The Louisiana Board of Ethics has given Glenn Armentor the green light to expand his Pay It Forward scholarship program by using the 15 full-ride scholarships he’s allowed to dole out as a member of the LSU Board of Supervisors, a post he was appointed to earlier this year by Gov. John Bel Edwards.
Armentor, who heads a flourishing Lafayette law firm that specializes in personal injury claims, sought an opinion on the LSU scholarships from the Ethics Board in July, noting in his inquiry letter that he began the local Pay It Forward program eight years ago to help “truly ‘at risk’ youth attend college ... because of my own poverty as a child and teenager.” Through the program, two dozen at-risk high school seniors in Lafayette have been awarded scholarships to UL Lafayette based on their prep academic success. Read more about the program here.
But as Armentor notes in his letter, as a result of the scholarship program’s success, “our law firm has enjoyed a significant amount of positivity and good will in our community for being community activists and for supporting the cause of sending poor and troubled kids to college, when they were academically deserving of going to college. Indeed, over the last several years, our community service project, the Pay It Forward Scholarship, has become such a strong positive that it has become a large part of our marketing identity. Our law firm is known as ‘the scholarship firm.’ I am personally known around town by those who are aware of the scholarship as ‘the scholarship lawyer.’ This is despite the fact that this scholarship project was not intended as a marketing effort.”
Armentor’s question to the board, in essence, wasn’t whether he can distribute the 15 LSU scholarships as a member of the LSU Board of Supervisors — it’s whether he can fold them into his existing Pay It Forward program to maximize his firm’s marketing.
The board’s advisory opinion by board attorney Tracy Barker, which is expected to be adopted at the board’s Thursday meeting in Baton Rouge, says yes: “The Board concluded, and instructed me to inform you, that the Code of Governmental Ethics would not prohibit you from marketing the fifteen scholarships allotted to you as a member of the LSU Board of Supervisors as the ‘Pay It Forward’ Scholarships.”
Read Armentor's letter to the board as well as its advisory opinion by clicking here.