Stacie Durham was heading to the Lafayette Police Department yesterday when she got a call from Lafayette City-Parish Councilman Brandon Shelvin. Shelvin was ready to pay up.Stacie Durham was heading to the Lafayette Police Department yesterday when she got a call from Lafayette City-Parish Councilman Brandon Shelvin.
Durham had just collected all of her records for the vehicle she purchased from Shelvin and financed through the Lafayette Schools’ Federal Credit Union. “I was going to take my chances again and go to the police department,” Durham told The INDsider early yesterday afternoon, explaining that she tried to report Shelvin to local police last summer but was told by a sergeant that her matter was civil, not criminal. “They wouldn’t allow me to file a report,” Durham says.
But when Durham walked out of the credit union office, she had 12 missed calls on her cell phone. Shelvin (and others he’d enlisted for help) was desperately seeking her. “He called me, and he apologized, and he just said if you’re willing to settle this right now, I’m willing to pay you everything I owe you and I’m truly sorry. He caught me in the nick of time.”
As reported in this week’s Independent Weekly cover story, “The Problem with Brandon Shelvin,” Durham, a school bus driver, has been trying since June to recover the tax, title and license fees she paid Shelvin when she purchased a 2005 Chevy Avalanche in February 2009. Durham paid the fees when she financed the car, but the check Shelvin wrote to the state Department of Public Safety to cover the fees was returned NSF. On June 9 Durham was notified by the department that because the taxes and fees had not been paid, her commercial driver’s license would be suspended.
On Sept. 28, Durham filed a small claims petition against Shelvin, asking for $4,500 ($1,649 for the fees, $60 to reinstate her license and the balance for repairs she had to make on the car when major problems developed within a few months of buying it). Yesterday Shelvin met her at a local bank with the cash and purchased a cashier’s check for $4,500, which Durham promptly cashed. “I’m a happy camper,” she says.
Collin Castille of Castille Financial Services, which sued Shelvin in November for defaulting on a $8,300 personal loan he took out in August 2009 and was supposed to repay in October, isn't as lucky. In January Castille went to Shelvin’s home and was paid $500. “He came in again [to Castille’s office] after that and said he would pay another $500, but he never did,” Castille says. Shelvin had since not been taking his calls -- until today.
“We made some preliminary arrangements to pay back small amounts at a time,” Castille told The INDsider after talking with Shelvin this morning. Really, that’s all we talked about,” Castille says. “He’s supposed to make some payments when he can. We discussed some dates. The whole amount, I’m not looking for it to be paid off any time soon.”
The Independent Weekly’s cover story also examined whether Shelvin was ever even legally eligible to run for the city-parish council in District 3, based on information that he was living in District 2 at the time he qualified for the race. This morning Walter Guillory of the Lafayette Housing Authority confirmed that Shelvin’s girlfriend, Justine Sampy, was terminated from the Section 8 housing assistance program in July 2008 after his staff investigated a complaint that Shelvin was living in the house in violation of the contract with LHA. The home is located at 113 St. Bernadette Drive in District 2.
Sampy began receiving financial assistance from LHA in 2003; since mid-2007 the housing authority was paying $728 a month for Sampy to live on St. Bernadette; the balance of the rent, $172, was being paid by Shelvin with a personal check, according to the landlord’s records. The landlord, CPA Ike Merchant, notified the LHA that Shelvin was living in the home with Sampy, her children and the couple's baby in violation of both the lease and LHA contract.
“The [staff] recommendation to me was that she would get placed off the program,” Guillory says. “There could have been other reports of people calling [in complaints] as well.”
Merchant claims Shelvin lived in the house with Sampy from June 2007 until July 2008. If true, Shelvin did not meet the residency requirement to run in District 3 and violated the charter by continuing to live outside of the district after he was elected, despite that by then he owned a home on Monarch Drive in District 3.
So how has Shelvin suddenly come into enough money to pay off tens of thousands of dollars in debt? His obligation to warranty company EasyCare, which he paid off Tuesday, was likely in the neighborhood of $20,000. That's money people paid him for automobile warranties that he never forwarded to the company.
We tried to ask him this morning, but he still isn't returning our phone calls.
The circumstances surrounding the death last March while in the backseat of a sheriff’s cruiser of Victor White III, long a source of dispute by White’s family, have earned an investigation by federal officials.
With six of the LPSB’s nine members poised for Pat Cooper’s termination, a request was filed Tuesday for a fast-tracked hearing on the federal lawsuit calling for the disqualification of two board members from voting on the matter due to bias.
Louisiana's Republican Party has filed a complaint against Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu with the Senate's ethics committee about her use of private chartered planes.
An attorney signs up to run against LPSB's Mark Cockerham, and within a week a lawsuit is filed by a former LPSS employee in an attempt to disqualify him. Coincidence?
The Ragin’ Cajuns got off to a superb start Saturday night, and the Human Jukebox made the soaked season opener even sweeter for the third-largest crowd in Cajun Field history.
The Louisiana health department will follow a federal judge's order and refrain from immediately penalizing doctors who are trying to comply with a new abortion law that requires them to obtain admitting privileges at a local hospital, a spokeswoman said Monday.
While bogged down with qualifying candidates last month, Secretary of State Tom Schedler didn’t lose sight of the true endgame coming in November and December.
Tuesday's Blogs from the Bog!
Stoned driving a concern when pot is legal; Detroit's bankruptcy trial; speed trap scandal in Florida and more national and international news for Tuesday, September 02, 2014.
A federal jury found attorney Daniel Stanford guilty Friday afternoon on eight of 13 counts for his role in the Curious Goods conspiracy.
Lafayette City-Court Judge Francie Bouillion has served on the bench for two decades since winning a special election to replace Judge Kaliste Saloom when he retired in 1994.
The magazine's senior football writer also predicts a break-out year for Saints fourth-year running back Mark Ingram.
Gulf Coast ceremonies marking the ninth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina have begun.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says there is little known about the effects of tiger prawns on indigenous Louisiana shrimp. But, officials say the reports they're seeking will help state biologists monitor the distribution of the prawns and determine the possible presence of spawning populations.
Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh rested his regulars and watched with delight as Ray Rice's backups ground out 214 yards rushing in a 22-13 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Thursday night.
High-profile criminal defense attorney Daniel Stanford awaits his fate in the Curious Goods conspiracy trial.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is set to put the kibosh on the legal ownership of monkeys trained to help the disabled, and the agency wants to know what you think.
A federal judge on Thursday asked lawyers battling over Louisiana's new, restrictive abortion law for an agreement that apparently could let clinics stay open — at least for a while — after the law takes effect Sept. 1.
An abortion rights organization wants a federal judge to block enforcement of Louisiana's new abortion law while its lawsuit to overturn the law makes its way through court.
Republican presidential prospects Ted Cruz and Bobby Jindal are planning to speak at an Iowa Christian conservative event in September.
The attention surrounding Victor White III has spiked with the release of last week’s autopsy report, which has raised a number of serious questions about the night of his death and has put the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office under an increased wave of scrutiny as more national media outlets are jumping on the story, most recently seen on MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show.
A group supporting taxpayer-funded private school tuition vouchers is appealing a federal judge's order that Louisiana must provide regular reports to federal officials on the state's voucher program.
The Discovery Channel has canceled reality TV star Will Hayden's popular "Sons of Guns" show after his arrest on an aggravated rape charge.
The LPSB will finally hear from the attorney it hired to investigate the superintendent at a special meeting Thursday at 4 p.m.
Authorities are investigating a report that a student there warned the principal of impending violence similar to that depicted in the movie "The Purge."