March 12, 2007
Mr. Jerry Reaux, Chair
Road Home Corporation
1201 N. Third Street, Suite 7-290
Baton Rouge, LA 70802
Re: Ethics Board Docket No. 2007-108
Dear Mr. Reaux:
The Louisiana Board of Ethics, at its March 8, 2007 meeting, considered your request for an advisory opinion regarding whether Herman Dubon, the former Assistant Executive Director for the Office of Community Development (OCD) of the Division of Administration, may serve as the Interim Director for the Road Home Corporation (RHC).Herman Dubon resigned in January of 2007 from his position as the Assistant Executive Director of the Office of Community Development. He has extensive knowledge of the regulations and requirements for programs funded by HUD's Community Development Block Grants. He would like to serve as the Interim Director for the Road Home Corporation, which is a corporation created and authorized by statute to serve as the vehicle for holding title for property sold by grant recipients. RHC will be entering into a contract with OCD, Mr. Dubon's former agency, for financing. Under the agreement, OCD will loan RHC disaster recovery funds. The statutes creating RHC state that the corporation is not to be considered a state agency or board; however, for purposes of the Ethics Code, the RHC appears to constitute a public agency.
The Court in State v. Smith set forth four criteria for determining if an entity is to be considered a state or public agency: 1) entity was created by the legislature; 2) the legislature specifically defined its authority by statute; 3) property held by the entity is public property; and 4) the functions of the entity are of a public character and are preformed solely for the benefit of the public.357 So.2d at 507 (La. 1978). Based on the criteria set forth in Smith, the Board concluded that for purposes of the Ethics Code, RHC is a public entity.
Based on the information provided, the Board concluded, and instructed me to inform you, that the Code of Governmental Ethics does not prohibit Mr. Dubon from serving as the Interim Director of RHC. Section 1121B of the Code prohibits a former public servant, for a period of two years following the end of his public employment, from assisting a person, for compensation, in a transaction, or in an appearance in connection with a transaction, involving his former governmental entity and in which he participated while publicly employed. A “person” is defined by Section 1102(16) as an individual, or legal entity other than a governmental entity, or an agency thereof. Since RHC is a public entity, it is not a “person” as defined by the Code. Therefore, the Code does not prohibit Mr. Dubon from serving as the RHC’s interim director.
The Board issues no opinion as to laws other than the Code of Governmental Ethics. If you have any further questions, please contact me at (225)763-8777 or at (800)842-6630.
LOUISIANA BOARD OF ETHICS
Peggy A. Sabadie
For the Board