Yesterday the FBI, DEA, DOJ and a number of other federal agencies descended on the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office and Hammond Police Department, locked down the buildings – which were “treated as a crime scene” and walked off with a computer belonging to Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff Daniel Edwards – brother of Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards.
Sheriff Edwards wasn’t arrested, yet. But there is certainly more than a little unpleasantness in his future.
What we know about the raid, per media reports, is this – a DEA agent named Chad Scott is at the center of an investigation of rather severe wrongdoing; specifically to the effect that Scott allegedly was running a “steal and deal” racket by which he and his confederates would pillage police evidence lockers of drugs and then sell them on the streets, or even just steal the dope off the dealers and sell it when they couldn’t just pocket cash found at crime scenes.
Scott used to be a Tangipahoa Parish sheriff’s deputy. Two recent TPSO deputies, Johnny Domingue and Karl E. Newman, were arrested for dealing drugs. Word has it Scott recruited Domingue and Newman onto the DEA task force out of the New Orleans office, as well as other TPSO deputies in what was described as a “pipeline.”
What makes all this extremely interesting, particularly given the seizure of Edwards’ computer, is this question – what would make Scott think he could recruit so many deputies from Tangipahoa Parish to participate in his steal-and-deal scheme? It would seem like a major risk to recruit confederates for such a racket; one call to the FBI about such a recruitment and the whole house of cards comes down. But if you’re recruiting henchmen from one department in a pipeline, one would have to believe you’re doing so because they’ve already qualified as the kind of people who would have interest in a corrupt enterprise like selling stolen drugs.
Because they’re already corrupted by something else going on there, for example.
We have a theory about all that, which we’ll leave alone for now. But in light of yesterday’s FBI raid and the buzz it has created, we thought we’d pass along something else involving Edwards and his brother the governor which doesn’t exactly cast them in a terrific light. It’s this…
Obviously there is nothing particularly untoward about the governor throwing his brother the sheriff a fundraiser, and one has to admire the taste involved in holding the affair at Middendorf’s.
Except here was the e-mail that went out containing that invitation…
From: Maxx Raiser <[email protected]>
Sent: Friday, July 15, 2016 1:00 PM
To: Maxx Raiser
Subject: Sheriff Daniel Edwards Invite (7/18/16)
Dr. Shawn Wilson
Secretary of LA DOTD
At a fundraiser for
Sherriff Daniel Edwards
We’re told the invitees included more or less every general contractor and engineering firm from Slidell to Lake Charles, and a whole lot of them showed up.
Why would they show up? Well, they more or less figured they’d have to. The governor sent them a pretty unmistakable signal to that effect.
Why would an engineering firm in New Orleans or Lafayette, for example, care about the sheriff in Tangipahoa? They wouldn’t. But when the e-mail they get tells them the head of the state’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Agency, along with the Secretary of the Department of Transportation and Development, are the ones making the invitation, all of a sudden they do.
Because if you’re an engineering firm and you do government work, particularly the big jobs for which you can make lots of money, if it’s going to be with the state more likely than not it’ll be a contract let by either DOTD or CPRA. Ergo, you are now a big fan and booster of Daniel Edwards or else you really don’t want those contracts, do you?
These are the kinds of things you see all the time in a corrupt administration, and for the most part they’re shrugged off as the cost of doing business. It’s obnoxious that it’s being done on behalf of a local sheriff who’s the brother of the governor rather than, say, one of the Gov’s floor leaders in the legislature, but it’s not the end of the world generally speaking.
Of course, when that local sheriff is sans a computer thanks to the feds who just raided his office as part of a probe into crooked law enforcement, all of those engineers and contractors who were buffaloed into giving him fat wads of cash for his fundraiser tend to get cranky about having done so. – And perhaps a little less enthusiastic about working with his brother the governor, to boot.