Archive for the ‘City of Monroe’ Category

Local Government Layoffs Soon?

03/17/2020

Unlike the Federal Government, The State of Louisiana and local governments cannot print money. They must rely on current revenues to meet expenses.

Lincoln Parish local budgets, with which we are intimately familiar, rely on sales taxes for a large percentage of revenue. The City of Ruston, in particular, funds all of the new 1.5% tax on restaurants and hotels.

With Gov. John Bel Edwards order shuttering restaurants all across the Bayou State, he has vaporized a huge revenue stream for local and state governments. Tourism will go away in the blink of an eye.

The largest expense component for government is payroll, in some cases making up 85% of expenses.

Many teachers probably thought closing the schools would amount to a month-long paid vacation. They perhaps should spend their time updating their resumes.

Used to be, having a government job was seen as having a lifetime guarantee of employment. You had to really mess up to get fired. Great retirement and medical benefits, too.

That hayride is about to end.

Ruston City Council Monday

03/01/2020

Ruston’s Board of Aldermen will have their regular monthly meeting tomorrow, Monday, March 2, 5:30 PM, Ruston City Hall, 401 North Trenton.

Here’s the agenda.

Ouachita Citizen: Former Congressman McAllister had biz ties to alleged Ponzi schemer

11/29/2019

The Ouachita Citizen’s Zach Parker is reporting in this week’s edition that former Fifth District Congressman Vance McAllister had at one time a business connection with Donnie Laing, Jr., who was last week indicted in connection with a million dollar Ponzi scheme.

Parker wrote that McAllister launched an energy company with Laing in 2016, according to Secretary of State records. Records show Laing, McAllister and McAllister’s father, Gene, filed a domestic charter for E5 Energy LLC on Sept. 26, 2016.

However, McAllister was quoted by Parker as saying that he didn’t know about Laing’s recent indictment.

“Are you serious? When did this happen?” McAllister said. “I haven’t been able to get a hold of Donnie for a week now. This is all news to me.”

Parker wrote that Secretary of State records show Laing, McAllister and McAllister’s father are no longer listed as agents, managers, or members of the E5 Energy corporation, and that the company was set up to provide equipment rentals in the oil and gas industry.

See here the complete article (subscription required).

In 2017, McAllister was sued by several area banks for alleged unpaid loans.

Ouachita Parish Court Coverup Update

03/01/2017

Appeal court doubts law clerk’s immunity

By Zach Parker zach@ouachitacitizen.com

BATON ROUGE — Whether a “non-lawyer law clerk” at Fourth Judicial District Court in Monroe can be sued for destroying court documents was at the heart of questions discussed by a panel of judges at the First Circuit Court of Appeal in Baton Rouge last week.

The three-judge panel, including Chief Judge Vanessa Whipple as well as judges John Michael Guidry and Page McClendon, was assigned to preside over last week’s hearing in Monroe businessman Stanley Palowsky III’s lawsuit against Fourth Judicial District Court officials.

Palowsky’s July 2015 lawsuit accused law clerk Allyson Campbell of concealing or destroying court documents he filed with the court in a separate lawsuit against his former business partner, Brandon Cork. Palowsky sued Fourth Judicial District Court judges Fred Amman, Wilson Rambo, Carl Sharp, Stephens Winters and retired Judge Ben Jones, who now serves as the court’s administrator. According to Palowsky’s lawsuit, the five judges conspired to cover up Campbell’s activities.

“Is it a function of a law clerk to destroy pleadings?” said Guidry, of the First Circuit, while discussing the propriety of a “non-lawyer law clerk” enjoying the same judicial immunity as a judge. “Is that a function of judges to destroy public records?”

During last week’s hearing, the judges asked for parties to distinguish or whether a law clerk should enjoy the same protection from lawsuits as judges under the standard of judicial immunity.

Ouachita Court Coverup Update

02/12/2017

Palowsky appeal gets court date in Baton Rouge

The First Circuit Court of Appeal in Baton Rouge could hear arguments later this month in Monroe businessman Stanley Palowsky III’s lawsuit against Allyson Campbell, a law clerk at Fourth Judicial District Court, as well as against five judges of the district court.

The Feb. 23 hearing is among several on a docket that begins at 9:30 a.m. at the Southern University Law Center’s A.A. Lenior Hall off Roosevelt Steptoe Drive in Baton Rouge.

The three judges presiding over the docket including Palowsky’s hearing include Chief Judge Vanessa Whipple, Judge John Michael Guidry and Judge Page McClendon.

Stanley R. Palowsky III v. Allyson Campbell and others, which was first filed in July 2015, centers on Palowsky’s claims that Campbell concealed or destroyed documents he filed with the court as part of a separate lawsuit against his former business partner, Brandon Cork, and others. Palowsky also accused Campbell of payroll fraud.

Marchman: Special assistant AG involved in conspiracy

As part of her federal lawsuit against Fourth Judicial District Court officials and their attorneys, Judge Sharon Marchman filed paperwork earlier this week disputing a special assistant attorney general’s claim he had not conspired with others to accuse the judge of criminal acts.

Marchman’s lawsuit centers on claims that law clerk Allyson Campbell, Fourth Judicial District Court judges, and their attorneys retaliated against her and violated her constitutional rights when she tried to expose Campbell’s alleged payroll fraud and destruction of court documents.

Lawrence Pettiette, a Shreveport attorney who sometimes handles legal work for the state Attorney General’s office, filed a motion to dismiss Marchman’s claims against him last month.

Marchman filed a response Feb. 5, arguing Pettiette reached parts of his defense “without any citation, argument or analysis.”

Former NLU Prez Vines Tells How to Handle Protests

02/04/2017

Former Northeast Louisiana University (now University of Louisiana at Monroe) President Dwight Vines once had to deal with a significant protest on campus in 1978, he tells in a email message sent out yesterday:

Almost every day the news media exposes another university that has lost control of their students and other agitators. I worked for universities for 38 years. but I never remember hearing about even one university losing control of group activities on its campus.

In 1978, Northeast Louisiana University invited a representative of the Shah of Iran to speak on the campus. Iranian students and their friends enrolled in USA universities were not pleased and planned to prevent the talk at NLU. After they began recruiting students to come to NLU to protest, we learned about their plan.

I discussed the matter with NLU officials and we decided that we would not let off-campus students disrupt the speaker. I met with local law enforcement officials from Monroe, West Monroe and Ouachita Parish. asking them to help NLU develop a plan for the situation.

When the time arrived, students attempted to interrupt the speaker. They were twice told not to interrupt by Dean of Students, Tom Murphy. On the third interruption, we asked law enforcement to clear Brown Auditorium.

When the smoke cleared, there were about 70 demonstrators in local jails. The protesters refused to give their names, so they were booked as John Does. After about two weeks, a local Muslim doctor paid a fine for each of them and they were released after signing a commitment not to return to NLU.

This was the biggest story NLU ever had in the news media in Europe and the Middle East.

I rest my case.

IRS Files Claim on Monroe City School Board Prez

01/19/2017

MCSB president owes $101,000 in unpaid taxes

By Zach Parker zach@ouachitacitizen.com

The Internal Revenue Service filed a tax lien against Monroe City School Board President Rodney McFarland last month for some $101,000 in unpaid taxes, according to court documents obtained by The Ouachita Citizen.

The lien, prepared and signed by the IRS on Dec. 13, 2016, was filed at the Ouachita Parish Clerk of Court’s office.

The federal tax lien notice details six unpaid balances on 1040 taxes totaling $101,708.11. The unpaid balances were assessed on tax periods from December 2010 to December 2015. Each of the 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 tax periods recorded unpaid balances of some $16,000 to some $22,000.

Previously, McFarland received a notice of tax lien from the state Department of Revenue for $42,612.74 in unpaid sales taxes in February 2015, as first reported by The Ouachita Citizen. He also received a notice of tax lien for $71,468.48 in unpaid corporate and sales taxes in April 2010 from the state.

Sixth Street Bar to Remain Closed, 2nd Circuit Rules

01/13/2017

The Sixth Street Bar, an establishment that had its liquor license revoked by the Monroe City Council in December, 2015, will remain closed, the Louisiana Court of Appeals, Second Circuit ruled this morning.

Point Proven, LLC, the operator of the bar had sued in Fourth Judicial District Court to overturn the council’s action, but Judge Alvin Sharp ruled that the council had the authority to do what it did. Point Proven appealed.

Chief Judge Henry Brown, on behalf of a three judge panel, wrote:

The commissioner found plaintiff guilty of two separate violations of selling alcoholic beverages to underage persons. Accordingly, we find that the trial court was not manifestly erroneous in upholding the decision of the City to deny Point Proven’s liquor permit.

The ruling of the trial court is affirmed. Costs of this appeal are assessed against plaintiff, Point Proven, LLC.

See here the complete opinion.

Lawsuits @ I-20 Board

12/29/2016

Denmon denies responsibility for bridge failure

By Zach Parker zach@ouachitacitizen.com

A legal dispute between Interstate 20 Economic Development Corp.’s governing board and Denmon Engineering over a collapsing bridge could be headed to trial though the I-20 board’s president indicated previously that the matter would be settled amicably.

The I-20 board sued Denmon in Fourth Judicial District Court in Monroe, claiming the Monroe engineering firm provided “flawed” engineering plans that led to the closure of a bridge on a frontage road south of I-20. A geological survey commissioned by the I-20 board revealed the bridge was collapsing as a result of Denmon’s “flawed engineering.”

Denmon denied any responsibility for the bridge’s failure, according to a Nov. 17 answer to the I-20 board’s lawsuit. The I-20 board’s lawsuit sought damages and alleged breach of contract.

Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo, who serves as a member of the I-20 board, has collected thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from Denmon and its officers.

Nanci Summersgill is representing the I-20 board. Summersgill, who handles legal work for the city of Monroe, most recently represented the I-20 board in a lawsuit filed by Amethyst Construction Inc. on Oct. 5. In that lawsuit, Amethyst claimed the I-20 board had failed to pay the contractor some $1.1 million for work on a project widening Nutland Road.

A Nov. 17 document filed in that civil proceeding shows Summersgill worked with Amethyst’s attorneys to dismiss the case with prejudice after reaching a settlement where the I-20 board paid all court costs.

Trump Elector Kay Katz to Stand Firm

11/17/2016

‘Dump Trump’: Kay Katz bombarded with requests to abandon her electoral vote for Trump

By Zach Parker zach@ouachitacitizen.com

Kay Katz, one of Louisiana’s eight Republican presidential electors, is weathering a deluge of requests by email and telephone asking her to renege on her pledge to vote for President-elect Donald Trump.

“I have cleared 250 emails just today,” said Katz during an interview with The Ouachita Citizen Thursday afternoon.

Katz, who is president of the Ouachita Parish Women’s Republican Club, was selected as a presidential elector by the state Republican Party earlier this year. She’ll join the state’s other seven presidential electors at the state Capitol on Dec. 19 to cast her vote, which was pledged to Trump as the Republican Party’s presidential nominee.

Katz said changing her vote is not an option for her. Members of the Electoral College who do not vote for their party’s specified candidate are referred to as “faithless electors.”

“I would never break my word,” she continued. “I was elected by the state party to represent my candidate, who was upheld by the people. If you become faithless and turn away, you truly are faithless.

One of the callers pleading with Katz to change her vote identified herself as a New Orleans native who later moved to California.

“She told me she and her friends used to leave New Orleans and come to Monroe to eat boudain,” said Katz. “I told her, ‘You need to go over your talking points. We can’t even spell boudain up here.’”