INDIVIDUAL LICENSEE ISSUES:
Background Leading Up to 9/17/12 Hearing (links for video segments at bottom of page):
Mr. Burns was an LALB Member when Executive Assistant Sandy Edmonds was hired in August, 2009. In making her presentation to the Board, Ms. Edmonds stated she'd "work from home and the office." This statement prompted Mr. Burns to inquire how much Ms. Edmonds would be in the office, to which Mr. Burns contends Ms. Edmonds responded, "Oh, I'll be in the office more than you can imagine." Burns has requested the August, 2009 audio tape to substantiate Ms. Edmonds' response, but Ms. Edmonds states the tape has gone "missing" and that she continues to be unable to locate it.
Burns quickly observed that, contrary to being in the office "more than you can imagine," Ms. Edmonds' was spending virtually no time whatsoever in the office. As a result, numerous problems were arising. Most alarming of these problems was the fact that Ms. Edmonds hurriedly scheduled an office visit for auctioneer Dan Mahaney, an out-of-state auctioneer who had a major French Quarter auction scheduled in July of 2010. Mr. Mahaney stated to Burns that Ms. Edmonds failed to ask him if he operated a company (one of the questions on a form for out-of-state auction applicants). Consequently, since Mr. Mahaney DID (and does) operate a company, his personal auction license was insufficient. Accordingly, he was informed that he had to either 1) postpone the auction (a nightmare for any auctioneer not to mention lost credibility with the client), or #2) pair up with a Louisiana auctioneer. Mr. Mahaney opted to pair up with auctioneer Dave Gilmore, which resulted in a $30,000+ loss in commission to Mr. Mahaney!
Due to all the problems, Mr. Burns contacted former LALB Executive Director Sherrie Wilks who, in turn, stated that the entire payroll setup was unethical and, quite likely, illegal. Ms. Wilks asked that Burns obtain payroll information for the LALB and that LAPA President Rev. Freddie Phillips do likewise for the Interior Design Board (for which Ms. Edmonds serves as Executive Director and enjoys the same payroll setup). Armed with that documentation (including email correspondence wherein Ms. Edmonds readily stated that she would be on a week-long vacation and thus "unavailable" for work, yet her spreadsheet showed her to be working), Ms. Wilks and Mr. Burns met with Civil Service Officials, who, upon reviewing the documentation relayed, that upon the documentation being verified, the payroll setup constituted (verbatim quote of Patrick Lowery, Chief of Civil Service Accountability): "blatant payroll fraud!"
Since Civil Service had no authority to prosecute payroll fraud (for NON-classified civil service employees), Ms. Wilks and Mr. Burns were advised to visit with either the Legislative Auditor's Office (LAO) or the Inspector General's Office. Ms. Wilks and Mr. Burns went immediately on to the LAO (Mr. Calvin Moore), and months later (after periodically meeting with Burns, Wilks, and Phillips), on February 29, 2012, the LAO issued this DAMMING report on the payroll practices of BOTH the LALB and IDB.
Nine (9) days later, on March 9, 2012, the LALB covertly (without any on-the-record Board approval) hired Convicted-Felon Attorney Larry S. Bankston to begin the process of convening an Administrative Hearing against Burns entailing the following matters:
September 17, 2012
Matters for LALB v Robert Burns:
1. The Payroll Pursuit Outlined Above,
2. Mr. Burns' Mere Stated Belief That Separate Attorneys Should Be Utilized for General Counsel and Prosecutorial Functions, and
3. Mr. Burns' Active Revealing of All of the Problems at New Orleans Auction Galleries, Which Employs LALB Chairman Tessa Steinkamp.
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