“$16,000 Dollar” Dempsey Lambert and his developer friends seek a fifth Council term

Billy “the Builder” Aguillard (center) with Councilman Dempsey Lambert (l) and Murphy Painter (a declared candidate for Parish President. Wonder who picked up that tab. (file photo).

District 5 incumbent Dempsey Lambert is Ascension Parish Council’s second longest serving member, having first been elected in 2003 and three times subsequently.  On Saturday he seeks a fifth term, his campaign having just eclipsed the $16,000 fundraising mark in the attempt to hold off challenger Cheryl Malbrough.  His latest $500 (October 8) contribution is from GREATER BATON ROUGE HBA BUILD PAC.

Could it be more apropos?

Local homebuilders and subdivision developers have no better council friend than Dempsey Lambert whose district has seen six residential subdivisions approved since 2015.  Development interests account for just under a quarter of Lambert’s 2019 contributions, including a maximum $1,000 from the company owned by the developer of Keystone of Galvez, the largest development in north Ascension Parish.  Coincidentally (?), Keystone of Galvez ponied up a max contribution on August 30, 2011, less than two months before an election; and three months before Lambert voted to approve its Planned Unit Development.

Lambert cast no less than four votes to approve Keystone of Galvez in 2010-11, offering multiple motions to amend an agreement to grease the skids for eventual approval.  Has any development transformed the Hwy 42 corridor, for better or worse, in northeast Ascension Parish more than Keystone?

Dempsey Lambert has never encountered a development or request to rezone property he would not approve.  (Of course the same could be said of tax initiatives and council pay raises).  Most recently there was…

Surprisingly, Buzzard Roost’s owner is not among Dempsey Lambert’s lengthy list of contributors.  Two others who’ve gotten the Lambert seal of approval to rezone property, even when the Zoning Commission recommends “DENIAL,” are among his contributors.

Lambert has approved multiple of his namesake, Dempsey Pendarvis’ rezone applications, almost as many times as Pendarvis has contributed to the campaign.  On January 15, 2009 Lambert voted to approve a request by Hardtimes Plantation.  Six weeks later and Lambert received a $500 campaign contribution from the property owner.

Quite a coincidence.

Have we mentioned; there is no more pro-development council member than Dempsey Lambert?  From the chairmanship of East Ascension Consolidated Gravity Drainage District #1 the District 5 council representative delayed consideration of an ordinance capping fill material at three feet for the better part of a year.  On multiple occasions Lambert justified the delay, claiming that the rights of property owners must be considered.

Interestingly enough, Dempsey Lambert and his family appear to own quite a lot of undeveloped acreage in northeast Ascension Parish.  If aunts, uncles, and first cousins are included the land area totals 657 acres.  Only 6.5 acres is in Dempsey Lambert’s name, abutting another 23 acres in the family; and it’s for sale.

Lambert acreage for sale along Joe Sevario Road

Could that have anything to do with Lambert’s avoidance of forwarding an ordinance which has the development community up in arms?  Is he looking to cash out with a big payday from some subdivision developer?

Developer dollars were even more pronounced during his council race in 2011, (Lambert was unopposed in 2015).  Eight years ago the development community accounted for over half of Lambert’s campaign contributions.  Among his most consistent supporters is Pendarvis who has been active on Lambert’s behalf this election cycle (even more so for parish president candidate Murphy Painter).

The Lambert/Painter alliance adds up to nearly five decades on assorted government payrolls.  Only Lambert has the advantage of incumbency, which makes fundraising so much easier if one is willing to take advantage.  Dempsey Lambert certainly fits that bill having pocketed over $45,000 since 2003 and three contested elections.  Development interests account for roughly a third of the total, with engineering firms another third.