Patrick LeBlanc

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Patrick Lynn "Pat" LeBlanc, Sr.
Born (1954-03-21)March 21, 1954
Lafayette, Lafayette Parish, Louisiana, USA
Died March 10, 2008(2008-03-10) (aged 53)
Vermilion Parish, Louisiana, USA
Occupation Businessman; Architect
Political party
Republican
Religion Roman Catholic
Spouse(s) Second wife, Jennifer Scialdone LeBlanc (born ca. 1961)
Children

From first marriage:
Patrick LeBlanc, Jr. (born ca. 1981)
Liee' LeBlanc (born ca. 1983)
Stepsons:
Michael Charles Piccione (born ca. 1985)
John M. Picionne

All of Youngsville
Notes
(1) LeBlanc's LCS Corrections Services, Inc., a prison management company, is the fifth largest company of its kind in the United States.

(2) Despite the loss of his 2007 race for the Louisiana House of Representatives, LeBlanc planned to remain politically active within his state's Republican Party.

(3) Along with his pilot, LeBlanc perished in a single-engine plane crash eleven days before his 54th birthday.

Patrick Lynn LeBlanc, Sr. (March 21, 1954 – March 10, 2008), usually known as Pat LeBlanc, was a prominent Lafayette, Louisiana, architect and businessman who was also active in Republican politics. LeBlanc and his pilot perished when their single-engine airplane crashed over northern Vermilion Parish. His death came eleven days before his 54th birthday and only four months after having been defeated in a high-profile race for the Louisiana House of Representatives. His pilot was R. Solomon Reed, Jr. (born May 4, 1947), of Opelousas, the seat of St. Landry Parish in south Louisiana.[1]

In the nonpartisan blanket primary held on October 20, 2007, LeBlanc was defeated for the District 43 seat by his fellow Republican, Page Cortez, the choice of influential State Senator Michael J. Michot of Lafayette. The seat was vacated by the retirement of Republican Representative Ernie Alexander of Lafayette. Cortez polled 7,742 votes (55.5 percent) to LeBlanc's 6,218 (44.5 percent).[2]

Early years, education, business[edit]

LeBlanc was born in Lafayette to the late L. Jaco LeBlanc and the former Jacqueline Francez. In 1972, he graduated from Acadiana High School. In 1977, he received a bachelor of science degree in architecture from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, then known as the University of Southwestern Louisiana. LeBlanc was a registered architect in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas and a general contractor in those same states excluding Mississippi.[3]

In 2000, LeBlanc received the "Builder of the Year" award from the trade association known as Acadian Home Builders; he was the president of the group in 2006. LeBlanc's architectural firm is called The LeBlanc Group, a family-owned business established in 1957. At the time of his death, LeBlanc was the president of the company and had designed more than twenty-five prisons and correctional centers in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. He was the president of LeBlanc Construction Co., Inc., a general contracting firm that he established in 1984 to build commercial and residential projects. He was also president of LCS Corrections Services, Inc., a privately held prison management company founded in 1990 by the LeBlanc family. LCS is the fifth largest company of its kind in the United States. As a result of this business, he studied to receive an associate's degree in criminal justice from ULL in 1999.[3]

In 1979, LeBlanc was president of the Lafayette United States Junior Chamber, or Jaycees, and thereafter a member of the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce. LeBlanc was a board member of the Lafayette Boys Club and Girls Club and formerly coached children's baseball and soccer. He was the chairman of the Cajundome Commission from 1994 to 1996.[3]

LeBlanc, an avid outdoorsman, had seven pet goats and five dogs. He and his second wife, the former Jennifer Scialdone (born ca. 1961) resided in Youngsville in Lafayette Parish.[3]

Prison contracts questioned[edit]

While LeBlanc was running for the legislature on a platform of "more transparency in public disclosure", questions arose about his involvement with former sheriffs in Bexar County, Texas (San Antonio) and Morehouse Parish (Bastrop). Le Blanc and his brother Michael, owners of Premier Management Enterprises, were named in an interstate investigation involving prison management and supplies. The firm contracts with jails to provide commissary services for inmates. The company supplied soft drinks and snacks at the Bexar County (pronounced BEAR) detention center. The LeBlancs provided then Sheriff Ralph Lopez with a free trip to Costa Rica. Lopez resigned in August 2007 and pleaded no contest to three charges regarding the trip. Posecutors said that Lopez, a Democrat, did not report the gift and tampered with a government record. Patrick LeBlanc said that the free trip was legal but that Lopez was required to report it as a gift. Bexar County prosecutor brought no charges against the LeBlanc brothers.[4]

In 1996, the Louisiana Legislative Auditor accused former Sheriff Frank Carroll, also a Democrat last elected in 1991,[5] and LeBlanc’s former company, Gulf Coast Corrections, Inc., with providing false and misleading information to the Farmer’s Home Administration to obtain a $3.18 million loan to build the Morehouse Parish Correctional Center. Carroll did not obtain prior approval from the FmHA before LeBlanc designed the facility. FmHA also questioned a $550,000 cost overrun on the prison. Carroll attributed the overrun to items not included in the original bid specifications. There was also a dispute about the number of beds in the prison.[4]

Investigators uncovered a letter dated February 16, 1993, from Michael LeBlanc instructing Sheriff Carroll to retype several items on his letterhead and then to dispatch them to the FmHA regional office. One of those items, backdated to November 23, 1991, requested approval for the design of the prison. The federal office was not made aware that this request was actually prepared by Carroll on February 16, 1993. The auditors claimed that Carroll and both LeBlancs gave conflicting statements. The auditors sent criminal referrals to the U.S. Attorney citing possible violations of four different federal statutes including conspiracy to defraud, false reporting on loan and credit applications, mail fraud and bank fraud. No state or federal charges were ever pursued in that case.[4]

Gulf Coast Corrections, Inc., whose president was listed as Patrick LeBlanc and its vice president as Michael LeBlanc, went inactive by consent on January 1, 1997, and was dissolved in 2001. The subsequent company is LCS.[4]

Republican donor[edit]

The LeBlancs had been active in national, state, and local Republican Party politics. Mrs. LeBlanc was listed as a fundraiser for former presidential candidate Rudolph A. Giuliani, previously the mayor of New York City. The LeBlancs hosted Vice President Dick Cheney at their home in 2006 when Cheney spoke at a fundraiser for U.S. Representative Charles Boustany, a Lafayette Republican. The LeBlancs gave $4,600 to Boustany and the same amount to Giuliani. Boustany also endorsed Giuliani.[4]

Just a month before his death, LeBlanc was elected on February 9 to the Louisiana Republican Central Committee as well as the Lafayette Parish Republican Executive Committee. Lafayette Parish is one of the strongest Republican-leaning parishes in the state. LeBlanc polled 513 votes (73 percent) to Gary Reynolds' 194 ballots (27 percent) for the House District 43 seat on the central committee.[6]

Prior to his death, the LeBlancs had purchased the Wednesday weekly newspaper, Acadiana Gazette. The publisher is Ron Gomez, a member of the Lafayette Parish Republican Committee and a former Democratic member of the Louisiana House from 1980 to 1989 and an unsuccessful candidate for mayor of Lafayette in 1992. Gomez had strongly supported LeBlanc in the House race in 2007.[7]

Five days before the fatal crash, LeBlanc had mailed a five-page survey to "concerned citizens" in Lafayette Parish. The questionnaire asks respondents their opinions on national and local issues, including potential future challengers to City-Parish President Joey Durel, District Attorney Mike Harson, Sheriff Mike Neustrom, Clerk of Court Louis Perret, and the term-limited State Senator Mike Michot.[8]

Last rites[edit]

In addition to his mother and wife, LeBlanc was survived by two children from his first marriage, Patrick LeBlanc, Jr. (born ca. 1981), and Liee' LeBlanc (born ca. 1983); two stepsons, Michael Charles Piccione (born ca. 1985) and John M. Picionne, all of Youngsville; two brothers, Maurice LeBlanc, and his wife, Brenda LeBlanc, of Lafayette; Michael LeBlanc and his wife, Julie LeBlanc, of Baton Rouge; his aunt Beverly and her husband, Norris Guidry; his uncle Emile LeBlanc and his wife, Jane LeBlanc. He was preceded in death by his father; his maternal grandparents, Maurice Francez (1905–1977) and Nadine B. Francez (1908–1989),[9] and his paternal grandparents, George and Bernice LeBlanc.[10]

A mass was recited on March 13 at Our Lady of Fatima Roman Catholic Church in Lafayette. Burial was in Greenlawn Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Lafayette.[3]

References[edit]