Court date set for former State Rep. Girod Jackson - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Court date set for former State Rep. Girod Jackson

Photo of Girod Jackson from his website Photo of Girod Jackson from his website

New Orleans, La. – A court date has been set for Former State Representative Girod Jackson, who is facing federal charges involving his tax returns.  As FOX 8 News first reported on Thursday, state Rep. Girod Jackson, D-Harvey resigned in the face of those federal charges. 

Jackson has been scheduled to appear in federal court in New Orleans on September 5, 2013 for his initial appearance and arraignment.   According to federal document, Jackson will go before both a federal magistrate, then before Federal Judge Lance Africk.

"Usually when you take a bill of information it means you're getting ready to plead. And when you do so on a tax charge like this, that's usually a compromise from another investigation because we had heard his name swirling around on some other things," said FOX 8 legal analyst Joe Raspanti.

Thursday afternoon, House Speaker Chuck Kleckley confirmed that he had accepted the West Bank lawmaker's resignation.

"I have received and accepted Rep. Girod Jackson's voluntary resignation from the Louisiana House of Representatives… I am now working with the Secretary of State's office to determine a suitable date for an election to fill the seat representing District 87," Kleckley said in a statement issued to FOX 8 News.

Federal prosecutors say Jackson made fraudulent statements on a tax return and in some cases did not file tax returns at all, avoiding thousands of dollars in tax payments. Jackson is a contractor and owns Diversified Ventures, LLC.

According to the bill of information the U.S. Attorney's office filed against Jackson, he is charged with one count of making a fraudulent statement on a tax return, which is a felony, and two counts of willful failure to file tax returns, which are misdemeanor charges.

Prosecutors say Jackson misrepresented on his 2006 tax return the income his company took in. The bill of information said the company received more than $600,000 from contracts from private and public entities, but that Jackson and his wife reported $108,000 of the company's income. And in 2007 and 2008, Jackson failed to file any tax returns, despite the company earning enough money to warrant filing the returns.

"If would appear that they've settled on this income tax charge because they know they can prove it and he can live with it and that's where they are now," said Raspanti.

Jackson released the following statement Thursday afternoon:

For the last five and a half years, I have proudly represented the people of the 87th District of the Louisiana House of Representatives. During my time in office, I have worked to be a symbol of honor and pride for myself and the constituents of the 87th District. And while I aim to live my life with dignity and respect, I am not without fault. Several years ago, there were filing errors on my business tax returns and delayed initial filings arising from accounting errors and oversight. Today, I have accepted the consequences of those mistakes.

As a part of accepting these consequences, regretfully, I have submitted my letter of resignation to the Secretary of State and The Speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives. It was a hard decision to make, but I am fully focused on moving forward and doing what is right for my family and the people of District 87. I hope in time, I will not be defined solely by my personal mistakes.

Today, I acknowledge and accept my errors. My hope is to come out of this ordeal a stronger and wiser man. I humbly apologize to my family, my colleagues, my former constituents and the general public. I know that I have disappointed many people and I will spend the rest of my life working to regain your trust.

Jackson's company was the subject of consumer complaints about shoddy workmanship on residences. And last year Diversified Ventures, LLC., was mentioned in a scathing HUD audit of the Jefferson Parish Housing Authority. That audit said the agency created a conflict of interest when it paid more than $90,000 to Jackson's firm.

And in 2011, FOX 8 News reported on complaints from people who hired Jackson's company to do work on their homes.

"I did trust him and he screwed me over," said Theresa Moss, a customer of Jackson's firm.

An email sent by the chairwoman of the Legislative Black Caucus Wednesday night not only warned caucus members that Jackson would resign, but also said he planned to plead guilty. Jackson has not yet entered a plea.

"I'm sure this is a residual of the [Jim] Letten crowd because this case couldn't been started from soups to nuts that quickly," added Raspanti.

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