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Formal complaint to state calls EBR COA 'organized crime operation'

6 years 2 months 2 weeks ago Thursday, April 26 2018 Apr 26, 2018 April 26, 2018 4:43 PM April 26, 2018 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE- A scathing two-page letter complaint sent to the State Board of Ethics and the State Office of Disciplinary Counsel requests an investigation and refers to the East Baton Rouge Council on Aging as an "organized crime operation."

The letter obtained by the WBRZ Investigative Unit comes 24-hours before fired Southern University Law Professor Dorothy Jackson appeals her termination to the Southern Board of Supervisors. Jackson was terminated after she drafted a will at Southern's Elder Law Clinic for Helen Plummer, a client at the Council on Aging. Plummer did not qualify because she wasn't considered poor.

The will would have benefited Council on Aging Director Tasha Clark Amar by her receiving $120,000. Jackson also submitted a bill for her work, but all sides backed off when the WBRZ Investigative Unit exposed what happened.

Plummer's daughter then sued the Council on Aging, Dorothy Jackson and others for their roles. Last week, Jackson attended the monthly meeting of the Council on Aging where she still sits as a board member. Jackson attended a private moment of the meeting - called executive session - to listen to discussions about the pending litigation that resulted from her actions.

The letter sent to the Ethics Board states "Jackson participated in the Executive Session.... despite the fact that she is a defendant and one of the primary actors which resulted in the lawsuit against the East Baton Rouge Council on Aging."

The Plummer family's attorney, Robert Garrity, submitted the letter Thursday.

"It appears to Ms. Antoine (Plummer's daughter) the East Baton Rouge Council on Aging is nothing more than an organized crime operation," the letter said. "Not only have they allowed self-serving in the past, they continue to do nothing to rectify the situation by allowing Ms. Jackson to continue to participate as a member of the Board."

When Jackson was asked whether she was comfortable sitting on the board, she responded, "of course." She refused to answer whether she thought it was a conflict of interest to go into executive session about a lawsuit where she was named as a defendant.

Legal scholars believe Jackson crossed the line.

"Someone needs to explain why Dorothy is still on this council...why she's going into executive session involving her own litigation, and why the council continues to tolerate this or encourage it," LSU Law Professor Ken Levy said.

Levy also believes the board at the Council on Aging is at fault, too, for not doing anything to stop her.

"It was a mistake for her to remain on the council," Levy said. "For her to go into executive session, they should have said 'no.' They are complicit as well. They should all be aware that this is not right."

The letter sent to the State Ethics Board calls the situation "a serious ethics violation" and requests an investigation.

Dorothy Jackson is scheduled to appeal her termination before the Southern University Board of Supervisors Friday morning at 9 am.

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