Agenda Item
Docket No. 22-847
Advisory opinion request submitted on behalf of the Board of Trustees of Lake Charles Academy Foundation Inc. ("Foundation") regarding whether the Code of Governmental Ethics ("Code") prohibits the Foundation from contracting with three Foundation employees to manage the Foundation's three charter schools.
Lake Charles Academy Foundation Inc. ("Foundation") is a nonprofit corporation which oversees the operation of Lake Charles College Prep, a charter high school (grades 9 - 12) in Lake Charles. The Foundation also oversees the operation of Lake Charles Charter Academy and Southwest Louisiana Charter Academy, (grades pre-K - 8). The Foundation contracted with Charter Schools USA to manage these two charter schools. On June 15, 2022, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education approved combining the charters of all three charter schools in Lake Charles under one umbrella for the Foundation.

Ms. Shanice Williams is the principal of Lake Charles College Prep. Freddie Harrison and Lionel Thierry are assistant principals at Lake Charles College Prep. All three are employees of the Foundation.

Shanice Williams is also the owner of Principal Enterprises LLC. Ms. Williams, along with Freddie Harrison and Lionel Thierry, and their respective legal entities, are interested in managing all three charter schools for the Foundation. In order to manage all three charter schools, Principal Enterprises LLC would have to enter into contract with the Foundation to manage.
La. R.S. 17:3996(B)(20) provides that all officers and employees of charter schools are subject to the Code.

La. R.S. 42:1113A states no public servant, or a member of such a public servant's immediate family, or a legal entity in which he has a controlling interest shall bid on or enter into any contract, subcontract or other transaction that is under the supervision or jurisdiction of the agency of such public servant.

La. R.S. 42:1102 (2)(a) defines "agency" to mean a department, office, division, agency, commission, board, committee, or other organizational unit of a governmental entity.

La. R.S. 42:1102(19) defines "public servant" as a public employee or elected official.

La. R.S. 42:1102(18)(a) defines "public employee" to mean any person, whether compensated or not who is: (i) an administrative officer or official of a governmental entity who is not filling an elective office; (ii) appointed by any elected official when acting in an official capacity, and the appointment is to a post or position wherein the appointee is to serve the governmental entity or an agency thereof, either as a member of an agency, or as an employee thereof; (iii) engaged in the performance of a governmental function; (iv) under the supervision or authority of an elected official or another employee of the governmental entity.

Adopt Draft Advisory Opinion.
Assigned Attorney: Suzanne Mooney
2022-847 - AO letter date 10-27-2022
2022-847 - AO letter date 10-26-2022
2022-847- Advisory Opinion Draft - Thibodeaux