Judge Edmund M. Reggie, Former Tulane Board Member
Milestones in Politics
Winfield, Louisiana is the hometown of former Louisiana governors Huey and Earl Long and the site of the
Louisiana Political Museum and Hall of Fame, where on January 31, 2004 Edmund M. Reggie was inducted alongside other
notables that include the former governor of Louisiana, Edwin W. Edwards . The museum honors "sinners and saints alike" and
recognizes individuals on the basis of their political impact. Reggie, an attorney, judge, businessman,
banker, real estate investor, civic leader, and convicted felon was also an important political operative .
Edmund M. Reggie was born in 1926 in Crowley, Louisiana of parents who emigrated to the U.S. in 1920
from Lebanon (previously Syria) . He received a bachelor's degree from Southwestern Louisiana Institute in
Lafayette in 1946 and a law degree from Tulane Law School in 1949, the same year that Edwin W. Edwards obtained
his law degree from Louisiana State University Law School in Shreveport . He and Edwards returned to Crowley
where they independently went into private practice. Reggie served as acting judge for ailing Crowley City Judge Denis T.
Canon, who also was his law partner. When Canon died in 1950, Reggie was appointed by Gov. Earl K. Long to Canon's
seat, a post he held until 1976 . Edwards entered politics and was elected (1954-1962) to the Crowley City Council .
Reggie was active (1956-1960) in the state Central Committee of the Democratic Party and was a four-time
Louisiana delegate to the Democratic National Convention, including the delegation headed by Gov. Earl K. Long at the
1956 Democratic Convention in Chicago . At that convention, Reggie and his friend Camille Gravel, also a political
operative, defied Long who was committed to Estes Kefauver as the vice presidential nominee, and when Long absented
himself from the convention, they persuaded the delegation to endorse the relatively unknown Sen. John F. Kennedy for the
vice-presidential nomination . Although the convention ultimately chose Kefauver, the favorable impression that
Kennedy and the Louisiana delegates made on one another led to a lasting friendship between Reggie and the Kennedys .
In 1960, Reggie directed John Kennedy's presidential campaign in Louisiana and helped deliver its electoral
votes to JFK despite strong opposition toward him in some areas of the state . The previous year, Reggie had
arranged for Kennedy and his wife, Jacqueline, to attend the International Rice Festival in Crowley as honored celebrities,
where they were greeted by enthusiastic crowds. Following his election, President Kennedy sent Reggie on a 1961
diplomatic mission to the Middle East where in Lebanon he was given a hero's welcome in his parents' hometown of
Ihden. Reggie continued to serve the president as liason with Louisiana Gov. Jimmie Davis from 1961 until
JFK's death in 1963 .
Reggie remained active in state and national politics and was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in
1964 and 1968 . His wife, Doris Boustany Reggie, has also been involved in political activity and since 1976 served the
Democratic Party in various capacities at state and national levels, including membership on the party's Platform and
Finance Committees in 1988 . Doris Reggie has also engaged in philanthropy and helped to endow the Frem F.
Boustany Eminent Scholar Memorial Chair in Business Administration at the University of Louisiana in Lafayette, a chair
that honors her father .
As an influential member of the Democratic Party in Louisiana, Edmund Reggie had a voice in who would be
nominated and supported in campaigns for public office a position that earned him a reputation as a "kingmaker" . That
may help explain, at least in part, how members of his family would obtain a total of 34 years
of scholarships from eight Louisiana legislators to attend Tulane University.
Tulane Board Member
In their book on the recent history of Tulane, Professor
Clarence Mohr and Dean Joseph Gordon of Tulane University imply that Edmund M. Reggie's political connections were a
factor in his appointment to the Tulane board in 1983. Reggie was a close friend and confidant of Edwin W. Edwards and helped
him in his 1983 campaign and 1984 transition to his third term as governor . One of Reggie's first acts as board member was
to intercede on Tulane's behalf to reverse the State Attorney General's 1982 opinion that allowed the state and the City of New Orleans to collect sales and use taxes on purchases made by Tulane. That 1982 opinion, which received no mention in Mohr and Gordon's history, was rescinded in 1984 .
“In 1984, following the election of Democrat Edwin Edwards as governor of Louisiana
and the appointment of Judge Edmund Reggie of Crowley, Louisiana, to a seat on the Tulane Board of Administrators, State
Attorney General William J. Guste Jr. rendered an advisory opinion that Tulane was "exempt from the payment of sales and use
taxes levied by the State, parochial, and municipal authorities." Guste's opinion was based on the provision of Act 43 of the Louisiana Legislature of 1884 that established Tulane as a private institution. The ruling meant a
significant financial gain for the university, and in its session of February 1984, the Board expressed appreciation to Judge Reggie for his help
in presenting the matter and for the concurrent increase in capitation grants from the state. President [Eamon M.]
Kelly estimated that the annual saving would be upward of $3 million.” 
Edmund Reggie served on the Tulane Board of Administrators from 1983 to 1992 . He has denied being involved
in Tulane's capitation grants from the state or in benefitting in any way from the Attorney General's opinion .
Lobbyist and Consultant
Following his success at reversing the Attorney General's opinion for Tulane, Edmund Reggie was recruited for $1.25 million by Entergy Corp. and its subsidary, Louisiana Power & Light Co. to reverse a 1982 order by Louisiana's Public Service Commission (PSC) that was designed to prevent the electric utility from charging rate payers to help cover the cost of building its new Waterford 3 nuclear power plant in Taft, Louisiana . The PSC modifed its order, but the scheme unravelled in early 1986 when it became known that Reggie was splitting his fees with former Governor Edwin W. Edwards. By then, Reggie had only been paid $750,000, leading him to file suit for the balance .
In 1986, after Edwards proposed casino gambling in Louisiana, Reggie was hired as a consultant by Resorts International, Inc., a casino and real estate firm . With Reggie helping to run his transition team, Edwards had been returned to the Governor's seat for a third term in 1984 .
The Reggie Scholarships
Reggie was cited in the press for having obtained 34 years of Tulane scholarships for members of his family from
Louisiana legislators during the period of 1971 to 1989 . Few Democratic legislators aware of the political ramifications
would risk denying a kingmaker's request for the favor of a tuition waiver. The legislative scholarships were intended for
needy students who were otherwise qualified to attend Tulane. Reggie justified asking for the scholarships as "...a perfectly legal thing
to do..." and that "Nobody else applied for them..." . He also acknowledged in court that in the 1980s he had a net worth of
$13 million . Tulane officials approved the scholarships, which at 2003 rates were valued in excess of $1.1 million .
In 1992, Reggie was convicted of misapplication of funds of the Acadia Savings & Loan of Crowley, a thrift he
founded in 1959 and which failed in 1987. The transactions allegedly contributed to the failure of the Louisiana Bank and Trust,
which also failed in 1987. Reggie was board chairman of both institutions at the time. The questionable loans allegedly
generated lucrative legal fees for Reggie's law firm, which also served as Acadia's general counsel [21-23].
Initially, Reggie was charged in a 13-count indictment involving the transactions at Acadia S&L. He was acquitted
on six counts in his first trial in June 1992. In his second trial three months later, Reggie was convicted on two charges,
but U.S. District Judge John Shaw dismissed one of them. In July 1993, Reggie pleaded no-contest to another charge
of misapplication of funds, and the remaining four charges were dismissed. Reggie was ably represented by his good
friend Camille Gravel [22,23].
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. had also sought $40 million from Reggie and others in connection with the failure
of the thrift. The debts ultimately were paid by U.S. taxpayers, according to federal officials . For his role in defrauding the savings
institution and the public, Reggie faced up to 10 years in prison and $500,000 in fines. Nevertheless, Judge
Shaw sentenced him to only 120 days of home confinement and a $30,000 fine [22-24]. Reggie was also temporarily suspended from the bar
of the state Supreme Court and U.S. Supreme Court [25-27].
Among the considerations that may have influenced Reggie's relatively light sentence
were his close ties to prominent political figures that included Louisiana Governors Earl K. Long, Jimmie Davis, and Edwin W. Edwards, President and Mrs. John
Kennedy, President and Mrs. Bill Clinton, and Massachusetts Senator Edward Kennedy . In 1992, Senator Kennedy and
Reggie's daughter, Victoria, a Washington, DC attorney specializing in banking law, were married on the 3rd of July at Kennedy's
home in McLean, Virginia, both for the second time [28,29]. Victoria Reggie Kennedy, who is 22 years younger than Edward Kennedy,
was said to be the heir-apparent to her husband's U.S. Senate seat .
Following his trials, Reggie continued to be dogged by legal problems, and in 2001 he was the target of a federal lawsuit
seeking $819,424 in alleged tax debt arising from an alleged scheme he used to dodge taxes in the 1970s
by transferring property to his wife, Doris Boustany Reggie . In 2004, the Internal Revenue Service agreed to dismiss its lawsuit following the receipt of $575,431 from the sale of property held by the Reggie family in New Orleans [32,33].
Partners in Business
In May 1986, Reggie's eldest son, Ed Michael Reggie of New Orleans, was sued by City Savings Bank and Trust Co. of
DeRidder, La. in a dispute involving $6 million
in losses from loans he made while president of the bank from August 1980 until his resignation in March 1982. During that period,
his father, Edmund M. Reggie of Crowley, owned the bank with Shreveport businessman Herman K. Beebe. Prior to trial, a
sealed out-of-court settlement was reached in January 1991 . According to a Tulane University biography, Ed Michael Reggie had
"set several bank earnings and deposit growth records" as a commercial bank president .
In a separate complaint filed jointly January 1991 by
the Resolution Trust Corp. and Federal Deposit Insurance
Corp., Beebe was described as "...a twice-convicted felon and a notorious malefactor in the banking and savings and loan
industries." He had been convicted in 1985 of conspiracy, wire fraud and illegal use of federal funds, and in 1988 he pleaded
guilty to two counts of bank fraud for which he was sentenced to a year in jail. Federal officials alleged that Beebe
caused the failure of at least 17 banks in Lousiana and Texas, costing taxpayers more than $2 billion. The two federal
banking agencies, which had sought $26.5 million from Beebe in bankruptcy court, settled in 1995 for just $200,000 after
determining that his assets were virtually worthless .
Despite his setback as a bank president, Ed Michael Reggie went on to build a successful career in the health
management field, and in 2004 he received a Champion of Public Health award from Tulane University School of
Public Health, where he is an adjunct faculty member and advisor to the provost. His father, Edmund M. Reggie, served on
Tulane's Board of Administrators from 1983 to 1992 .
Birds of a Feather
Edmund M. Reggie was a close personal friend and advisor to Edwin W. Edwards and accompanied him on hunting
trips and gambling outings to Las Vegas . He also played a significant role in Edwards' political career and administrations.
When Edwards had served a number of terms (1954-1962) on the Crowley City Council, Reggie helped persuade him to run for
higher office . With the help of Reggie's encouragement and support, Edwards was elected to the Louisiana State
Senate (1964-1965), became a Representative to the U.S. Congress (1965-1972), and went on to serve four terms as Governor of
Louisiana (1972-1980, 1984-1988 and 1992-1996) . Reggie was also Edwards' executive counsel at the end of his second
term, and he assisted Edwards' transition at the beginning of his third term as governor in 1984 .
Former Gov. Edwin W. Edwards has been described as a master of political subterfuge whose involvement in
criminal activities ultimately led to his downfall . In 1985, Edwards was charged in federal court with racketeering
involving the issuance of hospital licenses. His first trial ended with a hung jury, and he was acquitted in the second.
In 2000, Edwards, his son Stephen, and three others were eventually convicted in federal court on 17 counts of fraud
and racketeering over a scheme to extort money in the 1990s from casino executives who wanted river boat gambling
licenses. Edwards was fined $250,000, and on October 21, 2002 he began serving a 10-year sentence in federal prison
in Fort Worth, Texas. Stephen Edwards was sentenced to a 7-year term at the federal prison in Beaumont, Texas .
Like Father, Like Son
Another of Reggie's sons, Raymond "Ray" Reggie, inherited his father's appetite for politics and became a consultant to well-known
Democratic leaders including former President Clinton, former Vice President Gore, and U.S. Senators Hillary Clinton and
Edward Kennedy. He also worked on the local campaigns of former New Orleans Mayor Marc Morial and Police Superintendent
Richard Pennington. Ray Reggie, 43, engaged in fund raising, planned strategy, and placed advertising the latter through Media
Direct, his Poydras Street company in New Orleans which, at its peak in 2000, had about 40 employees and about $60
million in posted annual revenue .
Following the 2000 election season, Ray Reggie's business took a downward turn, and he set out to support
his company by using several dubious schemes. Allegedly, he shifted funds from one bank to another to make his
business appear more solvent than it actually was. He allegedly also fabricated documents to create the impression that his business had
millions of dollars worth of work contracts, and he used the bogus contracts to convince lending institutions to advance him loans .
In one instance, Ray Reggie allegedly had an employee lease a mailbox in Washington, DC and impersonate a
contracting officer for the U.S. Census Bureau. Reggie allegedly claimed to have a $18.5 million contract with the U.S.
Census Bureau and allegedly used the bogus accounts receivable to apply for additional bank loans. Hibernia National Bank has
sued Reggie for defaulting on a $6 million loan, and he allegedly is in debt to two other commercial lenders who
advanced him money based on falsified claims. In the midst of its financial crisis, Media Direct ceased operation in 2002
Federal prosecutors have charged Ray Reggie with attempting to defraud three banks of millions of dollars.
If convicted on all charges, he would face up to 35 years in prison and up to $1.25 million in fines . However, as with his
father, the younger Reggie's ties to prominent political figures may be to his advantage, and the crystal ball of history
fortells that judges will help him find ways to minimize his penalties.
On April 21, 2005, it was revealed that, in expectation of securing a lesser sentence, Ray Reggie will testify as a
government witness against a former fund-raising colleague, David Rosen, with whom he closely worked in Sen. Hillary Clinton's
2000 New York campaign . However, at trial, a jury acquitted Rosen of charges that he failed to report the the full
cost of a fund-raising gala , leaving one to wonder if the exercise had been staged for Reggie's benefit.
In the end, Ray Reggie was sentenced to only one year of imprisonment and ordered to pay $6.5 million in
restitution. According to federal sentencing guidelines, he was eligible for 37 to 46 months prison time.
Federal prosecutors had requested a reduced sentence on the basis of his assistance in federal investigations.
On January 17, 2005, Ray Reggie reported to the minimum security, Federal Detention Center in Oakdale, Louisiana, to begin his sentence . Following his release from prison , he engaged in identity fraud with malicious intent against this Web site.
A matter unrelated to Ray Reggie's bank-fraud charges provides another example of the privileged treatment he
received at the hands of the judicial system. He was arrested in 2002 for impersonating a police officer after three women
identified him as the man with a blue light in his car who pulled them over, flashed a badge, and engaged them in conversation.
The state judge who eventually tried Reggie at the bench dismissed the charge on grounds that the case had been excessively
delayed before going to trial. The charge had carried a maximum two-year prison sentence .
Attempt at Intimidation
In a March 10, 2005 telephone call to Dr. Bernofsky, retired judge Edmund M. Reggie, now residing in
Lafayette, Louisiana, threatened a lawsuit if the content of this Web page at that time was not immediately removed.
Reggie, 78, who referred to the page as a "blog," claimed that portions of the text were "scurrilous, scandalous and
libelous," that they held him up "to public ridicule," and were filled with "half-truths" and "lies." The former Crowley
resident also informed Bernofsky that he was taping the nearly hour-long conversation .
In compliance with Reggie's demand, the text that appeared on this page prior to March 10, 2005 was
replaced with a statement of regret for any unintentional transmission of incorrect information derived from the public domain.
Following a reevaluation of sources and the inclusion of additional information, the text in its present
form was posted on April 19, 2005 and is offered in good faith.
As before, the presentation and opinions expressed constitute protected free speech.
This is not the first time Judge Edmund Reggie attempted to suppress publication of a story he did not like.
In 1986, he and Monsignor Al Sigur led an advertisers' boycott against the Times of Acadiana after the Lafayette
weekly carried an editorial by Richard Baudouin about sexual abuse by members of the Catholic clergy. Eventually, that
situation was defused through the intervention of Raymond Blanco, a vice president of the University of Louisiana in
Lafayette and husband of the present governor of Louisiana, Kathleen Babineaux Blanco .
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Associated Press, January 31, 2004 (www.cnn.com), accessed 3/15/05. See also: "Bad or not, La.
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Reggie inducted into La. Political Hall of Fame," The Crowley Post-Signal, February 1, 2004, (www.crowleypostsignal.com),
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Ancestry.com, accessed 2/25/05.
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- Compare: Opinion Number 82-1039, issued November 12, 1982, and Opinion Number 84-194, issued February 28, 1984, both by Attorney General William J. "Billy" Guste, Jr.
- Clarence L. Mohr and Joseph E. Gordon, Tulane: The Emergence of a Modern University, 1945-1980, Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge, 2001, p. 444. Note also: Ibid., p. 445; Board data attributed to Robert G. Sherer, University College: A History of Access to Opportunity, 1942-1992 (New Orleans: Tulane University Office of University Relations, 1992), 11; BOA Minutes, 16 February 1984.
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Mark Schleifstein, "LP&L Will Refund $335,000 Lobby Fee," The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, August 3, 1989, Metro, p. B-1. See also: Mark Schleifstein, "Dual Strategy Paid Off, Chief Says," The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, July 12, 1989, Money, p. F-1. See also: Mark Schleifstein, "Embattled Middle South Offers 'Olive Branch'," The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, May 14, 1989, National, p. A-1.
- "Scholarship scandal finale," The Times Picayune, New Orleans, October 15, 1995, p. B-6. See
also: "Who you know is what counts," The Advocate, Baton Rouge, October 19, 1995, p. 10-B. See also: Larry
Connelley and Dorothy Adams, "Legislative scholarship misuses revealed," The Tulane Hullabaloo, New Orleans, October 27, 1995.
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October 15, 1995, p. A-1.
- "Reggie trio acquitted in fraud case; Applause follows verdict; Prosecutor plans follow-up," The
Times-Picayune, New Orleans, June 27, 1992, p. B-1.
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- "Kennedy father-in-law sentenced to stay home," The Boston Globe, Boston, (from Associated Press), September 24, 1993,
- "Reggie sentence was miscarriage," The Advocate, Baton Rouge, October 13, 1993, p. 8-B.
- Joe Gyan Jr., "Reggie suspension review to be sought," The Advocate, Baton Rouge, March 14, 1995, p. 1-B.
- Joe Gyan Jr., "High court allows Reggie to resume law practice," The Advocate, Baton Rouge, May 20, 1995, p. 1-A.
- "Edwards friend suspended by U.S. Supreme Court," The Advocate, Baton Rouge, November 28, 1995, p. 3-B.
- John Lancaster, "Ted Kennedy weds washington lawyer," Los Angeles Times, July 5, 1992, p. A-11.
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- Carol Eisenberg, "Victoria Reggie Kennedy said to be husband's pick as successor," Muckety, May 29, 2008, http://www.muckety.com/2008/05/29/..., accessed 10/09/08. See also: Ian Bishop, "Ted Kennedy: I'd like wife to take seat," Daily News, New York, May 22, 2008, http://www.nydailynews.com/news/us_world/2008/05/22/2008-05-22_ted_kennedy_id_like_wife_to_take_seat.html, accessed 08/28/09. See also: Sam Stein, "Hatch, Dodd: Vicki Kennedy Would Be 'Great' Replacement For Husband," The Huffington Post, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/08/30/hatch-dodd-vicki-kennedy_n_272168.html, accessed 08/31/09.
- "Tax suit filed against former Crowley judge," The Advocate, Baton Rouge, November 28, 2001, p. 3-B.
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- "DeRidder bank and its ex-president settle case," The Times Picayune, New Orleans, January 3, 1991, p. C-14.
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- Tyler Bridges, Bad Bet on the Bayou; The Rise of Gambling in Louisiana and the Fall of Governor Edwin Edwards, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, 2001, 422 pp..
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- Martha Carr and Gordon Russell, "Politically connected exec charged in fraud; Scam cost Hibernia millions, feds say," The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, February 3, 2005, p. A-1.
- Joe Gyan Jr., "Reggie pleads not guilty; Trial set April 18," The Advocate, Baton Rouge, February 24, 2005. See also: Michael Perlstein and Paul Purpura, "Businessman pleads innocent in fraud; Case involves millions of dollars," The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, February 24, 2005, p. B-1.
- Josh Gerstein, "Clinton Case Mystery," The New York Sun, April 21, 2005. See also: Alan Sayre,
"Raymond Reggie pleads guilty to bank fraud charges," The Advocate, Baton Rouge, April 21, 2005. See also: Gordon
Russell and Martha Carr, "Reggie helps in case vs. Clinton aide; Source says calls taped as part of plea," The Times-Picayune,
New Orleans, April 22, 2005, p. A-1. See also: Josh Gerstein, "A Kennedy Relative Acted as Informant in Democrat Circles," The New York Sun, April 22, 2005. See also: Michael Kranish, "Hillary Clinton aide reportedly taped; Kennedy in-law to aid the FBI,"
The Boston Globe, April 24, 2005. See also: Martha Carr and Gordon Russell, "Sex, lies, secret tape at center
of trial; Reggie recording key as feds launch case," The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, May 7, 2005, p. A-1.
See also: Raymond Hernandez, "Political Drama Abounds in Trial Involving Mrs. Clinton's Hollywood Fund-Raiser," The New York Times,
May 9, 2005. See also: Martha Carr, "Demos' hijinks may stay secret; Rule 'salacious' tape off-limits, judge urged," The Times-Picayune,
New Orleans, May 18, 2005, p. A-1. See also: Martha Carr, "Lavish Clinton gala costs detailed; N.O. politico
testifies expense was no secret," The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, May 20, 2005, p. A-1.
- Paul Chavez, "Ex-Clinton aide cleared in fund-raising case." The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, May 28, 2005,
p. A-16 (from The Associated Press).
- Josh Gerstein, "Reggie Sentenced to a Year in Jail After Pleading Guilty to Fraud Charges,"
The New York Sun, Premium Electronic Edition, November 30, 2005. See also: Martha Carr, "Political figure handed prison sentence; Reggie gets year, day in bank fraud case," The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, November 30, 2005, Metro, p. 1.
- Raymond C. Reggie was released from prison on November 29, 2006. See: Inmate Locator, Federal Bureau of Prisons, http://www.bop.gov/..., accessed 11/17/09.
- Paul Purpura, "Judge defers ruling on impersonating officer; N.O. consultant wants charge thrown out,"
The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, May 5, 2005, p. B-3. See also: Paul Purpura, "Charge
against consultant dropped; No trial on count of impersonating cop," The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, May 10, 2005,
- Jason Berry, "Courageous editor who took on clergy sex abuse story dead at 46," National Catholic Reporter,
March 24, 2000.