Louisiana College: Forged Documents and a Cover-up

Bonita Armour
Bonita Armour

After my last post, “Louisiana College: Drugs, Pornography, and What Joe Aguillard Knew” JD Hall of the Pulpit & Pen released a podcast which discussed those issues; but, he also released some additional documents that are very important. Included in these documents is a letter from the College’s former attorney Bonita Armour.

My last blog post covers some of the issues related to Joseph Coles. In response to Joseph Cole’s Blackmail, there was an investigation into his allegations, not the superficial ones about not receiving a lunch break or Aguillard taking too much Advil. One of the real serious issues was the alleged forgery of documents that were turned in to the accrediting agency SACS. In Cole’s original complaint it stated that Tim Johnson was responsible for the forgery; however, further investigation revealed that it was actually Joe Aguillard. A letter from LC Attorney Bonita Armour indicates:

Several of the signature pages of reports which were provided as part of the College’s report to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools were significant in that they called into question the authenticity of signatures, including those of Tim Whitman, Peggy Pack, Dr. Charles Quarles, and Michael Travers. The Vice President Evaluation of Dr. Michael Travers was even post dated “May 10, 2011,” but was sent to SACS on March 1, 2011. Further, evaluations by Dr. Searcy were stamped dated for 2009-2010 before he was even employed at Louisiana College. Dr. Searcy advised the documents were undated when he completed and signed his section of the evaluations.

In essence, the attorney for the College is saying that signatures to SACS were forged!

Not surprisingly, after the investigation into the allegations against Aguillard did not go how he wanted, “On January 27, 2012, Dr. Aguillard rescinded his decision to recuse himself from the Joseph Cole issue and demanded the Cole file from the Armour Law Firm and Dr. Tim Searcy.” By February 16, 2012, the Joseph Cole matter was closed. Which included payouts of $25,000 after taxes (no pre-tax number is available), over $8000 in undocumented overtime (odd for a salaried employee), eight months of salary & benefits, and a positive letter of recommendation from Aguillard for Cole. Cole simply had to remain quiet about issues such as the forgery. In all, it is hard to ascertain the total value of Cole’s Blackmail package but given all factors, the total package for Cole’s silence may have been over $70,000.

By March 5th, Dr. Aguillard was demanding all files on the investigation from the attorney including her personal notes on the Cole issue be sent to him by 5 pm that day. So, Aguillard is demanding that he have sole possession of all files relating to Joseph Cole and the investigation into the charges against Aguillard. Why? That is a question that must be asked considering the exorbitant amount Aguillard was willing to pay to keep Cole quiet. I believe a large part of the answer is in the forgery charges. Forging documents to an institution’s accrediting agency is a huge deal. But sadly, consistent with the image of this leader that the Board of Trustees chooses as the college’s face to the world.


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