Last modified on May 27, 2021, at 15:32

Joe Fryar

Joseph Ernest "Joe" Fryar

(Architect in Alexandria, Louisiana)

Born June 24, 1932
Place of birth missing

Resident of Alexandria, Louisiana

Died January 18, 2012 (aged 79)
Political Party Democrat
Spouse Unavailable

Son Joel Edward Fryar
Possibly other children

Joseph Ernest Fryar, known as Joe Fryar and sometimes as Joe Klossner (June 24, 1932 – January 18, 2012),[1] was an architect from Alexandria, Louisiana, who was involved in a number of high-profile legal cases in the 1970s and 1980s, one of which sent him to the federal penitentiary[2]

No information is available on Fryar's background prior to his becoming an architect. In 1992, Fryar said in a court inquiry that he had been an architect for then thirty years.[3] He also resided in Pineville, Natchitoches, and Lafayette, Louisiana, dates unavailable.[1]

Karst v. Fryar

In the 1970s, Fryar entered into a business relationship that he later regretted with attorney Charles Edward "Ed" Karst, who had been the mayor of Alexandria from 1969 until 1973, when he was succeeded by his former runoff election opponent, John K. Snyder. The two developed the former Karst Park, a 500-unit low-income housing project in Alexandria, and they planned to expand into other cities. Karst would have provided the contacts with municipal officials, and Fryar would have handled the design and construction of the housing units. When Karst demanded payment, the two wound up in court in a protracted legal battle. Karst sued Fryar for slander and breach of contract; Fryar in turn sued Karst for extortion, blackmail, physical assault, and forgery. Fryar's attorney, Joseph Minos Simon (pronounced SEE MOAN), Sr. (1924-2004) of Lafayette, accused Karst of extorting about $46,000 from Fryar between January 1972 and March 1974. Karst testified the money was payment for a clandestine business relationship which Fryar had initiated in the late '1960s. Karst admitted to striking Fryar at Fryar's office parking lot in early 1973, while he was still mayor. Simon argued that Fryar was trying to end the business relationship with Karst, but Karst claimed that the physical attack came over "disparaging remarks" that Fryar had made about his executive assistant. Karst was 6'3" and weighed 235 pounds; Fryar, merely 5'6". Karst asked Fryar for half of his property as settlement. Simon also submitted a letter, dated April 1974, as evidence in which Karst told Fryar to accept his settlement proposal, or he would implicate Fryar in criminal wrongdoing. Another letter from Karst to Fryar, dated August 1974, includes a request from Karst for $250,000 cash and a written statement from Fryar indicating that the money is a loan so that it would be exempt from federal income tax. Karst admitted to writing the letter but claimed the amount sought was a one-half settlement of their business dealings. As part of the proposed settlement, Karst wanted Fryar to deed him half of all the Karst Park land and improvements.[4]

After Karst left the mayor's office in June 1973, he moved to Mexico, where he resided for more than two years and, according to Simon, lived off Fryar's payments. While in Mexico, Karst said that he returned to Alexandria in a vain attempt to settle the dispute with Fryar. Simon asked if Karst had told Fryar that disclosure of their partnership deed would have a devastating effect on Fryar's career. Karst replied, "Possibly." Simon then asked if Karst also told Fryar if the U.S. government knew a city official had interest in a federal housing project, the government might cancel the project. Karst denied having made such a statement.[4]

Karst said that a document stating the business arrangement was prepared in 1970 but was dated 1968. In 1972, Karst prepared another such deed, defining the half-ownership arrangement of Karst Park and other properties. The documents were to be recorded only if either man died or an arrangement could be made to dissolve the partnership. In his suit, Fryar claimed that Karst had forged Fryar's signature on one of the deeds and that Karst had originally coerced him into entering the partnership.[4]

Westside Rehabilitation Center

In 1978, Fryar purchased for $100,000 more than six acres of land in Cheneyville from the Rapides Parish School Board to establish the 180-bed Westside Rehabilitation Center, a non-profit corporation designed to house the mentally retarded. The purchase also included a 30-year-old vacant school building. Fryar incorporated Westside in 1979. Later, he altered the description of the clientele to include severely mentally and emotionally-disturbed patients. Fryar obtained a certificate of need to justify the establishment of Westside despite opposition from some officials of the Louisiana Department of Health and Human Resources. Westside initially had no capital assets; it relied on the sale of bonds as its only revenue source. Thereafter, Westside planned to obtain Medicaid funds from the state to pay for the care of indigent patients. The bonds were to be retired from Medicaid monies. Fryar had trouble finding capital funding for the project. Investors who owned bonds issued by the rehabilitation center alleged that Fryar and his co-defendants caused the bondholders to lose millions of dollars. After a two-month trial, the jury returned a multimillion-dollar verdict in favor of the plaintiffs and against Fryar and the co-defendants. The United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, entered judgment on the verdict and awarded plaintiffs damages totaling approximately $15.5 million. All of the defendants appealed the judgment.[5]

The lawsuit against Fryar claimed a lack of disclosure in the issue of $13,550,000 in tax-exempt bonds in 1982 to finance the center. Nor was the land transaction itself disclosed. The Bermuda Company, location and ownership unavailable, owned $2.8 million in Westside bonds and collected 16.5 percent in annual interest payments until Westside could no longer pay the bondholders. Westside declared bankruptcy in 1985.[5]

Meanwhile, on January 21, 1985, U. S. District Judge Henry Woods of the Eastern District of Arkansas slapped Fryar with a permanent Injunction which forbade the architect from any future violations of the antifraud provisions of the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Fryar consented to Judge Woods' order without admitting or denying the allegations in the previous complaint filed on March 30, 1984. The complaint alleged that thorugh Westside Habilitation Center, Inc., Fryar violated the antifraud provisions of the securities laws in the offer and sale of the $13,550,000 in bonds[6]

On February 19, 1987, a civil jury in the case Abell v. Potomac Insurance Company found Fryar and the co-defendants liable for $15.5 million. Judge John Malach Shaw (1931-1999) of Lafayette, an appointee of U.S. President Jimmy Carter, for potential Medicaid fraud and racketeering in connection with the financing of the Westside center. The judge ordered Fryar and the co-defendants to pay more than $14 million to Lafayette attorney Edward C. Abell, Jr. (born January 4, 1938), Carey Walton, a businessman from Opelousas, and the purchasers of Westside revenue bonds. The defendants were cited in violation of the Securities and Exchange acts and the Louisiana Blue Sky Act.[5]

Conviction and imprisonment

Fryar was convicted under federal law on eight counts of obstruction of justice, conspiracy, and aiding and abetting. The charges stemmed from efforts to bribe three jurors during the Westside Rehabilittion Center civil case. The U.S. government presented evidence that Fryar through intermediaries offered bribes to two jurors. Two intermediaries testified for the prosecution. The district court sequestered the jury that was hearing Fryar's jury tampering case at the Holiday Inn in Monroe, Louisiana. Two marshals were stationed nearby, and "No Trespassing" signs posted.. On January 30, 1988, juror Steven Faulkner stated that a woman had come to his room in the early morning hours and inquired about a fraternity party in a nearby room. Faulkner, who room was three doors from the guards' command post, told the other jurors that a young woman had knocked on his motel door looking for a fraternity party. He said he told the woman he knew nothing about the party and closed his door. Faulkner was excused from the jury. The district court instructed all of the jurors with Fryar's consent to draw no conclusions or inferences from Faulkner's release from the jury. Fryar moved for a mistrial on grounds that the taint of Faulkner's dismissal persisted because five jurors believed his story about the visit. The court denied this motion.The jury found Fryar's actions to be "willful and malicious." it found too that Fryar intended to misrepresent material facts and to profit improperly from his control of Westside. Fryar unsuccessfully sought a new trial after his conviction on grounds that the district court had erroneously excused Faulkner. Fryar's appeal was rejected by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans.[3]

Ultimately, Fryar was imprisoned for the conviction, but the length and location of his incarceration is not available. He was released by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons on April 7, 1997.[2]

Lee Hill dispute

In another dispute in the 1980s, Fryar was sued again when about seventy families in the Lee Hill subdivision in Leesville in Vernon Parish in western Louisiana, of which he was the developer, learned that they could face eviction from their low-cost homes because they unknowingly purchased residences with federal liens on the properties. Fryar's selling agent for the transactions was Everett T. Stephens (1917-1994) of Stephens Realty of Alexandria. The residences could be used as part of a judgment against Fryar. The creditors could seize the house or they could simply take over the contracts and allow the residents to remain and pay off their mortgages.[7]

Information on the final disposition of the Lee Hill matter is unavailable.

Joel Fryar

As was his father, son Joel Edward Fryar (born September 3, 1956), is an architect. A resident of North Richland Hills in Tarrant County (Fort Worth), Texas, he formerly lived in Concord, New Hampshire, and Los Angeles, California. He obtained his Bachelor of Architecture degree in 1984 from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. His first job was as a draftsman in his father's Alexandria office; from 1984 to 1993, he was an intern architect at the firm.[8]

Joe and Joel Fryar are Democrats. Joel Fryar was in 2018 elected to fill the state Senate District 9 seat on the Texas Democratic Executive Committee. He calls himself a liberal and worked for a "blue wave" to sweep through Texas on November 6, 2018, and unseat many Republican officeholders, particularly at the state legislative and judicial levels.[9]

Joe Fryar died at the age of seventy-nine early in 2012; his burial location is not available.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Joe Ernest Fryar (last residence at 3903 Maywood St. in Alexandria, Louisiana). Retrieved on August 9, 2018.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Inmate Locator. Retrieved on August 9, 2018.
  3. 3.0 3.1 United States v. Joe E. Fryar. Retrieved on August 9, 2018.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Steve Swartz (September 24, 1977). Karst Under Fire for Fryar Cash Payments. Alexandria Town Talk. Retrieved on August 8, 2018.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Jim Leggett (March 28, 1987). Shaw Denies New Fryar Trial. The Alexandria Town Talk. Retrieved on August 8, 2018.
  6. Joe E. Fryar enjoined. (February 4, 1985). Retrieved on August 9, 2018.
  7. Susan Caslin (March 28, 1987). Lee Hill Residents Are Developing Legal Strategy to Save Home. The Alexandria Town Talk. Retrieved on August 8, 2018.
  8. Joel Fryar. Retrieved on August 8, 2018.
  9. Joel Fryar. Facebook. Retrieved on August 8, 2018.