No Public Official – Even Stephanie Lynch – Is Above the Law
This is an article I never wanted to write.
I challenged a sitting Shreveport City Councilwoman, Stephanie Lynch, about matters regarding her actions as an elected official. Her response to that challenge was, in her individual capacity, to publicly attack me in a manner no private citizen should have to endure for questioning their elected officials.
This past July, I filed a defamation lawsuit against Lynch for her outrageous, falseattacks … a habit of hers for which she is well known.
Lynch is a former Caddo Commissioner who is a recipient of many categories of self-pay, key aspects of which she personally designed. Her rigging of various categories of self-pay has rocked the Caddo Commission for several years.
Further, Lynch has been identified by one of the Commission’s attorneys as a key player in the operation to defend Commissioners in the CPERS litigation in Caddo state district court and the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals.
Lynch’s official interference in that litigation occurred while she has been a sitting member of the Shreveport City Council … no longer a member of the Caddo Parish Commission. The money being used to pursue her secret (until now) litigation meddling is public money … not her own.
In a local school forum post in social media, I challenged Lynch for her role in CPERS and her still unpaid Louisiana Ethics Administration fines. Her response, as a member of our Shreveport City Council, was a direct attack on my personal character, including accusations that I accepted “hush money” in a business I operate. (http://www.shreveporttimes.com/story/news/election/2015/09/15/local-officials-owe-fines/72351674/)
I, as well as others who had specific and independent knowledge of the outrageous falsity of Lynch’s attacks, publicly wrote and published those refutations. Lynch doubled- and tripled-down on her lies.
Her plan was to directly damage my businesses … my means of support.
I was left with one choice under our system of law: file suit against Lynch. Far too often, and understandably, people are intimidated by those in public office and the power they possess and may abuse.
Stephanie Lynch and any other public officials certainly have far more power than any citizen. Public office comes with a higher standard of behavior.
That standard took a huge blow this week.
After Lynch, via her attorney, denied all claims in the lawsuit, we filed for discovery, including deposing her. This would be a normal procedure for anyone in most any lawsuit, but Lynch – for which she is infamous – operates above the law.
Lynch summarily ignored these requests and sought extensions of time because she is busy being a politician and city council member. In her “busy-ness,” she has found more than enough time to post further attacks against me via social media.
My attorney had to invoke Rule 10.1 of the Rules for Civil Proceedings in District Court to schedule a conference in hopes that two professional lawyers could amicably arrange for their clients to follow the rules of the court.
After receiving no notice or word from her side, my attorney called and discovered that Lynch is deliberately ignoring her duty to produce these documents. Her attorney could not arrange for her to appear for a simple deposition or produce the documents we are entitled to.
This morning, with no other alternative, we have filed with the court a motion to compel Lynch to comply with the law and produce the documents.
It is incredible that a sitting elected official would continue to behave in this way. This is shockingly new, even for people who follow our spiraling-down local government.
We might take a moment to consider the Oath of Office set out in the Louisiana Constitution which Lynch swore upon her elections to the Caddo Parish Commission and Shreveport City Council:
“I, Stephanie Lynch, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the constitution and laws of the United States and the constitution and laws of this state and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as Shreveport City Councilwoman, according to the best of my ability and understanding, so help me God.”
Lynch lives in violation of this Oath in word, deed and spirit.
To me, this is about one thing and one thing only: the law. By extension, then, it must seek an answer to a simple question:
Are we in Shreveport and Caddo Parish, including in the actions of our judicial system, prepared for the consequences of allowing even one elected official to proclaim and practice that they are above the law?