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Zurik: Leader of state board placed on leave following misconduct investigation

Report accuses Fabian Blache of financial mismanagement, questionable hiring at state board
Updated: Aug. 18, 2021 at 10:00 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WVUE) - The leader of the state’s board over private security has been placed on leave after numerous allegations of wrongdoing surfaced around his leadership of the agency.

The Louisiana State Board of Private Security Examiners placed their executive director Fabian Blache III on leave during their July 6 meeting after being presented with a report conducted by their own attorney.

The attorney found that Blache, who is also the president of the International Association of Security and Investigative Regulators (IASIR), did not properly pay back money used for him to speak at IASIR’s 2019 conference in Johannesburg, South Africa. Records show Blache was the keynote speaker and the group would cover his airfare.

Fabian Blache III, executive director of the Louisiana State Board of Private Security...
Fabian Blache III, executive director of the Louisiana State Board of Private Security Examiners, speaks at a 2019 conference for the International Association of Security and Investigative Regulators (IASIR) in Johannesburg, South Africa.(IASIR)

But records received from the state board show Blache took his wife on the South Africa trip as well, a trip that totaled $5,127.86. State records show the “board paid to cover the airfare with the understanding the international association or local authorities in South Africa would reimburse those funds.” The board said they were “not willing to cover the additional airfare for Blache’s wife” so they only reimbursed half of the amount.

Blache wrote a check to reimburse the board for his wife’s travel, but he never gave staff permission to deposit it. In a post-it note from September 2020, a year after Blache wrote the check, an employee wrote she “spoke to Fabian about this check. He did not give permission to deposit it.” The attorney’s investigation noted the check was still in Blache’s personnel file.

“That’s an indication, a symptom, of the head of an agency that is using the agency’s assets to his own personal benefit. There’s no one responsible for that, other than him.”

Rafael Goyeneche, Metropolitan Crime Commission

“I think it’s reasonable to assume that the staff didn’t take it on their own to withhold that check,” Rafael Goyeneche with the Metropolitan Crime Commission said. “The information that I’ve received is that Mr. Blache didn’t allow the staff to deposit that check into the agency’s account.”

The South Africa trip is just one of several allegations of misconduct detailed in the report. The board is appointed by the Governor and hired Blache to run the day-to-day operations.

During the outset of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Blache continued to collect his regular salary of nearly $130,000 a year, but authorized his staff a one-time option to cash in up to 80 hours of comp time or vacation. Blache received a $4,500 check, with his own signature in the ‘authorized signature’ line.

“Not only wasn’t he entitled to receive that money, but apparently it hasn’t been reflected in his personnel file that he has received that money so he could claim that he’s still owed that time so to speak,” Goyeneche said.

Since it is not reflected in his file, that means Blache could have technically been paid again for that vacation time.

Board records also show Blache instructed an employee to write a check to a Victoria Gott for $2,500. But in the report to the board, it found the only work Gott performed was six months after she cashed the check when she investigated a training instructor.

Gott never supplied the board with any invoices for her work. In the report, it mentions that Gott is engaged to Blache’s brother-in-law.

“Another symptom where, you know, people that he has a relationship with are given, the allegations are, a sweetheart contract, they didn’t provide any services for an extended period of time. And then, the work that they did do, after many months, allegedly didn’t rise to the level of the compensation that they received,” Goyeneche said.

The internal investigation also found instances where Blache made questionable hirings and at least one employee has filed a sexual misconduct allegation.

“Some of the allegations that have been presented to me are indications of a very troubled agency under very problematic leadership.”

Rafael Goyeneche, Metropolitan Crime Commission

Goyeneche believes that other investigators need to dig in to see if any of these offenses rise to a level where legal authorities need to get involved.

“I think based on what is presented to me, there has to be an extensive investigation into what has been happening in that office for a number of years,” Goyeneche said.

This is not the first time Blache was placed on leave from the Private Security Examiners Board. In 2018, Blache was placed on leave but was later reinstated by the board in a 5-4 vote.

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Blache remains on leave from the state board, but the International Association of Security and Investigative Regulators (IASIR) said Blache remains president of their board.

We reached out to Blache for comment on this story but have not received a response.

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