Advocate Newspaper Harassment
Benjamin Landry, Jeff Landry’s brother, explains the harassment he and his co-workers received from the Advocate newspapers.
HERE ARE THE FACTS:
In the early part of 2020, the Advocate Newspapers used a series of false and misleading articles to attack Jeff Landry regarding his small businesses. It is no secret Jeff owns these small businesses, he has proudly talked about them for years. However, the Advocate decided to use the words of a convicted felon to spread false information in an attempt to smear Jeff’s character.
These articles tried to paint a false picture that Jeff – or employees of Jeff’s businesses including his own brother – used deceptive means to provide temporary labor as a sub-contractor. They even went so far as to insinuate questions of legality. Their articles were shocking.
It is important you know that the Advocate Newspapers are owned by a wealthy politician, a man whose wealth is literally in the hundreds of millions of dollars. He was once the largest video poker distributor in Louisiana. The owner of the Advocate newspapers ran and lost two campaigns; one for Mayor of New Orleans as a Democrat and then for Governor as an Independent – running against the Republican nominee.
The truth behind these stories is important. Jeff Landry never attempted to break any laws related to temporary foreign workers – or any workers. He has a long history of employing thousands of Louisiana people.
The project which Jeff Landry’s small business helped support, the Cameron LNG plant, is responsible for hundreds of permanent direct jobs for Louisiana citizens and the Louisiana Economic Development office estimates the project will ultimately result in an additional 657 new, indirect jobs for Louisiana residents.
The temporary help provided by jeff landry’s company to keep this economic development project on track is helping provide hundreds of important, permanent full time jobs for Louisiana workers and their families.
Below are some specific notes on why the Advocate stories are both misleading and false.
- Jeff Landry has – AND ALWAYS WILL – oppose illegal immigration. He is a national leader fighting ILLEGAL immigration. He will not allow liberals to blur the lines between legal and illegal.
- Jeff has been a small business owner long before he ever ran for any office. In fact, in his very first campaign for any public office – and in every campaign since – he has proudly spoken about his business experience and his success as a job creator.
- Jeff’s primary focus and responsibility is his role as Attorney General. He not only directs the entire Department of Justice, he also travels the state visiting with citizens from all over Louisiana. In addition Jeff has served as both the national President of the bipartisan National Association of Attorneys General and as the Chairman of Republican Attorneys General Association. He is also a family man, a husband and active father. His small businesses are managed and run day-to-day by his employees and directors. He does not run these businesses out of his official government office. They are separate.
- Jeff Landry’s income from all sources and the details on any businesses he owns are public information. The Louisiana Ethics Administration website contains a breakdown. Jeff’s income as far back as 2011 during his time serving in Congress is also public information, available on the federal U.S. House government website. All of this information is available to anyone 24 hours a day on these websites. Nothing is hidden.
- No business Jeff Landry owns has EVER – ever – brought illegal workers into Louisiana. It never happened and it will never happen.
- The H2-B visa process is used by many Louisiana businesses to help fix temporary problems with labor. This entire process is public. All businesses who apply within Louisiana, and the nation, are public along with detailed information regarding the applications.
- JEFF LANDRY’S BUSINESSES HAVE EMPLOYED MORE THAN 3,500 DOMESTIC WORKERS OVER THE LAST DECADE. Jeff has helped create literally thousands of jobs for Louisiana citizens. He is proud of it.
- Landry businesses have created both permanent full time jobs and part time jobs, thousands of jobs for Louisiana workers. The Advocate newspapers focused on only one project, purposefully ignoring both Jeff and his brother’s long success in small business. The temporary workers in the Advocate story are only a small fraction of the total number of jobs associated with Landry companies.
- During the same time period as the Cameron LNG project in the stories, Landry businesses hired over 200 other domestic workers, hundreds of U.S. Citizens for other work. Those jobs are part of the more than 3,500 domestic workers Landry companies have hired over the last decade.
- Evergreen Contractors, Jeff’s company under the direction of its employee leaders, contracted only one time with the Texas company noted in the Advocate story. Evergreen was approached to do this work. There was no longstanding business relationship with the Texas company, no matter what the Advocate has implied or what they want you to believe.
- As Benjamin states in the video he blew the whistle on the Texas company. Benjamin spent a tremendous amount of time and large sums of money fighting the Texas business over their fraudulent business practices. He blew the whistle on them.
- Benjamin Landry’s work blowing the whistle on the Texas company got them entirely removed from the project in Louisiana.
- It is absolutely false for the Advocate or anyone to suggest that Benjamin Landry’s choice in blowing the whistle on the Texas company was to take that company’s work in Louisiana in an effort to make more money. In fact, after the Texas company was removed, the Landry businesses offered discounted rates to the company directing the Cameron LNG build. Landry companies did this for the betterment of the project and for Louisiana. Any suggestion by the Advocate otherwise is wrong and scandalous.
- The Advocate falsely implied no federal agency contacted the Landry companies regarding the fraudulent Texas company. In fact, a leader at Landry’s business was contacted by federal government authorities over suspicions about the Texas company, Landry’s team readily – and happily – shared information to assist. The Texas company’s owner was later convicted and sent to jail.
- Any suggestion the Landry companies were falsely presenting information regarding prior work is wrong. In fact Landry businesses did have prior experience with welding. There was no attempt to deceive or mislead.
- Evergreen Contractors, Jeff’s company, did NOT rely on the Texas company to process or file H2-B legal paperwork. In fact, the Landry companies worked with PHELPS, a well known and respected major law firm with expertise in this area and with offices in Louisiana. This law firm informed the Advocate of this fact. In addition they told the Advocate, “to our knowledge, there was nothing untoward or improper about the factual representations for foreign labor submitted by these companies at the time consultations occurred.” However the Advocate did not want you to know. Landry companies did not make “dubious” claims or knowingly submit any false information
- It is absolutely false to suggest that the Landry companies knew of, or were engaged in, any illegal activity with the fraudulent Texas company. It is absolutely false to suggest that Landry companies had any interest in a continuing work with the Texas company – after Benjamin Landry blew the whistle and had removed them from the work in Louisiana.
- The claim of phony work documents between two Landry companies is simply false. The work occurred between two of those entities in actuality. Accounting records support the information. Furthermore, the lawsuits Benjamin Landry was forced to file confirms information involving one of the projects.
- Jeff Landry has held a contractor’s license with various companies he has owned for many years. It is false to suggest otherwise. For Evergreen, Landry companies relied upon, and rely upon, outside legal advice in terms of filings and submissions for sub-contractors who do not direct the work being performed. It is absolutely false for the newspaper to suggest that Landry companies attempted to not comply with any guidelines. As Attorney General, Jeff Landry has fought against – and will continue to fight against – illegal contractors who attempt to prey on our citizens.
- The H2-B TEMPORARY jobs were first advertised in Louisiana for potential local workers, as required by the law. All of the advertising and recruiting was done through a rigorous process supervised and reported in detail to the US Department of Labor and also utilizing the U.S. government work advertising system
- Decisions about the need for these workers, and the assignment of the specific tasks to be completed, were made by the major companies hired to construct the facility. Landry companies assisted only with helping find workers, as they have done for years on many other projects – which is why Landry companies have employed over 3,500 DOMESTIC workers over the last 10 years, including thousands of Louisianans.
- Landry companies also had U.S. workers engaged on this specific project including as a supervisors and leaders. Any suggestion otherwise by the Advocate is false.
- Wage rates for H2-B workers are determined by the federal government. The H2-B workers working temporarily with the Landry companies WERE paid prevailing wages. In fact due to their work product, some were paid OVER the prevailing wage amount. This was about finding temporary help to complete this major project, critical to permanent jobs in Louisiana for U.S. workers. Any suggestion otherwise in the Advocate article is 100% false.
- Benjamin Landry notes there is no incentive to navigate around the domestic recruiting of people for these type of projects. The visa process literally has tens of thousands of dollars on the front side and legal costs and also logistical costs just to get through the process. In addition, the federal government provides the prevailing wage, so there is no cost savings as opposed to a domestic worker in the hourly wage paid. In fact, the migrant worker is much more costly as opposed to a domestic worker.
- The H2-B process is not the Landry companies main source of business. The Cameron LNG project was one sub-contract in an effort to help the project get built and online. It is 100% false to suggest the Landry companies were seeking to enter into H2-B for long term financial gain or to exploit any workers or avoid domestic hiring.
- The Advocate newspaper editors and reporters repeatedly said that Jeff did not dispute their findings. That is 100% false. In addition they claimed that Jeff did not respond to them. That is also 100% false. In fact Jeff issued this exact statement to their false and misleading stories:
“Any suggestion by anyone, including the editors, reporters, or publishers of this paper, that I or anyone associated with running a business I own would knowingly engage in deceitful or unfair business practices is false. It is evident that the authors of this story have little understanding of business based on the questions submitted or the complex labor needs of our economy which require increased skilled labor. The companies I own, and have owned long before I sought political office, will continue to standby the work and services performed in order to keep our economy moving. Additionally I am thankful my brother, in operating one of my businesses, helped expose a fraudulent business and end their attempt to injure businesses in Louisiana.”
- Advocate newspapers specifically wrote that Jeff Landry was avoiding public events after they wrote their stories – that was false. In fact, in one instance their own newspapers had previously reported on a public appearance. The papers later attempted to cover this up.
- There is a settled lawsuit involving a worker which the reporters or newspaper seem to have believed was a false claim of work done by Landry companies in relation to their “story.” This worker was working on the LOADMASTER project.