Let’s Not Forget Caroline Fayard’s Little Campaign-Finance Dry Cleaning Operation Back In 2010

Caroline Fayard, the New Orleans Democrat dilettante attorney and daughter of Democrat mega-donor Calvin Fayard has stepped into the Louisiana race to vie for Sen. David Vitter’s (R-LA) US Senate seat.

But, Fayard comes with a ton of baggage. Or in this case, laundry.

Between 2010 through 2014, the Hayride covered extensively the funny-money scheme that followed Fayard’s failed run for Lt. Governor.

So, here’s exactly what happened:

2010 – It’s 2010. Avatar is the biggest movie of the year and Caroline Fayard is running for Lt. Gov. in the state against Jay Dardenne. During this time, Fayard’s father, Calvin Fayard, dropped more than $800,000 on the Louisiana Democratic Party and then illegally earmarked those donations to his daughter’s campaign.

Essentially, Caroline Fayard’s entire campaign was funded by her father and his legal cronies. For instance, the Hayride reported on the small amount of big donors to Faryard’s camapign at the time, pointing out the vast connections that the Fayard family has in order to rake in political cash.

This is a small breakdown of where Caroline Fayard’s campaign money was coming from at the time:

Wiliston Oil & Gas Properties, LLC, which donated $25,000 to the Louisiana Democrat Party on Oct. 18 2010, is Calvin Fayard. A search of the Secretary of State’s corporation records turns up the fact that Fayard is the registered agent of the company. He’s listed as one of the officers of the LLC along with one Robert Maurin, who donated $40,000 on Oct. 21 2010. Turns out that Maurin is Calvin Fayard’s cousin.

Imperial Properties, LLC was very busy writing checks to the state party. Two donations, one of $25,500 and another of $30,000, made their way to DEMOPAC on Oct. 28 2010 and another $40,000 check hit the party on Oct. 28 2010 for a grand total of $95,500. And a search at the Secretary of State’s office indicates something which isn’t a surprise – namely that not only is Calvin Fayard the registered agent for Imperial Properties, the mailing address for it is “c/o Calvin Fayard” and Calvin, Cynthia and Cathryn Fayard are listed as corporate officers.

Fayard’s law partner at Fayard & Honeycutt, LLP ($10,000 on Oct. 26 2010) is Blayne Honeycutt ($80,000 on Oct. 21 2010). Honeycutt’s wife is Valerie Honeycutt, who donated $50,000 on Oct. 28 2010. A Hayride source who discussed this information with told us that Ms. Honeycutt “never had $50k in her own bank account in her life.”

Frank Dudenhefer donated $35,000 on Oct. 21 2010. Dudenhefer is an old lawyer buddy of Calvin Fayard’s, and he’s had a history of working with Calvin on fundraising – like for example when he helped put this event together for Hillary Clinton at Calvin’s house in New Orleans in 2007.

And by the way – Frances Gray? That was her former name. Her name now is Frances Fayard. She’s Calvin’s wife. You won’t find many campaign donations from Frances Fayard anywhere, but you’ll find lots of them out there from Frances Gray. She’s using her maiden name to contribute money, like when she gave three $30,000 checks to DEMOPAC on October 27 2010.

That doesn’t include the $50,000 Chalyn Fayard gave on Oct. 19 2010. Or the $50,000 Calvin Fayard, III ponied up that day. Or the $30,000 more he put up on Oct. 28 (or the $10,000 he gave on Nov. 22 2010, after the election was over). Or the $40,000 Calvin Fayard himself gave on Oct. 28 2010.

While Calvin Fayard’s money was pouring into the Louisiana Democratic Party, those funds were being immediately turned over to Caroline Fayard’s 2010 camapign, something that eventually went before the Louisiana Board of Ethics.

2011 – It’s June 2011 and the Louisiana Ethics Board is very interested in what allegedly occured between the Fayards, Caroline Fayard’s failed 2010 campaign and the Louisiana Democratic Party.

This is when the Ethics Board voted unanimously to open an investigation into the Fayard campaign laundry, and  then issued subpoenas and subpoenas duces tecum to the Fayard entities and DEMOPAC, the state Democrat Party’s political action committee through which the money was funneled.

But the Fayards and the Louisiana Democratic Party failed to produce anything when it came to their response to subpoenas.

Instead, Fayard hired Gray Sexton, who had been on the Ethics Board before he decided he could make more money helping people skirt campaign finance laws than by pretending to enforce them, while the Louisiana Democratic Party hired Mary Olive Pierson, the failed Louisiana Supreme Court candidate whose name comes up over and over again representing bad political actors.

On August 1 2011, the Fayard/DEMOPAC Axis filed a petition, under seal, for declaratory judgment and temporary and permanent restraining orders in the 19th Judicial District Court in Baton Rouge. The attempt at that point was to get the whole thing swept under the rug so Caroline Fayard could run for Secretary of State that year.

However, Judge Billy Morvant was not having any of that.

Morvant denied the preliminary injunction seeking to prevent the subpoenas from being enforced, and he unsealed everything but the actual Board of Ethics subpoenas, which gave a significant public-relations black eye to the Fayards and the Democrats.

Following this, though, Morvant’s rulings were appealed all the way to the state supreme court, where the Fayard/DEMOPAC Axis fared poorly – the one-year prescription on the case expired.

Morvant ruled that the Fayard/DEMOPAC Axis had run out the clock and, in a sealed ruling, threw out the case and the fines the Ethics Board were going to levy on the Caroline Fayard campaign that would have effectively prevented her from ever running for office again.

Hence, Calvin Fayard, Caroline Fayard and the Louisiana Democratic Party were able to get off the hook for what was essentially (if not according to the legal definition) a massive money-laundering scheme defrauding the public into believing there was a groundswell of support for her campaign for Lt. Governor.

2014 – It’s been almost five years since the Fayard-Louisiana Democratic Party alleged money-laundering scheme went down, but the issue is still alive.

The 1st Circuit Court of Appeal handed down an opinion on the Board of Ethics’ appeal of Judge Morvant’s 2011 ruling.

The opinion itself is rather dry, as it goes through the legal maneuvering and concludes that yes, indeed the one-year prescription had run on the case and while there is a statute which allows for a three-year prescription for violations of campaign finance laws this case didn’t fit within that statute as the Board of Ethics argues.

Interestingly enough, as the Hayride extensively reported, Judge Jimmy Kuhn of the 1st Circuit Court of Appeal, who wrote the opinion, was Calvin Fayard’s former law partner, and the Fayard family contributed heavily to Kuhn’s failed campaign for the state Supreme Court in 2008.

Under Louisiana law Kuhn wouldn’t have had to recuse himself from this case. However, under any idea of propriety, one would think it’s a no-brainer that he should have.

What Kuhn did was to let his old law partner, and the old law partner’s daughter, off the hook for washing money through the Louisiana Democrat Party by crafting a novel interpretation of state campaign finance laws and the prescriptions therein, when it was clear that the Fayard/DEMOPAC Axis was busily running out the clock in filing motions to quash subpoenas and protective orders in order to short-circuit the Board of Ethics’ investigation into the scheme.

At the same time, Kuhn resurrected Caroline Fayard’s political career.

Because as a result of the 1st Circuit’s opinion, the Ethics case against her ended – and ditto for the massive fine she would have had to pay had her side lost in this legal fight.

2016 – Fast-forward to today. Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) has just been inaugurated after positioning himself as a “moderate” Democrat.

Meanwhile, Caroline Fayard is the first Democrat to jump the US Senate race along with a slew of Republicans, including John Fleming, Charles Boustany and Col. Rob Maness.

And with no surprise, the Louisiana media is suffering from short-term memory apparently, as not one media outlet reported on Fayard’s massive run-in with the law over the last six years.

The Advocate, the Associated Press, the Times Picayune and WAFB-Baton Rouge all ignored the legal troubles that have engulfed the Fayard family, along with the Louisiana Democratic Party in their write-ups of Fayard’s Senate run announcement.

The Louisiana media also failed to mention Fayard’s statements back in 201o, which popularized her throughout the state. At the time, Fayard said “I hate Republicans. They are cruel and destructive. They eat their young. They don’t think. They don’t allow people to think. They are bullies.”

Hayride Editor-in-Chief Scott McKay contributed to this report. 

Interested in more news from Louisiana? We've got you covered! See More Louisiana News
Previous Article
Next Article
Join the Conversation - Download the Speakeasy App.