Agenda Item
Docket No. 12-2320
Advisory opinion regarding whether Kushner LaGraize, LLC may do business with Jefferson Parish Economic Development Commission (JEDCO) where the Director of Administration for Kushner, Michelle Rojas, is married to the Director of Facilities and Information Technologies for JEDCO, Scott Rojas.
The managing partner for Kushner states that the duties of the Director of Administration, Michelle Rojas, are related to overseeing the general operations of the office including handling human resource issues, preparing the Firm's financial statements and payroll, etc. Her role is equivalent to that of an Office Manager. Her responsibilities do not include direct services provided to attest and non -attest clients.

As an employee of JEDCO, the Director of Facilities and information Technologies, Scott Rojas is responsible for assistance in preparation and approval of their operating budget specifically related to operations & information technologies, issuance of bids, negotiation and administering of contracts (except contracts relating to accounting), and the first level of approval for expenditures related to operations, information technologies and special events. He does not have final approval over expenditures nor does he have authority to sign checks.

Section 1113 of the Code prohibits a public servant or the immediate family of the public servant from entering into a transaction that that is under the supervision of the agency of the public servant.

Section 1112 of the Code prohibits a public servant from participating in a transaction with his governmental entity in which an immediate family member, or person in which the public servant has a substantial economic interest has a substantial economic interest.

Section 1114 of the Code requires a public servant or a member of his immediate family, who derives a thing of economic value, of which, the immediate family member may be reasonably expected to know has bid on or entered into or is in anyway financially interested in any contract or any other transaction under the supervision of the public servant's agency to file a disclosure statement with the Board of Ethics stating the: 1) amount of income, 2)nature of the business, 3)name and address and relationship to the public servant, and 3)the name of the legal entity to which he is employed.

Section 1111C(2)(d) of the Code prohibits a public servant from accepting anything of economic value from a person who has or is seeking to have a business or financial relationship with the public servant' agency.

Ethic's Board Docket No. 82-02D provides an exception to Section 1111C(2)(d) of the Code when certain factors are met: (1) the employee must be a salaried or wage-earning employee; (2) the employee's salary must remain substantially unaffected by the contractual relationship; (3) the public servant must own less than a "controlling interest" in the company; and (4) the public servant must be neither an officer, director, trustee, nor partner in the company. 82-02D does not apply to appointed members of a Board or commission.

In 2012-149, the Board concluded that the exception in Docket No. 82-02d applied where a member of the BESE Board aslo served as the Executive Director of Teach For America and provided compensated services to Teach For America (TFA) at a time when TFA had a business relationship with BESE.

Adopt the proposed advisory opinion.
Assigned Attorney: Aneatra Boykin
1982-02D (2)
2012-2320- Advisory Opinion Request