EBRP Coroner’s Office Troubling Sunday, Oct 30 2011 

The Office of Coroner has caused me pause over the past few months.  While doing extensive research, I have been troubled at the facts that have come forth.  It all began with a friend who had trouble obtaining a death certificate investigated by the Coroner’s Office  in short order.  Evidently, the backlog of death certificates in the Coroner’s Office is pretty extensive. 

Then, without warning to the public, a death investigator was killed in a murder-suicide a few months ago at one of my favorite restaurants, T.J. Ribs.  It was a very sad story that slowly unfolded. 

Perhaps it was then that the public began to made aware of significant issues that seemed awry. 

According to The Advocate, both Coroner Shannon Cooper and Chief Operating Officer Don Moreau spoke on occasion with the death investigator, Raymond Levie, about his relationship with a mentally ill woman.  This fact was verified by Moreau and the Baton Rouge Police Department reports.

The Coroner’s Office website states they are on call 24/7, 365 days a year, to evaluate the mentally ill, chemically dependent and handle death investigations. 

Furthermore, their website states the conditions under which CEC’s (Coroners Emergency Certificates) are issued in order for a physician to perform a psychiatric evaluation of a patient under an Order of Protective Custody (OPC) ordered by the Coroner.

In the case of Raymond Levie, as a death investigator, who is on call 24/7 — 365 days a year, it appears that Levie took the liberty of getting involved with a mentally ill patient and went beyond the perimeters of his responsibilties by entering into a relationship with the patient.

What is more troubling is that the relationship was volitile and the mother of the patient repeatedly made efforts to put the death investigator’s personal involvement to a stop.  The Coroner and the Chief Operating Officer were both aware of the request for a restraining order, requested by the mother, and the fact that the death investigator continued the relationship.

As things unfolded, Coroner Shannon Cooper denied that the patient was mentally ill.   The truth is that the patient was mentally ill and perhaps chemically dependent according the BR Police Department reports.

In short order, we also learned that the deceased death investigator had a large amount of personal property taken from the scene of death investigations in his apartment.  Those items included drivers licenses, other types of ID’s, and medication. 

The Coroner should have either dismissed or placed the death investigator on probation, as he was made aware of the situation in December, 2010, when a search warrant was performed at the residence of the death investigator when the BR Police Chief requested that Coroner Shannon Cooper meet with him.

The death investigator died in June, 2011.  One must ask if action had been taken by the Coroner prior to that time if two unnecessary deaths could have been avoided?

Additionally, it was not until after the death of the investigator that The Advocate checked in to the situation further to learn that the medications and personal property of those investigated by the Coroner’s Office had been confiscated in the December 2010 search warrant. 

This caused Coroner Shannon Cooper to publicly state he would implement a ‘new’ policy aimed at better tracking of drugs removed from death investigations.

In response to this ‘new’ policy, The Advocate Editorial Staff issued an Opinion stating the policy should not be verbal, as stated by Cooper, but should be stated clearly in writing.

The fact that Coroner Shannon Cooper stated he was implementing a new policy is troubling at best.

With a little research into the Louisiana Constitution, I found a written policy already in existence, in fact it is the law:

  • RSS13:1551 – Part II Coroner – Subpart A General Provisions — 1567:  Retention of Decedent’s Person Effects — plainly states that the Coroner shall take charge of person effects and property of the deceased at the scene of death.  Once complete, the Coroner is to return the property to the lawful person and/or provide it to law enforcement in ongoing investigations. 

The law is clear already.  Coroner Shannon Cooper and his office personnel were in violation of a law that was already in effect.  It seems to me that by ‘reinventing a policy’ that is already law, Cooper has diverted the attention from the real issue. 

Furthermore, Ron Coe, Coroner for Livingston Parish, told The Advocate in February, 2005, that his investigators had collected medications worth thousands of dollars over the past six months and donated them to the St. Vincent de Paul Community Pharmacy.  At that time, Coroner Shannon Cooper stated he has implemented the same policy.  That was 6 years ago!  If that is the case, how did drugs find their way to the residence of a death investigator?

All of this is extremely disturbing.  Evidently Cooper has taken on the characteristics of Pinocchio during his effort to hold on to his post in a highly contested election that will continue to play out during a run-off set for November. 

Pinocchio is often a term used to describe an individual who is prone to telling lies, fabricating stories and exaggerating or creating tall tales for various reasons. 

The people deserve a Coroner that will enforce the laws that already exist  — one that is not prone to ignoring the laws, but enforcing them.  The Advocate had it right in their Opinion; however, the laws are already on the books.

This may be the tip of the iceberg.  Usually, where there is smoke, there is fire. The truth is that the story is a sad commentary on what is apparently going on behind the scenes at the EBRP Coroner’s Office. 

Unfortuantely, Coroner Shannon Cooper made a cognitive decision to ignore the law.  Is this the type of man we want to re-elect?

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

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Mayor Kip Holden Horse Trades Wednesday, Oct 12 2011 

Mayor Kip Holden has taken on a new hobby – horse trading with your tax dollars by freeing up money to repair bridges in the parish in exchange for approval of one of his downtown projects.

In late July, 2011, East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor Kip Holden accused our Metro Council of “virtually playing Russian Roulette with the lives and safety of the people of Baton Rouge and East Baton Rouge Parish” for not approving his proposed $740 million tax increase/bond issue which would have included the repair of bridges in our parish.

The Metro Council was simply following the lead of their constituents who are sorely against the bond issue and another tax increase earlier this year.  Holden’s bond issue failed in 2008 and 2009 when voters refused to approve his tax increase.

Perhaps the most amazing revelation in this horse-trade is that money was ‘suddenly uncovered’ to fund the bridges requiring repair.  It is utterly amazing that the voters were told no funding was possible without a tax increase in 2008, 2009, and 2011, yet funds were ‘moved’ to meet the need.

It seems that Holden has no problem spending tax dollars on personal items such as:

  • $8,000 to ‘protect’ himself from the public by installing security cameras, a panic button, double glass doors, and a keypad. 
  • Nearly $1,000,000 to widen streets in downtown Baton Rouge,
  • Purchasing a helicopter for the Baton Rouge Police Department vs. putting more boots on the ground to address ever-increasing crime in our parish. (No doubt Holden flies around in the helicopter at will.)
  • Spending between $42,000 to $68,000 annually for personal body guards.  Over an 8 year period, this equates to between $336,000 and $544,000 of your tax dollars for his personal use. 
  • An annual expenditure, according to the city-parish budget, of $642 monthly to pay for a Lincoln Town Car to drive Holden around town.  This would be approximately $61,000 during an 8 year tenure for the rental of a vehicle or Holden’s use.

Mayor Kip Holden’s annual budget has increased over $138 million since taking office.  That is our tax dollars being spent.  Imagine having that kind of increase in your personal household spending?  It would never happen.  Spending someone else’s money is Holden’s specialty.

Mayor-President Kip Holden was marked as unfriendly to business, a tax and spend liberal and named as one of two ”King of Legislative Junketeers” according to The Advocate in 1997.  By 2004, Ginger Sawyer from Louisiana Business & Industry proclaimed Holden as the candidate with one of the worst LABI ratings.

Time has not changed Mayor Kip Holden’s spending habits.  In fact, as they say in politics, Holden has never seen a tax increase he doesn’t love.

Holden also spends his campaign contributions for personal expenditures such as:

  • LSU football tickets?  $1,520
  • LSU parking fees?  $5,050
  • Southern football tickets? $760
  • Southern parking fees?  $806
  • Camelot membership dues?  $201$201, $201, (apparently this is a monthly expense during Holden’s campaigns)
  • Car repairs?  $500, $3134, $800 
  • There are also expenditures for flowers on virtually every report for $800 – $1,300 in each instance.  That’s a lot of flowers!

I’ve addressed Holden’s tax-and-spend liberal modus operandi many times.  frivolous expenditures such as spending $1,000,000 of our tax dollars to lure Frontier Airlines, only to see Frontier flee Baton Rouge faster than a bank robber.

When does it stop?  Evidently, only when Mayor Kip Holden takes up a new hobby — horse trading with our tax dollars.

The bottom line here is that there IS already funding in our coffers to take care of the needs of our parish.  Otherwise, we couldn’t ‘move’ money from one frivilous project to take care of a much needed project like bridges requiring repair.

I’m not sure who to credit for this horse-trading-deal, but it appears that Mayor Pro-Tem Mike Walker cut the deal with Holden.  If that is correct, then kudos to Walker for making a bold move to find monies that already exist vs. allowing Holden to raise our taxes once again.

Follow the money.  It truly is a test of character.

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican