Dorothy Jackson

Dorothy Jackson

Suspended Southern University law professor Dorothy Jackson is seeking $10,000 for legal work she did after drafting a will — at the school's taxpayer-supported Elder Law Clinic that she manages — that named East Baton Rouge Council on Aging Director Tasha Clark-Amar to oversee the estate of a now-deceased woman who was a COA client.

Members of Helen Plummer's family said Friday they are upset and shocked that Jackson has requested $9,000 in attorney's fees and another $1,000 in court costs for a will they have called into question, a will that an attorney for one of Plummer's grandchildren on Friday called "bogus."

"It's very upsetting. It's just real hurtful," Plummer's grandson, Dan Freeman, said in a phone interview. "It's like, ‘when does it stop?'"

Plummer died in March. A month later, a Baton Rouge state judge removed Clark-Amar from overseeing Plummer's estate, and Jackson — a COA board member and the board's former attorney — stepped down from her role as the estate's attorney.

Bill Aaron, an attorney for Jackson, stressed Friday that there were two legal representations involving Jackson. First, she represented Plummer, who had a relationship with the Elder Law Clinic. After Plummer passed away, he said, Jackson represented the executor of the estate, Clark-Amar, for a time.

"The client that had a relationship with the clinic was Miss Plummer," Aaron said.

Aaron said he is not aware of any invoice for Jackson's services but said any money sought would have been for work performed for that separate client after Plummer died.

Aaron also said Jackson is willing to accept $1,000 in court costs that she advanced and waive the $9,000 in attorney's fees.

Southern put Jackson on paid administrative leave in April while it investigates the matter.

Southern Law Center Chancellor John Pierre said Friday that Jackson remains on paid leave and is not teaching any courses during the fall 2017 semester.

Asked whether it is right for Jackson to charge for work as part of a law clinic, Pierre said in an email that he could not comment "based upon advice of legal counsel."

"It's supposed to be free," Freeman said.

The Advocate and WBRZ-TV sued Southern on Monday over the university's refusal to release the findings of its investigation of Jackson.

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WBRZ first reported Thursday that Jackson is seeking $10,000 for her services in the Plummer matter.

Robert Garrity Jr., who represents Plummer's granddaughter, Tracie Davis, said Davis recently received an email from David Koch, who was appointed by Johnson to oversee the Plummer estate after Clark-Amar was removed from that position.

Koch indicated in the email that Jackson is willing to waive the $9,000 in requested attorney's fees if $1,000 in court costs that she advanced is paid to her.

"The whole deal is just bizarre," Garrity said.

Once the Plummer succession is finalized, Garrity said, he intends to file suit against those involved in the Plummer matter.

"It's fraud. There's no other way to call it," he said.

The will's terms allowed Clark-Amar, the daughter of state District Judge Janice Clark, to be paid $120,000 over the next two decades to oversee Plummer's trust, which is valued at $314,000.

Clark-Amar voluntarily withdrew as executor of the estate after Plummer's family balked at the arrangement. Clark-Amar claims her relationship with Plummer was genuine.

"I was in shock. I was in shock," Freeman said of Jackson's request for $10,000. "What actually did you do for our estate? What did you do for our side of the family? Nothing. Not one thing."

Garrity said Jackson's request will be taken up Aug. 24 when the succession case returns to state District Judge Don Johnson's courtroom. He also hopes the succession will be resolved then.

"All parties are in agreement," Freeman said. "My family is not at odds."

Clark-Amar, however, is at odds with the Plummer family and is suing them for defamation. The family accused Clark-Amar of using her role as Council on Aging chief executive officer for wrongdoing. Garrity represents Davis in that lawsuit.

Follow Joe Gyan Jr. on Twitter, @JoeGyanJr.