From Caddo Parish Commission

Caddo Parish Commission and related Caddo Parish entities

Commissioners Illegal Money & Extremely Poor Legal Counsel

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Bad Luck...
Poor choice of a parachute…

by Marion Marks

The Caddo Parish Commission has been splashed in every media from print to TV stations, blogs, FaceBook page and email alleging serious illegal activities of elected officials, administrators and those hired to handle legal issues and guidance for citizens of Caddo Parish. However, glaring legal failures like potholes in the CPERS retirement system appear to have sidetracked far too much of the discussion about criminal activities, and factual errors in reporting seem to discredit many well-meaning people. I suggest those who should have known of the illegal participation are the most guilty – the paid legal team.

bad-newsI’ve watched as the topic has degenerated into bitter feuds among well-meaning good people. Friends have stopped talking and bitterly hammered each other because bad decisions that may turn out to be criminal conduct, in the opinion of good legal minds, and the court decision, have dragged us into this Read more

OMG—Caddo Commission Incumbents to be Challenged in Fall Elections?

John Settle-Opinion-May 2015What is the world coming to in Caddo parish politics?

First an upstart not-from-here businessman (Mario Chavez) is running for the Caddo Commission spot to be vacated by termed-out David Cox. Yes, Chavez is Hispanic—and if successful he will be the first Hispanic to be elected to any political office in northwest Louisiana.

If that is not enough to shake the pillars of old line Caddo politics, then get this—at least 3 Commission incumbents will be challenged in the October primary! Yes, the days of cake walks for sitting Commissioners who hope to stay on the public payroll by merely qualifying are beginning to end—thank goodness! And if ever there was a golden year to challenge Commission incumbents this is it—probably the best time in the history of the Parish Commission. Challengers can have a field day with the voting records of and actions of Commissioners who seek re-election including, for starters, the following issues.

Blind Voters
   Legally, it won’t fly.

In 2000 the Commission voted to create the Caddo Parish Employees Retirement System (“CPERS”) which included the Commissioners. In 2013 and 2014 the Commissioners paid themselves a CPERS match rate exceeding 15%; the normal rate is 6% or less. There are very serious questions Read more

Goodness—Hispanic Caddo Commissioner to be Elected in Southern Hills?

John Settle-Opinion-May 2015Mark it down—the next Commissioner from Southern Hills (District 10) will most likely be political newcomer Mario Chavez. And it will not be because this district suddenly has a high number of Hispanic registered voters but because this guy is the real deal! Chavez is a successful businessman who wants to use his life experiences to give back to the community that has not only welcomed him, but also provided him the opportunity to establish his own business.

Mario Chavez Caddo Parish Commission on sign
Mario Chavez

Chavez is an energetic self employed transplant from California; he moved here in 1995 when his dad was transferred to Shreveport’s GM plant. Mario attended Southwood High School for a few years but dropped out when he was 17. He then found his way into the Louisiana National Guard Youth Challenge Program at Camp Beauregard in Pineville. Chavez excelled not only in the Read more

No Stars and Bars On Confederate Monument

John Settle-Opinion-May 2015So What’s the Big Deal?

Seriously—does anyone really think removal of this memorial is going to stop lunatics from committing hate crimes? Give me a break..especially if you want to spend my tax dollars (estimated to be between $200,000 and $300,000) to move this monument at the Caddo Parish courthouse.

Before I am immediately branded as a racist, please consider that I am a native of South Carolina, I went to high school less than 30 miles from the home of the Dylann Roof, I abhor his actions and I applaud the efforts to remove the Confederate flag from the South Carolina capitol. I formed the first black-white law firm in northwest Louisiana and I have represented (pro bono) the local NAACP chapter in litigation. Additionally I have actively recruited and supported black candidates for local political offices. (I realize all of this and a buck Read more

ELIO Motors – Reserve Your Shares* “The Scam!”

by Marion Marks

LA-Stay-Down-SuckerElio Motors of Phoenix Arizona seeks people who want to “Discover New Opportunities, Invest In The Future” according to the website. In reality, facts to date prove all they really want is to remain a conduit to take money and provide a financial & legal tool for Stuart Lichter to use the former Caddo Parish General Motors site to make a profit from Caddo citizen’s money leveraged in his contract with a parish entity. (SEC Listing of 2015 here.) Stuart Lichter and three other Directors are listed along with Paul Elio and two other officers of the corporation in the SEC filing.

Caddo Parish’s Industrial Development Board (IDB) purchased the facility, land and mineral rights is a deal to keep the property from being sold for scrap, according to Read more

Door Open to Caddo Commission Criminal Sanctions

Elliott_Stonecipherby Elliott Stonecipher

The malfeasance conviction of a Jackson Parish official has opened the door to possible criminal sanctions against Caddo Parish Commissioners and top administrators who have taken the same official actions.

The 2013 state district court conviction of Leslie C. Thompson, ex-Mayor of Jonesboro, has been upheld by the Louisiana Second Circuit Court of Appeal in Shreveport.  Re-sentencing was ordered, and Thompson’s appeal to the state Supreme Court has been filed.

As KNOE Television and The News-Star in Monroe, Louisiana, reported at the time of his trial, Thompson was convicted on three criminal counts, and sentenced to five years in prison, plus six years of probation and monetary restitution.

Jonesboro LAThompson was sentenced to pay $57,793 back to the Town of Jonesboro in retirement and Read more

Caddo Commissioner Epperson Pushes For Taxpayer Waste of Funds on Dawson Road Project

John Settle-Opinion-May 2015

Caddo Commissioner Ken Epperson has a well deserved reputation for being a stubborn self-serving bully on the Caddo Commission; his latest folly is a great example of his determination to spend taxpayer dollars on efforts to promote his political career/ambitions versus the good of the whole. His proposal to spend $3.9 million dollars to connect Dawson Road to Rice Road can not be defended on any logical analytical basis.[June 4 Meeting Minutes]

Caddo Commissioner Epperson
Caddo Commissioner Epperson

But with Epperson, the surplus of Caddo Commission funds is a cookie jar that needs to be raided nonetheless. Epperson represents Caddo District 12 that encompasses much of the Jefferson Road and Greenwood area. He is haughtily proud of his commission seat– his pickup truck is adorned with Epperson Caddo Commission signs, he wears knit shirts monogrammed with his name and commission district, and he regularly holds community meetings for small audiences that feature a wide panel of elected officials, many of Read more