- Will Broyles
- Caddo Commission President Matthew Linn
Once the Caddo Commission was caught in the well documented self-pay scandal (Read about it here), the Commissioners quickly went to work to preserve the loot. Elliott Stonecipher filed suit to seek to restore the public’s money and the rule of law, the Caddo Parish Home Rule Charter.
First, the Commission voted to hire Tom Arceneaux and his law firm as outside counsel on the public dime. Then, Matthew Linn claimed that local attorney Michael Lowe was being paid by a few of the white, republican Commissioners. Later, we learned that Linn blatantly lied and Lowe was also on the public’s pay. Thus far, the bill exceeds $88,000 and counting.
Next, Linn went on the offensive, asking to meet privately with public doubters in an effort to quiet anyone from noticing the lawsuit or the damning facts of the case. Even as the Louisiana Legislative Auditor twice advised that Caddo Commissioners had broken the law, Linn and his contemporaries pretended that the Auditor and his increasingly scathing reports simply did not matter.
Further, Linn worked to be installed as the President of the new Commission and worked with newcomer, Steven Jackson, to end future involvement for Commissioners in CPERS. The goal, and forethought, being that the scandal would be declared politically dead. Volunteers and concerned citizens worked diligently to spread the word to the public that Elliott Stonecipher’s lawsuit is not over, and any attempts to paint the scandal as “over” were easily dismissed.
Now, with the malice of forethought, Linn has arranged to create a ruse organization to give him the appearance of cover as he seeks to change the Caddo Parish Home Rule Charter. Linn, with the help of the rest of the Commissioners, has created a “Charter Review Committee”. This committee seemingly exists to correct or adapt the Home Rule Charter to better serve the people. Instead, the committee is chalked full of political patronage appointees, the majority of whom will bring proposed changes that likely favor legalizing mechanisms of self-pay that are already abused.
I was nominated for the committee. I recognized what the purpose was, and I originally declined. Upon hearing some of the names being tossed around, I decided it would be in the public interest for someone to join the committee who would expose any alterations of the Home Rule Charter that would increase the likelihood that theft and self-pay would continue.
Again, with the malice of forethought, Linn used my willingness to enter the cesspool of corruption as a chance to give himself cover. Two of the three votes I received to put me on the committee came from Matthew Linn and John Atkins. They happen to also be the two Commissioners I have criticized most. As is typical, votes were arranged ahead of time so that Linn, and then Atkins, could safely vote for my nomination, knowing the rest of the Commissioners would dutifully not vote for me. The public should not buy this notion, as I have repeatedly referred to Linn as a pathological liar, and called for the resignation of John Atkins (if he decided integrity was ever important). I can assure anyone that those two never truly wished for someone like myself to be amongst the inner workings of corruption and graft that benefits them both.
We should all keep a close eye on this committee. If their recommendations appear to try to “fix” the issues of self-pay, the citizens of Caddo Parish would be wise to dismiss the entire exercise and vote against anything the Commission brings forth for public considerations. After all, for decades, Commissioners refused to bring their desire to increase their pay to the public… instead, resorting to underhandedly stealing and manipulating via their lawyers. To date, Linn and other Commissioners have given zero dollars back to the Parish. A private citizen like Mr. Stonecipher is instead punished by Commissioners for doing the right thing, by wantonly paying for outside lawyers to milk more from the public.
Why can’t Commissioners simply do the right thing and return the stolen money? Why are we seeking to change the Home Rule Charter when Commissioners do not even respect it enough to follow the rule of law it established decades ago? Before taxpayers are subjected to more, the Commission would be wise to spend at least a little time living under the law they so desperately wish to change.