Folks, last year during the special election campaign for Louisiana Lite Gov, Scott McKay at the hard line GOP resource The Hayride did some great blogging on the money behind Caroline Fayard’s candidacy. Ms Fayard is the daughter of Calvin “Calhoun” Fayard, a class action lawyer that was affiliated with the old Castano group of lawyers led by the late Wendell Gauthier in the tobacco and aborted gun litigation. He was nicked named Calhoun in honor of the shyster lawyer on the old Amos ‘n Andy show and certainly as crafty as he prospered after Gauthier passing. Politically connected he is currently on the Plaintiff’s steering committee in the BP litigation, where he stands to make another fortune. For those of you keeping track of which mansion on St Chas is involved on the back-end in an ostentatious show of accumulated wealth the Fayard’s are proud owners of the Wedding Cake House where luminaries such as Bill and Hillary Clinton have often stayed while in town. While he donated heavily to the McCain Campaign in 2008 Calhoun has been a huge donor to the democrats through time which explains the connection to the Clinton’s as well as why Michelle Obama stayed elsewhere during her visit to the city a couple of weeks ago.
With that said I’ll add that the state enforcement agency for campaign cash is the Louisiana Ethics Board, the same folks that have an open file on Aaron Broussard’s shithouse dealings as Parish President. In Louisiana, secrecy involving proceedings at the ODC and Ethics Board are mandated by statute which is why that the story has not been further updated recently save for an article in early September by the Advocate which outlined a court proceeding in the 19th JDC initiated by Fayard against the Ethic Board where Team Fayard tried to halt the Ethic investigation. Joe Gyan’s story described in detail the conduits which Calhoun used to funnel money to his daughter’s campaign and broke some new ground in the process. The implications of the ruling do not show up in that otherwise very good story folks as we might have witnessed the first cracks in Team Fayard’s legendary political influence but there is another implication that is also very important.
Linked above is the best real-time internet reporting on this topic and I also had a helpful reader prepare a synopsis that is worth having here on Slabbed as we have obtained the Ethics Board target letters, which were originally filed under seal in the 19th JDC:
In November 2010 and March 2011, complaints were filed with the Louisiana Board of Ethics alleging violations of the Louisiana Campaign Finance Disclosure Act by the DEMOPAC and the Committee to Elect Caroline Fayard, LLC. Essentially, one of the complaints alleges donations were made to the DEMOPAC by family and friends of Caroline Fayard and allegedly earmarked to cover media buys made by the DEMOPAC on behalf of Caroline Fayard during her unsuccessful attempt to be elected Lieutenant Governor.
At its June 16, 2011 meeting, the Board voted to instruct its staff to conduct a confidential investigation into possible violations of the Campaign Finance Disclosure Act by several members of the Calvin C. Fayard, Jr. family, including his current and former wives, and his adult children. Also being investigated are several Fayard LLCs.
The Board then issued subpoenas and subpoenas duces tecum to the Fayard entities and the DEMOPAC. Counsel for the Board was professional enough to agree to extending the deadline for responding to the subpoenas.
On August 1, 2011, the DEMOPAC and the Fayard entities repaid the professional courtesy of the Board’s attorney not by producing the subpoenaed documents, but by filing some sort of petition for declaratory judgment and temporary and permanent restraining orders in the 19th JDC in Baton Rouge. All the pleadings filed by the DEMOPAC and the Fayard entities were filed under seal so as to protect Caroline Fayard’s chances at running for Secretary of State in this year’s election.
The court held a hearing on August 31 where it promptly denied the preliminary injunction seeking to prevent the subpoenas from being enforced. Everything except the actual subpoenas was unsealed and opened to the public, including the votes of the Board and the target letters sent to those being investigated.
Up until this “sealed litigation strategy” failed, the whole matter was a confidential investigation and even the identities of those being investigated were unknown.
When the day finally came for the Fayard entities to produce the subpoenaed documents, they obviously did not respond completely. The Board filed a motion to compel the production of the documents with the court, but asked that these pleadings be sealed.
DEMOPAC and the Fayard entities filed their sealed responses.
Last Thursday, Judge Morvant granted the Board’s motion and has ordered the production in 15 days of the documents and records subpoenaed from all the Fayard entities. The hearing in the court room, as well as the actual pleadings, were closed and sealed. The minutes of the court’s decisions are posted in computer case file at the clerk’s offices.
My gut tells me the documents and records being subpoenaed are the financial and income records for each of the individuals and LLCs. Many of the Fayard entities each donated no less than $90,000 to the DEMOPAC last year and the Board likely wants to follow the money back to its source.
The Fayard entities obviously filed a motion for a protective order and exceptions in response to the motion to compel. The court denied the protective order and overruled the exceptions.
Appearing on behalf of the Fayard entities as a whole were Grey Sexton and Jennifer Jackson. Also appearing only on behalf of Calvin C. Fayard, Jr. was Paul Mogin from Williams & Connolly of Washington, DC. That’s a lot of money for a discovery hearing. Unsuccessful congressional candidate Ravi Sangisetty from the Duval firm in Houma appeared on behalf of Cindy Fayard and a couple of the Fayard LLCs.
The DEMOPAC also filed some sort of sealed pleading in response to the Board’s motion to compel. The court ruled the DEMOPAC had no standing in the motions and refused to allow Mary Olive Pierson to make any oral argument on its behalf. The minutes say she asked for a stay of the proceedings while she applied for a writ. Obviously recognizing the delay tactic for what it was, the court refused to stay the hearing, but gave her 10 days to apply for a writ.
Barring divine intervention, the Ethics Board has a court judgment ordering the production of the subpoenaed materials, and is within reach of the inner workings of the Fayard campaign money machine.
Calhoun must be working furiously to reach a Consent Opinion that allows him, his wives, and his children to keep practicing law. The penalties or fines won’t be an issue. He’s way up the pay scale on the BP Litigation committee.
The topic of funneling campaign contributions through straw men has appeared on these pages in reference to Team River Birch funding Bobby Jindal’s first campaign for Gov. The documents clearly indicate Team Fayard has lots to be worried about here but I’d submit so do the little people impacted by the BP Oil Spill that have a shyster lawyer that disregards the law to suit his personal goals representing them. The stories about Fayard purchasing State court judge are littered in comments in these pages as have been certain Federal Judges in Haik and Duval. We see Judge Duval’s old law firm involved in this ethic problem today in fact lawyering for Team Fayard. And lest we forget it was Judge Duval that presided over the attempted looting of the now rejected Levee Board settlement in the Canal Breaches litigation, another case where Calhoun is dipping his beak. Against that backdrop it is little wonder I am hearing things from courtroom observers in the Oil spill litigation that the Plaintiff’s Committee is “inept” “incompetent” etc. My own opinion is they are doing what they’ve always done folks: Look out for Number 1.
I have 2 docs following, one the Ethics Board Target letters and the other is Fayard’s nonsensical legal pleading trying to shut the Ethics Board Investigation down. For you partisan political freaks out there Fayard is the democratic version of our own Magnum as the stench associated with the back room double-dealing emanating from certain St Charles Avenue mansions grows stronger. ~ sop