La. Insurance Department Chief of Staff Resigns

January 14, 2008

Chad Brown, chief of staff for the Louisiana Department of Insurance, has resigned.

Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon said Jan. 10 that Brown was leaving because of a “difference in philosophy.” Donelon did not detail the differences and refused to say if he had asked for Brown’s resignation or if it had been offered voluntarily.

Brown, who has been with the Department of Insurance since 1993, called his departure “a mutual decision reached by Commissioner Donelon and me, based on differences in philosophies.” He said the decision was made Jan. 4.

Brown was named in a recent audit of the Department of Insurance by Legislative Auditor Steve Theriot for accepting golf outings from Terry Lisotta, the former head of the Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corp. Brown said he did not remember golfing with Lisotta. He said he went hunting several times with Chris Faser, a former Insurance Department employee, but was not aware the costs of the trips were being reimbursed by Citizens or the Property Insurance Association of Louisiana, which operated Citizens.

At one time, Brown was chairman of the Citizens board that signed off on some Lisotta expenses Theriot says were not legal. Brown also was a high-profile department spokesman in the Legislature, frequently explaining the department’s positions on bills.

Brown said ethics charges may be filed against him, but Donelon said the audit did not play a role in Brown’s departure.

“I don’t think he has violated the ethics code from what I have seen,” Donelon said.

The effective date of the resignation is June 30, Donelon said, to allow Brown use up most of the 1,200 hours of leave time he has banked over the years, including sick days, unused vacation and compensation for overtime.

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