Email messages are pouring in with links to Rich Rainey’s story for the Times-Picayune – Aaron Broussard and Tim Whitmer charged with violating state ethics laws
Former Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard is facing state ethics charges for accepting $4,500 in Christmas gifts from his staff and for his involvement in 2009 with a private insurance agency owned by his top aide, Tim Whitmer, while the two men were running the parish government.
The Louisiana Board of Ethics alleged Broussard violated the state ethics code between 2007 and 2009 for accepting gift certificates from his staff. He is also charged with accepting “a thing of economic value” from Lagniappe Industries, the insurance agency Whitmer owned with his wife, Dawn, while Lagniappe “had a contractual or other business or financial relationship with his agency, Jefferson Parish,” the charges state.
Broussard has admitted to doing $5,000 in “legal work” for Lagniappe Industries in the summer of 2009.
Whitmer faces 30 charges that he violated the state ethics code. The majority of those stem from Lagniappe’s work selling health insurance to West Jefferson Medical Center while Whitmer was the parish’s No. 2 executive and serving on the parish’s Insurance Advisory Committee.
The Ethics Board also charged Whitmer with using “his position as chief administrative officer of Jefferson Parish, directly, in a manner intended to compel the executive staff of Jefferson Parish to give the parish president a thing of economic value.” According to the charges, Whitmer ordered department directors and the executive staff to give $100 to Broussard each holiday season between 2007 and 2009.
Dawn Whitmer also faces four charges for her role in Lagniappe Industries’ business at the medical center. She handled dental, voluntary life and disability insurance policies for hospital employees.
The board filed the charges Dec. 17. Judges Alvin Landry and John Kopynec with the Administrative Law Division held telephone conferences Friday with attorneys for Broussard and the Whitmers to schedule the next set of hearings.
Broussard and Whitmer resigned in January 2010 amid a federal criminal investigation into Lagniappe Industries. No one has been indicted in the case.
What happens next or is this the end of it?