Money talks. So we at LP Watchdog thought it would be interesting to see just whose money is doing the talking in Livingston Parish politics.
For the next few weeks, The Watchdog is hot on The Money Trail.
We’ll be perusing the campaign finance reports on file with the Louisiana Board of Ethics, and the Louisiana Secretary of State’s corporations database to see who is contributing how much to whom. We’re only looking at the big money – a political official’s largest donors.
We want to be clear: There’s absolutely nothing wrong with supporting the candidate of your choice or making campaign donations. But in a free and open democracy, we as citizens also have a right to know about it. So without further ado, join us on The Money Trail.
PART I: LIVINGSTON PARISH PRESIDENT LAYTON RICKS
In all our years browsing campaign finance reports online, we’ve never seen records quite like those of Livingston Parish President Layton Ricks. Since September 2011, his campaign manager/treasurer has had to file no less than 13 corrected reports. It should be noted, then, that the numbers reported here are those that were reported by the campaign to the Ethics Board. Any errors are not our own.
We’d also like to make clear that we are reporting comprehensive contributions dating back to the parish president’s race in 2011, so these amounts cover two separate election periods.
As of his most recent report filed in February, Ricks had $15,546.05 in his campaign account, but was carrying a $22,000 campaign debt to The Gagliano Group of Hammond for media consulting. Among his major contributors:
The Hendersons: $15,000
Marvin Henderson gave $2,500; Group J LLC and J.A.H. Enterprises, both of which list Jeffrey Henderson and Janet Henderson Cagley as owners, each gave $5,000, and J3 Investments LLC, which lists Jeffrey Henderson as owner, gave $2,500.
The Easterly connection: $13,500
The Denham Springs attorney represents Livingston Parish in its appeal to FEMA to reimburse Livingston Parish $60 million-plus for Hurricane Gustav debris cleanup, for which the council has spent $500,000. He is the registered agent for Yellow Iron LLC, a firm that lists Claude M. Penn Jr. as the sole officer, which contributed $2,500 to Ricks’ campaign. He is also the registered agent for Berkley Inc., a firm for which Bruce Easterly is listed as the sole officer, which gave $2,000. Diamond E Trucking, another firm for which Shelby Easterly serves as the registered agent and Bruce Easterly is listed as one of two officers, threw in $4,000. Shelby Easterly also gave $1,000.
Cajun Industries: $12,500
The company founded by Baton Rouge businessman and political activist Lane Grigsby contributed $5,000, while Bobbi Grigsby and Todd Grigsby each contributed $2,500. Milton Graugnard, an executive with Cajun Constructors — one of four firms under the Cajun Industries holding company — gave another $2,500.
The Gustav contractors: $10,593
It’s no surprise that Ricks’ former employer, Alvin Fairburn & Associates, was a big supporter. In addition to Christa Fairburn serving as campaign manager and treasurer, Alvin Fairburn Jr., Christa Fairburn, their family members and Eddie and Roxanne Aydell gave a total of $8,093 in money and in-kind contributions. Professional Engineering Consultants, the other debris cleanup monitor, kicked in $2,500.
J. Michael Lott Investments: $8,500
The firm itself gave $1,000, while James M. Lott, Judge D. Lott and Vickey S. Lott – all listed with the same post office box – each gave $2,500.
Sam Mack: $8,397
Contracting firm SamMackCo. thus far has contributed $5,500. Owner Shannon “Sam” Mack gave $1,500 and donated $800 in in-kind items for a meet and greet; Cody Mac donated $525 in t-shirts; and Michelle Mack provided $872 in in-kind contributions for a parade.
The McLins: $7,850
Lester McLin Jr. kicked in $2,500, while Deeann McLin gave $2,000. Lester McLin’s engineering firm, McLin & Associates, wrote checks totaling $2,350.
From Foley: $7,500
A company called LBG LLC of Foley, Ala., home to major debris contractor IED, and its two named officials, David Green and Jeff Green, combined contributed a total of $7,500.
The Honeycutt factor: $6,300
Blayne Honeycutt, the former parish attorney, gave $1,000, and his law firm, Fayard & Honeycutt, has contributed $5,300.
L. Jerry Kinchen: $6,000
L. Jerry Kinchen of Springfield himself has contributed $4,000, while the company for which he is registered as one of two officers, J&B Land & Timber, gave $2,000.
Joshua McCoy: $4,500
Two businesses for which the son of former Livingston Parish Councilman Jimmy McCoy is listed as an officer wrote checks to Ricks: Provident USA, $2,500; and Provident Building Construction, $2,000.
The Durbins: $2,700
The mayor of Denham Springs kicked in $2,500 from his own campaign fund, while his wife, Maurice Durbin, who is serving as chairman of the Livingston Parish Animal Control Board, made a $200 donation.