Earlier this month, the Edwards administration announced a complex agreement that could lead to the widespread privatization of energy systems at state agencies and universities throughout the state.
Rather than requiring an open and honest process for future privatization, the Edwards’ administration has attempted to build an “option” into this latest agreement which will allow LA Energy Partners to obtain additional state contracts without a new competitive bidding process.
According to The Advocate report, Bernhard Energy Solutions partnered with the HVAC company Johnson Controls at the request of the Edwards’ administration after both firms submitted proposals to the state.
Bernhard Energy Solutions is one of several companies controlled by Bernhard Capital Partners, a private equity firm run by former Shaw Group chief executive and Democratic Party chairman Jim Bernhard, who was floated as a potential Democratic candidate for governor before ruling it out last year.
Johnson Controls, a multinational electrical and HVAC group that moved its corporate headquarters to tax-haven Ireland in recent years, was at the center of a bribery and kickback scandal during the Morial years in New Orleans which saw more than a million dollars skimmed off the top by subcontractors and more than a dozen people convicted of related crimes.
More recently, in 2016, the company found itself caught up in a corruption and kickback scheme, which lead to the resignation of its CEO. In the same year, Johnson Controls found itself paying $14.4 million to end an SEC probe into a corruption and bribery scandal involving Chinese businesses.
As the campaign season goes into high gear and more people begin paying attention to the shady dealings of John Bel Edwards, we can be sure that MORE scandals will come bubbling to the surface.
The people of Louisiana are tired of political deals crafted by the likes of Huey Long, Edwin Edwards, and John Bel Edwards. This fall we have the opportunity to stand-up to the corrupt good-ole boy network of “pay to play” government contracts.
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