The failed Caroline Fayard Lite Gov campaign could cost Calhoun greatly: A follow the campaign cash update

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

12 thoughts on “The failed Caroline Fayard Lite Gov campaign could cost Calhoun greatly: A follow the campaign cash update”

  1. Great story, Sop. You are a gifted blogger.

    So many fertile issues to discuss, but so little time this morning that I'll have to make a few now and more later.

    On the issue of the subpoenas and related investigation, the Ethics Board is represented by Aaron Brooks, who is a former assistant DA in the 19th JDC, and Kathleen Allen, the Administrator of the Ethics Board. The Board is also represented by the Baton Rouge firm of Taylor Porter in the declaratory judgment proceeding.

    The Fayard and DEMOPAC declaratory judgment action allegedly presents constitutional challenges to the manner in which the Ethics Board is purporting to exercise jurisdiction over them. They served Louisiana AG Buddy Caldwell who I think is supposed to defend the State because the matter makes a constitutional challenge.

    Maybe somebody needs to discuss the potential conflicts that might be caused by the maximum campaign contributions made to Caldwell by some of these same Fayard entities immediately after Foti lost the primary in the 2008 election. The issue and urgency then was those Katrina Litigation “contracts” discussed on Slabbed a while back. Those illegal contracts were originally given by Foti to Fayard and certain other plaintiff lawyers allowing them to represent the interests of the state of Louisiana in civil litigation against the insurance companies and the Corps of Engineers.

    Although Caldwell did the smart thing by dismissing all those private counsel and relacing them with State attorneys, the fact remains he did not do so until the court forced his hand.

    According to news reports, somebody on the Fayard side of the “v” has already told the press that this ethics investigation is a political vendetta. Who? What? Why?

    Although Caldwell has since switched from Democrat to Republican, I don’t think he has an ax to grind against the Fayards or DEMOPAC?

    It’s not Bobby Jindal.

    8 days after the court denied her preliminary injunction, Caroline announced she was not going to seek statewide elected office in 2011. 8 days after that, Calvin and his oldest daughter, Chalyn, were attending a Bobby Jindal speech.

    In 2010, Trey Fayard was appointed by Bobby Jindal to the Louisiana Board of Private Investigator Examiners where he is currently listed as a Hearing Officer and Personnel Chairman. In 2009, being the staunch Louisiana Democrats they are, Calvin Fayard, the law firm of Fayard & Honeycutt, and Frances Fayard made substantial contributions to Republican Governor Bobby Jindal.

    Maybe it’s the Obamas! Cindy Fayard did make a $28,500 contribution to McCain-Palin Victory, and a $28,500 contribution to the Republican National Committee immediately after Hillary Clinton lost the nomination to Barack Obama.

    I don't believe it's a political vendetta. Calvin has finally been caught red-handed at something he's been doing for many years. The names of the Fayard kids show up as campaign contributors to national and state candidates since they were barely teenagers. They gave big money, too.

    It's simply justice and the system working. It's ironic that each of the Fayards involved in this scandalous affair, save one, are all attorneys.

  2. This routine has been going on for many years. Pick a few of these firms and burrow down into political contributions and you will find associate lawyers contributing the maximum when they damn well could not afford it. I think there will even be instances of secretaries making significant campaign contributions.

    NAAS, how does Dudenhefer play into this? Can't he and Cummings afford to make their own contributions?

  3. Sock:

    I'm about to hit the road, but wil be back this evening to answer your question about Dudenhefer, as well as provide details about a complaint made to, and rejected by, Letten about Fayard's federal contributions, including some made to Mary Landrieu.

  4. Sock:

    Got back later than I thought, but, I want to at least answer your question tonight.

    Although I don't know his personal financial situation, Dudenhefer certainly appears to be a man of means.

    You already know he and Calvin are tight for many years – Bacchus brothers; working cases together; almost identical campaign contributions to virtually identical candidates for national office; and, even jumping ship on Obama with Frank also donating $28,500 to the Republican National Committee in 2008.

    It's my opinion Dudenhefer was targeted by the Ethics Board because of the timing of his donations – he and other Fayard entities made donations that, when added together, practically equaled the amount of money the DEMOPAC subsequently spent on media buys for Caroline Fayard.

    Did Calvin provide or promise to reimburse any of the almost-$55,000 donated by Dudenhefer and his law firm to the DEMOPAC? I don't know the answer to that question.

    But, I can speculate on a few ways how that might be accomplished if 2 or more people had a mind to do it:

    (1) They could simply swap checks before or after the election. I would bet that some people INSIST on being paid before they make the donation.

    (2) If the players are attorneys, the contributions could be creatively billed as expenses or time in a legal matter, like the jury consultant fees in Scruggs, or slipped into billing on a class action settlement.

    (3) A loan from a bank could be arranged for an attorney donor, and the loan paid back over time while billing the payments as a case expense on a case you "know" is going to pay.

    (4) An LLC could establish a line of credit with a bank by pledging assets, including cash, as collateral. The donor could then be privately appointed by the Manager of the LLC as an "agent of the LLC" who can borrow money in the name of the LLC. The loaned donation funds could ultimately be repaid out of the assets of the LLC, or some other transaction between the bank and the Manager of the LLC.

    I'm sure there are better ways known by those who've managed the "straw donor" thing as part of their job for a few elections.

    Judging from the partial description of the subpoenaed records given on page 10 of the pleading above, I'd say the Louisiana Board of Ethics certainly thinks your question is plausible and needs to be answered by several Fayard entities.

    Tomorrow – Letten, the ODC, and the Honeycutts.

  5. As a paralegal and employee of the Fayard law firms, I assisted Fayard bookkeeper, Carolyn Mistoler and other Fayard staff prepare for political fund raisers held by Calvin for candidates seeking or holding national and state offices.

    Back in 2007, information about Calvin Fayard's federal campaign contributions was provided by my representative to Jim Letten. One item brought to his attenetion was a fund raising event hosted by Fayard in New Orleans for John Kerry in 2003.

    Long story short, I provided information about check swapping activities I witnessed and actually assisted in accomplishing. 2 incidents involved attorneys from the New Orleans area who insisted they receive Calvin's check before they made their donations. One in particular said he "ain't gonna wait for my damn money like I did the last time."

    My wife and I personally drove 2 of Calvin's secretaries to that fund raising event to deliver “campaign contributions” collected from these and other individuals.

    Letten's bottom line response was "these are stale violations. The election is already over."

    Stale. Not "prescribed"; but stale. That's a defense I'm not familiar with.

    At about the same time, I also filed my ethical conduct complaint with the Louisiana Office of Disciplinary Counsel. Part of the conduct discussed in that ODC complaint focused on those campaign finance and fund raising activities I witnessed and worked on for Calvin while in his employ.

    After 2 years, on February 18, 2010, the ODC dismissed my complaint, citing the inability of witnesses to corroborate my claims.

    I unsuccessfully appealed the decision of the ODC based upon the following facts (1) the ODC never issued any subpoenas to anyone requiring the production of documents or records I identified and described to them; (2) the ODC never deposed the witnesses; (3) the ODC never collected sworn statements from the witnesses; (4) the ODC investigator simply phoned the Fayard law offices to speak with the witnesses while Carolyn Mistoler stood at the door to the room; (5) the ODC denied my repeated requests to review and reply to any information and documents provided by Calvin Fayard in response to the complaint; and (6) the ODC never contacted me in response to the complaint, except to inform me that I would not be allowed to review Calvin’s responses.

    The appeals panels did not find that the ODC had abused its discretion in dismissing the complaint. On December 13, 2010, the Supreme Court denied my request for leave to appeal the decision.

    Now, all of the Elect Caroline Fayard campaign donations made by the Fayard entities were made while the ODC appeals process was taking place. I'm sure Calvin was quite confident about the ODC's decision long before it was made.

    As a side note, long-time Fayard bookkeeper Carolyn Mistoler made large campaign contributions to national candidates from Arkansas and Massachusetts (the New Orleans Kerry fundraiser) identical to those of Calvin, his children, the Honeycutts, and other Fayard contacts. Yet, Caroline Fayard did not report receiving a single contribution from Mistoler who has known and handled Caroline's personal business for many years.

    Maybe Mistoler was backing Jay Dardene.

    The Ethics Board investigation certainly seems to be a completely different animal from the Letten and ODC possums. The Board has issued subpoenas that we know are causing serious discomfort to the Fayard entities. The Board's successful motion to compel evidences it won't play the Fayard games of keep away.

  6. Does anyone know if the DEMOPAC is the same as the Democratic State Central Committee of LA (DSCCLA)?

    According to federal campaign finance records, the following individuals identified in the Ethics Board investigation donated the following to the DSCCLA during the same time they also made the donations to the DEMOPAC subject of the investigation.

    Was some of the money they donated to the DEMOPAC then sent on to the DSCCLA or vice versa?

    HONEYCUTT, VALERIE
    DENHAM SPRINGS, LA 70726
    RETIRED/RETIRED
    10/26/2010 10000.00 10992320664

    HONEYCUTT, BLAYNE
    DENHAM SPRINGS, LA 70726
    FAYARD & HONEYCUTT/ATTORNEY
    10/19/2010 10000.00 10992320663

    FAYARD, CALVIN C. JR.
    DENHAM SPRINGS, LA 70727
    SELF/ATTORNEY
    10/19/2010 10000.00 10992320662

    FAYARD, CAROLINE
    NEW ORLEANS, LA 70115
    SELF/ATTORNEY
    07/13/2010 5000.00 10931138134

    FAYARD, CATHRYN (Caroline Fayard's full name is Cathryn Caroline Fayard)
    NEW ORLEANS, LA 70185
    RETIRED/HOMEMAKER
    10/26/2010 10000.00 10992320662 (this may be cumulative total)

    FAYARD, CHALYN
    DENHAM SPRINGS, LA 70727
    STUDENT/STUDENT
    10/26/2010 10000.00 10992320662

    FAYARD, CYNTHIA
    DENHAM SPRINGS, LA 70727
    RETIRED/RETIRED
    10/19/2010 10000.00 10992320663

    FAYARD, FRANCES Gray
    SPRINGFIELD, LA 70462
    SELF EMPLOYED/ATTORNEY
    08/09/2010 1500.00 10931301989
    08/11/2010 450.00 10931301989
    08/12/2010 1000.00 10931301990

    GRAY, FRANCES E
    NEW ORLEANS, LA 70115
    RETIRED/RETIRED
    10/19/2010 5000.00 10992320663

    DUDENHEFER, FRANK JR.
    NEW ORLEANS, LA 70130
    SELF/ATTORNEY
    10/26/2010 10000.00 10992320661

  7. QUITE A DISTUBING QUOTE:

    “ … Letten’s bottom line response was “these are stale violations. The election is already over.”

    Not At All Surprised PERMALINK
    November 16, 2011 2:44 pm

    Ay … yes … “STALE VIOLATIONS” … Lettenemgo’s euphemism for SELECTIVE PROSECUTION !

    IN FACT … refusal and/or failure to prosecute equal to misprision of a felony.

  8. Fayard's involvement in the Katrina Litigation was mentioned in this article and comments.

    Pierce O'Donnell, a Los Angeles attorney who is one of the Katrina Litigation attorneys working with the Fayard group, pleaded guilty in August to making illegal campaign contributions to the 2004 presidential campaign of John Edwards.

    O'Donnell entered a guilty plea on two misdemeanors in a deal with prosecutors that would likely have netted him a sentence him of six months in prison, a $20,000 fine, and 200 hours of community service. But, the judge presiding over the case refused to take the plea, saying it was “too harsh.” This is the same judge who was overturned by the 9th Circuit after he originally ruled the campaign finance law was unconstitutional and dismissed the case.

    O'Donnell was targeted by prosecutors for reimbursing his firm's employees for donations they had made to the Edwards campaign.

    I'm guessing the US Attorney in California doesn't give a rat's ass about whether the crime is "stale".

    Many thanks to Ashton for bringing this O'Donnell news to my attention.

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