|Photo by Robin Msy|
|LPSB's Hunter Beasley|
The eagerness shown earlier this week by Lafayette Parish School Board president Hunter Beasley upon receiving a findings report from the special attorney investigating Superintendent Pat Cooper quickly faded once his fellow board members started asking for copies.
Beasley’s story has also changed since Monday’s declaration to The Advocate that he’d received the report from Baton Rouge attorney Dennis Shelton Blunt, who was hired by the board to investigate Cooper for a series of unknown allegations.
Upon receiving the report Monday, Beasley called for a special meeting Tuesday for discussion and possible board action on Blunt’s findings. With Cooper out-of-town and unable to attend, the meeting was postponed until next week.
This story, however, took an even stranger turn on Tuesday after requests from at least two board members for copies of Blunt’s report were denied by Beasley, who gave differing reasons for why he couldn’t produce the document.
Those board members are Shelton Cobb and Mark Cockerham, both supporters of the superintendent who say they’ve felt ostracized by the board’s other six members — Beasley included — during the course of the investigation into Cooper, as seen with the stubborn refusal of those six board members to abide by state law and publicly cite the specific reasons for the probe.
Cockerham made his request in an email sent Tuesday to Beasley in which he writes:
I would please like a copy of the report that Mr. Blunt gave you.
Cobb also made his request for the report via email, writing:
Mr. Beasley, do you have in your possession a copy of this report[?] If so should you share it with the Board[?] I would like to see it.
According to Cobb, who spoke with The IND by phone Wednesday morning, Beasley’s initial response was that he’d accidentally deleted the report from his phone. But in a follow-up email, Beasley says he’d does have Blunt’s report. Cobb, however, still didn’t receive a copy.
Cockerham, in an email this morning responding to questions from The IND, says Beasley told him no copies will be distributed to board members, at least not this week:
I have still not seen the report. [Beasley] said he would not give it to any board member before next week unless instructed by the board. They were actually going to deliver the report without interviewing Dr. Cooper.
In an interview with The Advocate on Tuesday, Beasley — who recently stopped responding to The IND’s phone calls and emails — is now saying the reason he’s holding onto the report is because it’s unfinished, though that didn’t appear to pose much of an issue Monday when he called for a special meeting the next day, including a resolution allowing for board action if needed.
One likely reason for Beasley’s reluctance to share the report, even with his fellow board members, is that Cooper, despite being the sole target of the probe, was never interviewed by the investigating attorney. Despite having launched the investigation three months ago, Blunt didn't make contact with Cooper until Monday, after he'd already submitted his report to Beasley. And according to the Advocate, Cooper sent a text message to Beasley addressing this concern and whether the board president had shared the report with other board members.
In his texts to Beasley, Cooper writes:
How can there already be a draft of the report that is fair and unbiased when Mr. Blunt has not talked to me at all? Sounds like it is pre-determined.
Has [there] been collusion?
Beasley also claims that aside from Blunt, only his eyes have seen the report. He also stipulates during Tuesday's interview that what he received is only “preliminary,” an unfinished version.
“What I have is a document that is going to be completely different from the finished document,” Beasley tells the Advocate. “I feel that for the integrity of the investigation that [the board] should receive the report that’s finalized with Dr. Cooper’s input and Mr., Blunt’s input.”
Casual cool for Thanksgiving
Shop Lafayette goes strong
The fight to clean up Lafayette Parish could get some added ammunition with two ordinances up for votes Tuesday by the City-Parish Council targeting litter-bugs.
A divided 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal reversed a Lafayette district judge’s ruling absolving the co-owner of a New Iberia accounting firm of liability in an embezzlement case.
Our View: It’s reasonable, temporary and invests in Lafayette’s future.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
By striking a deal to lessen the blow of health insurance changes on state workers, school employees and retirees, Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration lowered the volume of criticism but gave itself and local school boards a new budget headache.
With the airport tax coming up for a parishwide vote in about a week, the Broussard City Council and its mayor have come out in support of the proposal.
Protesters rallied peacefully in several Louisiana cities in the wake of the Missouri grand jury decision not to indict a police officer in the fatal shooting of Michal Brown.
Three bedroom in Port Barre or two bedroom in Opelousas
US cities bidding on Olympics; Guard prevents more Ferguson riots; storm threatens travel and more national and international news for Wednesday, November 26, 2014.
Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
The U.S. rep billed LSU for work allegedly performed on the same days Congress voted on major legislation and held important committee hearings on energy and the ACA.
“I am only getting a little nervous about two projects — the proposed Sasol GTL facility [not the new ethylene plant] and the proposed G2X facility — both in Lake Charles. They need a hefty difference between oil and natural gas prices to make sense.”
Abysmally low participation by the public has prompted the council to scuttle the 2014 survey with plans to simplify it and try again next year.
The village now says the ordinance will likely be overturned and authorities will more vigorously enforce existing leash laws.
Lower oil prices also might slow the growth of oil production in parts of the U.S., Canada and elsewhere because it will no longer be so profitable.
Bill Cassidy cast an early ballot Tuesday, seeking to draw renewed attention to a race that has fallen off newspaper front pages and away from people's minds as they plan holiday meals and shopping schedules.
A Lafayette woman faces up to 20 years in prison for running up more than $1 million in unauthorized charges to her company credit card.
Signs that our state’s banking industry is undergoing a downsizing in 2014 were further confirmed today with the FDIC’s latest figures showing a third straight quarter in which Louisiana lost more banks and earned less money.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
State police say a 47-year-old Lafayette man, who collected more than $83,000 in disability benefits, is accused of operating two businesses out of his home at a time when he claimed he had no income.
Battered all night by Baltimore's relentless pass rush, Drew Brees could feel his protection collapsing and Terrell Suggs getting ahold of him as he urgently unloaded a pass to the right flat toward tight end Jimmy Graham.
After a convincing defeat at the polls on Nov. 4, Earl “Nickey” Picard has decided to let bygones be bygones with his former right-hand man Brian Pope, announcing his support for his former employee’s runoff bid to become Lafayette’s next city marshal.
Saturday the athletic department did everything possible to ensure the 2014 Ragin’ Cajun seniors remembered fondly their last home game. Rain and lightning never arrived but turbulence did in the form of the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
Even stranger than the Republican Party’s decision to hold a “unity rally” earlier this month for Congressman Bill Cassidy in a Baton Rouge bar, Huey’s Bar, was the fact that the establishment was named after Louisiana’s most famous Democrat.
Bar Code is not a gay bar.
After failing to pass a medical marijuana bill last year, state Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks, is telling supporters he will return in 2015 with legislation that focuses on different applications like oils and pills.
Voters, obviously, are not yet tuned into the 2015 ballot, despite the intriguing races it will host.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.