Archive for the ‘Ouachita Sheriff’ Category

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.”

He’s Not a Crook! Guv Edwards on Brother the Sheriff

12/22/2016

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards defends brother, Tangipahoa Sheriff Daniel Edwards: ‘He did not engage in anything improper, much less illegal’

BY ELIZABETH CRISP | ecrisp@theadvocate.com

Gov. John Bel Edwards on Wednesday gave a forceful defense of his brother, Tangipahoa Sheriff Daniel Edwards, whose office was raided by the FBI last week in connection with a federal drug probe.

“Without any fear of contradiction or ever being proven wrong, I will tell you now, he did not engage in anything improper, much less illegal,” Gov. Edwards told reporters gathered at the Governor’s Mansion for an end-of-year news conference. “I have all the confidence in the world in that, and I think that time will bear that out.”

Gov. Edwards added that he doesn’t “have much information about what they were looking for, why they chose to operate in the manner that they did.”

The FBI raided the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office, as well as the Hammond Police Department, last Thursday, as part of a U.S. Justice Department investigation of a federal drug task force linked to officers suspected of stealing drugs and cash that had been seized during narcotics investigations. Two former Tangipahoa sheriff’s deputies have been charged.

Law enforcement officials told The Advocate that Daniel Edwards’ computer was among the items seized during last week’s daylong raid.

Campaign Finances of Tangipahoa Sheriff Daniel Edwards

12/19/2016

Last week’s revelations in The Hayride regarding a pricey fundraiser for Tangipahoa Sheriff Daniel Edwards prompted us to take a look at the campaign war chest of Governor John Edward’s brother, the sheriff.

As of 12/31/15, the latest report available, Daniel Edward’s fund balance was $225,876.

See here the 11/02/15 – 12/31/15 report.

During the fall, 2015 election campaign, Edwards reported $50,650 in receipts, and $208,793 in expenditures. At the beginning of 2015, Edwards had a fund balance of $399,258.

Here are the four reports covering that period.

01/01/15 – 09/14/15
09/15/15 – 10/04/16
10/05/15 – 11/01/15
10/24/15 (election day GOTV)

Edwards was handily re-elected in the 10/24/15 primary, receiving 65% of the vote. His closest opponent, Sherman Phares, got 19% of the vote.

A fundraiser for a newly re-elected politician is common, but in this case Sheriff Edwards spent less than half the money he raised combined with what he had on hand. He could fund another campaign with what he’s got in the bank now.

So why the pricey July, 2016 fundraiser featuring his brother the governor as special guest?

An answer may be in who sent out the invites and who all was invited.

According to The Hayride’s Scott McKay, an email invitation revealed that the hosts for the event were two of Governor Edward’s cabinet members – Louisiana Department of Transportation & Development (DOTD) Secretary Shawn Wilson, and Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) board member Johnny Bradbury.

The invite list included engineering and construction firms from South Louisiana, McKay wrote.

So we have two of Governor John Bel Edwards’ cabinet members, who control between them hundreds of millions in state construction contracts, inviting companies that do business with state, to a fundraiser for a sheriff who happens to be the governor’s brother.

Some things never change in Louisiana.

Kind of a Pricey Fundraiser for a Sheriff

12/17/2016

Fundraiser Invitation for Tangipahoa Sheriff Edwards

Gov Edwards Brother (Tangi Sheriff) Clams Up

12/16/2016

Tangipahoa Sheriff Daniel Edwards, brother of Gov. John Bel Edwards, short on info about involvement in FBI raid

ADVOCATE STAFF REPORT

Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff Daniel Edwards said Friday that no one in his office — other than two people who have already been charged — have been notified that they’re targets of a federal investigation into a drug task force.

The federal probe is looking into officers suspected of stealing drugs and cash seized during narcotics investigations.

“I can tell you that my office has cooperated with the federal authorities since the beginning of their investigation,” the sheriff said.

Edwards, the brother of Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, had his computer seized by the FBI in Thursday’s raid of the sheriff’s office and Hammond Police Department, according to a law enforcement official.

The sheriff didn’t answer any questions at the quick, two-minute news conference. After he finished reading a statement, Daniel Edwards walked away from a podium while a reporter shouted a question, asking if he had retained an attorney.

Daniel Edwards remained inside the Sheriff’s Office for the first several hours of the FBI’s search Thursday. After lunch, the sheriff climbed in his SUV and drove past a group of reporters without commenting. Calls to his cellphone were not returned.

More of Louisiana’s Finest Pinched

12/15/2016

FBI raids Tangipahoa Sheriff’s Office, Hammond police HQ as part of probe of drug task force

BY JIM MUSTIAN AND FAIMON A. ROBERTS III | jmustian@theadvocate.com froberts@theadvocate.com

The FBI raided the offices of the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Hammond Police Department on Thursday, seizing computers, cellphones and case files in simultaneous searches stemming from a broadening U.S. Justice Department investigation of a federal drug task force.

The daylong raids closed down two government buildings in Hammond as agents conducted interviews and carried out at least two search warrants related to a nearly year-old inquiry into a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration task force accused of stealing cash from drug dealers, selling confiscated narcotics and tampering with witnesses.

Two former members of the New Orleans-based task force — both of whom worked for the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office — are facing federal charges, and one pleaded guilty earlier this year to state drug conspiracy charges.

Thursday’s searches marked an escalation of the misconduct investigation, which has been steeped in secrecy for months as investigators dug into the background of several task force members, including Chad Scott, a longtime DEA agent who has been suspended indefinitely and stripped of his badge.

Non-essential personnel were sent home, law enforcement sources said, and visitors were steered away from the Sheriff’s Office and Police Department buildings.

The materials taken included a computer from the office of Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff Daniel Edwards, said one law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to discuss the operation. Edwards is the brother of Gov. John Bel Edwards.

Iberia Sheriff’s Trial 10/31

10/21/2016

Iberia sheriff’s civil rights violation trial set Oct. 31 in Shreveport

By Gary Hines
SHREVEPORT, La. –

The trial of Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal, who is charged with directing the beatings of prisoners by his deputies, will be held in Shreveport because of extensive publicity surrounding the case in Acadiana.

The trial will begin Oct. 31 at the United States Court House. It is expected to last two weeks.

Scheduled to be tried along with Ackal are a top supervisor in the sheriff’s department and a former captain. All have pleaded not guilty.

Nine other deputies have pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with the federal investigation alleging a series of beatings inside the Iberia Parish jail’s chapel.

Prosecutors said inmates were beaten there because there were no surveillance cameras. Ackal allegedly directed the beatings, telling deputies to “take care” of certain inmates. The indictment against Ackal also alleges some inmates were beaten because they were accused of making improper comments toward deputies, while one inmate had complained about jail conditions.

Why Louisiana Taxpayers Need to Pay More

09/10/2016

State Police Col. Edmonson lands hefty 32 percent raise, along with several other top officials

BY MAYA LAU | mlau@theadvocate.com

State Police Superintendent Col. Mike Edmonson, along with at least four of his top deputies and the state fire marshal, quietly obtained hefty raises last month, with some getting as much as a 32 percent pay bump.

Edmonson now makes $43,085 more than he was making prior to Aug. 1, when most of the changes went into effect, according to data provided by State Civil Service spokeswoman Lindsay Ruiz de Chavez. That brings his salary up to $177,436, a 32 percent increase, according to the released figures.

State Fire Marshal Butch Browning, whose office is under the state Department of Public Safety, is now making $137,500, up from $103,950, also a 32 percent raise, the figures show.

Pay increases for the Louisiana State Police came into focus in January 2015, when Edmonson argued for them before the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget. Edmonson said at that time the proposed increase would target only rank-and-file troopers.

Edmonson said the governor decides on the actual amount he’s paid.

“I’m extremely excited and pleased that the governor has adjusted my salary,” Edmonson said. “I will continue to work extremely hard to protect the greatest assets in Louisiana, our citizens.”

South Louisiana Malfeasance

09/08/2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, September 7, 2016
Former Terrebonne Sheriff’s Officer Sentenced for Theft of Federal Funds

U.S. Attorney Kenneth A. Polite announced that DARRYL B. STEWART, age 49, of Houma, was sentenced today after previously pleading guilty to one-count of theft of government funds.

U.S. District Judge Ivan L.R. Lemelle sentenced STEWART to 6 months’ probation and a $100 special assessment. Additionally, STEWART was ordered to pay $15,925 in restitution.

According to court records, STEWART was the Narcotics Unit Supervisor for the Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office (TPSO) during a time period when the TPSO applied for and received two separate federal grants from the Department of Justice. The two grants were for personnel overtime and equipment to support a Multi-Jurisdictional Narcotics Task Force. From 2009 through 2012, STEWART claimed and approved his own overtime from the two grants. The Federal Bureau of Investigation began to look into the billing and discovered through documents and interviews that STEWART occasionally claimed overtime for the two federal grants at the same time that he was working private security details. There were other instances where STEWART claimed federal overtime hours from the grants but he did not actually participate in the narcotics enforcement work. The amount that was improperly billed totals $15,925.00. STEWART resigned from the Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office on or about April 12, 2016.

U.S. Attorney Polite praised the work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation for its handling of the matter. Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward J. Rivera was in charge of the prosecution.

Ouachita Clerk of Court Payroll Issues

07/04/2016

Ouachita Parish Clerk of Court audit by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor (LLA).

Ouachita Parish Clerk of Court Employees Paid $35,569 for 5 Extra Days Off; Leave Balances Not Reduced

A review of the payroll records for the Ouachita Parish Clerk of Court’s office showed that between December 2014 and December 2015, 51 employees were paid a total of $35,569 for up to five additional days off that were not deducted from their leave balances, the Legislative Auditor said in a report released today.

Investigative auditors found that the employees were allowed to take the additional time off during the work weeks of Christmas and New Year’s in 2014 and the work weeks of Thanksgiving and Christmas in 2015 despite office policy, which states that the clerk “will not allow any vacations during the week of Thanksgiving and the week of Christmas.”

In 2014, half of the Clerk of Court’s staff was given two extra days off during the weeks of Christmas and New Year’s, in addition to the three days that were declared paid holidays. In 2015, half of the staff received three extra days during the weeks of Thanksgiving and Christmas to go with the two days that were declared paid holidays. As a result, employees were allowed to take entire holiday weeks off without having any time deducted from their leave records.

By allowing the additional time off without reducing her employees’ leave balances, the Ouachita Parish clerk may have violated state law and the Louisiana Constitution, which forbids the donation of public funds, the state auditor said.

See here the complete report.  Rather than write the Management Response herself, Clerk of Court Louise Bond had attorney Sheri Morris of the Baton Rouge law firm Roedel Parsons Koch Blache Balhoff & McCollister write it.