The story is almost legendary. A modest south Louisiana motorcycle shop starts selling house trailers to FEMA and makes a small fortune, while established trailer dealers get little or nothing. The case was back in court Wednesday, with Bourgets of the South defending its $100 million windfall.
Bourgets of the South was fined $46,000 almost two years ago. The business was accused of not having the proper license to sell FEMA trailers. Glynn Smith, uncle of State Representative Gary Smith, runs Bourgets. He told us that the persistent legal fight to dismiss the charges and the fine is not just about money or taxes.
"If the federal government wanted to give us another $100 million contract and it would cost me $280,000 in taxes and the $46,000 penalty, that would be nothing to do, but it's not about that. It's about reputation. We're going to see it through," Smith says.
Attorney Loren Kleinpeter, representing the RV and Trailer Dealers Association, says the Bourgets are trying to get the case out of the hands of the commission now handling it and move it to somebody more friendly. "They're doing their best to get it away from the commission, to get that decision in someone else's hands," he says.