Archive for the ‘Louisiana Legislature’ Category

Wheels Come off Bel Edwards’ Tax Train

04/25/2017

Gov. John Bel Edwards’ proposed controversial business tax dies before House committee

BY TYLER BRIDGES | tbridges@theadvocate.com

The centerpiece of Gov. John Bel Edwards’ tax package – a proposed tax on corporate sales known as the commercial activity tax – died before the House Ways and Means Committee Tuesday afternoon.

State Rep. Sam Jones, the bill’s sponsor, knowing it would be killed, asked the committee to voluntarily defer the bill. That effectively means it’s dead for the legislative session.

Jones’ move prevented him and Edwards from suffering an embarrassing vote and forcing Democratic members of the committee from voting for an unpopular measure that had no chance.

Sumlin Trial Put Off Until October

04/19/2017

Trial for former State Representative William Sumlin was rescheduled for 9:00 AM, Monday, October 30. It had been set for next week.

The action came yesterday afternoon at Division B Judge Tommy Rogers’ Third Judicial (Lincoln, Union Parishes) District Court in Ruston.

Yesterday’s hearing was on a motion to strike by the defense, but that too was reset for 1:30 PM, July 18.

Sumlin was charged in October, 2015 with indecent behavior with a juvenile, and a Lincoln Parish Grand Jury returned an indictment in December, 2015.

Representing Sumlin was Lavalle Salomon, and representing the State was Chief Felony Prosecutor Lewis Jones.

Edmonson’s Golden Parachute

03/28/2017

Edmonson files for over $128K in retirement benefits

Written by: Tom Wright, Investigative Producer
Contributor: Lee Zurik, Chief Investigative Reporter

New Orleans (WVUE) The former head of Louisiana State Police will draw more than $128,000 a year in retirement benefits, according to a statement from the State Police Retirement System.

LSP Col. Mike Edmonson filed paperwork to begin receiving that income, following his retirement announcement on March 15. That retirement followed a Lee Zurik investigation into revelations about travel expenses incurred when Edmonson invited several other LSP employees to a police conference and award ceremony in San Diego late last year. The total cost came to about $70,000.

The expenses came under both news media and state scrutiny; Edmonson himself pledged an internal probe, Gov. John Bel Edwards ordered an audit by the Division of Administration, and U.S. Senator John Kennedy called for Edmonson’s resignation and a legislative audit.

Louisiana State Police Update

03/13/2017

Mike Edmonson’s job as head of Louisiana State Police in limbo amid mounting controversy

BY JIM MUSTIAN | jmustian@theadvocate.com

Gov. John Bel Edwards’ administration on Monday sought to tamp down widespread speculation that a change in leadership is on the horizon at the Louisiana State Police, an agency that has been plunged into deepening turmoil in recent weeks.

But at the same time, officials aren’t exactly insisting that Col. Mike Edmonson, the longtime State Police superintendent, is secure at the agency’s helm, describing the uncertainty as a major distraction.

Edwards spokesman Richard Carbo confirmed the governor met with Edmonson on Monday but described the meeting as regularly scheduled. The tête-à-tête was said to be the latest of several private conversations the two have had in recent days in the wake of multiple controversies.

“Some people may be getting ahead of themselves,” Carbo said when asked whether Edwards intends to replace Edmonson. “He has not asked for his resignation.”

Louisiana State Police Update

03/10/2017

Sources: Subpoenas served as probe of Louisiana State Troopers Association moves forward

BY JIM MUSTIAN AND KATIE MOORE | jmustian@theadvocate.com kmoore@wwltv.com

Federal authorities have ramped up an investigation into the Louisiana State Troopers Association, delivering a series of grand jury subpoenas this week to the nonprofit organization’s board of directors, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Col. Mike Edmonson, the State Police superintendent, said Thursday that the FBI has notified him “that they would be interviewing some of our guys” regarding the association, a group of current and retired troopers that has drawn mounting scrutiny — and a State Ethics Board fine — in light of its unlawful political contributions.

Maj. Doug Cain, a State Police spokesman, noted that the troopers association is “independent of the department” and that the State Police, “as an agency, has not been served with any subpoenas regarding our operations.”

But sources familiar with the inquiry said more than a dozen people, including some high-ranking State Police officials, received subpoenas this week compelling them to testify before a federal grand jury.

“They’re stirred up right now,” one source said, referring to the State Police.

Kennedy Says Edmonson Should Quit

02/25/2017

Zurik: Kennedy calls for State Police head’s resignation

Written by: Lee Zurik, Chief Investigative Reporter
Contributor: Tom Wright, Investigative Producer

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) –

U.S. Senator John Kennedy says the superintendent of State Police needs to resign. The former state treasurer says he doubts the investigations into State Police will be a serious one.

This follows our investigation that detailed a pricey conference trip that included a stay in the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas for four troopers.

“I like the superintendent,” Kennedy tells FOX 8. “But he has demonstrated that he is intent on being the tallest hog at the trough. And this is all taxpayer money.”

Edmonson brought 17 state employees to San Diego – and some of them brought their spouses or girlfriends. The trip included a conference and an awards ceremony where the International Chiefs of Police gave Louisiana State Police Col. Mike Edmonson a lifetime achievement award. When you calculate salaries, overtime, hotel, flights and meals, the trip cost taxpayers about $70,000.

“He took 17 of his top people and said, y’all come at taxpayers’ expense to San Diego to watch me get an award,” Kennedy says, “and listen, let’s go spend $70,000 on a nice little vacation here, when the state’s running deficits. But this wasn’t a conference to learn something. This was 17 of his friends from State Police, all of whom, the big muckety-mucks making the hundred grand a year-plus, who went out there and had a little vacation to watch him get an award.”

Sumlin Trial Rescheduled for April

02/22/2017

The March 20 trial for William Sumlin was rescheduled for April 24, Division B Judge Tommy Rogers ruled yesterday in Third Judicial (Lincoln, Union Parishes) in Ruston. Yesterday’s hearing on a Motion to Strike was also rescheduled, to March 14, 1:30 PM.

Sumlin’s attorney, Lavalle Salomon, claimed his wife was scheduled for surgery the week of the March trial dates.

Sumlin was arrested in October, 2015 of indecent behavior with a juvenile. In December, 2015 a Grand Jury returned a Bill of Indictment on the charges.

Representing the state was Assistant District Attorney Lewis Jones.

Your Tax Dollars at Work

02/19/2017

Four Louisiana State Police officials under investigation for Las Vegas ‘side trip,’ overtime

BY JIM MUSTIAN | jmustian@theadvocate.com

A group of Louisiana State Police officials, including the head of the agency’s Internal Affairs Division, were paid thousands of dollars in overtime last year while driving across the country to attend a law enforcement conference in San Diego — a scenic but circuitous road trip that included overnight stays at the Grand Canyon and a Las Vegas resort and casino.

The questionable expenses, outlined in travel records obtained by The Advocate, were on top of tens of thousands of dollars the State Police spent otherwise to send at least 15 people to the annual conference in October of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, a four-day event that attracts a who’s who of law enforcement leaders.

Col. Mike Edmonson, the State Police superintendent, said he had not authorized the troopers to charge overtime — three of the four did, he said — or to take such an indirect route to the conference. The troopers drove 3,906 miles altogether but went hundreds of miles out of their way at times for reasons that are under investigation.

Sumlin Hearing Delayed, Again

01/17/2017

Once again, a hearing on a Motion to Strike on behalf of William Sumlin was delayed in a Ruston courtroom of Third Judicial (Lincoln, Union Parishes) District Court late this afternoon. The hearing was reset for February 21, 2017.

Additional motions will be filed prior to that date, the court was advised.

Sumlin is scheduled to be tried in March on charges of indecent behavior with a juvenile.

Presiding was Divison B Judge Tommy Rogers.

Appearing for Sumlin was Monroe attorney LaValle Salomon, and for the State of Louisiana, Assistant District Attorney Lewis Jones.

What They’re Paid

01/12/2017

sheriff
Information from the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s report 7/1/15-6/30/16
clerk
Information from the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s report 7/1/15-6/30/16
assessor
Information from the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s report 1/1/15-12/31/15