C.B. Forgotston

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Charlton Bath "C. B." Forgotston, Jr.

Newellton, Tensas Parish

Louisiana, USA
Residence Hammond
Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana
Alma mater

Newellton High School
Louisiana State University

Louisiana State University Law Center
Occupation Attorney; Conservative political activist
Religion Judaism
Spouse(s) Ella Joy Adams Forgotston
Children No children

C. B. Forgotston, Sr.

Elsa de Vries Forgotston

Charlton Bath Forgotston, Jr., known as C. B. Forgotston is an attorney, political pundit, and state government watchdog who resides in Hammond, the principal city of Tangipahoa Parish, a part of the Florida Parishes east of Baton Rouge in southeastern Louisiana. Forgotston served for seven years at chief counsel of the Appropriations Committee of the Louisiana House of Representatives. He is an outspoken fiscal conservative and critic of legalized gambling, unconstitutional legislation, and political corruption.[1]

Early years and education[edit]

Forgotston was born to Charlton Forgotston, Sr. (1913–1987),[2] and the former Elsa de Vries (1918-2014) in Newellton in Tensas Parish, one of the River Parishes of northeastern Louisiana. His father owned Newellton Electric Company. Forgotston graduated in 1962 from the since defunct Newellton High School.[3] The senior Forgotston is interred at Legion Memorial Cemetery in Newellton.

Forgotston thereafter procured a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. In 1970, he received his Juris Doctor from LSU's Paul M. Hebert Law Center. Forgotston then worked for thirteen years for the legislature, the last seven as counsel of the Appropriations Committee. In 1973, he was a senior staff member of the Louisiana Constitutional Convention,[1] which drafted the current state constitution, ratified subsequently by voters in the spring of 1974. Many prominent politicians were delegates to the convention, including future Governor Buddy Roemer and future Louisiana Secretary of State and Insurance Commissioner James H. "Jim" Brown.


Forgotston has also served as director of the Taxation and Fiscal Policy Council and a lobbyist for the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, an organization formed in the middle 1970s to balance the power of organized labor, which was headed for four decades in Louisiana by Victor Bussie. He was the treasurer and a consultant for the Louisiana Council for Fiscal Reform, a statewide tax-reform interest group. He has been quoted in the major newspapers and other print and electronic media across the United States, including an appearance on CBS's news magazine, 60 Minutes. He is a fellow of the Institute of Politics of Loyola University in New Orleans. Forgotston has lectured at the law schools at Tulane and Loyola universities and at the Government Leadership Institute of the University of New Orleans. The Young Leadership Council of New Orleans selected him as "Role Model for Community Activism". Readers of Gambit Weekly named Forgotston "Best Community Activist" in the New Orleans area.[1]

Clancy Dubos, in the website Best of New Orleans, describes Forgotston as a "dangerous adversary" to the political leadership because, having been staff counsel to the Appropriations Committee, he knows the weaknesses of those in power. "He knows first-hand how lawmakers sometimes pass laws that they know are unconstitutional – sometimes to assuage the demands of an aroused but largely uninformed electorate, but just as often to help themselves and/or their cronies. Forgotston has railed for years about the arrogance of those in power, but no official sin gets under his skin more than lawmakers passing blatantly unconstitutional laws."[4]

Forgotston has been dubbed the "on-line scourge of Louisiana politicians" by the Times-Picayune 's James Gill.[5] In 2006, Forgotston called for the resignation of Legislative Auditor Steve Theriot on a matter of conflict of interest regarding a company of which Theriot was an officer that handled state bond issues.[6]

Forgotston and Jindal[edit]

Forgotston frequently appears on radio talk shows, including the statewide The Moon Griffon Show based in Monroe. Like Griffon, he has grown skeptical of Louisiana Republican Governor Bobby Jindal, whom Forgotston rates an "A" in "self-promotion" and a "D" for performance in office.[7] Shortly after taking office in 2008, Jindal called a special legislative session to focus upon ethics reform. Forgotston declared that the session "accomplished nothing except it cost the taxpayers money."[8]

Jindal has frequently left the state on political trips, was apparently considered for the vice presidency in 2008 by party nominee John S. McCain, and has been mentioned as a potential candidate for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016. Forgotston, however, maintains that Jindal has not established a record of real reform in Louisiana, as he pledged in his first successful 2007 campaign for governor.[7]

In 2008, Forgotston challenged Jindal's decision to permit the legislature to triple its pay, but as public outrage mounted, Jindal reversed himself and indicated that he would veto a legislative pay raise.[9]

On his website, Forgotston says that Louisiana should not "settle for last place on all the good lists and first place on all the bad lists."[10] He notes that the state ranks last in population gain since 2000, even behind the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. This rating cost Louisiana one of its seven seats in the United States House of Representatives following the United States 2010 census. "Where are the proactive efforts of the Jindal administration?" Forgotston asks.[10]

In 2013, Forgotston opposed Jindal's proposal to end the Louisiana state income tax accompanied by an increase in sales taxes. At the time, Forgotston correctly predicted that Jindal's plan would fail to clear the legislature because of the higher sales taxes, the lack of needed Democratic support to offset Republican defectors, and the likelihood that the plan would not increase overall state revenues.[11] After Jindal subsequently withdrew the plan because of the lack of public and legislative support, the Louisiana Republican Party issued a personal attack on Forgotston.[12]

Forgotston also opposes Jindal's policy toward higher education. In "Talk about the South", Dayne Sherman coined the term "The Forgotston Equilibrium", described as an economic principle: Whenever public college and university tuition is increased, the governor and the state legislature cuts higher education funding by an equal or greater amount.[13]

Sherman explains, accordingly: "For this economic theory, Forgotston should win the Nobel Prize in Economics just like Milton Friedman [in 1969 for "There's no such thing as a free lunch"] ... The "Forgotston Equilibrium" explains why Louisiana universities can't possibly tax students into prosperity. Raising tuition is a lose-lose game, and with the advent of a burgeoning community college system charging far lower tuition, the demise of universities will continue unabated into the foreseeable future...."[13]

Opponent of gambling[edit]

Forgotston has often been a lone public voice against the expansion of gambling in New Orleans. When Harrah's closed a large casino in 1995, Forgotston asked: "Why would you go to New Orleans, a historic city like we have, and go sit in some windowless casino? You want to go drive down St. Charles Avenue. You want to go to the French Quarter. This is an outdoor city. It would be like going to Aspen, and spending the whole time in a bar at a video poker machine."[14]

Forgotston maintains that gambling holds decreasing appeal for tourists in that forty-eight states as of 1995 had some kind of legalized gaming, and twenty-five states had casinos either on land, riverboats or Indian reservations. Harrah's, a consortium of investors led by Memphis-based Harrah's filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November 1995 and laid off 2,500 workers at a temporary casino that had opened only six months earlier at New Orleans Municipal Auditorium. The bankruptcy also halted work on a permanent casino on Canal Street, in the heart of the municipal hotel district.[14]

2008 congressional elections[edit]

In the 2008 elections, Louisiana supported McCain and elected six Republicans (three of them physicians) and only one Democrat to the U.S. House of Representatives. The Vietnamese Republican, Joseph Cao, of the New Orleans-based 2nd district, defeated incumbent William J. Jefferson in a stunning upset in the December 6 runoff election. Forgotston commented on the outcome: "It was a shock to all of us. We would have lost a lot of money if we would have bet on that race. Yes, it was great to get rid of Bill Jefferson, but everybody knows it's just a one-time thing." The assumption to which Forgotston was referring is that Democrats would unite behind a scandal-free opponent in 2010 and easily dispatch Cao. Forgotston was correct in his prediction, and Cao became a one-term member. Despite facing a criminal corruption trial, Jefferson was still assumed to have a formidable get-out-the-vote operation among fellow African Americans. In the general election, only 14 percent of black voters came to the polls, compared to 28 percent of whites, who comprise only 40 percent of district residents. Cao said that wetlands and levee restoration matters were crucial to his victory.[15]

Attorney in Hammond[edit]

Forgotston remains engaged in the private practice of law as a sole-practitioner limited to legislative and governmental matters. His wife is the former Ella Joy Adams, born in 1944 and known as "E.J.",[16] "E. J." Forgotston is a daughter of Troy Adams (1901–1972) and the former Bernice Hart (1912–2002),[17] is a retired nurse from Kentwood in Tangipahoa Parish.[18] She received the first-ever "Golden Pick-Up Stick Award" from the Keep Hammond Beautiful Committee "in recognition of her service to keeping litter off the streets of Hammond and Tangipahoa Parish." The award was presented by committee chair Vic Couvillion.[19] The Forgotstons relocated to Hammond after Hurricane Katrina ruined their residence in the Lakeshore section of New Orleans.

A frequent columnist and blogger, Forgotston operates the website forgotston.com.[1]

On August 18, 2009, Forgotston told the Louisiana Commission on Streamlining Government that "state government should stop paying for things that should be financed by local authorities. "What we have to do is not more with less. ... I'm saying we have to do less with less."[20]

State police retirement controversy[edit]

In the summer of 2014, Forgotston learned of a retirement issue affecting Colonel Mike Edmonson, the superintendent of the Louisiana State Police, from the journalist and blogger Tom Aswell of Ruston, who broke the story.[21] [22]

Forgotston quickly challenged the validity of an amendment submitted in July 2014, on the last day of the legislative session, by State Senator Neil Riser of Columbia in Caldwell Parish in northeastern Louisiana. Riser's measure, subsequently known in the media as the "Edmonson Act", would have increased the retirement pay of Colonel Edmonson, a Republican appointee of Governor Jindal, from $79,000 to $134,000 annually.[23] At least one other unnamed state trooper, later identified as Louis Boquet of Houma, would have been unintentionally similarly affected by the provision. Legislative rules prohibit a conference committee report from being considered on the last day of a session. However, both chambers voted by the two-thirds majority to suspend the rules and pass Riser's amendment. Louisiana State Treasurer John Neely Kennedy urged the state police retirement board, of which the treasurer is an ex officio member, to litigate the constitutionality of Senate Bill 294, which was promptly signed into law by Governor Jindal.[24]

Though he had first denied authorship of the "Edmonson Act", Riser said that he was asked to submit the measure to the full legislature by Charles Dupuy, the deputy police superintendent. Riser said it was his understanding that the bill in question addresses the rights of law enforcement officers and "broad retirement issues", not specific individuals who could benefit from its provisions.[24]

Forgotston claims that the "Edmonson Act", officially Act 859, would have applied to "hundreds of thousands" of current and future retirees in all departments of state government and could have increased taxpayer liability by "millions of dollars" in accrued expenses. Forgotston said that Riser, a defeated candidate for Louisiana's 5th congressional district in the 2013 special election, flatly lied to him in first denying the authorship of the amendment: "Riser has now said, ‘Yeah, it was me [sic] ...' He should have apologized to the public. He should have apologized to the other five members of the conference committee. He threw them under the bus. He definitely owes an apology to his staff member - he threw her under the bus."[25][26]

On September 16, 2014, Forgotston, Aswell, and Kennedy were vindicated when 19th Judicial District Judge Janice Clark of Baton Rouge declared the "Edmonson Act" unconstitutional. The suit challenging the Edmonson retirement provision was brought forward by State Senator Dan Claitor, a Republican candidate for Louisiana's 6th congressional district seat in the November 4 primary election. The defendants in the suit presented no rebuttal and agreed that the measure should be struck down.[27]


  1. ^ a b c d "C.B. Forgotston biographical sketch". forgotston.com. Retrieved January 23, 2009. 
  2. ^ "Social Security Death Index". Rootsweb.ancestry.com. Retrieved January 23, 2009. 
  3. ^ "Classmates: C.B. Forgotston, Jr.". classmates.com. Retrieved January 23, 2009. 
  4. ^ Clancy, Dubos (February 15, 2005). "Time to Fight Back". Best of New Orleans.com. Retrieved January 23, 2009. 
  5. ^ James Gill (August 5, 2009). "Who will streamline the streamliners?". Times-Picayune. p. B5. 
  6. ^ "Theriot needs to resign! Time for conflict resolution". lapoliticalnews.blogspot.com. November 20, 2006. Retrieved November 21, 2009. 
  7. ^ a b Jim Beam (January 11, 2009). "Jindal Becomes Mileage Champion". American Press. Lake Charles. Retrieved January 23, 2009. 
  8. ^ "C.B. Forgotston describes Jindal's Ethics Session: Basically it accomplished nothing except it cost the taxpayers money". PoliticsLA.com. 
  9. ^ "Jindal Breaks Word to Voters". forgotston.com. June 17, 2008. Retrieved January 23, 2009. 
  10. ^ a b "Holding Them Accountable". forgotston.com. January 21, 2009. Retrieved January 25, 2009. 
  11. ^ "Louisiana's Jindal details plan to end state income tax". yahoo.com. March 14, 2013. Retrieved April 18, 2013. 
  12. ^ The Moon Griffon Show, April 18, 2013
  13. ^ a b "Sage of Tangipahoa Parish speaks bravely". daynesherman.blogspot.com. August 11, 2013. Retrieved August 12, 2013. 
  14. ^ a b Kevin Sack (December 31, 1995). "Travel Advisory: Correspondent's Report; New Orleans Ponders A Casino's Bankruptcy". The New York Times. Retrieved July 22, 2014. 
  15. ^ Richard Fausset (December 9, 2008). "In Louisiana, an unlikely victory makes history". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 23, 2009. 
  16. ^ People Search, Background Check
  17. ^ "Social Security Death Index". Rootsweb.ancestry.com. Retrieved January 25, 2009. 
  18. ^ "Obituary of Bernice Hart Adams, May 3, 2002". Baton Rouge Morning Advocate. Retrieved January 25, 2009. 
  19. ^ Megan Mosher (January 20, 2012). "Beautiful Committee continues war on litter". Hammond Daily Star. pp. 1A, 3A. 
  20. ^ Jan Moller (August 19, 2009). "State paying for too many tasks of local government, panel told". Times-Picayune. p. A2. 
  21. ^ The Moon Griffon Show, September 16, 2014
  22. ^ "Graft, Lies, and Politics: A Monument to Corruption". louisianavoice.com. Retrieved September 17, 2014. 
  23. ^ The Moon Griffon Show, August 6, 2014
  24. ^ a b Barbara Leader (July 30, 2014). "John Kennedy, board to discuss retirement benefits law". Retrieved August 1, 2014. 
  25. ^ Lee Zurik (July 28, 2014). "Lee Zurik Investigation: Riser's amendment could cost state millions". Fox 8 Live. Retrieved August 1, 2014. 
  26. ^ The Moon Griffon Show, August 1, 2014
  27. ^ Cole Avery (September 16, 2014). "'Edmonson Act' declared unconstitutional in state court". New Orleans Times-Picayune. Retrieved September 17, 2014.