Louisiana Board of Regents member Ed Antie, of Carencro, stepped down from the board rather than risk being rejected during state Senate confirmations Thursday.
Antie, a communications business owner, was grilled by state senators during confirmation hearings over a perceived conflict of interest from a state contract with a business in which he indirectly owns a interest.
Antie was appointed by Gov. Bobby Jindal in December to the Board of Regents, which is the state’s higher education coordinating and policy body.
“We had discussions with him (Antie), and we agreed it was the right decision for him to step down,” said Kyle Plotkin, Jindal’s press secretary.
Gray Sexton, Antie’s attorney, said Antie is a successful businessman who only wanted to help contribute to higher education.
Sexton said Antie unfairly “got swept up in this overreaction” by senators concerning other Jindal appointees over unrelated matters.
Sexton said the “intrusive, unfair and unwarranted criticism” that Antie received from some senators “apparently produced a shift in the governor’s support.”
Last week, state Sen. Ed Murray, D-New Orleans, sharply questioned Antie about a $530,000 contract Sun America Communications has to provide fiber-optic cables to the Louisiana Optical Network Initiative for supercomputer networking.
Through holding companies, Antie said he owns 10 percent to 15 percent of Sun America.
Sexton said an unfair “furor” resulted because Antie owns interest in a company that owns part of another company that has the contract.
Antie’s name is listed on Sun America’s mailing address, although Antie is not listed as Sun America Communications’ registered agent as of April 26.
He is the founder of Louisiana Communications, a support facility to Motorola Communications and Electronics. Antie later sold Louisiana Communications and established Central Telephone Corporation.
While operating Central Telephone he organized Network USA, a provider of specialized transmission facilities and digital communications circuits to major corporations throughout the southern states.