Pooyie! 08.26.2009

In what is arguably the most under-reported “big” story of 2009 — the collapse of Stanford International Bank in an alleged $8 billion Ponzi scheme — one politician is making sure hundreds of his constituent-investors in south Louisiana who lost up to $1 billion in retirement savings are getting, if not justice, at least some answers: Sen. David Vitter. Louisiana’s junior senator arranged a field hearing of the Senate Banking Committee in Baton Rouge last week to hear testimony from Leyla Wydler, a former Stanford advisor who tried but failed to blow the whistle on the company long before it collapsed. In giving Wydler a standing ovation, the roughly 400 Stanford investors in attendance clearly got some of the answers they so desperately seek.

Last April’s special elections were particularly special in Acadiana. Four candidates — Pat Cravins, Kelly Scott and Linc Savoie in the state Senate Dist. 24 contest as well as Lafayette Consolidated Council Dist. 6 candidate Sam Dore, who won the seat in a May runoff — were hit with charges by the Louisiana Board of Ethics for allegedly failing to file personal financial disclosure reports in a timely manner. Dore has since submitted the paperwork, but the Senate candidates remain tardy as of this writing, according to the board. The cost of shilly-shallying is expensive: $100 per day delinquent up to $2,500, with possible additional fines up to 10 grand tacked on following a public hearing.

You gotta hand it to 4th Judicial District Judge Marcus Clark, the man has some Solomon-sized gonads underneath the robe. The Monroe-based state-court judge is running for the upcoming vacancy on the Louisiana Supreme Court, the very same court that suspended him a few years ago for judicial misconduct. Clark admitted to dilly-dallying on nearly 20 cases, leaving some of them under advisement for up to five years. (State law requires judges to rule on cases under advisement within 30 days.) His defense: He was new to the bench and simply bit off more than he could chew. The state Supreme Court’s reply: “We find that Judge Clark willfully and persistently failed to perform his duty and that he has engaged in persistent and public conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice ...”