At $184,000 a year, District Attorney Walter Reed is now the highest-paid elected official in St. Tammany Parish. But it's his work on the side that raises serious questions.More >>
At $184,000 a year, District Attorney Walter Reed is now the highest-paid elected official in St. Tammany Parish. But it's his work on the side that raises questions in our latest "Louisiana Purchased" report - especially the work he does for a public hospital, and the potential mix of public and private resources.More >>
Bess Carrick has been around politics for decades. You'd think she'd seen it all. "Yes, that's surprising to me," Carrick tells us, surprised after watching a 60-second video clip. This is a public serviceMore >>
The video features the St. Tammany DA on camera, reading for about 35 seconds, followed by an announcer reading for another 20 seconds. He paid more than $14,000 for it.More >>
The St. Tammany district attorney paid his son's company a huge amount for bar services at a Sept. 2012 campaign fundraiser. But what did Steven Reed actually do for the money?More >>
The St. Tammany district attorney paid his son's company a huge amount for bar services at a Sept. 2012 campaign fundraiser. But what did Steven Reed actually do for the money? We comb through records of the event in this latest edition of the "Louisiana Purchased" joint investigation by FOX 8 News and NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune.More >>
A commenter on FOX8Live.com pointed out the findings in our latest "Louisiana Purchased" update. It involves a video for St. Tammany Parish District Attorney Walter Reed, and the website it promotes.
Last week, we told you how Reed used $14,000 of campaign money to pay his son to produce the 60-second anti-drug PSA. We showed long-time producer Bess Carrick the video, and then told her how much Walter Reed paid for it. Carrick said the video could have been shot with an iPhone and, at most, should have cost $700 to produce.
One thing we we didn't point out is that, at the last 20 seconds of the video, a website address is displayed for the DA's office. It's where you need to go to get more information on this anti-drug campaign. When you type it into any browser, www.22da.gov doesn't exist.
We emailed the DA's office, requesting any proof that they own or owned the domain 22da.gov, or if it was ever an active website controlled or operated by the DA's office. They have yet to respond.
"I think it makes the whole video entirely questionable," says Rick Franzo of the group Concerned Citizens of St. Tammany.
Franzo says the DA's constituents should be outraged. "I think they should be absolutely livid about this type of situation," he tells us. "You're taking $14,000 for a video that probably two or three-hundred dollars, and probably less than that – because what does it cost to do a minute video? There's no background, there's nothing to it. Lighting is poor. It's a camera that I probably could have done on my iPhone, right here. And then to pay your son $14,000 for it is just wrong, you know? It's not fair."
We don't know who was actually responsible for displaying the wrong website – the video producer, or whoever provided the wrong web address?
"If you're going to do it, at least do it right," Franzo insists.
It raises more questions about a campaign payment of $14,000 from a powerful DA to his son's video production company.
"I would think everybody in St. Tammany Parish would want that job," Franzo says. "That's an incredible, profitable job. I could work 10 minutes and I'm done for the year."