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The real monkey business; it was Gary and Billy, not Gary and Donna.

The Real Monkey Business by Liz Galtney

Billy Broadhurst's 15 minutes of fame began May 2, 1987, the night The Miami Herald staked out Gary Hart's townhouse. While Hart took only a few questions before retreating inside, the Louisiana lobbyist tracked down the Herald reporters to set the story straight. But Broadhurst, a political associate and close friend to Edwin Edwards, the Louisiana governor who was investigated by seven grand juries, was unable to wring the story from the headlines. By the end of the week, it seemed as if he was a line in every article, op-ed, and soundbite as the press pored over the itinerary of the trip he had arranged for Hart and a couple of friends to take to Bimini.

But that's about all America saw of Billy Broadhurst. While reporters have tailored their inquiries to Hart's womanizing, little has been said about the man Hart met through a political consultant in 1984 and came to know as a close friend and campaign adviser. "A fine, upstanding citizen," Hart said of Broadhurst last September, describing the man with whom he had taken vacations and put on his national finance board. For his part, Edwin Edwards spoke ddifferently of his former law partner and close friend, telling a state senator: "Billy was more careful when he was pimping for me."

Among Louisiana politicos, Broadhurst is notorious as a lobbyist's lobbyist, having parlayed his close ties to Edwards into a lucrative law practice. During Edwards's reign, the state's major interests -- gas, oil, minerals -- became Broadhurst's. Those ties proved useful outside Louisiana, too. His clout and his connections made him important to Hart and his debt-ridden campaign. Around campaign headquarters. Broadhurst's reputation as a man who could tap campaign donors earned him the title of "Mr. Deep Pockets." The two were close enough, recalled former Hart adviser Peter Tauber in an article in The New York Times Magazine, that when he asked for a moment alone with Hart, the candidate said, "This is alone," pointing to Broadhurst, his wife, and two other aides. Looking back on Broadhurst's career and his closeness to Hart, it becomes clear that the real monkey business had nothing to do with Donna Rice.

The bayou connection

The path that took Broadhurst to the Hart campaign began in Crowley, Louisiana in the heart of Acadia, the oil-gas-and-gumbo region that is home to Louisiana's Cajuns. In 1963, this son of an established accountant and graduate of Louisiana State University Law School took a job with one of the town's most prominent lawyers, Edwin Edwards, his senior by a dozen years.

As close as they were and as close as they've stayed, ther have different personalities, say those who know them. One of Edwards's favorite quips is "laissez les bontemps roulez" -- let the good times roll. While Broadhurst also became known for the way he wined and dined people -- not just in Bimini but in Baton Rouge, where he threw an annual crawfish and duck luncheon for state capitol reporters -- he came by his partying less naturally than his senior, Edwards. "He's whatever he needs to be at the time," said one, lawyer who knows him.

Over the next decade the two of them, along with Edwin's brother Nolan, built a business as Edwin built a political career, rising from the Crowley city council to Congress. By 1972, Edwin Edwards was governor, and Broadhurst was on his way to building his own practice, never straying far from his mentor.

"I'd put him in the category of five people who were closest to the governor," says Bob d'Hemecourt, former head of Edwards's New Orleans office and a Hart delegate in 1984. "You can't get any closer than that five. Billy got to see Edwin s much as he wanted." He clearly envisioned having the same access to Hart. A frequent visitor to the Louisiana governor's mansion who is close to Edwards says that when he ran into Broadhurst, "He told me that I should support Hart because (Broadhurst) was going to be one of three people I would have to go through to see the president."

Throughout Edwards's terms of office (from 1972-1980 and 1984 through March 1988), Broadhurst's clout wasn't codified in prestigious government titles but in more mundane lines on his resume like "chairman of the ad hoc committee preparing the rules and regulations for the reclamation of lignite." It was these obscure but important assignments that made him a man for the state's energy interests to know and that bolstered the fortunes of his law firm. According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, in 1979, Broadhurst's firm was awarded $585,500 in state contracts to represent indigents, more than any other firm. In 1986, Broadhurst scored another win. Edwards's appointees in the Department of Natural Resources gave his firm's Washington office a $95,000 contract that had been awarded to the firm of Washington lobbyist Tommy Boggs, son of Hale Boggs, the deceased Louisiana congressman and House Majority Leader.

And Broadhurst's stock rose on the basis of a less formal title -- close friend of the governor. It was those ties that bolstered the fortunes of Broadhurst, Brook, Mangham & Hardy, a 40-attorney firm whose offices spread from the Cajun town of Lafayette to Baton Rouge to New Orleans and finally to Washington, and absorbed other power brokers, like Ernest "Dutch" Morial;, the mayor of New Orleans, before being reorganized following the Hart scandal. (Clients include AT&T, Dow Chemical, Exxon and Allstate.) When New Orleans bankers sought passage of important interstate banking legislation, they turned to Hart's friend, known as "Billy B." "Edwards suggested that we hire Broadhurst," said a source involved with the effort. "Broadhurst was hired due to the governor's power over the legislature. Ae hired him because if Edwards hadn't supported the bills, they might not have passed."

The black smoke

While Hart portrays himself an impassioned environmentalist, his confidant, Broadhurst, is not exactly the president of the Sierra Club. In a state with some of the highest cancer rates in the nation, where the stretch of the Mississippi River between Baton Rouge and New Orleans is dubbed the "chemical corridor," Broadhurst was known for taking on controversial cases on behalf of hazardous waste, oil, and gas interests.

Most infamous was his defense of Rollins Environmental Services, Inc., a Delaware-based toxic waste company wiht a plant in the town of Alsen, just north of Baton Rouge. In August 1985, the plant was shut down by Pat Norton, then head of Louisiana's Department of Environmental Quality. For years, residents had complained to state officials about Rollins, and Norton, seeing the black smoke and smelling the noxious odors during a late night surprise visit to the plant, became convinced that they had cause for alarm.

The shutdown set off a skirmish within the state government as Governor Edwards sided with Rollins, a Broadhurst client, and stood his ground against his own environmental boss.

"I was called to the mansioin where the governor told me he didn't think I was on very good legal ground," said Norton, the environmental quality chief. "I felt like I was being threatened at that point because I was told by the governor...and the Rollins people that it was a stupid risk to try to close down the facility." For Norton, it seemed to be another Broadhurst problem. the day after she was appointed department secretary, she said, "Broadhurst called me and told me who the governor had picked for my staff since they weren't going to let me do it." Norton recalled, too, that, "Edwards never called to help out a neighborhood or a community....The only time he called me was to help out Bill Broadhurst, or somebody like that."

The Rollins plant reopened some three months later, under a court order won by Broadhurst's firm. In December, Edwards assigned John Koury, a gubernatorial appointee in the Department; of Environmental Quality, to be the state hearing officer in the case. Koury essentially acted as an administrative judge. He found the conglomerate guilty of two out of 44 potential environmental violations. He levied a $15,000 fine, which he waived when Rollins agreed to install an air conditioning system in a nearby community center. After Norton publicly criticized Edwards's handling of Rollings and other environmental issues, the governor fired her.

It was a triumph for Broadhurst. When reporters asked Edwards if Broadhurst had pushed Norton's firing, the governor said "no," but added, "Billy kidded me a few months agof that Pat Norton made him a rich lawyer."

Was there much to the charges against Rollins? Was Broadhurst just helping out a company that got a raw deal? Two months later, Attorney General Billy Guste, an elected official not beholden to Edwards, appealed the decision handed down by the governor's office. He won a settlement that added up to a bit more than a new air conditioner: a $1.25 million fine and an agreement that Rollins would spend $5 million on cleanup. It was the largest fine assessed a polluter in the history of Louisiana, says John Shepphard, an assistant attorney general. He says of Broadhurst's client: "Probably no other company -- and may I remind you that Louisiana is full of chemical plants -- probably no other company had been the source of more citizens'

The Texaco treatment

Broadhurst also made deals with Texaco, the largest lessee of state lands in Louisiana. Shortly before his second term as governor ended in 1980, Edwards appointed Broadhurst to lead the state's legal claim that Teaco cheated Louisiana out of $500 million in royalties due from gas drawn on public lands. The suit even sought cancellation of Texaco's lease agreements with the state.

At first, Broadhurst beat the drums, charging in a report that Texaco was "profiting at the state's expense" and accusing it of depriving Louisianians of "enormous sums of royalties." But Broadhurst eventually settled for much less, accepting a $28 million payment to the Louisiana treasury and taking much more for himself than had originally been expected. Broadhurst, along with one other attorney who helped on the case, had originally charged the state $600,000 for their services. When Broadhurst settled with Texaco he got the oil giant to pay not only his $600,000 legal fees but also an additional $900,000 to himself and the other attorney. "Texaco had a very good defense," explained Broadhurst.

The small settlement -- and big Broadhurst payment -- prompted a special state legislative committee investigation in which former state Mineral Board chairman, Bill Moran, charged, "We may not have had disinterested legal counsel on this issue." Broadhurst called the accusation from Moran and others a "cheap shot...a lie." But according to a former government attorney involved with the case, Broadhurst agreed to settle for a fraction of the state's claim on the condition that Texaco pay him and other attorneys more. "If they didn't settle the suit (for $28 million), they wouldn't have gotten that money out of Texaco," the attorney says. "They could only get the big bucks ($1.5 million) if they agreed to that settlement. Otherwise, they would have only gotten $600,000 from the state."

Broadhurst argued that Texaco's payment of his fees saved the state money. "It was a historic example of protecting the state's interest," Broadhurst maintained. But critics charged that Texaco's payment of $1.5 million to Broadhurst and the other counsel motivated the attorneys to serve Texaco's interests rather than those of the state of Louisiana.

Edward's successor, Governmor David Treen, fought the payment of the $900,000 bonus in court, but ongoing appeals kept the issue tied up until Edwards returned to office in 1984. Shortly after is return to the governor's mansion, Edwards ordered a halt to the state's action, allowing Gary Hart's good friend to keep the Texaco dollars. During the four years he ws out of office, between 1980 and 1984, Edwards was on retainer from Texaco.

And not everyone is convinced that only $28 million could have been wrung out of Texaco's coffers. Indeed, the attorney general's office is still pursuing damages against Texaco for hundreds of millions of dollars in unpaid land royalties -- a case based on virtually the same issues Broadhurst settled in 1982.

After Guste, the attorney general, filed a new claim for $387 million against Texaco in the spring of 1987, he met with Governor Edwards to discuss the litigation. According to sources involved with the meeting, Edwards asked Guste to hire Billy Broadhurst to handle the new litigation. But this time, knowledgable sources have said, Guste refused to go along. Broadhurst is not representing the state of Louisiana in the case agianst Texaco.

Besides the Texaco case, Broadhurst has beenfited from other oil interests. Last year, the state Mineral Board, all of whose members serve at the pleasure of Governor Edwards, saved a client of the Broadhurst firm thousands of dollars less in royalty payments to the state of Louisiana through a procedure that had previously been prohibited by the board.

Initially, the board issued a routine denial of Cashco Oil's request to deduct certain transportation expenses from the company's royalty payments to the state. The board had turned down similar requests by other oil companies. But after Cashco hired Broadhurst's law firm, the board reversed itself -- even though no nvel arguments for the deduction were offered. Giving Cascho their deductions cost the state $127,000 immediately and $30,000 per month in subsequent payments. The chairman of the Mineral Board, Janet Boles, is the daughter of Billy Boles, who along with Broadhurst is a major stockholder in the First City Savings and Loan of Baton Rouge of which she is chairman. On the Mineral Board, she not only reversed her earlier denial of the deduction but helped persuade her colleagues to do so, too. She said of the deduction won by Cashco, "I think it is a good deal."

The lobbyist's townhouse

But even as Broadhurst was pulling off coups like the one for Cashco, and working the backwaters of Louisiana politics, he was working Washington, too. In 1985, the end of the Edwards era seemed within sight as the governor was indicted on 50 counts of racketeering and accepting $2 million in bribes. (Though aquitted, Edwards lost his subsequent reelection bid.) The same year Broadhurst began to spend more and more time with Gary Hart.

When Hart and Broadhurst met in 1984 through Ray Strother, the Louisiana native and Washington political consultant who formed Hart's media strategy during the 1984 presidential primaries, the two became very close. After his defeat that year, Hart marshalled his forces for another race -- and sought to pacify a growing mob of creditors. Broadhurst was close at hand, with a brand new Washington law office staffed with former Federal Energy Regulatory Commission officials, to pursue oil and gas legal work.

He bought two townhouses near 4th and A Streets on Capital Hill, a few blocks from Hart's residence near 6th and F, and merged them into one house that he used to entertain clients. "Billy gave the appearance of being a high roller, and Hart thought Billy would raise a lot of money for his campaign," says a Broadhurst law associate. "Billy thought the townhouse could be used to impress corporate executives, congressmen, and anyone who might generate business. He threw a lot of parties and fundraisers there," says another.

Michael Novelli, who served as Hart's chief financial adviser, told The New York Times that one dinner at Broadhurst's townhouse raised $15,000 for Hart. Broadhurst took a seat on Hart's national finance board, each of whose members pledged to raise at least $100,000.

A lawyer with a top Washington firm notes: "Broadhurst was trying to make himself a power here like he was a power in Louisiana. He wasn't one of the well-known major Washington lobbyists, but he was trying to get there. That was his ambition."

Hart was the key to Broadhurst's plan to become established in Washington, says a former member of Broadhurst's firm. "Billy determined that Hart was the coming star of the future and worked his way into the inner circle. There's a technique he uses to get close to people."

Whatever the technique was, it wasn't subtle. Broadhurst not only purchased the Capitol Hill townhourse, he rented an apartment in Denver near Hart's home and secluded himself with Hart and major contributors on retreats in Vail and at resorts in Georgia. But it wasn't all work. By 1986, Broadhurst was hosting Hart in the New Orleans Superdome, watching the Superbowl from a skybox. They took in Mardi Gras together. "It got to the point that wherever Hart was, Broadhurst was with him," says d'Hemecourt, the former Edwards aide and Hart delegate.

In the long months since Bimini, Broadhurst's Louisiana-based law firm has closed its Washington office, stripped Broadhurst of his management authority, and put him in an "of counsel position" to the firm. Law associates of Broadhurst say his extravagant Washington townhouse and entertainment and traveling expenses played a role in their decision to reorganize the firm. "You can'ts equate the toys with the demise of the firm," says one associate. "But if there had been enough business to cover those activities, then it might not have been a problem. But there just wasn't enough business to support it." Broadhurst has not returned repeated calls.

And Gary Hart, of course, is back, saying that he will not only bring ideas to the presidency but also what he calls the "qualities of character" to turn those ideas into programs. But he has yet to explain how he could allow Bill Broadhurst into his inner circle. And just as important, Hart has yet to explain what he and Broadhurst may be doing for each other now.
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Title Annotation:Gary Hart, Billy Broadhurst, Donna Rice
Author:Galtney, Liz
Publication:Washington Monthly
Date:Feb 1, 1988
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