Archive for the ‘City of Monroe’ Category

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.’”

Wall St Journal: CenturyLink, Level 3 Come to Terms

10/31/2016

CenturyLink to Buy Level 3 Communications for $25 Billion

By Joshua Jamerson

CenturyLink Inc. said Monday that it reached a cash-and-stock deal to buy Level 3 Communications Inc. for roughly $25 billion, a marriage that would give the communications companies more heft to weather a competitive landscape.

Shares of Level 3 rose 8% to $58.41 in premarket trading, while shares of CenturyLink slipped 0.7% to $67.

Level 3 runs one of the largest internet backbones in the world but has turned its focus increasingly to small and midsize business in an attempt to reverse slowing sales growth in its core business. CenturyLink, traditionally a rural local-phone-service provider, has sought to upgrade its network with fiber-optic lines in a bid to compete with AT&T Inc., Verizon Communications Inc. and rivals in the cable industry.

Under the deal’s terms, CenturyLink agreed to swap $26.50 in cash and 1.4286 CenturyLink share for each share of Level 3. The company said the deal was worth $34 billion, including debt, and is expected to close by the third quarter of 2017.

CenturyLink Chief Executive Glen Post will lead the combined company, and Level 3’s chief financial officer, Sunit Patel, will serve as financial chief of the combined firm.

The chairman of CenturyLink’s board at the time of the closing will continue to serve as chairman of the combined company. CenturyLink has agreed to appoint four Level 3 board members at closing.

The combined company will be based in Monroe, La., and will maintain a significant presence in Colorado and the Denver metropolitan area.

Wall St Journal: Monroe, LA based CenturyLink in Merger Talks

10/27/2016

CenturyLink in Advanced Talks to Merge With Level 3 Communications

By Dana Mattioli and Dana Cimilluca

CenturyLink Inc. is in advanced talks to merge with Level 3 Communications Inc., a deal that would give the business-telecommunications companies greater heft in a brutally competitive industry.

A deal could be announced in the coming weeks, according to people familiar with the matter. As always, there is a possibility the talks could fall apart.

Terms of the deal couldn’t be learned. As of Thursday afternoon before the Journal’s report of the talks, Level 3, based in Broomfield, Colo., had a market value of $16.8 billion. CenturyLink, based in Monroe, La., was worth $15.2 billion.

Shares in Level 3 were up 11% at $52.28, while CenturyLink shares were up 8.3% at $30.58 on Thursday afternoon after the Journal’s report.

Former Monroe City Councilman Disbarred

10/19/2016

Upon review of the findings and recommendations of the hearing committee and disciplinary board, and considering the record, briefs, and oral argument, it is ordered that Arthur Gilmore, Jr., Louisiana Bar Roll number 1059, be and he hereby is disbarred, retroactive to June 9, 2013, the date of his most recent interim suspension. Respondent shall also be given credit for the time he served on interim suspension during the period of June 19, 2011 to September 21, 2011 and during the period of May 2, 2012 to April 3, 2013. Respondent’s name shall be stricken from the roll of attorneys and his license to practice law in the State of Louisiana shall be revoked. All costs and expenses in the matter are assessed against respondent in ccordance with Supreme Court Rule XIX, § 10.1, with legal interest to commence thirty days from the date of finality of this court’s judgment until paid.

See here complete decree.

Ouachita Court Coverup Update

08/17/2016

AUDIO RECORDING: Law clerk says time sheets were an ‘estimate’

By Zach Parker zach@ouachitacitizen.com

Allyson Campbell, a law clerk at Fourth Judicial District Court in Monroe, who was accused of payroll fraud and concealing or destroying court documents, told state investigators her time sheets were “more of an estimate” than a record of hours worked, according to an audio recording of that interview obtained by The Ouachita Citizen.

During their questioning of Campbell, investigators with the state Office of Inspector General and with Louisiana State Police appeared to suggest answers and possible explanations for Campbell’s activities, which came under scrutiny amid complaints and ongoing lawsuits against her and the court’s judges.

The law clerk’s and investigators’ collaborative explanations were recorded in a Jan. 28, 2016 interview between Inspector General Investigator Heath Humble and State Police Investigator Ron Huey with Campbell at the law office of her attorney, Brian Crawford of Monroe, who also was present during the interview.

An audio recording of the interview is available online at http://www.ouachitacitizen.com where the recording displays at the bottom of the article.

Judge Denys Palowski Motion; 2nd Circuit Cancels Hearing

08/07/2016

Natchitoches ad hoc Judge Dee Hawthorne Friday afternoon denied a plaintiff motion to add a defense attorney to the civil suit Palowski v Cork, a business dispute first filed in 2013. The hearing took place in Fourth Judicial (Morehouse, Ouachita Parishes) District Court in Monroe.

Palowski wanted to make Brandon Cork’s attorney Thomas Hayes a defendant, because, according to plaintiff attorney Joe Ward, Hayes counseled Cork on his alleged fraud against Palowski.

Hawthorne didn’t buy the argument, ruling that the suit might set a precedent that could chill a client’s ability to work with their attorney.

Hawthorne also noted that Palowski had sued Hayes individually, so it wasn’t necessary to add him as a defendant in this suit.

Ward, on behalf of the plaintiff, alleged that Cork took kickbacks from customers and concealed the payments from his business partner, Palowski, and that Hayes was a co-conspirator.

Hayes countered that the plaintiff was trying to “drive a wedge between the lawyer and his client,” in an attempt to confuse the issue.

Opening of court was delayed about twenty minutes, by a problem finding someone from the Ouachita Parish Clerk of Court’s office to tape record the session, and take notes for the record.

2nd Circuit Appeals Court Mysteriously Cancels Hearing

In other related developments, the Louisiana Court of Appeals, Second Circuit in Shreveport cancelled a hearing scheduled for Monday morning, August 8, according to Chief Deputy Clerk Debbie Ware. No explanation was given for the cancellation, nor was any future hearing date revealed.

See here the docket.

The hearing was for oral arguments on appeal of Palowski v Campbell, et al. The plaintiff, Stanley Palowski, alleges that Campbell destroyed court documents in the original civil case (Palowski v Cork), preventing a fair hearing, and the defendant judges covered up the wrongdoing.

Last year, ad hoc Judge Jerome Barberra dismissed the suit, and Palowski appealed.

In his ruling, Barberra claimed that judges enjoy “absolute judicial immunity.” In other words, they cannot be sued, even if they broke the law.

Ouachita Parish Court Coverup Update

08/03/2016

State Police report released: Findings shed light on law clerk probe

By Zach Parker zach@ouachitacitizen.com – Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Work attendance violations and time sheet discrepancies involving Allyson Campbell, a law clerk at Fourth Judicial District Court, resulted in a written warning, a reprimand, a demotion, a month-long suspension without pay, an auditor’s finding and an investigation for official misconduct.

Those discoveries surfaced in a Louisiana State Police report of an investigation of Campbell over allegations of payroll fraud and document destruction. The Ouachita Citizen obtained the State Police investigative report last week through a public records request submitted to state Attorney General Jeff Landry. Landry’s office recently closed the investigation into allegations against Campbell.

Investigators delve into missing document complaints at 4JDC

By Zach Parker zach@ouachitacitizen.com – Wednesday, August 3, 2016

A Monroe attorney’s complaint that Allyson Campbell, a law clerk at Fourth Judicial District Court, shredded his filings with the court as well as the law clerk’s handling of other court documents were disclosed in a Louisiana State Police investigative report recently obtained by The Ouachita Citizen.

The State Police report represented the findings of State Police Investigator Ron Huey who looked into allegations that Campbell committed payroll fraud and destroyed documents filed with the district court. Huey was tasked with assisting Inspector General Investigator Heath Humble’s investigation, which began in July 2015 at the request of Fourth Judicial District Attorney Jerry Jones.

See here the complete Louisiana State Police report.