Ernal “E. J.” Broussard, awarded 5 yo-yo's, is a convicted felon and is a candidate for the Abbeville City Council and probably one of the most egomaniacal folks in town. He was a Police Juror who was indicted and later pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting a multi-million dollar gambling operation. He is well know as a pain in the ass at the local coffee shops where the local politicians hang out.
Broussard pleaded guilty for his part in the criminal activity. The article explains the association of Broussard with Jason Paul Abate, one of the five people charged and sentenced in the investigation of illegal gambling activities. Click Here to read the full article.
Broussard was sentenced in December 2005, to two years probation on charges of aiding and abetting the illegal gambling operation. Prosecutors said Broussard, who resigned from office before pleading guilty in August, cashed checks for the book-making operation, routing gambling proceeds through his Abbeville store, PACKAGE LIQUOR EXCHANGE, and keeping a small percentage of the money in return for his services. The liquor store is a payday check cashing service which also sells booze. Here is a link to the article which implicates Broussard with Philip Mazzella Jr., who was one of five people charged in a case dubbed by state police as “Operation Player’s Paradise.” Prosecutors said that they were unable to determine how much money was involved, but it ran into the millions of dollars. Click Here to read full article.
He was sentenced to house arrest and was constantly violating the terms of his probation by showing up at the local coffee shops in the mornings. According to a story going around town at the time, the guys hanging out in the coffee shop pulled a prank on him by telling him that a stranger who had walked in the door was with the prosecutor's office, causing Ernal leave the coffee shop like a squirrel being chased by a cat.
Broussard's business PACKAGE LIQUOR EXCHANGE has since been reorganized as CHECK CASHIERS UNLIMITED LLC, located in the same location of the former business: 200-1/2 North Lyman Street, Abbeville, Louisiana 70510, Phone: 337-898-0763. He has claimed that he was framed in the gambling operation, even though he did plead guilty to the charges.
Broussard was hanging out at CC's Coffee Shop most mornings, then stopped going there and hanging out across the street at the Courtyard Cafe. Now that he is running for City Council, his signs are being plastered around town. Makes one wonder if all of those signs were paid for with gambling proceeds.
As of this writing, Broussard has not qualified to run in this election yet. He may not be able to with his conviction. The problem is that Broussard is running against another candidate of not much better standing. Whichever one wins, it will give more meaning to an old Louisiana slogan:
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Update: January 16, 2010: Subsequent emails received regarding Ernal Broussard suggest that there were other locals implicated in the gambling investigation who were not charged. Some feel that these others should have been prosecuted as well and feel that Broussard somehow got railroaded by these other parties who were also involved in the gambling operation. We will do some research and try to ascertain the facts about this investigation.
Update: January 18, 2010: Received a personal plea from Ernal Broussard today. He wanted this posting removed because it was upsetting his family. He committed the crime for which he was convicted, and he decided to run as a candidate for the city council of Abbeville. The information we obtained regarding his criminal past is available from other sources on the internet and we have provided links to those sites. We have removed any references to his family members but maintain that once a person declares his candidacy for a public office, that person's past is valid information to be disseminated to the public, particularly to the voters. If he were not a candidate for public office, then we would have no reason to make his past information public. If he is found not to be qualified to run in the upcoming election, or if he should lose the election, this posting will be removed.
UPDATE: February 8, 2010: (From Lions Roar on Topix)
“This is the best part of EJ's campaign letter: 'The friends I have made over the years at the court house and other political institutions can only help move our agenda along. I promise to you, the residents of District B, I will address your concerns in a timely manner and assist you in each and every way I can.' This statement is coming from a convicted felon who, after laundering illegal gambling money for a decade, was given a sentence parole instead of jail time. Maybe I mentioned this before, but the only reason EJ got parole instead of jail time is because his list of gambling clients was very politically explosive. Get his list of illegal gambling clients, then you'll see exactly who he will assist during these troubled times while the FBI is scouring Vermilion.”
February 11, 2010: Yesterday, the Abbeville Meridional newspaper ran a page one header about Francis Touchet's lawyer, Anthony Fontana, challenging the legality of Ernal “EJ&rdquo Broussard running for City Councilman. With his felony record, Ernal should not be able to run, but we will have to wait for the court to decide. In the Meridional article Ernal is quoted as saying, “I think taking it out of the hands of the people and putting it in the hands of one person (a judge) is a disgrace.” That's a rather stupid statement to make two days before that judge he is referring to rules on whether he can run or not.
Most people who have commented on the subject, think Touchet is an unsavory character because of his various relationships and/or marriages. Regardless of what most people think, we feel that Touchet's sex life (assuming it was all legal), is none of our business. We feel that Touchet's record as well as his reputation as a school principal makes him the lesser of the two evils. If Touchet's challenge is unsuccessful, it will mean that the race will be between a possibly unsavory character (Touchet) versus a truly unsavory character (Broussard). The race for Distict B is becoming the “Race for the Bottom.” We will get to see which of the baddest can win.
February 12, 2010: Yesterday the judge ruled that Ernal Broussard was not elibible to run. Broussard's lawyer is filing an appeal which will be heard shortly before the actual election date. It's almost impossible to see how Broussard can win in the appeal, unless he has a few judges in his pocket. The law clearly states that he has to wait 15 years to be eligible to qualify as a candidate unless he is pardoned by the Governor or the President. This now makes one wonder who was asleep at the wheel when Broussard was allowed to qualify in the first place. We'll have to wait to see what happens.
February 20, 2010: Yesterday, Ernal Broussard won the appeals court round on a technicality which stated that the federal felony conviction of aiding and abetting a gambling operation was not a felony in the state of Louisiana. Something is wrong with this picture. Here is a link on the story: KATC Television Story. If you want to read the ruling of the court, here is the link: Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruling. It seems that Touchet's lawyer is planning an appeal to the Louisiana State Supreme Court...let's hope he can prevail there.
February 22, 2010: Even if Ernal Broussard is allowed to run by the Louisiana Supreme Court, the man is still a convicted felon. When we first posted the Yo-Yo Awards for Ernal, he phoned an editor of this site and left a voice mail requesting that we remove the posting about him. We phoned him and left him a voice mail explaining that he would have to send us an email explaining why he thought we should remove the posting. The voice mail we received from him was pretty pathetic. He stated that he was computer illiterate and could not even type, and that the posting was causing him grief with his relatives. (Somehow, he doesn't seem to understand that it was the crime he committed along with his ego to get back into politics which caused all of this. If he had decided not to run for public office, we would have never posted anything about him (there is nothing really interesting about him otherwise). In this modern day and age, are we going to elect someone who can't use a computer or can't even type. I guess the only thing he was good at was calculating his fee for cashing all of those illegal gambling checks for which he was convicted. We've saved the recording and would be happy to send it to anyone interested. Click Here to send us an email requesting the recording. It is available as a WMA (Windows Media Audio) file. We will happily forward it to you.
February 25, 2010: Today, the Supreme Court of Louisiana will determine whether a convicted felon can run for a public office without having been pardoned. The Court will hear arguments between the lawyers for Francis Touchet and Ernal Broussard in their ongoing saga for District B City Council seat in Abbeville. The hearing starts at 1:30 pm and could last up to three hours. The Court website states that opinions are scheduled to be released on the second day of each sitting of the court. If the court rules in favor of Ernal Broussard, it will shine another bright light on an already negative opinion of Louisiana. On the other hand, the folks in District B will be stuck with Francis Touchet. The Court's proceedings can be viewed live at the following link:
February 25, 2010: The Louisiana State Supreme Court has decided to hear the case on March 2nd at 1:30pm in the State Supreme Court Building. Agreeing to hear this case is a good sign that they feel there is some merit to Touchet's case. According to the Abbeville Meridional this morning, when they phoned Ernal to get a comment from him, he had not heard of the decision made by the Supreme Court. He has a cell phone and a lawyer..why no call from his lawyer? Perhaps we should organize a Jazz Funeral for Ernal when he loses his case.
March 4, 2010: The Louisiana State Supreme Court has finally ended the saga of Touchet vs. Broussard and the election for the district "B" councilman in Abbeville. There must have been a tremendous sigh of relief by all of the other councilmen and probably the mayor as well. Having Ernal Broussard on the city council would have been a nightmare for them. Ernal's ego would have probably caused him to try to bully his way into every issue in the council meetings as well as trying to work his way into every photo-opportunity. In this, he would have been a major competitor to Francis Plaisance who definitely holds the title for participation in photo-ops.
Ernal Broussard has spent about $15,000.00 to defend his ability to run for the position of City Councilman in District "B". That is in addition to the monies he spent posting signs and campaigning for the office before the Louisiana State Supreme Court ruled that he cannot run. This is probably some of the money he earned from the fees he received for cashing checks for an illegal gambling operation. Now, we can travel around Abbeville and see who supports convicted felons for public office...they will still have his campaign signs in their yards. (Feel free to submit photos of houses with Ernal Broussard signs in their yard. We'll start a photo gallery in memory of Ernal.) Here is a statement from the Louisiana State Supreme Court summarizing the ruling: “For the reasons stated herein, the judgment of the court of appeal is reversed and the judgment of the trial court declaring that Ernal Broussard is disqualified as a candidate for the office of councilman of District B, City of Abbeville is reinstated. REVERSED; TRIAL COURT JUDGMENT REINSTATED.
Here is the link to the ruling: Supreme Court Ruling
Here is the link to today's Abbeville Meridional article: Abbeville Meridional Story
Unfortunately the Lafayette Daily Advertiser had nothing in today's paper about a ruling by the Louisiana State Supreme Court which affects a nearby community. Not only do they not care about Abbeville, the Advertiser is having major problems with their deliveries of the newspaper in Abbeville. Perhaps we should switch our subscriptions to the Baton Rouge Advocate which has been covering this situation.