Letters for 12-14-2017

Malone criticized for act of charity
Over and over again, this space has been
used to heap well-deserving praise on the
people of Union Parish. We would imagine
that will continue until Gabriel toots his horn.
Occasionally, you will find here groups
taken to task for what we feel are poor
choices that frequently dip into the pockets
of taxpayers to remedy.
There are rare occasions when both
happen in the same offering. This would be
one of those instances.
For several years, Karl Malone has asked
the Union Parish Police Jury to show him
where a road that leads onto property he
owns ends. They could and certainly should,
but they haven’t. Last year, Malone put a
fence where his legal team feels the roads
ends, something that finally stirred the jury
to action. But before they could file a suit
asking the courts to make him take it down,
a Union Parish resident took it on himself to
remove the fence, not realizing Malone had
put trail cameras up at the site. Photos that
clearly showed the act and the actor were
given to the Union Parish Sheriff’s Office.
Charges were brought against the fellow who
brought down the fence. Prosecution of the
case was handled by the Louisiana Attorney
General’s office, because assistant district
attorney Bruce Hampton, who represents the
Police Jury, had previously done legal work
for Malone. That relationship is also why the
jury’s suit against Malone is being handled
by a private law firm, which is costing the
parish who knows how much money.
In November, the man cited for damaging
Malone’s fence was ordered to pay $2,000
in restitution for the damages he caused.
Malone contacted The Gazette to see if there
was a local project that might benefit from
his contribution of the money he received.
He was told of an effort to help a homeless
Vietnam era veteran living in Union Parish
get back on his feet. “Perfect,” Malone said.
“Helping a veteran would be a good thing to
use it for.”
When we shared Malone’s generosity
on Facebook, an overwhelming majority of
people had only negative things to say about
the donation. To paraphrase, they said the
act was intended to buy good public relations
and an effort to influence the court to rule
in his favor.
Malone didn’t need the money to fix the
fence. It was repaired within days after the
damage was inflicted. To be entirely honest,
Malone doesn’t need the money period. He
earned tens of millions of dollars throughout
an NBA career that spanned nearly 20 years.
And continuing down the path of rigorous
honesty, he doesn’t care if people – including
the court – understand, much less accept,
that he feels the property behind the fence
is his.
His act is perhaps the first time he has
done something that has happened scores
of times outside the public spotlight: Find
someone with a need and help them.
Take his action at face value and nothing
further. A man who stands 6-9 and weighs
260 pounds has a big heart. This shows it.