BATON ROUGE – Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry is defending his decision to hire the daughter of his former election opponent.
Last November, when Landry, a Republican, was running for election, Geri Broussard Baloney, who was the top Democratic candidate vote-getter in the primary, endorsed Landry for the post.
Baloney’s daughter, Quendi Baloney Darville Baloney, had worked since 2009 at her mother’s law office until Landry hired her for his staff shortly months after he took office. She earns an annual salary of $53,000 and works as a community outreach representative.
An Aug. 2 article in The Advocate panned Landry’s decision to hire Darville Baloney since she had been charged with and convicted of 11 felony counts of credit card fraud and theft in 1999. She was given a 6-year suspended sentence and has had a clean record since.
The credit card fraud charges, to which Darville Baloney Baloney plead guilty when she was 19, did not stop her from graduating from George Washington University with a degree in Spanish. The issue also was not a problem for Darville Baloney when she was hired at Redeemer-Seton Catholic School as a Spanish teacher from 2004 to 2005. She then attended Loyola College of Law in New Orleans, graduating in 2007.
Landry said it is her knowledge of Spanish and her community relations experience that qualifies Darville Baloney for the job.
“This qualifies her to do outreach in the Hispanic community, which is a key part of her job working in the New Orleans region on programs designed to educate constituents on a variety of issues including auto fraud, fair housing, and elder scams,” Landry told the Louisiana Record.
The United States Justice Department hired Darville Baloney as a contractor in 2008.
“She worked for the U.S. Justice Department, after she received a post-9/11 security clearance from the federal government," Landry said. "She performed investigations of housing discrimination by the notorious slumlord and former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.”
Darville Baloney's team managed to secure a $2.7 million settlement from Sterling for their work.
In a letter to The Advocate, Landry said that the reporting of its story probably would have been different if he were a member of the Democratic Party.
“It [the article] would have probably praised me for giving Ms. Baloney the job,” he said in the letter.
Landry said he will not back down in fighting to reform the office of attorney general and government as whole for the betterment of Louisiana’s citizens.
“I did not run for office to get a job," Landry said. "I ran for office to make a positive difference.”