Payroll Irregularities
(Includes Interior Design Board - IDB)




November 7, 2016:



Discussion of reinstating office hours for LALB
CLICK HERE for similar proposal by Rev. Phillips for Interior Design Board







August 11, 2014:



CNBC airs a segment on widespread payroll fraud entailing the U. S. Patent Office which
bears striking similarity to Ms. Edmonds' practices in that those workers, like Edmonds:
1.  Lied about having worked hours they did not.
2.  Were easily distracted.
3.  Exhibited an inability to focus on performing tasks properly.
In the case of the LALB, Ms. Edmonds illustrated characteristic # 3 above when, in 2010,
she rushed into the office, cranked out a personal license (only) for Illinois auctioneer
Dan Mahaney, and flew right back out of the office WITHOUT pulling out a questionnaire
and asking him if he operated an auction business (which he does).  The result?
Mr. Mahaney lost $34,000 in commissions by being forced to pair up with a Louisiana
auctioneer (he chose Dave Gilmore) or else postpone the auction until the LALB
could meet again (a nightmare for any auctioneer entailing advertising all again,
recalling brochures, etc., not to mention shot credibility with the client likely resulting
in the client cancelling the auction contract).








July 15, 2014:


In an obvious flaunting of the Inspector General report of 12/9/13 outlining problematic payroll practices
as well as LAPA Vice President Robert Burns statement on the May 6, 2014 video below
(beginning at 1:47 mark) wherein he said, "I have no doubt that, if Ms. Edmonds said she wants caviar
 delivered to her home on Wednesdays at 3:00 p.m., the LALB would seek a vendor to deliver
 caviar to her home at 3:00 p.m.,"
the LALB presented Ms. Edmond with caviar right after the conclusion of the meeting to, as
LAA President Wiley Collins said, "save the 3 o'clock delivery."





May 6, 2014:



LALB Chairman Tessa Steinkamp relays Executive Director Sandy Edmonds'
hourly rate of pay has been "irresponsibly manipulated" when represented as over $30/hour.  LAPA's
Vice President, Robert Burns, explains that, if that's the case, it's Legislative Auditor
Daryl Purpera who has been "irresponsible."  Note:  The above discussion
was part of a presentation to provide Ms. Edmonds with yet another pay raise
notwithstanding this damming report on LALB & IDB payroll practices in which
the LALB is said to be paying Ms. Edmonds while she "performs no public purpose."
Note:  CLICK HERE to see reference to the LAO's "irresponsible" reference to Ms. Edmonds' hourly rate of pay.






December 9, 2013:


Louisiana Office of Inspector General (OIG) issues long-awaited report on LALB & IDB payroll practices.    The report, originally scheduled for release in early November of 2013, remained with Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal awaiting him approving the final wording.  No material prior to March 2012 was even included in the report.  Why?  Because, as indicated on the March 19, 2012 entry below, Gov. Jindal chose to turn a blind eye to rank corruption within these two Boards.   All one has to do to confirm same is merely listen to the recorded words of LALB attorney Anna Dow on 3/19/12 in relaying there's "nothing to worry about because Gov. Jindal has now gotten involved."  You may also listen to Ms. Dow's commentary by clicking here (Dow begins explaining that "Jindal's got our back" beginning at the 0:35 mark).    Pretty damming words allegedly coming from Gov. Jindal.


So, Gov. Bobby "we have a zero tolerance for corruption" Jindal merely permits corruption to continue unabated!!  Nevertheless, even the above watered-down report acknowledges the fact that Ms. Edmonds is cited for lying to Inspector General investigators during her interrogation, an act for which the OIG recommends "disciplinary action, up to and including termination."  Nobody should hold his or her breath waiting for either of these corrupt State Agencies to take any such action, however.  After all, as evidenced by the date captions below, they've actively encouraged the payroll irregularities from the outset and, in the case of the LALB (see 9/17/12 entry) even sought to revoke the auction license of LAPA Vice President Robert Burns for pointing out the same issues as cited in the OIG report!




March 14, 2013 (IDB):


IDB Executive Director Sandy Edmonds relays that as a result of this faxed threat of litigation of the preceding day,  she is "waiving"
her alleged "right" to have her employment agreement discussed in Executive Session and permit its discussion in an open meeting.
The entirety of the discussion entailed Ms. Edmonds saying, "this just memorializes what we've been doing the past year."
IDB Members made this employment modification out of concern that a criminal investigation may have ensued or was about to ensue.






March 5, 2013 (LALB):


After LALB Attorney Larry S. Bankston mailed LAPA Vice President Robert Burns this July 20, 2012 letter (last paragraph)
 that Ms. Edmonds payroll parameters would "not be on a future agenda of the Board," the LALB only eight (8) months later
 attempts to remedy Legislative Auditor concerns contained in Ms. Edmonds' employment agreement as
 they become concerned that a criminal investigation may ensue. 




January 8, 2013 (LALB):


Impending potential criminal investigation into its payroll practices notwithstanding, the LALB,
at the urging of Board Member Darlene Jacobs-Levy, issues a commendation for its
Executive Assistant.





September 17, 2012 (LALB):


LALB convenes formal administrative hearing to consider disciplinary action against LAPA Vice President Robert Burns'
auction license as a result of his role in reporting the LALB's payroll parameters for its Executive Assistant to the
Legislative Auditor's Office for formal investigation.


5:00 - 8:22 Burns' attorney, Robert Loren Kleinpeter, stresses that the Edmonds payroll fraud
issue is
NOT something for which the LALB can sanction Burns.  His itemization of sanctionable criteria
is immediately followed by LALB Member Darlene Jacobs-Levy, an attorney with
 43 years practicing law in Louisiana, making an appeal to the Administrative Law Judge to issue a
Directed Verdict and dismiss the entire matter.

8:40 - 9:30 LALB Attorney Larry S. Bankston relays there's
no question" Burns' accounts are "false and misleading."

9:47 - 18:00 Bankston point-blank asks Burns if he "believes" Ms. Edmonds is committing payroll fraud.
Burns then provides a lengthy recount of all that led up to that hearing that day, and the Administrative
Law Judge ultimately sustains an objection by Kleinpeter to continued questioning, which had
clearly been an unmitigated disaster for Bankston!!

[NOTE:  At the 15:40 - 15:48 mark of the video link above, Burns informs the LALB that the Legislative Auditor's
Office sent him an email (Joy Irwin was the sender) relaying that they did not consider the payroll fraud investigation
over but that they were not at liberty to divulge what action they may take next.  Clearly, each LALB Member
let that utterance by Mr. Burns go in one ear and out the other!!  Also, at a meeting of the Baton Rouge Press Club of Monday,
November 4, 2013 (Burns is a member), Daryl Purpera, Legislative Auditor, indicated to Mr. Burns that, upon the conclusion
of his agency's investigation and report being issued, his office then referred the matter on to District Attorney
 Hillar Moore's Office for consideration for prosecution for payroll fraud].




May 21, 2012 (LALB):


 LAPA Vice President Robert Burns, unaware that the LALB had begun a secretive covert operation to seek
disciplinary action against his auction license, politely informs the LALB that it should strongly consider modifying
 Ms. Edmonds' employment agreement (first 1:15 of preceding video) "in light of recent developments" (the issuance
of a damming report on February 29, 2012 by the Legislative Auditor concerning both the LALB and IDB payroll practices).
[CLICK HERE for the then-current employment agreement with issues highlighted and LAO hourly rate computation].
Instead of heeding Burns' advice, the LALB was well into preparing an Administrative Hearing against him (see 9/17/12 above)
and, despite Board Attorney Larry S. Bankston saying the matter would NOT be on any future agenda (see 3/5/13 above),
they subsequently DID modify the agreement as Burns suggested after first pursuing Burns' license then later recognizing
the problematic nature of the employment agreement.




March 19, 2012 (LALB):


LALB, after banning video coverage (hence audio only), discusses
 damming Legislative Auditor report issued on February 29, 2012, including
 candid statements that Gov. Bobby Jindal has allegedly taken care of all the problems.  Since Gov. Jindal's
alleged action flies in the face of the Legislative Auditor report, Ms. Edmonds merely says, "Welcome to politics!"





January 26, 2012 (IDB):


Board Attorney Anna Dow bumbles and stumbles in providing justification for the Board going into Executive Session.
Ms. Dow relays it's due to a "threat of litigation," when, in reality, it was to discuss the fact that the Legislative Auditor was
investigating the Board's payroll practices.  LAPA's Robert Burns, Freddie Phillips, and Ms. Sherrie Wilks all filed an extensive
complaint with the Attorney General's Office regarding Ms. Dow's red herring of why the Board went into Executive Session
(see 11/17/11 entry below).  Even if Ms. Dow's stated reason for going into Executive Session had not been a red herring, she
nevertheless demonstrated ignorance of Louisiana's Open Meetings laws because, as provided for in LA R. S. 42:19, when
pending litigation is cited as the reason, the meeting's agenda should disclose:
  (bb)  A statement identifying the parties involved and reasonably identifying the subject matter of any prospective litigation
 for which formal written demand has been made that is to be considered at the meeting.  Ms. Emalie Boyce of the
Attorney General's Office responded to the complaint relaying that, "the issue has been discussed with Ms. Dow and she has
assured future compliance."





January 23, 2012 (LALB):



0:37 - 3:34 of link above......More Dow bumbling and stumbling and, despite LAPA President Rev. Freddie Lee Phillips repeatedly relaying
to Board Attorney Ann Dow that she is failing to conform to
 LA R. S. 42:19, Ms. Dow uses the red herring of a "threat of litigation"
to convene the LALB into Executive Session to discuss the fact that the Louisiana Legislative Auditor is investigating
its payroll practices (refer to 1/26/12 for AG Open Meetings complaint and the response from
 AG Buddy Caldwell's Office -- i.e. Dow would comply with Open Meetings Law in the future.)




November 17, 2011 (IDB):


IDB conducts secretive meeting (never posted to website nor to Division of Administration's LaTrac website) to
formalize in writing the work conditions under which Ms. Edmonds works (i.e. as long as she has her cell phone in
her possession, she's considered "on the clock" irrespective of vacationing in Florida or wherever else she may be).
In addition to the secretive meeting, the item was not even on the agenda, but rather had to be added at the meeting's outset
via unanimous consent.  LAPA's Robert Burns and Freddie Phillips, along with Ms. Sherrie Wilks
filed this extensive complaint with the AG's Office with EXTENSIVE supporting detail (including a captured LaTrac webpage showing
that, even in late January, the meeting agenda was not uploaded, along with an manufactured invoice for alleged security services which
 was NEVER paid with EBRP Deputy Ronald Landry stating he was NOT present!!).
AG Buddy Caldwell's office issued this response saying his office would not pursue any alleged violation
but had gotten the assurance from IDB attorney Anna Dow that the Open Meetings law would be conformed to in the future.





November 15, 2011 (LALB):


Despite receiving this 19th JDC court filing on November 2, 2011 relaying that Patrick Lowery, then-Chief of Accountability of Civil Service,
had deemed the LALB/IDB work arrangements of Ms. Edmonds as constituting
"blatant payroll fraud," and over the vehement
objection of LAPA President (and then-LALB Member) Rev. Freddie Lee Phillips that no documented disclosure of additional duties
was provided, the LALB grants Ms. Edmonds yet another pay raise (see 1/10/11 for prior pay raise), thus boosting her hourly
compensation to an utterly obscene level of
$31.41/hour for a "job" in which she can be on vacations, shopping, etc., but only
have the responsibility of responding to office calls (which are forwarded to a Board-paid cell phone) within some reasonable period of time. 





August 11, 2011 (IDB):



LAPA President, Rev. Freddie Phillips, concerned about him and LAPA Vice President Robert Burns being identified BY NAME
 as the reasons IDB began retaining the security services of EBRP Deputy Ronald Landry (see 7/18/11 LALB video below),
 seeks for the IDB to elaborate on that decision





July 18, 2011 (LALB):



From the 0:45 - 1:37 mark, Ms. Sandy Edmonds, ID Executive Director, complains about the loss of
 the IDB's
"luxury" of being able to conduct meetings (i.e. social gatherings) at restaurants due to
 Phillips & Burns' desires to videotape the meetings as permitted by LA R. S. 42:23.   During the 1:15 - 1:26 mark
of the video, Ms. Edmonds names Burns and Phillips in relaying she has hired EBRP Deputy Ronald Landry
as a result of them attending and videotaping the meetings.  Rev. Phillips later observed the fact that,
as evidenced by this City of Baton Rouge police report for the arrest of Matthew Edmonds, Sandy's husband,

Ms. Edmonds and husband Matthew had no qualms about entering one of Baton Rouge's most crime-infested neighborhoods to collect
their rents when they were landlords and her husband even slamming a tenant to the floor of his apartment unit, yet
she relays she needs EBRP Sheriff security from LAPA's Phillips and Burns!!
It's also quite revealing to watch from the 2:18 - 4:03 mark of the video, wherein Ms. Edmonds concludes by saying Phillips
and Burns, by merely videotaping the IDB meetings, are "trying to make me uncomfortable in my position."  Now why
in the round world would Ms. Edmonds have reason to feel "uncomfortable in my job???"






April 11, 2011 & April 12, 2011 (LALB):


With the full blessing of a tenant of the LALB building, the Arthritis Association of Louisiana (with CEO Karen Kennedy even
opening the door to let Burns in), and at the direct request of LAPA President Rev. Freddie Phillips, LAPA Vice President
Robert Burns visited the CONFERENCE ROOM of the BUILDING (NOT an LALB or ID Office!!) of the building several times to
 film videos for an upcoming 30-year Glen Oaks High School reunion and explain how Real Estate auctions work
Ms. Edmonds became aware of the visits and, as a result, as evidenced by this EBRP Sheriff's report, sent the EBRP Sheriff
to Burns' home on April 11, 2011, and that was followed up by Ms. Edmonds, as evidenced by this report of the LSP,, sending
the Terrorism Unit of Louisiana State Police to Burns' home on April 12, 2011.






March 21, 2011 (LALB):


Mr. Patrick Lowery, then-Chief of Accountability of Civil Service, stated to LAPA Vice President Robert Burns that
"it could take years for the Legislative Auditor to get around to investigating Ms. Edmonds.  You may want to try Paul
Gates at Channel 9."  Burns took Mr. Lowery's advice and called Mr. Gates, and Channel 9 showed up at the
March 21, 2011 LALB meeting as reflected in the video above.  Mr. Gates called Burns about 10 days thereafter and
stated that, as a result of him being diagnosed with Alzheimer's, "we're just going to have to let the Legislative Auditor's Office
handle this one."  Perhaps Mr. Gates brief visit is what precipitated the above incidents of April 11, 2011 and April 12, 2011
on Ms. Edmonds' part!!


In response to LAPA President Rev. Freddie Phillips' concerns regarding the Division of Administration's telecommuting policy
 (see 1/10/11 first video below), Ms. Edmonds makes it perfectly clear that neither Civil Service, nor the Division of
Administration, NOR THE GOVERNOR mandates how she works.  Ms. Edmonds made the statement to reinforce
 her steadfast resolve to make it clear that she had no intention whatsoever to adhere to the Division of
 Administration's policy on telecommuting, which states that, when one works from home, designated hours have to be
 allocated for such work and that a work-at-home arrangement cannot be used to accommodate caring
 for a parent or for CARING FOR CHILDREN during those hours!




January 10, 2011 (LALB)
(Note:  Back then, You Tube had a 15-minute limit on video length,
so the video had to be segmented into two clips):



Sandy Edmonds'
"Employment Agreement" & $2,000 raise (Part 1)
LALB jumps through this hoop due to concerns over public records for Edmonds' payroll
records made by LAPA President Rev. Freddie Lee Phillips and Vice President Robert Burns.

4:00 - 7:15:  Board Attorney Anna Dow emphasizes Edmonds is "performance-based and not an hourly employee."
Also during that segment, LAPA President Rev. Phillips references obvious nonconformity with the Division of Administration's
telecommuting policy in that Ms. Edmonds would routinely bring her young children into the office while working and permit
them to run all through the building.  Within this segment, from the 4:52 - 5:04 mark, then-Vice Chairman Tessa Steinkamp (now Chairman) readily
 admits she's "confused" and has "no idea" what telecommuting even is!!!

10:40 - 14:46:  LAPA President Rev. Freddie Lee Phillips expresses grave concern that the LALB Office has NO posted times
at which the office is open to serve the public!  Within that segment, from the 11:51 - 12:04 mark, Rev. Phillips flatly asks,
"If she's in Miami, Florida and she answers her (Board cell) phone, that's part of her job?" to which the Board flatly says, "Yes."

14:37 - 14:43:  Edmonds (regarding her working actual office hours):  "I don't care to have this discussion.  It's the Board's decision
and not mine."



Sandy Edmonds
' "Employment Agreement" & $2,000 raise (Part 2)

0:43 - 1:08:  Audience member Larry Nobles (now deceased) chastises LAPA President Rev. Freddie Phillips and says
that, if he's going to insist that the LALB have office hours to serve the public, "you need to just get off this Board!"

1:10 - 2:33:  Former LALB Executive Director Sherrie Wilks extensively contrasts her work requirements vs. those of Ms. Edmonds.

2:37 - 3:42:  Audience Member Marvin Henderson:  "If this Board has adopted a policy under which she works, the rest of them
need to keep their mouth shut." Mr. Henderson then stresses that, if there is a problem, it should be documented and filed as an
official complaint.  LAPA Vice President (and then-auctioneer) Robert Burns did that very thing (and emphasized the fact that
the office setup cost auctioneer Dan Mahaney (Illinois) approximately $34,000 in July of 2010).  What did Mr. Burns'
efforts get him?  Merely examine the 9/17/12 entry above!!!!!!!!!  Given that, what auctioneer who values his license would
dare complain to the LALB about lax performance on the part of Ms. Edmonds????

4:03 - 4:30:  LAPA President (and then-LALB Member) Rev. Freddie Phillips emphasizes that, if the LALB office is going to be
a ghost office, it should be shut down and hotel conference rooms reserved for meetings.  Then-Chairman James Kenneth Comer
reacts tersely to that statement, but Rev. Phillips concludes by saying, "
It's a matter of business ethics!"

9:45 - 9:52:  Before approving the raise, LAPA President Rev. Freddie Phillips inquires if there is an official written evaluation of Ms. Edmonds'
job performance, to which then-Chairman Comer responds, "No."






November 16, 2009 (LALB)

Ms. Edmonds was hired on August 10, 2009.  At the first LALB meeting (8/17/09) after her hiring (which transpired WITHOUT Board approval),
then-LALB Member Robert Burns asked if she would be spending significant time in the office, to which Ms. Edmonds
responded, "Oh, I'll be in the office more than you can imagine."  Burns requested the tape of that meeting, but
Ms. Edmonds states the tape has conveniently gone "missing".  Simultaneous with Ms. Edmonds' being employed, there was also an active investigation
being conducted by the Louisiana Office of Inspector General's Office.  Ms. Edmonds bragged to Burns of having copied a critical Inspector General workpaper
and relayed that she had read the workpaper over the phone to then-Chairman James Kenneth Comer.  Rodney Ramsey at the Louisiana Attorney General's
Office confirmed the covert copying in this court filing of October 12, 2011.  Contrary to Mr. Ramsey's statement that the Inspector General's Office "found no fault" with
Ms. Edmonds, LAPA Vice President Robert Burns can state unequivocally that Mr. Street was FURIOUS at Ms. Edmonds' covert act of copying the workpaper and
even more furious with her reading it over the phone to Mr. Comer.
  Ms. Edmonds relayed to Mr. Burns that
Mr. Comer "about exploded over the phone" when he learned the identity of the complainant (former LALB Executive Director Sherrie Wilks). 
In the audio file above, Ms. Edmonds finds her antics (most notably her "buttering up" to her new boss, Chairman Comer) are uncontrollably
amusing to her as evidenced by her outbursts of laughter.  It's interesting to contrast the above November 16, 2009 laughter with the initial video on this
page (3/14/13) wherein Ms. Edmonds seems to be quite somber.  Guess it all became not quite so funny.

So there you have it.  The whole payroll fraud episode from beginning to end.  For anyone wondering how Ms. Edmonds may have gotten the cushy job at the IDB in the first place, it just may help that her husband, Matthew, is a licensed interior designer and that he teaches part-time at LSU's Interior Design College, and that Dr. T. L. Ritchie, the long-time Chair of LSU's Interior Design department (who recently "stepped down" to become a mere ID professor -- Dr. Ritchie is depicted at the outset of the 3/14/13 video at the top of this page) is also Vice Chair of the Interior Design Board.  Ah, yes.  Do the dots all seem to suddenly connect????    


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