Monday, November 20, 2006
Time for conflict resolution
I am perusing the Web site of the National Association of Securities Dealers -- there is no task too tedious for me to undertake on your behalf -- when I notice that Steve Theriot of West Jefferson is listed as a representative for Coastal Securities of Houston.
This is the same Theriot who, as Louisiana's legislative auditor, is guardian of proprieties in our public institutions. He can spot a conflict of interest a mile away.
Yet this is the same Coastal Securities that handles bond issues for Louisiana public institutions subject to the legislative auditor's oversight.
Theriot was still listed as a vice president for public finance on Coastal's Web site after his appointment as legislative auditor, which was curiously omitted from his resume.
While we are talking rules -- and what subject could be dearer to the heart of a legislative auditor? -- I mention that the NASD has one requiring agents and brokers to list all their sources of income. Yet the NASD Web site does not record that Theriot is legislative auditor in Louisiana either. He says he does not know how come.
It was obvious, too, that Theriot, a former state legislator, would have to quit as lobbyist for the Jefferson Parish Council. The pain of that sacrifice was somewhat alleviated, however, when he transferred his lobbying company to his daughter, Wanda.
Wanda Theriot later lost the Parish Council contract, but that does not mean she is hard up. She is a lawyer and also a vice president for public finance at a securities firm. I do not think you need me to give you the name of that firm.
Wanda Theriot, according to the Coastal Web site, "works primarily in the States of Louisiana and Mississippi." She brings "her experience and knowledge of the Louisiana Legislature to Coastal Securities, including a past clerkship with the Louisiana House of Representatives' Committee on Ways and Means."
When I read that I got to reminiscing about Ways and Means meetings several years ago. The committee had a chairman from Jefferson Parish. I'm trying to remember his name. Got it! It was good old Steve Theriot.
COMMENTS BY C.B. FORGOTSTON:
Theriot needs to resign!
Whenever the idea that LA's public officials are corrupt is raised, publicly, in response we get righteous indignation from our elected officials. We are dutifully informed that it is merely a perception based on ancient history in LA.
Well, the reason that our public officials are perceived as corrupt is because they are. And it is NOT ancient history.
James Gill's column below is present day corruption. Not only is the official corrupt, but he is the person who is supposed to be a paid, public, "watchdog" on behalf of the taxpayers.
This is the guy that we told Congress would be looking over every penny of disaster relief money that they sent us to make sure that none was spent in violation of the law.
If any of the Congressman who were skeptical about our ability to safeguard the taxpayers money are reading this column, they must be rolling on the floor laughing. There's only one reason that public officials in LA are perceived as corrupt. It is because they prove it every day.
One of the things that we hear from the Heh, Heh, Heh, Ethics Board is they are in existence to prevent conflicts of interest amongst our public officials.
Wonder how they missed this one? There is only one way to restore public confidence in the Office of Legislative Auditor. Steve Theriot needs to resign his position as Legislative Auditor.
If not, he should be removed by a two-thirds vote of the leges. They can do so in the upcoming Special Session.
Kudos to James Gill for shining the light of day on current corruption in LA.