October 30, 2009
Ms. Temica R. Dukes
Temica R. Dukes Attorney at Law, LLC.
P.O. Box 380
New Roads, LA 70760
RE: Louisiana Board of Ethics Docket No. 2009-907
Dear Ms. Dukes:
The Louisiana Board of Ethics, at its November 20, 2009 meeting, considered your request for an advisory opinion concerning your acting as an attorney in matters involving the Pointe Coupee Parish Police Jury. You state that your father, Albert Dukes, Jr., and your brother, Cornell Dukes, serve as elected members of the Pointe Coupee Parish Police Jury. You further state that you represent a client in litigation against the police jury, and that the client has been offered a settlement from the police jury’s insurance company, which must be brought before and approved by the police jury. You request an advisory opinion as to whether your father and brother may vote on the settlement recommendation as members of the police jury, and whether the fact that you act as the attorney representing the client in this matter prohibits the remainder of the police jury from voting on the settlement recommendation. You further request an advisory opinion as to whether the Pointe Coupee Parish Police Jury may hire the Law Office of Temica R. Dukes to perform professional services while your father and brother serve as members of the police jury.
The Board concluded, and instructed me to inform you, that the Code of Governmental Ethics prohibits your father, Albert Dukes, Jr, and your brother, Cornell Dukes, from voting on the settlement recommendation before the police jury. Section 1112B(1) prohibits a public servant from participating in a transaction involving the governmental entity in which a member of his immediate family has a substantial economic interest. Pursuant to Section 1102(13), you are the immediate family member of both Albert Dukes, Jr. and Cornell Dukes. The Board concluded that you have a substantial economic interest in the settlement offer by virtue of the fact that you acting as the attorney in this matter. Therefore, the participation of Albert Dukes, Jr. and Cornell Dukes in this matter is prohibited.
The Board also concluded, and instructed me to inform you, that Section 1113A of the Code would prohibit you from submitting a settlement recommendation the to the Pointe Coupee Parish Police Jury on behalf of your client. Section 1113A prohibits an immediate family member of a public servant from entering into a contract, subcontract, or other transaction with the public servant’s agency. Section 1102(23) defines a transaction as “any proceeding, application, submission, request for a ruling or other determination, contract, claim, case, or other such particular matter which the public servant or former public servant of the governmental entity in question knows or should know: (a) is or will be the subject of action by the governmental entity (b) is one to which the governmental entity is or will be a party or (c) is one in which the governmental entity has a direct interest” The Board determined that the submission of the settlement recommendation is a transaction with your immediate family member’s agency, the Pointe Coupee Parish Police Jury. Therefore, your involvement in this action is prohibited by Section 1113A.
The Board further concluded, and instructed me to inform you, that Section 1113A of the Code prohibits the Pointe Coupee Parish Police Jury from hiring the Law Offices of Temica R. Dukes to perform professional services. Section 1113A prohibits a public servant’s immediate family member, or a legal entity in which the immediate family member has an ownership interest greater than 25%, from bidding on or entering into a contract, subcontract or other transaction under the supervision or jurisdiction of the public servant’s agency. Accordingly, neither you nor the Law Offices of Temica R. Dukes may enter into a contract under the supervision or jurisdiction of the Pointe Coupee Parish Police Jury.
The Board issues no opinion as to laws other than the Code of Governmental Ethics. This advisory opinion is based solely on the facts as set forth herein. Changes to the facts as presented may result in a different application of the provisions of the Code of Ethics. If you have any further questions, please contact me at (225) 219-5600 or at (800) 842-6630.
LOUISIANA BOARD OF ETHICS
For the Board