On Jan. 24, Cliff Kincaid, editor of the AIM Report, the online newsletter of AIM, revealed that DuhÃ© had reported Courtney to the ethics board. On Jan.12, the board ruled that Courtney and her husband, Bob, had violated state ethics laws prohibiting state employees and their family members from doing business with the state agency where the employee works. Bob Courtney's company, Courtney Communications, was paid $46,869 by John Camp Productions Inc. to develop three documentaries.
DuhÃ© told AIM: "Just after I reported her unethical activities to the governor's executive counsel, I was fired. A thorough, hate- and profanity-filled screaming fit came first, of course. Anybody want to hear it? I've got it in MP3 now. It's 52 minutes long."
We wanted to hear it. On Jan. 26, at our request, DuhÃ© directed The Independent Weekly to a Web page with an audio MP3 file (http://www.yourfilelink.com/get.php?fid=11301). But the audio was only 16 minutes long, not the 52 minutes DuhÃ© claimed he had.
The Independent Weekly requested the entire version, but DuhÃ© would not release it. He wrote in an e-mail: "As I'm sure you can appreciate, there are future legal options available to me in this matter." When AIM's Kincaid was asked if he had heard the entire version or the shorter one, he responded: "I heard so much I was sickened by it. I didn't time it."
Before Kincaid named DuhÃ© as the whistleblower, AIM had called for a federal investigation into whether Courtney should remain on the board of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The organization has also supported the controversial efforts of former Corporation for Public Broadcasting Chairman Kenneth Tomlinson to infuse more conservative views into CPB's programming. Tomlinson resigned from his post in November after it was revealed that he had hired an outside consultant to monitor the political content of public broadcast programs, without the CPB board's knowledge.
In the 16 minutes of audio that DuhÃ© provided, the nature of the meeting is unclear. What is clear is that DuhÃ© gets a caustic lecture from Courtney for not covering a story he was assigned to do. DuhÃ© talks very little, but Courtney's yelling and profanity is heard loud and clear. Courtney declined to comment on the recording.
DuhÃ© told The Advocate that the recording was made in 2004 shortly before he was fired. He told AIM Report that the confrontation with Courtney was over his refusal "to produce a story on a business I suspected was a client of Bob's."
At one point in the recording, Courtney says, "Nobody said go make somebody look good. We said do something on the economy, maybe Bass Pro, because it's 5,000 f--king stories. I don't care about Bass Pro. Do something on the economy ' the number one issue ' not streetcars. Do you understand that? The economy, not streetcars! West Nile virus, serial killers, not people making art out of matchsticks! If you don't want to do that, and you're not good at it, since you don't want to or you're pouting â?¦ because [sarcastically] it's unethical for management to have a conversation with you about doing a story on the economy. Are you crazy, Jeff? I have no vested interest in Bass ' I don't give a f--k about Bass Pro. I said that it's a news story that's of interest in north Louisiana."
At another juncture, Courtney tells DuhÃ©, "I'm just a straightforward person, Jeff. And I tell you exactly what I think, and I'm sorry when I hurt people's feeling sometimes, but I'm not a weasel, and I don't pout."
Courtney later adds: "Have you lost all sense of proportion? â?¦ You work for us. â?¦ Do you have any idea that if you worked for another television [station], your ass would have been fired about 15 times? I happen to like you, oddly enough. I happen to admire your talent, strangely enough. I'm appalled by your immature behavior. You're a grown man who has plenty of talent, who doesn't need to act childish."
At the end of the recording, DuhÃ© says he didn't cover two different stories because he felt there was "management interference" in the content of his program. He adds, "I thought one of the more polite ways to do it was to, you know, not do the story, rather than simply refusing and being rude in any way to you."
The day after DuhÃ© provided a copy of the recording to The Independent Weekly, Louisiana news Web site The Dead Pelican posted the audio online. DuhÃ© seemed to be sticking to his initial pledge to provide the audio to anyone who wanted to hear it, but that's not what he later told The Advocate. The paper reported, "DuhÃ© said Friday that he did not provide the recording to The Dead Pelican or any other Web site. He said he did share the recording with friends and with the Louisiana Educational Television Authority which oversees LPB."
Despite his earlier willingness to share the recording ' and essentially tell his side of the story ' DuhÃ© isn't talking much now. "Right now, I may have said enough," he says via e-mail. "However, I will say the tape recorder was in plain sight and there are witnesses to that fact." On the recording, DuhÃ©'s voice is quite prominent, and it sounds as if Courtney is on the other side of the room, leaving questions as to whether Courtney knew she was being recording during the meeting. And since he won't release the full 52-minute version, it's also unclear how it was edited down to the 16-minute version.
"Believe it or not, I'm tired of the whole affair," DuhÃ© adds. "I would have let it go a year and a half ago if she hadn't waged an aggressive war of slander against me. That's what drove me to report her to the Ethics Board and the Legislative Auditor. In the past two weeks, I have learned that she is trying to slander someone else who is entirely innocent and undeserving of her abuse. That's what got me mad enough to talk to AIM and has brought it all up again. The [Louisiana Educational Television Authority] Board is looking into it, and so is CPB."
State Legislative Auditor Steve Theriot says his agency's findings will be made public later this month. Michael Levy, a CPB spokesman, confirms there is an independent investigation under way as to whether Courtney violated CPB ethics.
On Friday, the LETA board sent a letter to LPB employees stating that it had formed a committee that examined DuhÃ©'s claims and "found no basis to support the allegations." It also added: "Mr. DuhÃ©'s termination of employment from LPB was not retaliatory."
Despite sweeping changes enacted by Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration, the health insurance program for state workers and public school employees will have to use $88 million from its reserve fund to cover its costs this year.
The LPSB races are sure to get heated between now and Nov. 4, and with only 9 available seats, this year's field of 20 candidates will surely be wanting to set themselves apart from the crowd early; they'll get their chance next week, starting Tuesday with the kick-off of a three-day series of candidate forums.
Lawmakers say they've received complaints that waits have spiked, with people being forced to wait in line for more than an hour — and sometimes three hours — to handle routine tasks.
The campaign announced that Rep. Stuart Bishop of District 43 and Nancy Landry, District 31, have thrown their support behind the Naval Academy graduate and entrepreneur in his bid to unseat current Hunter Beasley in District 8.
A Lafayette man with an alleged taste for child porn was busted Thursday evening during a cyber crime sting launched by the Attorney General’s Office.
U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister says his chief of staff is on temporary leave after being booked with drunken driving.
It was a rare moment in Congress this week as Republicans briefly put aside partisanship in support of President Barack Obama's request to train and arm Syrian rebels, and while a number of Democrats opposed the measure, Louisiana's Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu found herself on the same side of the issue as her Republican challenger Rep. Bill Cassidy.
Home Depot breach bigger than Target; Alibaba IPO could be big; Rivers' last project and more national and international news for Friday, September 19, 2014.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
City-Parish President Joey Durel is asking the council to sign off on a resolution approving a pair of deals that would lead to razing the seedy Lesspay Motel at Four Corners to build a new police substation as well as transforming nearly a block Downtown where the old federal courthouse building now molders into a mixed-use development.
In 2013, the IRS — already the least popular governmental agency in the country — became the target of intense investigations after it was revealed that they had specifically and improperly scrutinized applications for tax-exempt status from organizations associated with the nascent Tea Party movement.
Improving the running game was "a point of emphasis" during the offseason and the results have manifested themselves in the form of substantially greater production.
Louisiana's health department said Wednesday that its evaluation of the state's Medicaid privatization was on target, despite criticism from the legislative auditor that it lacked key data and contained inconsistencies.
The feds converge on your office, seizing records on several employees as part of a pay-for-plea investigation. WWYD? If you’re Mike Harson, you give yourself a $12k raise.
It’s football season and after back-to-back winless weekends for the Saints and the Cajuns many citizens are finding it difficult to be civil much less happy. Well, chew on this.
Considering his repeated stays in the local penal system, David Narcisse Jr. should have known that having a semiautomatic shotgun, even one given to him by a friend, wasn’t the brightest of ideas.
A state district judge on Tuesday threw out a last-minute retirement hike lawmakers gave to the state police superintendent, ending a political firestorm over a pension boost passed without public scrutiny on the last day of the legislative session.
The House has passed a bill to increase oversight of veterans' hospitals under construction, following a report that some medical centers take three years longer to complete than estimated and cost an extra $366 million per project.
An obvious follow-up question for any Republican politician who accuses Democrats of being science deniers is one about science, to which Jindal bobbed and weaved like a welterweight champ.
The Lafayette City-Parish Council is expected to decide tonight (Tuesday) whether to go along with a proposal City-Parish President Joey Durel made in February’s State of the Parish Address and consolidate taxes for mosquito control and the parish health units into a broader tax program that would also cover animal control.
U.S. District Judge Richard Haik has dismissed Greg Davis’ lawsuit against the LPSB, yet in his ruling, the federal judge doesn’t bite his tongue in pointing out the "threat" being posed by certain board members.
Of all the political offices being contested throughout Lafayette Parish, the race for Broussard’s top police post has literally become one of the most heated.
A state district judge is deciding whether to issue an injunction against the enforcement of a last-minute retirement hike that lawmakers gave to the state police superintendent.
A new website is up for Louisiana's state government employees and retirees to choose their health insurance plans for next year, a choice they must make by October.
That fact that New Orleans led both games in the final 10 seconds of regulation, and lost each by a field goal or less, is of little solace.