It turns out that Bankston, the former state senator who spent 41 months in federal prison for accepting a bribe – namely, “rent” of a seaside condominium in Orange Beach, Alabama Bankston owned without the use of it in return for carrying a pro-gambling bill favored by the condo’s “renter” – and whose return to the political forefront since the inauguration of John Bel Edwards has been fraught with similar ethical issues, is now busy trying to drag Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry into court.
Because Bankston is attempting to force Landry to sign off on a contract that would make him the executive counsel to the State Licensing Board for contractors.
Former state Sen. Larry Bankston has filed a lawsuit against Attorney General Jeff Landry for what he calls Landry’s “obvious abuse” of his office by failing to approve Bankston’s contract extension with the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors.
The lawsuit, which was filed in 19th Judicial District Court, asks that Landry be ordered to approve the contract for Bankston, who is the board’s legal counsel.
The paperwork was submitted to the attorney general in May of 2017, according to the lawsuit.
Since then, it says, the attorney general “has consistently abused his authority and discretion” by refusing to comply with state law and failing to offer a written reason on why he has not approved the contract.
The challenge, which was filed on Jan. 12, also says Landry approved a previous contract extension for Bankston on Feb. 7, 2017.
This isn’t a new issue; it’s an old issue. We’ve reported on it quite a few times. Landry objected to Bankston’s hiring as the executive counsel for the licensing board because a bribe-taker isn’t someone who makes sense as a key functionary on a board which issues licenses for obvious reasons.
And when this first came up in 2016, Landry actually backed down – something he more or less had to do politically since he got zero support in the media or anywhere else. The fruits of that came when Bankston blew up a flood recovery contract with a suspicious objection to the winning bidder’s qualifications based on a technicality; that objection was exceptionally suspicious since it looked a lot like he was trying to rig the bidding in favor of another company his son worked for.
Given that, it’s hardly surprising Landry would refuse to sign off on Bankston’s contract extension this year. Now Bankston is going to court in an attempt to force Landry to relent, and his doing so is significant, it seems, of two things.
First, that Larry Bankston really, really wants to be the executive counsel for that licensing board. Boy, does he really want to keep that job.
And second, that Larry Bankston isn’t all that good a lawyer.
Just last year, Landry was enmeshed in a legal fight with Bankston’s patron, Gov. John Bel Edwards, over the extent of the Attorney General’s power to approve or reject state legal contracts. Edwards was attempting to include demands that attorneys the governor was hiring for various items of legal work – for example, his cabal of private plaintiff attorneys engaged in suing oil companies for purported damage to the state’s coastline – contain employment protections for LGBTQ people, protections which amount to a policy change the state legislature has specifically refused to adopt and which are therefore an abuse of Edwards’ power. Landry objected and vetoed those contracts, which put the two in court against each other.
And Landry won, and big. Not only did he win on the question of the LGBTQ protections. He won on the question of where his limits are to reject state legal contracts; the court ruled that he has the power to accept or reject them for any reason.
Which would be controlling in this case, obviously. Landry doesn’t even need cause, but he certainly has it. After all, whether the suspicions about Bankston and his son were correct or not, the fact was that Bankston blew up that contract for no good reason and by doing so he delayed flood recovery aid going to people who needed it by a good three months.
That Bankston and Edwards are trying to drag this rotten roadkill carcass of a case into court is VERY indicative of the sleaze at the top of Louisiana’s government. You’d think that after Edwards was eviscerated in a congressional hearing over Bankston and the flood recovery fiasco he’d want no part of a continued fight over this matter, and yet here he and Bankston are doubling down on it. As our buddy Robert Burns of Sound Off Louisiana notes, Larry Bankston is as close to the smelly kid in the class as you can get among Edwards’ coterie…
Here are a few things that may interest readers entailing Larry Bankston:
1. Getting caught red-handed trying to steer a flood relief contract to a firm at which his son is employed (even though the Executive Director of the Contractor Board denied his son was employed at the firm — just WATCH Congressman Mark Meadows grill John Bel Edwards over that episode): http://www.soundoffla.com/?p=668.
2. Intriguing quotes on FBI wire taps entailing Bankston (including, “I don’t want to be involved with people who f—– tape record people’s telephone conversations.”: http://www.soundoffla.com/?p=652.
3. Full list of attorneys (all coordinated through attorney Louis Unglesby) who submitted letters for Bankston to have his law license reinstated (including one from a “character witness” stating that he (the witness) would “cut Neal Patel’s legs off”): http://www.soundoffla.com/?p=656.
4. Bankston obtaining massive amounts of money as legal counsel for the perpetually-stalled Comite River Diversion Canal project in serving as attorney for the Amite River Basin Commission: http://www.soundoffla.com/?p=420.
5. Auctioneer Licensing Board FINALLY cutting its losses with Bankston and DECLINING to renew his contract: http://www.soundoffla.com/?p=740.
6. Bankston doggedly refusing to pursue payroll fraud charges against the Louisiana Auctioneer Licensing Board’s Executive Director, Sandy Edmonds, and instead convening a hearing to pursue my auction license for reporting instances in which she was relaxing in Orange Beach, Alabama, visiting Disneyworld in Orlando for a week with her family, visiting relatives in Kanas, sight-seeing in New York, all while claiming to be “on the clock:” (just WATCH the corrupt convicted felon in action on the video: http://www.auctioneer-la.org/problems_robert_burns_91212_pa….
Larry Bankston is not the most corrupt person I’ve ever met in my life (former Attorney General James D. “Buddy” Caldwell holds that distinction), but he is damn sure VERY, VERY high up in the rankings!
I have no idea how much of a masochist Gov. John Bel Edwards is entailing Larry S. Bankston, but if he wants to be whipped into oblivion in the next election, keep remaining loyal to Larry Bankston, and he ALONE is fully capable of destroying Edwards! It’s YOUR funeral, Governor!
A warning, though – we’re told the Bankston-Landry case is going to be heard by 19th Judicial District Court judge Wilson Fields, about whom it’s been said that if you want to hide something from him you’d best put it in a law book because he’ll never look for it there. Don’t be surprised if Fields, a reliable Democrat who is the brother of former congressman and Edwin Edwards payee Cleo Fields, is accomodating to Bankston and Edwards at the trial level. But even if he is, Bankston’s case will never survive scrutiny at the appellate level and he’s going to lose.
And he knows it.
Which is what makes this case so curious. What is it these people want so badly that they’d waste their time and the taxpayers’ money with such a long-shot lawsuit?