INVESTIGATIVE UNIT: Elected leaders want COA Director to resign after WBRZ report
BATON ROUGE- At least three elected officials in East Baton Rouge Parish are calling for the Executive Director of the East Baton Rouge Parish Council on Aging to resign following a report by the WBRZ Investigative Unit.
Metro Councilmen Buddy Amoroso and Dwight Hudson said Tasha Clark Amar needs to go. State Senator Bodi White joined them. He is also calling for Clark Amar's resignation.
"I believe there are serious ethical questions involved in what she has done," Amoroso said.
Our report showed late last year a board member for the Council on Aging, Attorney Dorothy Jackson drew up a will for a 94-year-old woman. It happened days before her 95th birthday. The will was particularly lucrative to the Executive Director at the Council on Aging, Tasha Clark Amar. Records indicate Clark Amar was set to receive $125,000 from Helen Plummer's estate over the next 20 years. The will that was drawn up without the family's knowledge states, "the trustee (Tasha Clark Amar) shall pay herself, from the trust, compensation in the amount of $500 per month for services rendered as trustee."
Plummer's loved ones said their relative wasn't even dead 24 hours when they got a phone call notifying them of the will that they had no knowledge of.
"Not even a call saying my condolences, or anything, just straight they wanted the money," Plummer's grandson, Dan Freeman said.
We gave Clark Amar an opportunity to discuss this matter and were met with resistance from her and her employees.
"Have a great day, Chris," Clark Amar said. "Have a great day. You've got to be kidding me."
Metro Councilman Dwight Hudson called the actions of Clark Amar and Attorney Dorothy Jackson unacceptable.
"For an attorney who should know the ethical implications, she should have been aware of that," Hudson said. "I'd like to see her step back as well."
State Representative C. Denise Marcelle was recently appointed to the Council on Aging Board. She says, she hasn't even attended a meeting yet, but was the only board member willing to do an interview about this that we could reach. Marcelle claims there was no ill intent on anyone's part. We asked her if she thought anything was done incorrectly.
"No," Marcelle responded. "The lady knows the law. I think what happened is the lady felt comfortable with Ms. Amar. Ms. Amar was spending her own personal money on Ms. Plummer and other seniors."
Marcelle also says despite what Hudson and Amoroso are saying about resignations, right now it means nothing.
"The City Council has not authority over Ms. Amar's employment," Marcelle said. "I guess it's ceremonial."
With a tax that was recently passed totaling millions of dollars that will fund the Council on Aging, Amoroso has long been calling for more oversight. That is in part why he also believes Clark Amar should step aside.
"As a public servant we have to work for the good of the public," Amoroso said. "We cannot enrich ourselves in this. There is an appearance that Ms. Clark Amar has done this, and we are asking for her to resign."
State Senator Bodi White released the following statement, "Tasha Clark Amar should absolutely step down as the executive director of the Council on Aging. As disturbing as this latest incident is, it's just one of many issues from that organization that raise cause for concern."
The family of Helen Plummer is devastated by what happened following their loved one's death. Clark Amar is suing them over Plummer's estate. That lawsuit using the Council on Aging's Board Member as her attorney is set to be heard in court on Monday morning. They want a judge to prevent Helen Plummer's family from accessing any of her accounts.