[CORRECTION: This story has been corrected to indicate that it is impossible to tell who is holding the phone showing LCG on the caller ID in a video posted to Glenn Stewart's FB page. The story initially reported that Stewart was holding the phone.]
Lafayette developer Glenn Stewart is accusing Lafayette Chief Administrative Officer Dee Stanley of using city resources to make an Oct. 9 robocall countering a nasty push poll conducted Oct. 7 and 8 by what so far appears to be an anonymous group or person.
Should Stanley, who is running for city-parish president against state Rep. Joel Robideaux, have done such a thing — which he has already proven he did not — he could be criminally prosecuted for abusing his position, malfeasance in office and prohibited use of public funds.
Those are very serious allegations.
Stewart, the volatile Parc Lafayette developer — you might recall he was convicted in 2013 for knocking unconscious a school teacher (the daughter and stepdaughter, respectively, of IND publishers Steve May and Cherry Fisher May) at a 2012 Mardi Gras parade in Lafayette — isn’t formally making the accusation himself (though he is on social media). A political action committee for which Stewart is the sole donor, Louisiana Victory Fund, boastfully announced in an Oct. 16 press release that it had filed a complaint with the Louisiana Board of Ethics. The ethics complaint aside, the allegation clearly accuses Stanley of using the city’s phone system and city workers to place the call.
Stanley’s robocall — voiced by his wife Blue Rolfes, a popular local TV anchor who urges voters not to be deceived by the push poll’s lies — was actually placed by an out-of-state group, and Stanley has willingly provided the receipt for the company’s services. The apparent objective of the push poll Blue references was to sway voters to the Robideaux candidacy using loaded and manipulative questions and downright lies about her husband.
It’s no secret Stewart despises Dee Stanley and his boss, City-Parish President Joey Durel, and supports Robideaux. Stewart has donated money to Robideaux, whose signs are scattered about Stewart's Parc Lafayette development on Kaliste Saloom Road. But as for the disdain for Stanley? Who knows. We’re not talking about a reasonable person here.
Stanley himself can’t seem to figure out why Stewart, a Lafayette native and retired radiation oncologist, is out to get him. “I have absolutely no idea,” Stanley tells The Independent. “My only professional dealings with Dr. Stewart have been with the development of the Parc Lafayette project.” (It certainly could have a lot to do with this lawsuit Stewart filed against LCG, including Stanley.)
On Oct. 12, ethics records show, Stewart donated $25,000 to Louisiana Victory Fund, a PAC that is clearly out to derail Stanley’s bid. The PAC also runs the slimy anti-Stanley website, lafayettesold.com.
Public records show the PAC was formed on Oct. 5, by Ryan Quinones (committee chairperson), who lists a New Orleans address, and Patrick Krason (treasurer), who lists an Annandale, Va., address. That’s two days before the repellent push poll was conducted, and proves the PAC, Stewart donation and lafayettesold.com were all created within about a week’s time. The Louisiana Victory Fund website, last updated Oct. 8, was created in March. Four days later lafayettesold.com went up.
All of which brings us to the obvious questions: Was Stewart and/or his PAC behind the push poll that inevitably formed the basis for the ethics complaint? And were Robideaux and/or his supporters aware of it?
A voice mail message The Independent left on Robideaux’s cell phone Monday, seeking to find out what Robideaux knew and when he knew it, was not returned. In a Facebook post, he denies knowledge of the push poll and claims to be running a positive campaign. Robideaux has not, it is important to note, denounced the poll and whoever is behind it.
Stewart also did not return a message left on his cell phone and another message on his FB page.
Connecting Stewart or his PAC directly to the poll is challenging, but check out Stewart’s Facebook page. There you will find a video of someone holding up a phone’s caller ID showing a robocall coming in from Lafayette Consolidated Government on Oct. 8 with Blue Rolfes’ voice playing in the background. The problem with Stewart’s deceitful display on his FB page is that Blue’s call in support of her husband did not go out until Oct. 9 (which is when this reporter received it on her cell phone) and Oct. 10 (when I got it at home).
LCG did indeed make a robocall on Oct. 8, but it most certainly was not for Dee Stanley. Stewart's PAC and the Baton Rouge law firm it hired to file the ethics complaint — Doré, Jeansonne, where Jason Doré, the executive director of the Republican Party of Louisiana, just happens to be a partner — could easily have determined that the dates did not add up with a simple public records request to LCG.
The lies and innuendo from Stewart and others left Durel with no option but to set the straight record, prompting this response from Durel’s executive assistant: “Two robo calls were placed from our system on October 8-9, 2015; the subject being notification of an upcoming Zoning Commission meeting. The first call was placed on Thursday, October 8th at 6:15 pm to all numbers in the database within Lafayette Parish. A second identical call was sent to the Lafayette City-Parish Councilmen on Friday, October 9th at 8:15 am as a follow-up measure.”
Durel called the ridiculous kerfuffle and the fact that city workers were brought into the fray to prove they had nothing to do with it “a sad time for Lafayette.”
And it is. Because we’re better than this.
[Editor's Note: After this story appeared online, Stewart began placing misleading full-page attack ads on Dee Stanley in The Advocate. Read that story here.]