CN 1995-339
Created By: Sheila LaCost on 01/26/1998 at 02:12 PM
Category: Ethics Rulings


DATED: January 15, 1998 OPINION NO. : CN 95-339

RE: In the matter of Dr. Charles Bolotte

The Louisiana Board of Ethics (the "Board") pursuant to the authority contained in LSA-R.S. 42:1141, conducted a private investigation concerning information that Dr. Charles Bolotte, a physician and member of the Assumption Parish Hospital Service District No. 1 Board of Directors (the "Hospital Board"), may have violated Sections 1111C(2)(d), 1112 and 1113B of the Louisiana Code of Governmental Ethics (LSA-R.S. 42:1101 et seq.) (the "Code") by virtue of his relationships with Louisiana Psychiatric Management Company ("LAPM") and Dr. Ghadi Al-Asadi, contractors to the Hospital Board.
On the basis of information obtained by the Board during the course of this investigation, and with the concurrence of Dr. Bolotte, the Board now makes the following essential:
Dr. Charles Bolotte has been a practicing physician in the Assumption Parish area for over fifteen years. In June of 1986, he was appointed by the Assumption Parish Police Jury to serve on the Hospital Board. On July 7, 1986 at the first meeting of the Hospital Board, he was elected chairman of the Hospital Board.
In 1991, the Louisiana Legislature created an exception to the provisions of the Code for physicians who serve as board members of hospital service districts. The exception applied to parishes with a population of 16,000 or less. Assumption Parish, according to the 1990 census, has a population of 22,753.
In 1993, the Legislature amended the exception for physicians who serve on hospital service district boards to include parishes with a population of 25,000 or less. The exception was effective June 1, 1993.
On March 11, 1992, LAPM entered into a contract with the Hospital Board to provide management and medical services at the Assumption General Adolescent Psychiatric Unit, located at the Heritage Manor Nursing Home. LAPM was compensated $536,550 annually for its services.
On August 1, 1992, Dr. Bolotte entered into a contract with LAPM to serve as Chief of Medical Services at the Assumption General Adolescent Psychiatric Unit. Dr. Bolotte was paid $6,000 per month, and this contract remained in effect until June of 1995. When notified that his contract with LAPM might violate the Code, Dr. Bolotte stopped receiving monthly payments from January, 1993 until the exception to the Code became effective for Assumption Parish on June 1, 1993.
The Adolescent Psychiatric Unit was converted into a Geriatric Psychiatric Unit in January of 1995. The Hospital Board maintained its relationship with LAPM, which continued to manage the Geriatric Psychiatric Unit.
On July 1, 1995, the Hospital Board entered into a contract with Dr. Ghada Al-Asadi. Dr. Al-Asadi was paid $358,020 annually to manage the Geriatric Psychiatric Unit. Dr. Al-Asadi maintained this contract until January of 1996 when the Hospital Board was dissolved.
Dr. Bolotte entered into a contract with Dr. Al-Asadi to provide medical services at the Geriatric Psychiatric Unit on July 1, 1995. This contract paid bi-weekly installments of $2,308 to Dr. Bolotte and was effective until December, 1995.
The records of the hospital board indicate that Dr. Bolotte participated in the following transactions involving the contracts with LAPM and Dr. Al-Asadi:

Recorded Dr. Bolotte’s
Date Participation Board Actions

08/16/93 (P) Votes In Favor - Decision to approve an inpatient adult psychiatric unit
11/15/93 No Abstention - Dr. Kshetarpal requested to attend the next meeting
so that the Board may hear a presentation regarding his contract

12/08/93 Absent for Part - Dr. Kshetarpal proposes that the LAPM contracts be drafted. Of the Special Board authorizes a redrafting in accordance with the Meeting terms discussed
12/20/93 Votes In Favor - Review status of LAPM contract negotiations
- Resolution to have Co-Chairman Savoie sign the
LAPM contract upon board approval of all changes

03/21/94 Abstains - Lengthy discussion of LAPM contract - Resolution to have Co-Chairman Savoie sign the
LAPM contract

05/16/94 Votes In Favor - Decision to accept bids for the addition onto the Adolescent Psychiatric Unit
- Authorization given to management to negotiate with
the Chabert Medical Center to take over the Adolescent Psychiatric Unit

06/13/94 No Abstention - Discussion on Adolescent Psych Unit: Chabert Medical Center will take over the facility Assumption General will manage the facility

10/24/94 Votes In Favor - Review of financial problems with Adolescent Psychiatric Unit
- Decision to open a Geriatric Psychiatric Unit as a
possible solution to funding problems
12/19/94 No Abstention - Review of status of the new Geriatric psychiatric unit
- Review of new Medicaid regulations applicable to the
unit. No Board action recommended or taken

03/20/95 Abstains - Negotiations with Dr. Kshetarpal for continued psychiatric services to begin on July 1, 1995

07/24/95 No Abstention - Executive session discussion concerning the approval
of Dr. Al-Asadi’s contract

At issue in this case are Sections 1111C(2)(d), 1112 and 1113B of the Code of Governmental Ethics.Section 1111C(2)(d) provides:

Section 1112 of the Code prohibits a public employee from participating in transactions when certain persons have a substantial economic interest. Section 1112 states: Section 1113B provides in pertinent part as follows:

Finally, the exception contained in Section 1123(18) is important to examine in determining whether Dr. Bolotte was entitled to its application. The exception states:
It is the opinion of the Board that Dr. Bolotte violated provisions of the Code of Governmental Ethics by virtue of his relationships with LAPM and Dr. Al-Asadi while each was a party to contracts with the Hospital Board.
Absent the exception in Section 1123(18), Section 1111C(2)(d) prohibited Dr. Bolotte from providing compensated services to persons who had or were seeking contractual relationships with the Hospital Board. Further, Section 1112 prohibited him from participating in transactions in which he, his employer or any person with whom he had a contract had a substantial economic interest. As an appointed member of a board, Dr. Bolotte would not normally have been allowed to use recusal to cure the conflict. However, the exception in Section 1123(18) allowed, and in fact, mandated that he recuse himself from any transactions related to his contracts with LAPM or Dr. Al-Asadi. Dr. Bolotte’s position was that as Chairman, he did not vote on any matters; however, the exception mandated that he recuse himself from voting. The minutes of the Hospital Board meetings do not reflect such recusal. In some instances, the minutes show that all present, including, Dr. Bolotte voted in favor of issues regarding the psychiatric unit. The Board believes that these transactions were, in fact, “related to” Dr. Bolotte’s contracts.
It is the Board’s opinion that because Dr. Bolotte did not comply with the requirements of the exception, he also violated Section 1113B as he was “in any way interested” in the transactions which came before the Board involving LAPM and Dr. Al-Asadi.
The Board notes, however, that Dr. Bolotte provided a needed service in Assumption Parish. There are few licensed physicians practicing in the area. Dr. Bolotte assisted the Hospital Board in maintaining several of its operations.
The Board is authorized to impose fines upon finding that a violation of the Code has occurred. In this particular situation, given the facts outlined above, along with the fact that Dr. Bolotte fully cooperated with the Board during the course of the investigation, it is the conclusion of the Board that the interest of the public would be served by the imposition of a $1,000 fine along with the publication of this opinion.

For the foregoing reasons:
IT IS ORDERED that the Board finds as a matter of fact and as a conclusion of law that Dr. Charles Bolotte violated Sections 1111C(2)(d), 1112A, 1112B(5) and 1113B of the Code of Governmental Ethics by virtue of his contractual relationships with Louisiana Psychiatric Mangement Company, Inc. and Dr. Ghada Al-Asadi, contractors to the Assumption Parish Hospital District No. 1 Board, of which Dr. Bolotte served as a member.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that a fine of $1,000 be and is hereby imposed upon Dr. Charles Bolotte.
BY ORDER OF THE BOARD this 15th day of January , 1998.

s/ Robert Roland s/ T. O. Perry, Jr.
Robert Roland, Chairman T.O. Perry, Jr., Member

s/ Harry Blumenthal, Jr. s/ Ronald L. Sawyer
Harry Blumenthal, Jr., Vice-Chairman Ronald L. Sawyer, Member

s/ Robert P. Bareikis s/ Nathan J. Thornton, Jr.
Dr. Robert Bareikis, Member Nathan J. Thornton, Jr.,Member

s/ E. L. Guidry, Jr. s/ Edwin O. Ware, III
Judge E. L. Guidry, Member Edwin O. Ware, III, Member

s/ Virgil Orr s/ Carole Cotton Winn
Dr. Virgil Orr, Member Rev. Carole Cotton Winn, Member

s/ Justice Revius Ortique, Jr.
Justice Revius Ortique, Jr., Member


The undersigned (a) stipulates to the facts found by the Board; (b) waives the procedural requirements contained in Section 1141 of the Code; (c) admits that his conduct, as described above, violated the Code; (d) consents to the publication of this opinion; (e) agrees to comply with the conditions and orders set forth in this opinion; and (f) agrees not to seek judicial review of the findings and actions taken in this opinion.