook is hiding something and living large off the taxpayer. That may indeed be the case, but I would rather read the facts in a carefully researched article instead of being forced to speculate from innuendos.

    Is Linda Cook doing a good job? Clerk of Court is a position most of us only come into contact with when we’re filing something at the courthouse, which is probably rare for most of us. We have a Constitution that guarantees freedom of speech and freedom of the press, and the fourth estate sanctimoniously claims to watch over public officials to keep them honest, but you wouldn’t know it from the Daily Leader or the News-Star as they’re more interested in echoing back the local party line of their favored elected officials.

    I don’t know whether Linda Cook is living large or whether Ashley Page’s motivations are just to secure a foothold and a paycheck in a quest for larger political glory, but I do know that I would like enough information to make a reasonably informed decision, and I haven’t received nearly enough information in this case to do that! I also know that I am sick to death of the establishment media attempting to lead me around by the nose with its biased journalism designed to arouse my ire and lead me to their preconceived conclusions!

    I also know that there is absolutely no one whose lives could stand up to intense media scrutiny. We all do things that seem perfectly normal to us at the time, but which the media can twist into appearing as all manner of evil when they remove the context and present it to the public shaded in language designed to provoke an intended response. I also know that is is unreasonable to expect public officials to live like monks when we the public would not tolerate such oversight into our personal lives. It is never okay for public officials or anyone else to commit malfeasance or embezzle funds on the job, and I have not heard anyone make either of those charges in this case, but it is also unreasonable to expect public officials to be more pious than we are willing to be.

    So Linda Cook rented a condo. Was the expense justified? Was it out of line with other public officials? Was it illegal? Or does it just give off the appearance of looking bad? And, is there more to the story that we don’t know such as any mitigating actions on the part of Linda Cook that are being overlooked in Ashley Page’s quest to paint her as irresponsible and unworthy of office? I don’t know because no one has reported any of this or conveyed it to me, and I suspect that most of the rest of the public is left speculating also. I’m not defending anyone or accusing anyone of anything here. I’m just asking for more information and reminding everyone not to be too quick to rush to judgement on mere speculation.

    • kbp Says:

      Judging from what we’ve seen so far, it appears you might have to file a lawsuit to get the public information portion of what you seek.

    • JJ Says:

      Linda signed up for a 2 day conference and the Office paid for 8 days. There is no record that any other employee went to Florida with her. According to the records, Linda did this at least two years in a row. From what I have heard, Page is running because she is sick of her clients and others being ripped off to enable Linda to live large. People have messaged Page thru Facebook and she emails them all of the records. She posted a lot of them on her campaign page.

      • Just Sayin' Says:

        Well then Ashley, why aren’t you meeting with the DA to have Linda Cook brought up on charges of corruption?

        As for being a lawyer caring about the injustice done to poor people, you can save that schtick for those naive enough to not know you oily lawyers for the ethically challenged, out-for-all-you-can-get creatures you are! You lawyers are for whatever will make you the most money. Period!

  7. CedarcreekJak Says:

    We need the whole story, the truth, not some one-sided account. Was what Mrs Cook did according to this story against the written law? How many employees attended the meetings? What was the room rate per day at the Embassy Suite hotel? Did Mrs Cook rent a condo for each employee in attendance? Just some of the question a good investigative reporter would ask. How long has it been since there was a good investigative reporter in the surrounding area? Walter Abbott leaves a lot to be desired. The Ruston Daily Leader does not even know the word.

  8. EasyMoney Says:

    Central question: what was the Clerk of Court’s office spending more than $50,000 per year on travel for, exactly?
    The Nuts and Bolts conference was only about 10% or less of the total spent during the year.

    • Anonymous Says:

      Again you don’t have the facts, she showed that not knowing what Travel, training and other represents. About 60% of that Line item is other which is paid to the Secretary of State, by law, for collecting fees. Again, she wants to run for an office she knows nothing about.

      • JJ Says:

        And again you are showing how little you know. There is a comparison of parishes with populations that range from 39k to 60k and the costs in this parish blew them all out of the water. There is waste. Sorry, but your friend Mrs. Cook is spending like there is no tomorrow. The next highest amount was $31k and it was for a parish with almost 60,000 residents. Lincoln’s figure was $51k and has a population of 47,000. All of those numbers came from the same section of audit reports. I was skeptical when I first saw the chart, but I pulled the reports myself and they all check out. The section is called “travel and other” and Page has referred to it that way. There is no valid reason for Lincoln Parish to have a figure so far out of line with other parishes. Period.

    • Anonymous Says:

      Again you don’t have the facts, she showed that not knowing what Travel, training and other represents. About 60% of that Line item is other which is paid to the Secretary of State, by law, for collecting fees. She wants to run for an office she knows nothing about.

  9. CedarcreekJak Says:

    33says past 2bar exams. Must be really smart. I give you Obama a so called smart man passed bar exam, taught constitutional law, community organizer and President of USA. Smart lawyers is what got USA in the fix we are in. Give me common sense, please.

    • JJ Says:

      I wouldn’t compare Ashley Page to Obama. She is smart but also very compassionate. Her son is good friends with my child. I know that they live within their means and are very conservative people. There is no way she would ever withhold public information or waste our money on her perks. She is not that way. She’s a hard working woman–always has been.

  10. Union Jack Says:

    As someone that followed Ashley Page’s rampage through the Ruston Rants Facebook page I’m noticing “JJ” uses the same phrasing on these posts that Ashley Page used on Ruston Rants. Eerily similar phrasing. I especially remember Ashley using the term “hog at the trough” in a couple of posts.

    Bravo, Ms Page, for either coaching someone very thoroughly on what to say or (the more likely answer) hello again, Ms Page. I see you are continuing your guerrilla tactics.

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