Lee Zurik Investigation: AG's office delays "Dirty Deeds" probe - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Lee Zurik Investigation: AG's office delays "Dirty Deeds" probe

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New Orleans, La. -

Independent researcher Keith Cressionnie sent a letter to Louisiana's attorney general last month; he received no response.

He sent the letter because of concerns with the AG's investigation into questionable oil leases we detailed in our "Dirty Deeds" investigative series.

"I really don't trust the attorney general's office," Cressionnie told us.

The attorney general is investigating whether the state can get out of oil leases brokered by three former governors -- including Huey Long -- that have allowed their descendants to be paid hundreds of millions of dollars.

"They can't be touched," Cressionnie said. "That lease runs forever. It's non-prescribable. How can that be?"

The attorney general has to report to the State Mineral Board. The AG asked and received an extension – his report is now due in May. The lead attorney doing the work is Ryan Siedeman.

Cressionnie spoke with Siedeman at a recent Mineral Board meeting.

Cressionnie recalled, "I said, ‘Ryan, where are you with this investigation?' He says, ‘I don't even know where to start.' He said, ‘It's all new law.' He said, ‘I got eight people working with me and we're spread so thin.' He takes care of six or seven things."

That conversation led to Cressionnie's concerns. "He was saying, like, ‘I don't even… this is all the law that I don't even know, I'm too young to know all this law.' I said, ‘What? Breach of fiduciary duty? Breach of public trust and fraud, fraudulent schemes?' I said, ‘You know, it's very easy.'"

At the Mineral Board meeting, Siedeman told the board one reason he needed an extension was his workload.

"It's like he had no passion, no consideration for something like that," Cressionnie said. "He said he was spread so thin, he doesn't even know where he's at with Win or Lose."

Cressionnie told Siedeman about local attorney Mike Stagg, who offered to take on the case for the state.

"Mike Stagg said he would take this for the state -- for nothing, if he lost," Cressionnie said.

Stagg, Cressionnie and his friend and co-researcher Norman Billiot had a meeting set up with the attorney general last summer, but it was cancelled minutes before they were scheduled to leave New Orleans. "Never heard back from him," Cressionnie said.

Cressionnie wonders if it's just too toxic for the attorney general to look into. In fact, the AG's office has a relationship with the Long Law Firm -- they've hired them in the past to do legal work. That's the firm former U.S. Senator Russell long founded; he made millions off the oil leases.

Cressionnie and Billiot say all they want is the state to figure out a way to get out of these leases, and put tens of millions of dollars back into the hands of Louisiana taxpayers.

Billiot told us, "To be absolutely honest, I want nothing, absolutely nothing -- but justice."

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