Former IceGator Eric Cloutier is out of the bar business but will not be behind bars after entering a no contest plea in state court in Lafayette Thursday to tax evasion and obstruction of justice charges. The state Attorney General’s Office, which prosecuted the case, alleged that Cloutier rigged cash registers at Marley’s and Karma — two downtown Lafayette bars of which Cloutier was a part owner — in order to avoid paying sales taxes. The no contest plea allowed Cloutier to settle the matter without admitting guilt, and he told local media after the hearing that he wanted to fight the charges but felt the plea was best for himself and his family.
Cloutier was arrested in February following an investigation by the Louisiana Department of Revenue’s Criminal Investigation Division, the Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control and the AG’s office. He initially faced more than 500 felony counts including obstruction, fraud and theft. Thursday’s plea to one count of tax evasion and one count of obstruction of justice were connected to the destruction of more than 300 tax-related documents.
While Cloutier dodges a prison sentence with the plea, the deal hits his wallet hard: According to an LDR press release, Cloutier paid a tax liability of more than $200,000 including interest and penalties to Lafayette Parish and to the state; he has been ordered to pay investigation and prosecution costs to the tune of $10,000; and he was ordered to pay more than $1,400 in fines and court costs. Cloutier also surrendered his bar licenses and will serve two years of active supervised probation.
Frank’s Casing Crew, now doing business as Frank’s International, will make its final appearance on ABiz’s list of the Top 50 Privately Held Companies in Acadiana this year, and once again it will likely be at the top with more than $1 billion in annual revenues. The 75-year-old company specializing in tubular fabrication and installation services to the oil and gas industry plans to offer shares of its stock to the public for the first time.
The defeat, or rather highjacking of House Bill 420 in the final days of this year's Legislative Session, say Reps. Vincent Pierre and Terry Landry, is the result of the propaganda spread by one unidentified local media outlet and an unnamed former state Representative, but nothing to do with the original legislation's lack of checks, balances or details.
He’s a singer. A songwriter. A piano man. A family man. He’s even got his own Wikipedia entry. He’s David Egan. And he knows ancient secrets about the monolithic stones of Stonehenge that he’s not willing to share.