District Attorney Caught In Lies
At last night's forum, sponsored by the League of Women Voters, Derosier said having billboards on the interstate discourages criminals from wrongdoing in Calcasieu Parish - a proposition so laughable it should embarrass him.
"No reasonable person believes having John Derosier's picture on a billboard is going to deter crime," said James Hartman, a political consultant for Christian Chesson, who is challenging Derosier for reelection. "What these billboards do is promote the D.A. himself when he's in a tough reelection battle. I did law enforcement public and community relations for nine years, and never did any reasonable crimefighter suggest billboards as a crime prevention tool."
In response to a Freedom of Information Act request, Derosier revealed earlier this week that he has spent $47,000 of public dollars on billboards and videos this year alone - more than three times what he spent last year - under the guise of "public service announcements."
"There was no 'public service' in these expenditures,"
In the same FOIA response, Assistant District Attorney Carla Sigler wrote that office policy forbids employees from doing political work while on public time. Yet emails from Holly Carter of the D.A.'s Office Community Relations Division show different.
On Sept. 19, Carter emailed Harold Guillory, producer of "Louisiana Zydeco Live," asking for the costs of appearing on the show. After Guillory replied, offering Derosier the same price Chesson had paid for a 30-minute appearance on the show, Carter declined. But only hours later, Fox 29 pulled the "Zydeco" broadcast Chesson had previously recorded, paid for and set to air on the CW affiliate.
Interestingly, Fox 29 is co-owned by Lester Langley, one of Derosier's biggest contributors and a partner at Langley, Williams and Company, LLC, the accounting firm that has handled Derosier's public audits for nearly a decade.
It gets better. In his "Zydeco Live" interview, Chesson talked about his desire to reduce sentencing for those charged with small-quantity drug possession - a position Derosier opposed only six months ago when he testified before a state Senate committee. But before Chesson's interview even aired - the one the Langley-owned station stalled for a week - Derosier started making public statements that people charged with simple possession of marijuana should not be treated as felons.
"It's always encouraging to see a misguided public official coming around to sensibility and good public policy," Hartman said. "It's not encouraging to see an entrenched politician lie to his own constituents in an effort to retain power. I was in the Senate Committee room when Derosier said he strongly opposed a bill that would eliminate 20-year prison sentences for those offenders, and said marijuana is a 'gateway drug.' Suddenly, he's progressive. I've been to Calcasieu Parish many times in recent years, and John Derosier's face wasn't plastered up and down the Interstate in an ostensible effort to intimidate criminals. Suddenly, in an election year, he's very, very liberal with taxpayer dollars."
"Public corruption and Derosier's lies are so rampant and so blatant, they've spilled over into the media," Chesson said. "The people of Calcasieu Parish deserve better than this. They deserve better from their D.A. and they deserve better from their journalists. I'm not taking contributions from anyone, and I won't be manipulated by anyone. I won't need anyone to protect me from the truth, because the truth in my administration will be a source of pride - not embarrassment."