Earlier this week we brought to light information concerning the recent Dusty Guidry Plea Deal. Unlike the boilerplate information you may have read being circulated by the mainstream “media” outlets, we provided important facts and additional details to our readers. But our investigation didn’t stop there and today we are glad to report on recent findings which reveal the identity of at least one co-conspirator involved in the recent federal investigation.
WHO IS “PO-2”?
“PO-2” is a term used in the federal filings to designate a “public official” who “unlawfully steered and attempted to steer LDWF (Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries) contracts to Vendor #1 in exchange for payments and other tangible benefits.” If you recall Dusty Guidry served as a commissioner for the LDWF, a position he was appointed to by John Bel Edwards, from May of 2019 until about December 10, 2021. During this time Guidry indicates he and “other public officials”, including but not limited to “PO-2” attempted to secure contracts for Vendor #1 which covered on-line courses, including hunter’s and boater’s education classes and licenses, courses to resolve LDWF violations, and other services of LDWF.
In exchange for securing these contracts for Vendor #1, Guidry and PO-2 would receive a portion of the sale of hunter’s and boater’s education classes and portion of the profits made off of the LDWF violations. The court documents go on to detail that Guidry, Vendor #1 and PO-2 met to “discuss concealing and disguising the payment of bribe proceeds.” As part pf the agreement payments to PO-2 would be withheld until after he retirement from the LDWF and that Vendor #1 would purchase a $14,000 all-terrain vehicle for PO-2.
Again, according to court documents the contract was in fact executed on October 8, 2021 by PO-2 and Vendor #1. According to public records obtained from the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries there were five contracts/agreements executed on behalf of the agency on that date. All five contracts/agreements were executed by and/or under the authority of a single person. The only contract executed on that date specifically dealing with hunter’s and boater’s education classes and licenses and courses to resolve LDWF violations was executed by Jack Montoucet.
From 2008 until 2017 Montoucet was a Democratic member of the Louisiana House of Representatives. He received his appointment in January of 2017 from John Bel Edwards to head the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
HOW MUCH MONEY ARE WE TALKING ABOUT?
The cooperative endeavor agreement executed by Jack Montoucet on October 8, 2021 dealing with hunter’s and boater’s education classes, licenses and courses to resolve LDWF violations not only provides the identity of Vendor #1, it also provides an idea of the amount of money flowing through the elicit deal.
According to the agreement the LDWF’s Hunter Education program educates around 11,000 persons per year, with approximately 2,750 taking the course on-line. The LDWF’s Boater Education program educates around 8,000 persons per year, with approximately 6,160 taking the course on-line. Lastly, the agreement indicates that the LDWF Enforcement Section issues around 8,000 civil violations annually.
According to the LDWF website the on-line boater education course and the on-line hunter education course both presently cost $29.95 per course. By using the numbers provided in the agreement the annual revenue generated on these two courses would be approximately $266,000 annually. According to that agreement only 20% of those funds would be paid to the LDWF in the first two years of the contract, leaving 80% in the hands of the vendor.
WHO IS “VENDOR #1”?
The sole vendor listed in the October 8, 2021 cooperative endeavor agreement executed by Jack Montoucet is DGL1, LLC out of Lafayette, Louisiana. According to the Secretary of State DGL1, LLC is registered to Leonard C. Franques, IV. It is worth mentioning that, according to court records, Vendor #1 is not just tied to the LDWF scheme. It is also connected to the District Attorney’s Office scandals in more ways than one.
Lake Wellness Center is one of four businesses that DA Don Landry reported his office utilized the services of in conjunction with the Pre-Trial Intervention Program. According to the Secretary of State Lake Wellness Center, LLC is also registered to Leonard C. Franques, IV.
According to court records, Guidry agreed to “accept payments and things of value from Vendor #1 in exchange for causing and directing that Pre-Trial Diversion defendants be assigned to classes offered by Vendor #1.” Further “in order to conceal that Guidry was receiving these payments from Vendor #1, Guidry used Skyline Media to accept the payments.” According to the Secretary of State Skyline Media, LLC is registered Lauren Rhorer of Lafayette and is domiciled at 105 S. Montauban Drive, Lafayette, Louisiana, property which was partially owned by Dusty Guidry until October of 2021.
“Guidry also directed Vendor #1 to provide the payments or things of value to his wife or her company in order to conceal the payments.” Guidry admits to receiving $163,556.80 in payments from Vendor #1 alone.
ADDITIONAL TIES TO THE 2012 DISTRICT ATTORNEY SCANDAL
If the name Franques doesn’t ring a bell, well it should. There was another Franques implicated in the 15th Judicial District Attorney scandal which rocked the office of then DA Mike Harson. That scandal which began sometime in 2008 and unfolded in 2012 was a huge topic which may have cost Harson his bid for re-election against Keith Stutes. Interestingly enough, following the retirement of Stutes after six years in office without a scandal, we find ourselves witnessing this unfold. As part of the 2012 scandal Kenneth Franques was charged by the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office with two counts of public bribery. According to records of the Lafayette Clerk of Court to this day that matters remains an unresolved criminal prosecution. As it turns out, Leonard Franques and Kenneth Franques don’t just share the same last name, they are reported to be family.
Rest assured there will be more to follow on this topic!