LAPA President:  Rev. Freddie Phillips
Louisiana Auctioneer Q & A
September 16, 2015


          LAPA President Rev. Freddie Phillips & Vice President Robert Burns
welcome auctioneers from around the United States to the third annual
State of the Auction Industry Address presented below.  


Q 1:  

Is it true that you and Vice President Robert Burns recently conducted a fund raising auction for a Baton Rouge church wherein you "reversed roles" and Burns served as evangelist?

A 1:        Rev. Phillips:

"Yes.  That was Grace Fellowship.   CLICK HERE to see my buddy Rob cover Jesus' portrayal through all 66 books of the bible!" [Rob's portrayal of Jesus in the 66 books of the bible begins at the 3:26 mark.]


Q 2:   


When LAPA Vice President Burns references being a "sacrificial lamb" for other auctioneers entailing LALB
hearings, can you explain what he means?

A 2:        Rev. Phillips: 


"Burns filed an open meetings violation lawsuit entailing the LALB going into executive session to deliberate after conducting a hearing on him.  This was done in violation of LA R. S. 42:17(A)(1).  The trial court (and the appeals court) let the LALB off the hook because the Louisiana Attorney General's Office gave bad advice to the LALB in indicating that they could convene the illegal executive session.  What is important for auctioneers to know is that, if you are ever called before the LALB for a hearing, you have the right to DEMAND that the deliberations transpire in an open format instead of behind closed doors in an executive session!!  That is why Burns said he was fine with being a "sacrificial lamb" because the courts have now made it clear that the individual has the RIGHT to DEMAND that any such hearing deliberations transpire in an open format." 

Q 3: 

Didn't Mr. Burns recently also drive home the point that a hearing is a meeting and that, therefore, an opportunity for public comment must be extended to the audience for hearings? 

A 3:        Rev. Phillips: 


"Yes.  Video of Mr. Burns doing so is available here.  Mr. Burns emphatically drove home the point that a meeting IS a hearing and therefore a period of public comment is MANDATORY!  If the LALB fails to grant that period of public comment, we have been advised by multiple attorneys that they are fully prepared to litigate the matter on our behalf.  The significance of the public comment period is that auctioneers with hearings are free to encourage fellow auctioneers, clients, etc. to make public comment regarding their auctions.  Of course, the complainant is also free to encourage any member of the public with whom they may be friends to also attend and make public comment." 

Q 4:  

Well this may be good information to know since there is a large slate of LALB hearings being heard soon, right?

A 4:        Rev. Phillips: 


"Yes.  On Wednesday, September 30, 2015 @ 11 a.m., the LALB has scheduled several hearings.  If you or an auctioneer you know is the subject of one of these hearings, please make sure that he or she is aware of his/her right to DEMAND that the deliberations transpire in an open forum rather than behind closed doors in an executive session if that is what that person desires." 

Q 5:   

Does LAPA plan to provide video coverage of the hearings scheduled for September 30, 2015?

A 5:        Rev. Phillips:


"Yes.  As a response to us videotaping the LALB meetings, the LALB finally opted to also videotape their regular meetings; however, they have steadfastly refused to also videotape hearings.  We firmly believe that the
hearings represent the core function of the LALB, and we also believe viewing hearings helps auctioneers to learn from other auctioneers' mistakes and/or intentional transgressions.   Therefore, LAPA will continue to deliver video coverage of LALB hearings to auctioneers in Louisiana and other states across the United States."

Q 6:

In the introductory video above, you made the distinction between the LAA and the LAPA.  What prompted you to form the LAPA? 


A 6:     Rev. Phillips:


"At the LAA Convention in 2009, LAA President Delmar "Buster" Gay was openly encouraging attendees to sign a petition being held by Larry Nobles (now deceased) at the back of the room to have the Executive Director of the Louisiana Auctioneer Licensing Board (LALB), on which I served at the time, Ms. Sherrie Wilks, fired.  Many auctioneers voiced support for the petition.  I felt the entire episode was very unprofessional and it was that incident on Gay's part that prompted me to form the LAPA."


Q 7:


Why was Gay seeking to have Wilks fired? 

A 7:    Rev. Phillips:


"Ms. Wilks caught Gay submitting allegedly fraudulent travel vouches along with LALB member Ray Camp.  She reported both men to Gov. Jindal's office.  Jindal handled the matter by dismissing Camp from the LALB and "demoting" Gay from LALB Chairman to mere LALB member.   Ms. Wilks explains it all on the first video on this page.”  

Q 8:  

Wasn't Ray Camp, whom Jindal booted from the LALB for the alleged travel voucher fraud, related to an LAA officer? 


A 8:   Rev. Phillips:


"Yes.  Kelly Weatherford, former Secretary-Treasurer of the LAA, is Ray Camp's daughter." 

Q 9:   

Well, weren't there more problems within the LALB entailing financial improprieties? 


A 9:       Rev. Phillips:


"Yes.  Sandy Edmonds, who replaced Ms. Wilks as LALB Executive Director, has been cited extensively for committing payroll fraud."   

Q 10:  

Wasn't there a recent published article about that payroll fraud and your role in reporting it?   


A 10:       Rev. Phillips: 


"Yes.  Sound Off Louisiana recently published an extensive article on my efforts to curtail the payroll fraud as an LALB member and my efforts to investigate it with the Interior Design Board, for which Ms. Edmonds serves as Executive Director as well.  I welcome everyone to read the article at this link.  The article also contains numerous embedded videos demonstrating the hostile treatment I received from members of both the LALB and the IDB.  Links to Louisiana Legislative Auditor reports and Inspector General reports confirming my payroll fraud assertions are also contained within the article."

Q 11:   

Is it true that the LALB, in concert with the LAA, openly defied the reports you reference above and demonstrated its support of Edmonds by presenting her with caviar at the conclusion of an LALB meeting?

A 11:     Rev. Phillips:

"True.  Feel free to see the caviar presentation to Edmonds by clicking here."  


Q 12:   

We have heard that LAA leadership has openly advocated increasing the license fee for Louisiana auctioneers from $150 to $500.  True? 


A 12:       Rev. Phillips: 

"True.  Watch President Wiley Collins and prominent member Barbara Bonnette do so before the
LALB membership by clicking here."

Q 13:

So, LAA President Wiley Collins openly advocates a $500 licensing fee despite his own Federal tax lien?  Has that lien ever been cancelled? 


A 13:       Rev. Phillips:


"Yes, Collins advocated a $500 licensing fee despite owing this $21,000+ Federal tax lien.  No, there has been no cancellation of the lien filed into the public record."

Q 14:  

Didn't LAA President Wiley Collins openly lambast LAPA? 


A 14:       Rev. Phillips:


"Yes. Feel free to  watch Collins' lambasting of LAPA and LAPA Vice President Robert Burns' response." 

Q 15: 

Didn't an associate of Bonnette attempt to block LAPA's video coverage and soon thereafter Collins uttered the "F word?" 


A 15:       Rev. Phillips: 


"Yes and yes.  Bonnette associate Chris Lemoine attempted to block our video coverage of Bonnette speaking, and Collins used the 'F word' soon thereafter.  Feel free to view that video at this link."

Q 16:

Did Bonnette go so far as to indicate "small time" auctioneers in Louisiana need continuing education? 

[NOTE:  We’ll report more on efforts to restore CE to Louisiana as a requirement for licensure in the second installment of the third annual SAIA.]

A 16:       Rev. Phillips:


"Yes.  Bonnette seemed to indicate that, while she didn't need CE due to the sheer number of auctions that she conducts, she emphasized that "small-time" Louisiana auctioneers NEED continuing education."

Q 17:  

Well, Bonnette's apparent belief that only "small time" auctioneers need CE notwithstanding, hasn't she had past problems with the LALB? 


A 17:       Rev. Phillips:

"Yes.  This link entails an auction conducted in Texas with no TX license and her failing to inform the LALB about her illegal TX auction.  Also, this link entails testimony by Bonnette at the Louisiana House of Representatives Committee on Criminal Justice with her responding to accusations by Rep. Damon Baldone that shill bidding was deployed at a real estate auction she conducted."


Q 18:   


Has anyone on the LALB provided any explanation for the Bobby Manuel hearing in May of 2015?

A 18:        Rev. Phillips:


"No.  The Bobby Manuel hearing over a trivial $25 dresser (for which Manuel offered a full refund) is another episode of LALB Chairman Tessa Steinkamp and the Board actively prosecuting small-time auctioneers over the most trivial matters while she herself kept silent for years as New Orleans Auction Galleries committed some of the most egregious auction statute violations imaginable.  Steinkamp kept silent despite her position of being Vice President, Treasurer, and Director of the company and despite the fact she admitted after the company filed bankruptcy that she was fully aware of a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles years before bankruptcy entailing the auctioning of paintings certified as FAKES by Christie's for amounts in excess of $100,000."

Q 19:   


Speaking of New Orleans Auction Galleries, can you tell us what all went on down in New Orleans entailing NOAG?

A 19:        Rev. Phillips: 


“Sure.  Just visit the LAPA webpage devoted to NOAG.  It will tell you everything you could possibly want to know."

Q 20:  


Referencing Bobby Manuel again, didn't LALB Vice Chairman James Sims once read Ms. Steinkamp the riot act  over things like the Manuel hearing as "witch hunts."

A 20:        Rev. Phillips: 


"Yes.  On November 5, 2012, Vice Chairman Sims engaged in a heated exchange with Steinkamp wherein he accused her of conducting witch hunts.  Apparently, his chastisement of her did little good as evidenced by the Manuel pursuit."

Q 21:   


So nobody has explained why Manuel was pursued?"

A 21:        Rev. Phillips: 


"There has been no explanation; however, the pursuit of Manuel entailed considerable expenditures on the part of the LALB for legal and investigative invoices pertaining to that pursuit." 

Q 22:   


Speaking of legal fees, you mentioned that in the introductory video.  Can you provide the legal fees for 2014 for  Bankston and Dow?

A  22:       Rev. Phillips:

"Yes.  Bankston's legal fees totaled $29,447.20 while Dow's totaled $16,895.28 (of which $7,313.08 were for subcontracted investigative work).  The total of the two is $46,342.48.   Mr. Bankston's cumulative legal billings total $63,284.63.  We have submitted a public records request to the LALB to
get 2015's legal fees through August.  We will provide the updated figures in the second installment of this SAIA." 


Q 23: 


So, when LAPA Vice President Burns references the LALB spending close to $100,000 to litigate such things as LAPA's right to use a tripod, he's not joking?

A 23:        Rev. Phillips:


"Unfortunately, no." 



The preceding questions conclude installment one of our 3rd annual SAIA.  We'll
provide installment two to you in about 30 days or so.  Thanks for your interest, and
we look forward to providing you with the next interesting installment. 



To return to LAPA's Index Page of Auctioneer Issues Discussions by the LALB,  CLICK HERE