|Former state Rep. Jalila Jefferson-Bullock admits ethics code infraction|
by Robert Travis Scott, The
Wednesday January 28, 2009, 1:50 PM
BATON ROUGE -- The Louisiana Board of Ethics approved an agreement today with former state Rep. Jalila Jefferson-Bullock, D-New Orleans, in which she admits an ethics law violation for failing to disclose her legal representation of convicted bond broker Gwendolyn Moyo in a civil case with the state Department of Insurance.
The ethics board fined Jefferson-Bullock $1,000, although the maximum penalty for the violation could have been $10,000.
Her law firm, Jefferson and Jefferson, began representing Moyo on Dec. 28, 2006, in litigation matters involving the Insurance Department, according to the agreement. Also, she represented Moyo in an Insurance Department case in the 19th Judicial District Court in Baton Rouge. That case was James J. Donelon, commissioner of insurance for the state of Louisiana, versus United Assurance Company Ltd., AAA Communications Inc., James E. Zoucha, Cong Li, and Gwen Moyo.
Jefferson-Bullock earned $12,075.49 for her services to Moyo in matters related to the Insurance Department cases, the agreement says. Of that amount, $6,037.75 remains unpaid. Jefferson-Bullock withdrew as Moyo's counsel in August 2007.
Jefferson-Bullock filed an affidavit with the ethics board about her work with Moyo on Dec. 29, 2007, which was beyond the deadline for the disclosure, the agreement says.
Jefferson-Bullock did not appear at the ethics board meeting today. The agreement said, "If called to testify, Rep. Jefferson-Bullock would state that she did not intentionally violate the Code of Ethics and that her failure to file the required ... disclosure statement was an oversight."
The ethics code prohibits elected officials from receiving compensation for representing a client in an appearance with a government agency unless a sworn disclosure is filed with the board within 10 days after the assistance.
Jefferson-Bullock did not file the disclosure within that period because she did not think she was required to do so under the circumstances of her case. The agreement and the penalty were not immediately released.
In October, a jury in a federal case brought by U.S. Attorney Jim Letten found Moyo guilty on 41 counts of fraud, conspiracy and money laundering for selling more than a dozen bogus construction bonds while netting about $2 million in illegal proceeds. It was her third conviction in an international financial scam.
Also today, the ethics board approved documentation based on a previous decision to find state Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-New Orleans, in violation of failing to timely disclose his legal work in foster care cases that was compensated by the state Department of Social Services. After today's board action, Richmond will now be able to file an appeal in the case.