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Adley And ITEP: Do You Feel Lucky?

When a galvanizing company tried to slip a questionable ITEP application past the state Board of Commerce and Industry Tuesday, they didn’t count on Robert Adley going all "Dirty Harry" on them.

The company's representative, Don Allison, first tried explaining to the board that they had received a prior industrial tax exemption, when they originally erected their office building in 2011.

"The exemption did apply to the office building," Allison declared. "They doubled the size of the existing office building, therefore we think it should apply to the expansion of the building."

But Adley, who is Gov. John Bel Edwards' representative to the board which grants tax exemptions, made it clear the current panel isn't as lenient as prior C and I boards have been.

"This board has the responsibility to determine whether or not items fall inside what you deem to be 'manufacturing,'" Adley stated, "And this is not an expansion to a line. It's not hiring new people. It's just building a new office building."

"The galvanizing operation could not operate without the office building — you know, the administrative part of the business — that supports it!" Allison protested.

"The constitution clearly says 'part of the process of manufacturing' — making the product," Adley calmly explained. "Desks and chairs and file cabinets are clearly not part of that."

But then Adley offered Allison an out

"We certainly would not object to approval of this application, less the office space."

"I could tell you we've got attorney general opinion — old ones — that say this stuff qualifies," Allison contended.

That's when Adley invoked the governor, and asked if Allison felt lucky.

"OK, push it if you want to, but once it gets up there on his desk, he's going to say no," Adley advised. "And when he disapproves the entire amount, let the record reflect that you had an opportunity to remove the $104,000 office space, and continue to get a million dollars in property tax exemption."

After a brief huddle, Allison turned back to the board members, and gave up.  

"My team is telling me to concede here, and not take the chance that Mr. Adley is describing."