Dear Honorable Judge S. Maurice Hicks, Jr. (On Behalf Of Concerned Taxpayers)
United States District Judge
Honorable S. Maurice Hicks, Jr:
I write you today because I was thoroughly impressed at your words during your judgement of the former Caddo Commissioner Michael Williams criminal case. In your ruling, you went out of your way to ensure that good and honest people in Caddo Parish know that at least someone in our federal government is noticing the repeated abuse we taxpayers take from the Caddo Commission. You stated, “The Caddo Commission’s lack of auditing, lack of due diligence, lack of oversight is appalling to this court.” It is truly a big deal that someone of your position and stature used those words about our local Commission… words that should cause the entirety of the Commission to pause and respond appropriately.
I have never had the opportunity to meet you before, but I want to sincerely thank you very much for being like thousands of us in Caddo Parish who are completely appalled by this rogue body of local government. In dealing with the Caddo Commission, I’ve learned a thing or two about what you may expect next.
You may expect that the Commissioners would straighten up at the embarrassment of being called out by someone of your stature for their appalling practices. They won’t be bothered. In fact, many of them are too busy this week traveling on the taxpayers’ dime as Commissioners Linn, Jackson, Chavez, Johnson and Epperson are apparently at the NACO Convention while Commissioner Cawthorne is in South Africa hoping to pass off a junket as official business. This travel is also at the center of Elliott Stonecipher’s lawsuit about the numerous self-pay scandals within the Commissioners’ “work” on behalf of their constituents.
Please do not be surprised that the Caddo Commission pretends that you never called their actions “appalling”. I have learned they have a total disrespect for anyone who dares to question them. You are, however, in fine company. Louisiana Legislative Auditor, Daryl Purpera, has written two audit reports (most recently here) that have outlined just how egregiously the Caddo Commission has acted in this self-pay scandal as it pertains to the retirement benefits called CPERS. Mr. Purpera did a very thorough job of outlining and researching the matter, only to be summarily dismissed by the Commissioners. They went so far as to report back to him that they were seeking out a ruling about the money in question from the Caddo Court concerning the matter, but recently their attorney, Tom Arceneaux, filed a motion for summary judgement in hopes that the judge leave alone the issue of having to repay the illicitly gotten money (see here). Some commissioners claimed that Mr. Purpera’s report was “just one man’s opinion.”
It is also worth mentioning that Commission President Matthew Linn will likely attempt to score a personal meeting with you, as a critic, in order to convince you that you are simply misunderstanding the matters of the Commission. He’s approached many of us before in the same manner. He will likely attempt to provide you with information that he hopes you will believe, and more importantly hope you never research for yourself to find the intentional deception he is deploying in that conversation. As I have learned from personal experience, it is futile to attempt to get Commissioner Linn to publicly disavow any wrongdoing by the Commission he now leads. He will simply stick to finding a way to meet privately with you to tell a story of why he’s not to be blamed.
I do hope that I have saved you any of your valuable time in this case if you were hoping for a better response from the Caddo Commission. You rightly intended your words to go noticed, as they deserved. In spite of the Commission’s willful dismissal of them, many of us noticed. Many of us have also pleaded, to no avail, with law enforcement to intercede on our behalf in order to restore the public with the illicitly taken money. It is my hope that your words and stature would encourage our US Attorney’s office here to now help us in this matter, as that office has in the Michael Williams case. Everyday citizen’s need help from somewhere, and we applaud you for giving us a voice in part of this matter. You do not deserve this disrespect by the Caddo Commission, and taxpayers certainly do not either.
A concerned citizen