Cajun Industries — founded by a close political ally of Eddie Rispone, Lane Grigsby — is currently being sued for the events leading to an August 2018 explosion at a Lake Charles complex that caused many of his workers to flee the scene vomiting and gasping for air.
Just a few months after the dangerous explosion, Rispone continued to raise money with Grigsby, who originally founded the Louisiana-based contracting and engineering corporation — Cajun Industries LLC — that allegedly left these workers unprepared for the blast.
In October 2018, Rispone accepted a $5,000 donation from Grigsby just a few months after the Lake Charles explosion, and in December 2018, Grigsby held a high-dollar fundraiser for Rispone at the Renaissance Hotel in Baton Rouge. In total, between October and December 2018, Rispone accepted $12,500 from the Grigsby family.
According to reporting by Bayou Brief, Grigsby and Rispone have been working hand-in-hand to influence statewide and down-ballot campaigns in Louisiana for nearly a decade.
And Rispone seems to be sticking with Grigsby’s continued support, despite the fact that former Cajun Industries’ employees impacted by the toxic explosion are now suing for damages.
According to an American Ledger review of an August 2019 lawsuit filed by former Cajun Industries employees, after the explosion of toxic chemicals at the SASOL Lake Charles Complex in August 2018, employees on site “scattered in every direction, gasping for air, throwing up, passing out, and running for their lives.”
Despite the dangerous explosion — which allegedly exposed nearly all staff on hand to dangerous toxic substances — workers were forced to return to work the next day, even if they exhibited symptoms such as diarrhea and a shortness of breath. The lawsuit also alleges that workers were instructed to not visit a doctor without a company representative present.
Workers listed in the lawsuit charged that Cajun Industries did not properly prepare its employees in the case of a dangerous explosion. Plaintiffs in the suit stated that Cajun Industries did not equip its employees with respiratory safety equipment — when other organizations in the complex had, that there were no chemical containment areas near the site of the explosion, and that alarm noises did not sound until nearly 20 – 30 minutes after the explosion.
Coincidentally, Rispone has now made tort-reform, a practice that would reduce access to local legal services for injured individuals and decrease legal costs for businesses, a major component of his campaign.
Rispone is seeking the Republican nomination to challenge incumbent Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, a move which will likely call into question his deep-pocketed, and lasting relationship with Grigsby despite Cajun Industries’ alleged neglect of its workers after the dangerous toxic explosion in Lake Charles.