The gist: Marcus Bruno, former Mayor-President Joel Robideaux’s embattled aide, has landed a job with the state’s division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control.
Get caught up, quickly. Bruno, who came under fire early last year after The Advocate reported on a questionable loan he received from a nonprofit that gets federal grant funds from LCG, is working as legislative liaison officer for ATC, a division of the Louisiana Department of Revenue. The job pays $79,000 a year.
The post appears to have been created for Bruno. In response to a public records request from The Current, a state official confirmed that the unclassified position was created in January and was not advertised. “There is no public record to confirm your assumption [that the job was fashioned for Bruno],” writes Vanessa Caston LaFleur, director of policy and legislative services for the revenue department. “This is an unclassified position and thus, no posting is required,” she stated. “There were no other applications submitted.”
The mayoral aide was cleared by the Louisiana Board of Ethics, but a parallel probe by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which provided the funds Bruno was awarded, remains (presumably) ongoing. The Guillory administration did not immediately respond to a request for an update.
The administration axed Bruno’s $85,000 position as assistant for governmental affairs, marking the second time a mayor-president removed Bruno, a former city police officer, from the payroll by eliminating his position. Instead, Guillory hired former deputy city marshal Nathan Broussard at $50,000 a year to fill the newly created post of municipal liaison. Some of the work Bruno did in the black community is likely to fall to Carlos Harvin, one of Guillory’s opponents who was named chief of minority affairs, another new position that pays $50,000.
Bruno reports directly to ATC Commissioner Juana Lombard. The New Orleans attorney who once chaired the city’s alcohol control board was appointed by Gov. John Bel Edwards at the start of his first term in 2016. Bruno’s job description requires him to spend 75 percent of his time working with legislators and their staff members, responding to calls and emails from them about ATC procedures, initiatives and legislation.
Bruno paid off the controversial loan in June. After an internal review found him likely in default and concluded the loan should never have been awarded, Bruno quickly borrowed money from a private individual and paid off the loan seven years early.