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La. BESE Initiates Investigation of LDOE Contracts; Supt. Brumley “Miffed.”

November 26, 2021

According to the November 22, 2021, Advocate, on November 11, 2021, the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE), headed by president Sandy Holloway, requested that Louisiana legislative auditor (LLA) Mike Waguespack conduct an investigative audit of emergency contracts issued by the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE), headed by state superintendent Cade Brumley.

Holloway’s concern stems from being blindsided by the news that Brumley issued a $120K contract (linked below) without BESE approval to a newly-formed consulting firm headed by an assistant superintendent in East Baton Rouge (EBR) parish, Sharmayne Rutledge. Rutledge’s consulting firm, Invicta Consulting, was formed on August 02, 2021. Rutledge did not resign as EBR assistant superintendent until the first week of November (which happens to be the week that Holloway found out.)

Furthermore, it seems that in October 2021, Brumley did present BESE with a request for a second contract with Invicta Consulting, this one for $222K. However, BESE did not know that Brumley had already contracted with Invicta Consulting for the first contract for $120K (that is, without required BESE approval).

Brumley’s chief of staff, Quentina Timoll, called Holloway about the contract, and that is when Holloway found out about it. From the November 09, 2021, Advocate, as published by KTBS.com:

Holloway said she got an unexpected call Friday (11-05-21) from Brumley’s chief of staff, Quentina Timoll, asking about the agreement.

She said she told Timoll contracts are typically supposed to go through the BESE office and that a written description of the agreement is prepared for her to review before making a decision. The delay means BESE will not vote on the agreement until its Dec. 14-15 meeting, about two weeks before the contract is set to expire.

Officials familiar with the process said the way the contract has unfolded is unusual and may be indicative of larger problems, including concerns that other agreements have been handled in haphazard ways that require changes.

So, even though Brumley might be “clearly miffed” that Holloway requested that his issuance of emergency contracts be formally investigated by LLA, the facts rest squarely on the side of Holloway’s and BESE’s being miffed, not Brumley:

  • 08-02-21: Rutledge forms Invicta Consulting while still employed as EBR assistant superintendent.
  • 09-15-21: Rutledge signs $120K contract between LDOE and Invicta Consulting.
  • 09-17-21: Timoll docusigns contract.
  • Second contract approved by BESE during October 12-13, 2021, meeting. BESE does not know of first contract (and does not seem to know that Invicta Consulting is run by a district-level assistant superintendent).
  • 10-26-21: Brumley docusigns first LDOE-Invicta contract. Holloway still does not know.
  • Line for BESE president’s signature for contracts over $50K remains blank (likely the reason for Timoll’s call to Holloway).
  • 10-31-21: First of two $60K payments due to Invicta Consulting for first contract. Holloway still does not know.
  • 11-05-21: Timoll calls Holloway. Rutledge resigns as EBR superintendent this week.
  • 11-11-21: BESE, led by Holloway, requests audit of Brumley’s LDOE emergency contracts.

Brumley hid the first contract from BESE even as he pitched the second one. After the second was approved, he signed the first. Why follow this course of action unless the purpose is to dupe BESE and whitewash the first contract to make it slide through as legitimate?

Why, indeed.

LDOE-Invicta Contract Missing Holloway’s Signature

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From → BESE, Cade Brumley, LDOE

One Comment
  1. Kelly permalink

    $120k in 3 months of work and a clear violation of ethics. Wonder what the punishment will be?

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