Louisiana, what can we say? Certainly we can talk about the fine citizens of this state, or the great food, or a list of other things that makes this state great. Unfortunately it seems, we find ourselves constantly talk about a different Louisiana, corruption and the politicians that embarrasses this state.
We could talk about how state employees can’t violate the law by putting a yard sign for any candidate in their own front yard, yet Bob Odom can require his employees to work on his campaign, or even just to do some yard work around his house. Or we could talk about how Bob Odom tried to keep gas prices higher by setting the limits on how low gas prices can be. Or arresting a 70 year old man for helping his neighbors out by cutting up their pig for them.
Louisiana’s politics are terrible and it’s politicians are even worse. In just about every good category, Louisiana ranks near the bottom of the nation. In fact, when the news came out that Louisiana was ranked 50th in the nation in educaton, I swear, politicians were celebrating that “at least we aren’t the fifty-first ranked state in the nation.” Okay so that quote isn’t true, but instead of looking for solutions to many key issues, we’d rather build sugar mills, lakes, and offer Thyssen Krupp things we just can’t afford. Even after Thyssen Krupp decided not to come to Louisiana, the politicians immediate reaction was to find a new project to spend the money we don’t have on. Politicians in this state proudly hold their index finger up and say, “We’re #1 in corruption and we’re proud of that!”
In fact, our Ag Commissioner likes to build new buildings so much, he’s known as “Bob the builder”, though I’m not quite sure what building buildings has to do with Agriculture. Anyway, all constructors need tools and Ag investigator Scotty Hill is Bob’s Power Tool. When Bob Odom’s #1 investigator, Scotty Hill, falsely arrested a farm girl, it was just another day in Louisiana.
Suzy Powell, then of Sabine Parish, had just recently moved from Tennessee and wasn’t aware of how Louisiana politics worked. So when Katie (name changed) needed some financial help, Ms. Powell bought Katie’s horse for $1,000 and also forgave some debt. At the time, Katie couldn’t afford the care of the horse so this was a reasonable purchase.
But Katie began to have a change of heart, or as the lawsuit filed Shreveport states “concocted a scheme” and claimed that Suzy “leased” the horse. Instead of going to the Sheriff’s office, Katie got in touch with Scotty Hill. Now why Katie got in touch with Scotty Hill, I don’t know. Maybe he owed her some favors, maybe she was doing favors for him, I don’t know, I wasn’t there, we could only speculate. But it seems odd to me that if this was theft, why would Katie would go to Scotty Hill and not to the local authorities? And even if she did, why wouldn’t they arrest her and file charges against her? And how’d it turn from a supposed lease agreement into theft?
When Scotty Hill began to investigate, he did ask the local authorities about the situation and Sheriff Deputy Tommy Sandal informed Hill that he knew the details and that the horse indeed was purchased, not leased. That, however, did not matter to Scotty Hill and his response to Deputy Sandal was “If I can get a judge to sign off on the search warrant, I’m arresting her ass anyway.”
Despite having shown the canceled check proving she paid for the horse and witnesses, Ms. Suzie Powell found herself wearing a pair of handcuffs and charged with horse theft. Where it turned into horse theft, I don’t know, but it seems to me that Scotty had some motives behind this. Perhaps he had something against Ms. Powell, maybe it was an act of revenge against Ms. Powell, though I highly doubt this since she just moved to Louisiana. Ms. Powell has tried to appeal to Ag Commissioner Bob Odom about Hill’s actions, but Bob stood by his man like Tammy Wynette.
This single mother has since filed a suit against Scotty Hill for false arrest. Hill claimed immunity saying he had probable cause and it was reasonable to arrest her. The judge disagreed and the case is still in the hands of the court.
Stories like this are so common in Louisiana that in order for it to qualify as a news story, Katie must be giving Hill some kick backs, or at least on her back. There’s really nothing to make this story stand out in the press, so it remains ignored. But one thing is certain in all this aftermath, whether it’s building buildings and sugar mills, or arresting 70 year old men and single mother farm girls, Bob Odom is clearly the one guy in Louisiana’s politics who absolutely must go. As for Scotty Hill, well, when Bob Odom leaves office, I’m sure Scotty Hill will go with him. Unfortunately for Scotty, he’ll always be a tool, but at least he won’t be Bob’s power tool.