When Character Counts…try to avoid debt owed to AP taxpayers
Is it possible that Councilman Corey Orgeron cannot come up with the funds to satisfy the judgment ordering him to pay President Clint Cointment attorney’s fees and costs in the amount of $9,896.10? The window to file a suspensive appeal, i.e. one that suspends execution of the judgment signed by Judge Tess Stromberg on March 10, is about to expire if it hasn’t already. Sources close to the proceedings informed that Orgeron is attempting to settle for a lesser amount, offering to forego his council pay in satisfaction of the discounted obligation.
That would seem to violate Louisiana’s Constitutional, Article VII, Section 14.A: Prohibited Uses.
Except as otherwise provided by this constitution, the funds, credit, property, or things of value of the state or of any political subdivision shall not be loaned, pledged, or donated to or for any person, association, or corporation, public or private.
Since Cointment’s attorney’s fees and court costs were paid from Ascension Parish’s General Fund, every dollar of which is taxpayer funded, any reduced amount is “a thing of value” invoking the constitutional prohibition. In any event, why would President Cointment or anyone else settle for less than every red cent Orgeron owes the taxpaying public?
A series of questions were posed to Orgeron via his parish email account recently, which included:
Why haven’t you satisfied the judgment against you? It makes little sense that a lawyer would intentionally alienate the pool of potential clients, i.e. the taxpaying public of Ascension Parish by ignoring a debt owed to them.
Shouldn’t a man of character, self-proclaimed no less, deem it important to satisfy his debts?
Shouldn’t an officer of the court respect that court enough to pay the judgment rendered against him?
You knew the bill was going to come due all the way back on August 20, 2021. Nearly eight months later and…still avoiding the inevitable…why?
Assuming the deadbeat councilman’s council salary is the only available asset to seize/garnish/attach, members are paid monthly. The after-tax amount comes to approximately $1,300, requiring eight months of garnishment to satisfy the judgment against Orgeron, assuming the plaintiff takes no further action. If required to conduct a Judgment Debtor Examination the lawyer for President Cointment would go back on the clock.
Orgeron has been absent for eight of the last 15 Council meetings, and was present for only parts of three others. Two of those meetings (January 20 and February 3) were conducted via videoconference so it is impossible to say if he participated fully. In the last two regularly-scheduled meetings Orgeron hung around long enough to do the bidding of his campaign supporters in the residential builder community.
He exited stage right after the Consent Agenda was read during the March 17 meeting, mere moments after blocking Chairman John Cagnolatti’s attempt to add an item introducing an extension of the subdivision moratorium to May 31. Orgeron’s action necessitated a March 23 Special Meeting which he did not attend. On April 7 Orgeron left the dais prior to the vote enacting that moratorium extension, missing two other Ordinance votes in the meantime.
He also left halfway into the November 18, 2021 Council meeting, the first he had attended since September 16.
Coincidentally, Orgeron’s February 15, 2022 Campaign Finance Report includes a $500 contribution from the Greater Baton Rouge Home Builders Association…
and nothing else. It was the first contribution since the 2019 cycle when the Association also gave Orgeron’s campaign $500, half of the maximum allowable amount. That was in addition to over $5,000 from other development interests.
If/when Orgeron’s council salary is diverted to satisfy the debt owed to Ascension’s taxpayers, at least his tenure will have been good for something.