Report details alleged misconduct of two former Louisiana government officials
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Alleged exotic dancer Bridgette Hull’s journey from the strip club to well-connected woman with ties to a powerful man in Louisiana’s government, to whistleblower about that same man’s alleged harassment, is chronicled in documents released by Louisiana Inspector General Stephen Street.
Those same documents reveal Hull’s role in that man’s eventual dismissal from his lucrative state job under a cloud of controversy, an alleged government oversight that ended with Hull being installed as his replacement, and her own downfall after a drug and weapons arrest.
Street’s investigation begins with the rise of that powerful man, Fabian Blache III, who was appointed executive secretary of Louisiana’s Board of Private Security Examiners by its members.
The board, made up of the governor’s appointees, falls under the Department of Public Safety and Corrections and is tasked with overseeing private security guards.
Blache III brought experience as a former NYPD officer who had also spent time working with the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office and the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP). He also came with family connections in the government.
Blache III hired Hull in 2016 to be a receptionist, a newly created part-time role that fell under Louisiana’s Civil Service rules for “classified” employees, Street’s report says.
Employees in Louisiana’s “classified” roles must be hired in “an open, competitive manner” that also “meet statewide minimum qualification standards,” records show.
After about six months as a receptionist, Hull resigned and applied to a new, “unclassified” role as Blache III’s administrative assistant, Street’s report says. Louisiana Civil Service rules are more relaxed for unclassified employees.
By 2018, whistleblowers contacted the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission with wild claims about Hull and Blache III’s behavior in the workplace.
WAFB previously reported that the EEOC’s agents were investigating at least 13 complaints. Some included claims that Hull would sit on Blache III’s knee and on the arm of his chairs or desks. Blache III and Hull were also accused of giving each other back massages.
While Blache III publicly denied the allegations, EEOC investigators said “Hull admitted Mr. Blache massaged her neck, she sat on the corner of his desk at meetings, and draped her feet over the side of the chair.”
Hull was also accused of allegedly showing employees the spot where she had a tattoo removed near her private area. Hull denied it when questioned, but the EEOC’s investigators said “she admitted she has shown her tattoos to ‘everybody.’”
The EEOC’s team also reportedly found “sufficient evidence” that Hull shared an inappropriate picture with other employees of her ex lying in bed naked with another woman.
At the time of the EEOC’s investigation, Blache III brushed off the claims as retaliation after he made tough changes in an agency that had been “poorly” run for years.
Though the EEOC validated a few of the claims against Blache, the board voted to allow him to return to his position.
Hull was allowed to return to work under the conditions that she “avoid sitting on anyone’s desk” and sit in a chair in an “appropriate manner,” Street’s report says.
Hull was also directed to avoid engaging “in any behavior that involves the revealing of any tattoos to anyone that are not naturally or normally visible in proper business attire,” the report adds.
The board began prying into Hull’s work history, discovering there was none on record, Street’s report says.
Eventually, reference letters came in from three of Hull’s former employers “two of which pertained to employment in 2012 or before,” according to the report.
While Blache III and Hull appeared to stand together to fight off the EEOC’s investigation, Street’s investigation indirectly identifies Hull as one of the employees who would later blow the whistle on Blache III’s alleged misconduct.
By 2021, Hull retained an attorney and had allowed her attorney to disclose that she had previously worked as an exotic dancer at one of the clubs Blache III would frequent, according to the report.
Hull’s complaint alleged that after Blache III plucked her from a strip club he made several sexual advances towards her including exposing his genitals to her and sending lewd messages, documents show. Hull claimed that Blache also used her status as an “unclassified” employee against her, according to documents.
While it’s unclear Hull’s complaint was the cause - various complaints against him had piled up around the same time - Blache III was eventually dismissed.
Hull gathered enough support from the board and eventually replaced Blache as executive secretary.
Street’s investigation revealed Hull was allegedly appointed without any documented review of her work history or proof that others were considered for the role.
“This decision was made with no review of Hull’s background or qualifications for the position. Further, the decision was made without posting or advertising the position, publishing a job description, or receiving applications or resumes from any qualified candidates,” the report says.
Everything came crashing down when Hull was arrested on drugs and weapons charges a year later.
Board members unanimously voted to terminate her position following the incident.
Agents from his Street’s office reached out to both Hull and Blache III about the allegations detailed in his report. Neither person provided a response, Street wrote.
The allegations revealed to date have been turned over to East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore and Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry for review, Street wrote in the report.
Other allegations are still being investigated, Street added.
Street also found that Hull and Blache III were paid thousands of dollars in funds in violation of Louisiana’s civil service rules while serving as the board’s executive secretary.
Hull was paid $9,573 in overtime to which she was not entitled. Funds were also improperly used to pay a $5,950.67 bonus to Hull, the report states.
Blache III was also improperly paid $12,36 in bonuses, cashed in $4,616 from leave time he accrued, and was improperly paid $5,127.86 in reimbursement from a speaking engagement in South Africa, the report states.
Blache III claimed around $293,715.41 in overtime to which he was not entitled, according to the report
The board’s current executive secretary issued a response to Street’s findings which you can read by clicking the link here.
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