Democrat Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins, also running for the U.S. Senate next month, faces more accusations that deter support for him in this contest as well as in any reelection attempt.
From the moment he entered office posing as a new broom to sweep out old politics, Perkins seemed more like a new good-old-boy. He struck a deal with a political ally on insuring city property, only to stick Shreveport with a higher bill for less insurance for the next year. He tried to fob off campaign expenses onto taxpayers. He improperly claimed reimbursement for automobile use. And, he illegally tried to replace Shreveport Airport Authority members.
Issues over the Authority have continued to spin out of his control. Preceding the contentious appointment saga and allied matter of selecting a new director, hangar owners at the Downtown Airport have complained the SAA wants to renew tenancy with leases that essentially steal their structures, into which many have poured substantial sums of money, driving down their resale values in the process.
One member, local banker Jonathan Reynolds appointed in 2017 as an interim replacement, the owners find particularly abrasive. Perkins attempted to reappoint him to a full term six weeks prior to the expiration of the term he had inherited that ended in February.
Except, a lawsuit by the owners and others claims, that appointment came illegally because it didn’t occur with adequate City Council notice (which confirms SAA mayoral appointees). This matter currently is moving through the judicial system.
As part of that, the plaintiffs made records requests. Now they assert Reynolds destroyed records that came attached to e-mail messages relevant to the case. Reynolds claims he deleted messages from his work account in February when Paycheck Protection Program business picked up. However, that program didn’t come into effect until the latter part of March, and the credit union’s servers would have these backed up, but Reynolds hasn’t produced these.
Nor has the Council cooperated, by refusing to have its members deposed by dubiously claiming they have privilege from being questioned. But the city charter makes no mention of this, and the only reference in the Louisiana Constitution applies to legislators.
And, Perkins also has stalled in handing over documents he said during a July deposition he would provide. So, not only does it look like he tried to skirt the law in the process that appointed Reynolds, but also that he is trying to hide that.
The smoke keeps billowing around Perkins that would lead voters, at both the state level and in the city, to think he burns in the fire of loose ethical standards, if not outright corruption. Fortunately for his political future, given the Council’s involvement in this incident, any councilors wishing to challenge him in 2022 would be reticent to publicize this.
But perhaps not incumbent Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy, if Perkins, his main challenger, can make it to a runoff. At present, in advertising Cassidy doesn’t even mention Perkins or anyone else running against him because it looks possible he will win a simple majority of the vote in the general election. However, that likely would change if it goes to a runoff, and the shooting of fish in a barrel that going negative against Perkins entails would disseminate a whole lot of damaging publicity to his 2022 prospects.