You are on page 1of 31







Now into court comes Plaintiff, Anne Marie Vandenweghe, and in response to the oral argument

and briefs of all named Defendants respectfully submits:

On Tuesday April 20, 2010 the Hearing Officer gave Plaintiff leave to submit for the

record a"written form" of oral arguments in that Plaintiff was physically incapacitated due to

laryngitis. The Hearing Officer then, without any contradictory hearing, dismissed defendant

Clem Donelon as a party and then, allowed defense counsel for ALL NAMED RESPONDENTS,

Phelps Dunbar attorney, Nan Allessandra to argue the Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff’s claim. At no

time was any contradictory hearing held on Plaintiff’s Motion to Continue or on Plaintiff’s

Motion to Recuse the Hearing Officer. The entire dismissal of Clem Donelon took less than a

minute which included the Hearing Officer’s dictating of his ‘judgment’ which he instructed

Clem Donelon to prepare for his signature.


The judicial term Res Judicata is defined as: Lat. "the thing has been decided".

It is the principle that a final judgement of a competent court is conclusive upon the parties in any

subsequent litigation involving the same cause of action.

The general rule is that where a final judgment has been granted, the losing party is barred

by res judicata from prosecuting another action against the same opponent where (a) the claim in

the second action is one which is based on the same factual transaction that was at issue in the

first; (b) it seeks a remedy additional or alternative to the one sought earlier; and (c) the claim is

of such a nature as could have been joined in the first action.

Plaintiff avers that the matter of her Whistle blower claim receiving a full hearing is Res

Judicata ( a thing already judged ) on the basis that on or about the 17th day of March 2010 the

Jefferson Parish Personnel Board by a majority vote of 2 to 1 issued an order that Plaintiff's

Whistle Blower protection claim would be heard before an appointed Hearing Officer/Referee.

Prior to his appointment as the Hearing Officer/Referee, Mr. Theodore W. Nass had been present

during several Jefferson Parish Personnel Board meetings and both publicly and in executive

session advised the Board.

Mr. Nass was present when the Jefferson Parish Personnel Board voted by majority vote

to hear Plaintiff's Whistle blower claim. In the Order issued pursuant to that vote, Terrie

Rodrigue dissented from the majority and indicated she would vote to dismiss Plaintiff’s claim

without a Hearing. Board Members John Combe and Donna Bramlett-Wood voted to hear

Plaintiff’s Whistleblower claim. Plaintiff won 2 to 1 and a hearing was scheduled to be heard by

Theodore W. Nass, who was present at the Board Hearing where the Board voted by a margin of

2 to 1 to hear Plaintiff’s claim.

Personnel Board Rule II ; Section 8 EXCLUSIVITY AND REVIEW; Sections 8.1 and

8.2 delineates the manner of appealing a finding of the Personnel Board. An order of the Board

is appealable to the Louisiana Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal. The Board voted 2 to1 and rendered

an Order on March 17, 2010 to appoint a Hearing Officer to hear Plaintiff’s claim. The

defendants had until April 15, 2010 to file any appeal of the Board’s order, which appeal would

had to have been lodged with the Louisiana Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal. To date none has been

lodged by any named defendants who lost the Board vote 2 to 1 on March 17, 2010.

Plaintiff avers that Theodore W. Nass as the designated Special Assistant and counsel for

the Personnel Board would pursuant to Rule II, Section 8.1 also be the attorney defending any

orders issued by the Board - appointed Hearing Officer (Theodore W. Nass) at any appeal taken

by Plaintiff to the Board thus rendering any appeal of his order merely a rehearing with

Theodore W. Nass and the named defendants’ legal counsel and Clem Donelon arguing together

against Plaintiff before the Personnel Board a matter on which the Personnel Board already

voted 2 to 1 to hear. Any preliminary matters, any Merit matters, any matters at all decided by

Theodore W. Nass as Hearing Officer will result in this unreasonable, and downright ridiculous

outcome. This is in no way to cast any aspersions on Mr. Nass or his abilities but is merely a

function of the process as it has unfolded.

Plaintiff has in essence been forced to appear before the full Personnel Board to argue

that her Whistle blower claim should be heard by the Personnel Board where she won 2 to 1;

then forced to appear before the Hearing Officer, Theodore W. Nass (who was present

presumably as the Board’s attorney at the hearing when Plaintiff argued her case and won 2 to1)

and defend the Personnel Board’s 2 to 1 decision to hear her Whistle blower claim against

outside counsel for all named defendants and defendant Clem Donelon, in a Hearing that should

have been about the Whistle blower claim not about jurisdiction or turf. And now, should the

Hearing Office/Referee decide against her Plaintiff will once more have to appear before the

same Board to argue on appeal and yet a third time for her Whistle blower claim to be heard,

which claim was ordered heard by the Board in the first place on March 17, 2010 in a 2 to 1 vote.
Res Judicata is the term for this imbroglio.

Deputy Parish Attorney, Louis Gruntz, appeared also at that first Hearing before the

Board arguing on behalf of his ‘client’, presumably the Administration, who had been issued

subpoenas to present evidence, and was successful in reaching a compromise with the Board

who directed Mr. Nass to coordinate with Mr. Gruntz regarding the investigation into the

reported violations which form the basis of Plaintiff’s Whistle blower claim.

For any claim to be made that Louis Gruntz or any other Assistant Parish Attorney represents the

Personnel Board is spurious on many grounds, not the least of which is Fox 8 news footage of

Deputy Parish Attorney Gruntz appearing before the Personnel Board in early 2010 to argue

on behalf of the Administration against the Board’s issuance of subpoenas for records of Tom

Wilkinson and Debbie Villio and Karen Parker Broussard, held by his ‘client’ the Jefferson

Parish Administration. The Personnel Board sought the records as part of its investigation into

the allegations of violations by Wilkinson and Villio of Sec 23-1 et seq ( Prohibited Political

Activities) and by Wilkinson and Karen Parker Broussard and others of possible payroll fraud.

Gruntz and the Board members and Mr. Nass argued strenuously on the record and then retired

Executive Session after which the Board publically instructed Mr. Nass to coordinate with

Gruntz to obtain the records according to the privately confected settlement agreement. What

was said by Gruntz in the Executive Session is not public record, however, given his recent

advice to the Jefferson Parish delegation regarding Public Records and the official Federal

Government stance on same, it behooves the Board to reconsider any ‘advice’ received from him.

For Gruntz to argue he represents the Board ( as opposed to Nass) would have resulted in the

vaudevillian situation of him switching hats during the argument over the subpoenas and making

arguments for AND against himself as Board attorney and then Administration attorney.

The Jefferson Parish Personnel Board voted 2-1 to hear Plaintiff's claim. The Jefferson

Parish Personnel Board has sole jurisdiction to hear Plaintiff's claim. Defendants' argument is

moot as no appeal was taken. The ex parte Motion to show cause issued by the Hearing Officer is

null and void. Absent an order and/or ruling from the Fifth Circuit reversing and/or setting aside

the Jefferson Parish Personnel Board's order to hear Plaintiff's claim, the Hearing Officer and

Defendants are estopped to move on the issue of jurisdiction by both Res Judicata and



It wasn't too long ago that Louis Gruntz, Deputy Parish Attorney, with the very public and

outspoken support of then Parish President Mr. Broussard, held steadfast to his opinion that Mr.

Whitmer, an unclassified, at-will employee, was entitled to due process including a hearing

before the Parish Council. Plaintiff submits that the Jefferson Parish Personnel Board could have

independently investigated Mr.Whitmer, given it's finding to Mr. Broussard, who then could

have given the same to the Council for their consideration.

It was thought that an unclassified employee was an ‘at will’ employee subject to termination at

any time. It is now generally accepted that in certain cases and for particular reasons an

unclassified employee is entitled to ‘due process’. Plaintiff’s status as a Whistle blower meets the

criteria of being a certain case with particular reasons for affording her due process.

When the Whitmer scandal broke Plaintiff was assigned to assist Louis Gruntz with the

investigation for the Parish. She was present during a conference call between Louis Gruntz and

Clem Donelon when the two men determined that Whitmer was entitled to due process. She

observed firsthand the planning and preparation of the precise procedures Gruntz advised the

Parish to use in conducting the investigation, gathering evidence, advising Whitmer of the

process, and holding the Hearing. As a result of the precedent set in the Whitmer case the Parish

must insure due process for all employees, classified or unclassified. The penalty for failing to

provide due process will be employee suits alleging denial of equal protection under the law

and discriminatory enforcement of employment rules and regulations.

Plaintiff's Whistle blower claim is " SUI GENERIS". It is unique and Defendants do not get to

define how and when and where it is heard. They can propagandize all day long and the reality

remains that there is no controlling authority, no conflict of laws, no precedent procedurally as it

relates to Plaintiff's claim other than the precedent of affording her due process in a Merits


The Jefferson Parish Personnel Board voted 2 to 1 to have a hearing on the merits thus affording

Plaintiff her day in court, her due process.

Defendants want to deny Plaintiff due process.

They want to obfuscate the real issues involved: that of the corruption of highly placed

Administrative officials whose wrongdoing was clearly known to other highly placed officials

and employees who conspired and continue to conspire to keep it all hidden from public view.

Of course Defendants do not want that dirty laundry washed in open court, at such a local and

visible level, at such a volatile time. But Defendants do not get the luxury of making the call


There is ample evidence that due process demands a full Hearing on the Merits of Plaintiff’s

Whistle blower claim. There is ample evidence and ample law already on the books which

guarantee Plaintiff due process and on which Plaintiff relied when she blew the whistle on

Wilkinson and Villio. She is entitled to having her case heard. The majority of the Personnel

Board believed that when they voted 2 to 1 to give her that opportunity.

AND NOW, without relinquishing her argument that defendants are estopped on the issue

of jurisdiction by law based on the doctrine of Res Judicata and by prescription of any appeal

period, Plaintiff submits the following out of an abundance of caution:



Any action taken by Hearing Officer Nass is void ab initio for his failure to dispense with Plaintiff’s

two pending Motions prior to rendering his findings as to Clem Donelon. The record is clear that

there were no preliminary matters taken up prior to Mr. Nass declaring Clem Donelon dismissed as

a defendant; there were no Contradictory Hearings and there were no findings or orders issued at the

time of the Hearing.

Plaintiff’s Motion for a Continuance filed on or about April 15, 2010 was not taken up on April 20,

2010 prior to the Hearing Officer rendering a finding dismissing Clem Donelon as a party.

La. CCP Art. 1601 states that a continuance may be granted in any case if there is good ground


La. CCP Art. 1602 provides that a continuance shall be granted if at the time a case is to tried, the

party applying for the continuance shows that he has been unable, with the exercise of due diligence,

to obtain evidence material to his case.

The Hearing Officer failed to conduct a Contradictory Hearing and rule on the Motion for

Continuance, and in doing so deprived the Plaintiff herein of a fair and impartial hearing.

La CCP Art.963 states that if a party to a lawsuit is not clearly entitled to ex parte granting of the

relief sought and requires supporting proof, the motion SHALL be served and tried contradictorily

with the adverse party. The first sentence of the law states that if the request is one to which the

mover is clearly entitled without supporting proof, the court may grant it without hearing the adverse


CCP Art. 963. Ex parte and contradictory motions; rule to show cause

If the order applied for by written motion is one to which mover is clearly entitled
without supporting proof, the court may grant the order ex parte and without hearing
the adverse party.

If the order applied for by written motion is one to which the mover is not clearly
entitled, or which requires supporting proof, the motion shall be served on and tried
contradictorily with the adverse party.

The rule to show cause is a contradictory motion.


La.CCP 641 states that indispensable parties to a suit are those whose interest in
the subject matter of the litigation is so interrelated and would be so directly
affected by the judgment that a complete and equitable adjudication of the
controversy cannot be accomplished unless they are joined in the action.

Plaintiff argues that she was clearly entitled to a continuance and that the Hearing Officer

could have granted same ex parte. The fact that he did not and still did not hold a Contradictory

Hearing preliminary to dismissing Clem Donelon was procedural error and renders the dismissal

void ab initio.

Clem Donelon identifies himself as the Human Resource Management Department Special

Assistant. It should be noted that his is a “classified” position, affording him the luxury and

protection of that class as it does for Hearing Officer/Referee/Board Attorney Nass. Donelon

touts his job duties to include “ counsel to appointing authorities and Parish

Administrative Officials...”.

Why then, one might ask, is his position classified and other Assistant Parish Attorneys’

positions would not be? And why would Donelon not be subject to the same requirements of

ethical conduct as all other Parish employees? Attorneys cannot hide behind Attorney-Client

privilege while violating employees’ civil rights. Attorneys cannot say they were just doing their

job if they participate in what could be interpreted as prohibited reprisals even as they defend

what some find indefensible.

Donelon participated in the meeting where his clients took retaliatory job action against

Plaintiff. Donelon argued with Plaintiff, threatened legal action against Plaintiff and in fact

followed through with the threats. Donelon is an indispensable party to this case and cannot be

dismissed without causing further and irreparable harm to Plaintiff.

SLAPP : Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation

The hiring of a law firm of the stature of Phelps Dunbar to handle a simple Personnel Board

matter involving crystal clear facts of reprisal on the basis of mandated reporting of violations

smacks of what can only be termed an inverse SLAPP tactic. SLAPP stands for Strategic

Lawsuit Against Public Participation. This type of lawsuit is intended to censure, intimidate and

silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defense until they abandon their

criticism or opposition. The SLAPPER’s goals are accomplished if the SLAPPEE succumbs to

fear, intimidation, monuting legal costs or simple exhaustion and abandons the criticism. A side

benefit to the SLAPPER is that a SLAPP also intimidates others from participation in the debate

and serves to further chill opposition. This SLAPP tactic by defendants of hiring Phelps Dunbar

to represent ALL NAMED RESPONDENTS is proof positive of the reprisals to which Plaintiff

has been and continues to be subject as the direct result of fulfilling her obligation created by the

Personnel Board pursuant to Code of Ordinances Chapter 23; Article I; IN GENERAL; Section

23-1 et seq.

The fact that her Public Record Requests, as those of other requestors, are not being responded

to in a timely or complete manner by the Parish, is more argument for the continuance to have

been contradictorily heard and granted.

Relevant information for bearing her burden to prove her allegations are contained in several of

her Public Record Requests delayed or denied by Greg Giangrosso. Councilmembers Young and

Robert have publically termed the Parish Attorney’s office hindering of responses “ invalid” and

based on erroneous legal citations and ordered all responses released to other Requestors

immediately. Plaintiff has not been afforded the same courtesy.

Recent media coverage of this debacle and the unfettered attempts by the Parish to further restrict

public access to Public Records by the filing of bills to increase exceptions, exemptions and

limitations to the Public Record laws across the board this Legislative Session cannot be

considered isolated incidents.

In their totality the actions of the defendants can be nothing less than a concerted effort by the

defendants to silence Plaintiff and all other critics of the Parish government by whatever means


Plaintiff’s physical condition should have served as more than an adequate reason to continue the

proceedings and the Hearing Officer even commented that he did not want to cause more severe

medical problems by forcing Plaintiff to speak. The Hearing Officer was well aware of

Plaintiff’s Motion for a Continuance, of Plaintiff’s medical illness and still failed to afford her

even due process in holding a Contradictory Hearing.


Plaintiff’s Motion for Recusal of the Hearing Officer filed the morning of the hearing was not

taken up on April 20, 2010 prior to the Hearing Officer rendering a finding dismissing Clem

Donelon as a party.

Plaintiff filed a Motion to Recuse Mr. Nass on April 20th, the day set for the hearing.

CCP 152 gives a judge, in his own discretion the ability to recuse himself, whether a

motion to recuse has been filed by a party or not, in any cause in which a ground for

recusation exists.

CCP Art. 161 as it relates to a judge ad hoc states that '...that ajudge who has been appointed to

try the cause may be recused on the grounds and in the manner provided in this chapter of the

recusation of judges. The Hearing Officer again failed to hear and rule on the Motion to Recuse,

an omission also violative of Plaintiff's rights to a fair and impartial hearing.

As cited previously, CCP 963 specifically charges the court to have a contradictory hearing

among the adverse parties.

Mr. Nass has interjected that he is a classified employee ( a special assistant

under the provisions of Personnel Rules, VII , sec. 6.9) However he has been

intimately involved in every aspect of Plaintiff's claim, advising the board on legal

issues, consulting with Deputy Parish Attorney Louis Gruntz and Assistant Parish Attorney

Clem Donelon.

Having not disposed of these elemental motions, the Hearing Officer, with great haste and prior

to any rulings on any preliminary matters, ordered the defendant Donelon, as it relates to him

personally, to be removed as a party in this proceeding. The judgement by the Hearing Officer as

it pertains to defendant Donelon is void ab initio.

Alternatively, by issuing an order releasing a party named in Plaintiff's claim, the Hearing

Officer, de facto accepted jurisdiction of this matter and the rule to show cause is moot.

The legal quagmire presented by the Jefferson Parish Personnel Board in appointing it's own

counsel and/or special assistant to be the Hearing Officer has caused irreparable harm to

Plaintiff's ability to obtain a fair and impartial hearing by placing additional undo burdens of

having to defend legal matters that are in fact the responsibility of the Board, in that:

1) Mr. Nass's client, the Jefferson Parish Personnel Board voted to hear this Whistle
blower claim as evidenced in it's signed decree of March 17, 2010. Mr. Nass was fully
aware of his client's judgement, assuming that any party would have reason to question
their jurisdiction. The Defendants had 30 days in which to appeal that judgment to the 5th
Circuit Court of Appeal, which they failed to do, hence it prescribed. Had the defendants
filed an appeal naming the Jefferson Parish Personnel Board as the proper party defendant
to a jurisdictional challenge over this matter Mr Nass would have been called upon to
defend their March 17, 2010 vote at the 5th Circuit Court of Appeal.

2) Mr. Nass, in accepting the appointment as Hearing Officer, created for himself an
ethical challenge. Under Rule 1.7, Conflict of Interest, Rules of Professional Conduct,
(a) (2), a lawyer with current clients is to avoid any representation that would not only
harm one of the client's, but do harm to third parties. The end result of Mr. Nass's dual
roles has done just that. His issuance of a Motion to Show Cause why Plaintiff’s claim
should not be dismissed in this proceeding was in direct contravention his clients stated
goal: Mr. Coombe and Ms. Bramlett-Wood voted by a majority of two to one to allow
Plaintiff’s claim to be heard. Period. Barring an Appeal of the Personnel Board’s ruling to
the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, the next procedural issue was only on what day to set

the Hearing on the Merits.

3) Mr. Nass, as the appointed Hearing Officer, is subject to compliance with the Code of
Judicial Conduct; Section D: Compliance With the Code of Judicial Conduct; Appointed
Hearing Officers which states that appointed Hearing Officers are required to comply with
all canons of the Code.

Mr. Nass, by giving a televised interview with Fox News, WVUE Channel 8 immediately
following the Hearing on Tuesday April, 20, 2010 and commenting on the merits of any
parties’ claims and especially prior to hearing Plaintiff’s argument, trampled on at least
two cannons of ethics. In that interview Mr. Nass was clearly identified as Attorney for
the Jefferson Parish Personnel Board. Plaintiff has, and will make available to the
Personnel Board if asked, video of the 5 and 5:30 pm Fox 8 News from that night and will
make it and a still photo of the same news report showing Mr. Nass with the title
Personnel Board Attorney under it.

In that interview Mr. Nass stated that for years prior to Plaintiff filing her claim, ‘everyone
including himself’ believed only classified employees were entitled to protection under the
Personnel Rules. He then stated that he would decide the matter the next week.

Canon 2 states that a judge shall avoid impropriety and appearance of impropriety in all
activities. Section A states that a judge shall respect and comply with the law and shall act
at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of
the judiciary.

Canon 3 (A)(6) states that except as permitted by law, a judge shall not permit private of
ex parte interviews, arguments or communications designed to influence his or her judicial
action in any case, either civil or criminal.

Canon 3 (A)(8) states that a judge shall not while a proceeding is pending...make any
public comment that might reasonable be expected to affect its outcome or impair its

Rule 3.6- Trial Publicity- of the Rules of Professional Conduct states that a lawyer shall
not make an extrajudicial statement. This act is then compounded in that a judge is
absolutely prohibited to do so. The conduct by Mr. Nass, in his capacity as Personnel
Board Attorney or as Hearing Officer, has without question, conflicted him out of this
case, both as attorney/special assistant for the Board and as the appointed Hearing

4) Mr. Nass, should the Plaintiff appeal his decision, would presumably be the same
person in his role as attorney and/or as special assistant for the Board advising the Board
of his findings of fact and ruling of law. Such a possibility is inherently flawed and gives

rise to questions of both ethical issues and legal rights. This alone should have been
sufficient reason for Mr. Nass to recuse himself.

5) Mr. Nass, acting on behalf of himself and the Board, sent Plaintiff’s Whistle blower
claim to the Justice Department, Criminal Division stating that if true some of the claims
of violations could rise to the level of criminal culpability. The letter was on his law
corporation letterhead and stated he was reporting the possibly criminal offenses in
Plaintiff’s “...Whistleblower complaint...for myself and the members and employees of the
Personnel Board.” He copied John Combs, Donna Bramlett Wood , Terrie Rodrigue and
Beverly Williams. ( Letter dated March 18, 2010).

Considering the above enumerated reasons, either Mr. Nass should recuse himself or the
Jefferson Parish Personnel Board should remove him.

Plaintiff is at a loss to explain Mr. Nass’ position with the Personnel Board other than as Counsel

given the fact that the Board had Assistant Parish Attorney Ross LaDart in that position before

Mr. Nass and given the fact that Mr. Nass counseled the Board on several occasions while in

Plaintiff’s presence in addition to his presence at and participation in every Personnel Board

hearing and given Mr. Nass’ very public interview on Fox 8 news the evening of April 20, 2010

wherein he was clearly identified as the Personnel Board Attorney.


It is Plaintiff’s contention that her Whistle Blower claim under the Provisions of Rule II, section 7

and as based on her obligation under Part II-Code of Ordinances-Chapter 23-Personnel-Article I;

Section 23-2; Political Activities of Employees (g), lies squarely within the jurisdiction of the

Personnel Board.

23-2; (g) mandates: “It shall be the duty of any employee or parish official who knows
of any activity in violation of this section to report the violation to the personnel board.”

Plaintiff is the only employee or parish official who reported her boss, Parish Attorney Tom

Wilkinson for Prohibited Political Activities violations to the Personnel Board.

Plaintiff is the only employee or parish official who reported Inspection and Code Enforcement

Director, Debbie Villio, for Prohibited Political Activities violations to the Personnel Board.

The parish officials/employees who violated this section did not report it to the Personnel Board..
Her immediate supervisor, Deputy Parish Attorney, Louis Gruntz, to whom she reported the

violations, did not report it to the Personnel Board.

And again pursuant to Part II-Code of Ordinances-Chapter 23-Personnel-Article I; Section 23-2;

Political Activities of Employees (f), Plaintiff was under an obligation (“...shall be reported...”) to

report the violations to the Personnel Board under Jefferson Parish’s Code of Ordinances.

23-2 (f) “Any violation of the provisions of this section shall be reported to the personnel
board, whose duty it shall be to make a thorough investigation concerning the alleged
violations in accordance with the personnel rules.”

So clearly Plaintiff had a DUTY under 23-2(g) to report the violations to the Personnel Board and

the Personnel Board had a DUTY under 23-2 (f) to thoroughly investigate.

And clearly in fulfilling her duty Plaintiff suffered reprisals.

And clearly under Personnel Board Rule II ; Section 7 -Whistleblower Protection reprisals are

prohibited, an employee who discloses is protected and has a right to appeal to the Personnel Board.


“An appointing authority shall not engage in reprisal against an employee for
disclosing a violation or suspected violation of any of the following:

(A) A state of federal law.

(B) A lawful regulation or rule promulgated by Jefferson Parish or other

political subdivision or the state of Louisiana.

(C) A civil service rule or regulation adopted through the Jefferson Parish
Personnel Board’s rule making process as provided in the Jefferson

Parish Charter, Section 4.03.

“An employee who discloses...violations or suspected violations are (sic)
protected by this rule...”


“Reprisal includes actions such as discharge or other disciplinary actions,
threats of discipline, denial of permanent status to probationary employees,
negative performance evaluations or comments therein, or arbitrary and
capricious changes in the conditions of employment.”


“Any employee who alleges that he has suffered reprisals prohibited under this
section including but not limited (sic) discharge or other disciplinary actions,
threats of discipline, denial of permanent stature ..., negative performance
evaluations or comments therein, or arbitrary and capricious changes in
conditions of employment shall have the right to appeal to this Board.”

Section 7.4 does not say any ‘classified’ employee but rather says ‘ANY’ employee who alleges that

he has suffered reprisals prohibited under this section. Just as the penalties for violating the

Prohibitions against Political Activities in Section 23-3 of the Code of Ordinances specifically cover

unclassified employees, the word ‘any’ in Section 7.4 above covers all employees, whether classified

or unclassified.

Section 23-2 states that ‘ANY’ person employed in the service of the parish is prohibited from

engaging in any activity of a political nature. Neither Wilkinson nor Villio was exempt from this

provision under any exemptions.

Section 23-2 (f), not to be redundant, states ‘ANY’ violation of the provisions of this section

‘SHALL’ be reported to the personnel board, whose duty it ‘SHALL’ be to make a thorough accordance with the personnel rules.

Section 23-2 (g) , again for emphasis , states it ‘SHALL’ be the duty of ‘ANY’ employee or parish

official who knows of any activity in violation of this section to report the violation to the

‘PERSONNEL BOARD’. Not the Attorney General, not the District Attorney, not file suit in 24th

JDC, but report it to the ‘PERSONNEL BOARD’.

Clearly, the Personnel Board as the entity to whom the violations must be reported and as the

entity charged with throughly investigating the violations is also charged with throughly

investigating reprisals made as the result of the disclosure of the violations.

This is a reasonable conclusion based on the law and rules and regulations as written in the Charter,

Code of Ordinances and by the Personnel Board.

So under the Code of Ordinances of the Parish of Jefferson Plaintiff had a duty to report the

violation of Chapter 23-2; Personnel-Article I; Section 23-2; Political Activities of Employees.

The only protection afforded Plaintiff for fulfilling her obligation in the event of reprisals is an

appeal to the Personnel Board under Personnel Board Rule II, 7.4 which , remarkably enough, is also

the very Board requiring Plaintiff to report the violations in the first place and who retains, pursuant

to Personnel Board Rule II ; Section 8, EXCLUSIVITY AND REVIEW of all actions appealable

under these Rules.

8.1 “ The Jefferson Parish Personnel Board shall have the exclusive power and
authority to hear and decide all removal and disciplinary cases and other actions
appealable under these Rules.”

Where else is Plaintiff to go with her claim than to the very authority which obligated her to report

the violations in the first place and who provides WHISTLE BLOWER PROTECTION in the event

of reprisals.

Section 23-3 of the Code of Ordinances specifically states that the penalties for violation shall be

cause for the immediate discharge of any person employed in the UNCLASSIFIED service of the

parish. This is an unequivocal statement that unclassified employees are covered by these

provisions. If the unclassified violator is covered then the unclassified Whistle Blower is covered.

Nowhere is it stated that only classified employees/parish officials have an obligation to report

violations. Both classified and unclassified employees / parish officials have the same obligation

to report violations and ipso facto both are entitled to the same protection against reprisals.

Section 23-3 Penalty for violating sections 23-1 and 23-2.

“The violation of any of the provisions of sections 23-1 and 23-2 shall be cause for
the immediate discharge of any person employed in the unclassified service of the
parish; provided, however, that before any such employee is discharged, the council
shall hold a public hearing to determine whether or not such employee has violated
the provisions of section 23-1 or 23-2.”

(Code 1961, § 13-7)

The only authority the Personnel Board does not have over unclassified employees who violate 23-1

et seq is that which is granted by the Charter to the Council and/or appointing authority to appoint,

promote and/or dismiss.

So 23-3 has that added sentence immediately following the semi-colon: “...; provided, however, that

before any such employee is discharged, the council shall hold a public hearing to determine whether

or not such employee has violated the provisions of section 23-1 or 23-2.”

This statement that the Board cannot discharge the UNCLASSIFIED employee but that only the

council after holding a public hearing may do so, takes into consideration that under the Charter

Article 4 Section 4.03 (A) and (B) the Personnel Board cannot appoint, promote and/or dismiss:

“...The Parish President; The directors of departments and heads of principal offices provided that

the procedures prescribed in Section 4.03E(2) shall apply to the appointment of the Personnel

Director; The Parish Clerk; Members of advisory boards and other unpaid bodies who are not parish

employees; Organizations and their employees and other persons who are engaged by the parish on

a contractual basis; The Parish Attorney and his legal assistants.”

All this means is that the persons listed are not subject to appointment, promotion or dismissal by
the Personnel Board. They can be investigated by the Personnel Board for violations of Prohibited

Political Activities rules and they can be investigated by the Personnel Board for taking reprisals

against ANY employee who reports such violations and who appeals to the Personnel Board alleging

reprisals for reporting the violations.

The Personnel Board has “...the exclusive power and authority to hear and decide all...actions

appealable under these Rules.” An action claiming reprisals for Whistle blowing on Prohibited

Political Activities is appealable under these Rules to the Personnel Board. Ergo: the Personnel

Board has the exclusive power and authority to hear and decide the merits of any such claim.

Further support for Plaintiff’s argument that the Personnel Board has Jurisdiction in her case is

found in State law which grants to the Parish the authority to delineate rights, duties, and

privileges of parish employees, R.S. 33:1236(51). That state statute is the basis on which Section

23 of the Code of Ordinance is based, which Section 23 forms the foundation for the Personnel

Board’s jurisdiction to investigate, administer and enforce the provisions and the regulations ,

rules and orders issued pursuant thereto.

Section 23 contains among other laws, Sec 23-113 which discusses abuse of office by a public

employee; Section 23-115 which discusses Illegal payments/economic value; Section 23-112

which discusses prohibited Gifts to public employees and Plaintiff’s personal favorite, Section

23-118 which she has long argued is sufficient grounds on which to sue a public employee or

former public employee to recover economic advantage gained by said employees through

violations of Section 23 prohibitions.

Section 23-118 (d) Civil action for damages. The parish attorney, district attorney or the
personnel board may bring a civil action against any public employee or former public
employee in the district court in which the employee or former employee is domiciled who
shall, to his economic advantage, have acted in violation of this division, and in such
action may recover on behalf of the parish an amount equal to such economic

And low and behold Section 23-118 - Administration of sections pertaining to public employees

includes paragraph (a) Jurisdiction which states: “The personnel board in accordance with

provisions of the Charter, shall administer and enforce the provisions of this division and

the regulations, rules and orders issued hereunder.

The words ‘this division’ refer to Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, Code of Ordinances




The Personnel Board has a plethora of avenues to administer and enforce Ethical behavior

rules and regulations for Parish employees and former employees.

Plaintiff has shouldered the burden of pointing out those avenues. She has shouldered the

of pointing out the violations for which the Personnel Board should travel down those

Surely she is not asking too much to have the Personnel Board afford her the protection

reprisals guaranteed in its own rules and regulations for whistle blowers who obey the

own mandate to report violations.


The laws of statutory construction require that laws on the same subject matter be
interpreted in

reference to each other. When a law is clear and unambiguous and its application does not

to absurd consequences, the law shall be applied as written, and no further interpretation
may be

made in search of the intent of the legislature. La.Code Civ. Art.9; Detillier v. Kenner

877So.2d100, 103(7/6/04).

In Hollingsworth v.City of Minden, 828So.2d514, 517 (1940) the Court held: “ Under our

standing rules of statutory construction, where it is possible, courts have a duty in the

interpretation of a statute to adopt a construction which harmonizes and reconciles it with


provisions dealing with the same subject matter.”

Plaintiff has more than adequately pointed out how, when and where the Personnel Board

and regulations and the Jefferson Parish Charter harmonize and reconcile employee

responsibilities to report violations of any laws, rules, regulations whether federal, state or

in nature. She has more than amply pointed out how, when and where those same laws,

and regulations harmoniously guarantee protection from reprisals for reporting violations.

law is clear and unambiguous:






Clear and unambiguous. Does not lead to any absurd consequences. The intent of the law
is to

require employees to report violations while assuring them of protection from reprisal.

Plaintiff reported the violations by Wilkinson and Villio. Plaintiff suffered reprisals.
Plaintiff is

seeking protection from the Personnel Board pursuant to the clear and unambiguous law as

in Rule II, Section 7, Whistle blower Protection.


Under the doctrine of ‘unjust enrichment’ courts have recognized a contractual quantum

when a contract is implied from the circumstances but no agreement as to price has been

Dumas and Associated, Inc v. Lewis Enterprisis, Inc. 704So2d433 ( La App 2 Cir, 1997).

Actio de in rem verso is a legal term meaning enrichment without cause. Its origin lies in

French CODE NAPOLEON from whence is derived our Civil Code.

The five criteria of such a claim are:

1. There was an actual enrichment.

2. There was an impoverishment.

3. There is a connection between the impoverishment and the enrichment.

4. There must be no cause or justification for the enrichment and impoverishment.

5. There must be no other remedy available to the plaintiff at law. --Charrier v. Bell 496
So. 2d 601 (La. Ct. App. 1986)

In Morphy, Makofsky and Masson, Inc v. Canal Place 2000, 538So.2d569 (La1989) the

stated “ When one avails himself of the services of another in performance of a task, he is

obligated to compensate that person.” La.CC Article 2055.

The Parish of Jefferson has availed itself of the services of Plaintiff and has been enriched

having Plaintiff defend the Personnel Board jurisdiction in a matter not related to the
merits of

her claim: that of the jurisdiction of the Personnel Board vis a vis the Administration and


The legal morass created by inartful crafting of law, corruption of public officials, sui

issues of law and procedure and ultimately the conflicted position the Board’s

assistant/Hearing Officer/Referee found himself in, resulted in the Plaintiff carrying the

for the Parish of Jefferson and the Board. It resulted in an inequitable burden, one which

enriched the Parish as a whole at Plaintiff’s expense.

In Barham and Arceneaux v Kosak 874So,2d228(LaApp2004) quantum meruit was defined


mean: as much as he deserved ...far more than simply the hours spent by the attorney on

client’s case, and includes the particular benefit to the case derived for each unit of time

to the case.

Plaintiff has been forced to spend many personal hours in the research and preparation of

case and brief, hours she should not be required to supply gratis. But for the inartful
crafting of

the laws under which she was forced to work and report violations she would not have been

this untenable position in the first place. Unraveling the mess cost her time and money
and she

deserves to be compensated, much as Phelps Dunbar is being compensated for their

representation of the Administration.


If, as Mr. Nass stated at the redundant second hearing on whether Plaintiff’s claim should

be heard, the law was ‘inartfully crafted’ Plaintiff had no part in that inartful crafting and

not be penalized.

If the Personnel Board and the Administration are at odds over who gets to do what then

they need to straighten it out between them. Plaintiff should not have to argue subject
matter or

any other jurisdiction issue that has been simmering between the two behemoths for years.

Plaintiff just wants the Personnel Board to hear her Whistelblower claim under their

authority based on their rules obligating her to report the violations which resulted in the

which she is appealing through her Whistleblower claim which they have exclusive power

authority to hear.

Let the Personnel Board’s attorneys joust with the Administration’s attorneys at some

point in time AFTER Plaintiff’s claim is resolved: She in good faith relied on the law as

inartfully or not.

Either there were reprisals against Plaintiff for blowing the whistle on Wilkinson and

Villio (among the numerous others) or there were not.

Plaintiff stands willing and able to delineate with specific detail the exact parameters of

Wilkinson’s and Villio’s violation of Section 23-2 PROHIBITED POLITICAL


should that become necessary. The Board can also subpoena that information if it has not

received it yet under the ‘agreement’ reached with Louis Gruntz. Unfortunately under the

regime in the Parish Attorney’s office Plaintiff’s Public Record Requests are not being

to in a timely or remotely complete manner creating additional work and delay in


compilation of the evidence proving her case. The failure of the Defendants to return

personal computer and papers upon her return to work has created even more work and
delay and

is more evidence of reprisals and SLAPP tactics.

Plaintiff is filing a complaint with the Attorney General’s office alleging the actions of the

Attorney’s office and specifically Greg Giangrosso, Peggy Barton and Louis Gruntz in

obstructing responses to her Public Records requests is a concerted effort, if not a


designed to retaliate against her by hindering her access to Public Records in violation of
La R S

44:1 et seq and related local, state and federal laws.

Plaintiff is also filing a civil lawsuit in 24th JDC alleging the same grounds and seeking

fees, fines and all other equitable relief for the numerous and systematic hindering and /or

attempt to hinder her access to Public Records in violation of La R S 44:1.

Irrespective of how Plaintiff got here and irrespective of any turf war caused by the

crafted laws of the Parish, the only matter of concern to Plaintiff is that the Personnel

grant her the Hearing on the Merits they voted 2 to 1 on March 17, 2010 to allow.

The Personnel Board has an opportunity to send a clear resounding threat to the corrupt

sending an equally clear resounding message of support to the law-abiding. That message

You shine the light on the corrupt and we, the Personnel Board, will throughly investigate

prosecute while protecting you from reprisal, all in accordance with the Personnel rules and

charged duty as the Board enforcing the rules.

Plaintiff clearly had a duty under 23-2 (g) to report the violations and in fulfilling that duty

has suffered :








These reprisals continue on a daily basis and have been extended to employees who worked


are presently working with Plaintiff. Employees have been advised to distance themselves

Plaintiff. Comments have been made that Plaintiff should not be surprised at the reprisals

deserves what she is getting. Deputy Parish Attorney Gruntz is reported to have stated
that he

feels ‘betrayed’ by Plaintiff’s whistle blowing. One Parish Attorney employee was told the

reprisals against her resulted from her having lunch with Plaintiff and a media person; a

which never occurred. Rumors are flying; reprisals are encouraged and condoned; and,

Plaintiff’s only immediate recourse is to seek protection from the Personnel Board.

All others who knew of, or know of, violations and have, or had, a duty to report and did

are by the same provisions guilty of the failure to report. All who know of and do not

and/or participate in reprisals against Plaintiff or other employees are guilty.

Plaintiff avers it is the obligation of the Jefferson Parish Personnel Board to take notice of

facts and investigate those who know/ knew and do/did not report in addition to

those who committed the violations.

Plaintiff repeats: The law is clear and unambiguous. Hearing Plaintiff’s appeal alleging

does not lead to any absurd consequences. The intent of the law is to require employees to

violations while assuring them of protection from reprisal.

Plaintiff reported the violations by Wilkinson and Villio. (Code of Ord.; Ch. 23; Personnel;
Section 23.1 et seq.)

Plaintiff suffered reprisals. ( Personnel Rule II, Section 7.1 -7.3)

Plaintiff is seeking protection from the Personnel Board ( Personnel Rule II, Section 7.4)

Plaintiff prays that the Personnel Board recognize its obligation to her and to other loyal

employees to protect them as they do their work, fulfill their legally mandated obligations

the Charter and suffer reprisals for doing so

Respectfully submitted,

Anne Marie Vandenweghe, pro se
9 Colonial Lane, Harahan La. 70123