Former Gov. Edwin W. Edwards won approval Thursday from the Louisiana Real Estate Commission to apply for a real estate broker’s license.
The vote was 7-2.
The decision came after Edwards, 87, appeared before the commission to explain why it should allow him to prepare and sit for the licensing test. As a convicted felon, Edwards needed the permission of a majority of the 11-member commission to proceed.
Edwards said he thought the brokers license would help as he “works with some friends of mine” in the engineering, architecture and construction business trying to develop property along the Interstate 10-12 corridor from Lake Charles to Slidell.
He said the area is “ready to explode and development has already started.”
“I don’t plan to engage in the real estate business in the traditional sense,” said Edwards, who had a broker’s license for about 20 years in the past.
There was no discussion of the four-term governor’s felony conviction that required the commission’s permission for him to get back into real estate. Questions largely surrounded the mechanics of what Edwards would now be required to do.
Edwards was found guilty on 17 counts of racketeering, extortion, mail fraud and other federal charges. He served a term in federal prison from 2002 to 2011.
After voting against Edwards, Commissioner Frank Trapani said he was following his “conscience.”
Commission member Cynthia Stafford moved to allow Edwards to try for the broker’s license. Evelyn Wolford seconded the motion.
Edwards said he did not expect any special treatment as he is seeking the broker’s license.
In comments to reporters afterward, Edwards said he didn’t get “any special treatment” from the commission. “No one offered and I didn’t ask.”
He said he will proceed with preparations for the three-hour test and “study up on the new rules and regulations” just like an “ordinary, average citizen. I’ll follow the rules just like everybody else.”
The license is necessary to sell real estate in the state. The commission was brought about with major changes in license requirements during Edwards’ first term as governor in the early 1970s.
Edwards said he’s looking forward to getting on with “a new career.”
“I kind of decided I’m really not cut out for politics,” Edwards quipped.
In December, Edwards lost in a runoff for the Baton Rouge-based 6th U.S. Congressional District. On election night, Edwards said he would not seek public office again.