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.
Despite sweeping changes enacted by Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration, the health insurance program for state workers and public school employees will have to use $88 million from its reserve fund to cover its costs this year.
The LPSB races are sure to get heated between now and Nov. 4, and with only 9 available seats, this year's field of 20 candidates will surely be wanting to set themselves apart from the crowd early; they'll get their chance next week, starting Tuesday with the kick-off of a three-day series of candidate forums.
Lawmakers say they've received complaints that waits have spiked, with people being forced to wait in line for more than an hour — and sometimes three hours — to handle routine tasks.
The campaign announced that Rep. Stuart Bishop of District 43 and Nancy Landry, District 31, have thrown their support behind the Naval Academy graduate and entrepreneur in his bid to unseat current Hunter Beasley in District 8.
A Lafayette man with an alleged taste for child porn was busted Thursday evening during a cyber crime sting launched by the Attorney General’s Office.
U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister says his chief of staff is on temporary leave after being booked with drunken driving.
It was a rare moment in Congress this week as Republicans briefly put aside partisanship in support of President Barack Obama's request to train and arm Syrian rebels, and while a number of Democrats opposed the measure, Louisiana's Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu found herself on the same side of the issue as her Republican challenger Rep. Bill Cassidy.
Home Depot breach bigger than Target; Alibaba IPO could be big; Rivers' last project and more national and international news for Friday, September 19, 2014.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
City-Parish President Joey Durel is asking the council to sign off on a resolution approving a pair of deals that would lead to razing the seedy Lesspay Motel at Four Corners to build a new police substation as well as transforming nearly a block Downtown where the old federal courthouse building now molders into a mixed-use development.
In 2013, the IRS — already the least popular governmental agency in the country — became the target of intense investigations after it was revealed that they had specifically and improperly scrutinized applications for tax-exempt status from organizations associated with the nascent Tea Party movement.
Improving the running game was "a point of emphasis" during the offseason and the results have manifested themselves in the form of substantially greater production.
Louisiana's health department said Wednesday that its evaluation of the state's Medicaid privatization was on target, despite criticism from the legislative auditor that it lacked key data and contained inconsistencies.
The feds converge on your office, seizing records on several employees as part of a pay-for-plea investigation. WWYD? If you’re Mike Harson, you give yourself a $12k raise.
It’s football season and after back-to-back winless weekends for the Saints and the Cajuns many citizens are finding it difficult to be civil much less happy. Well, chew on this.
Considering his repeated stays in the local penal system, David Narcisse Jr. should have known that having a semiautomatic shotgun, even one given to him by a friend, wasn’t the brightest of ideas.
A state district judge on Tuesday threw out a last-minute retirement hike lawmakers gave to the state police superintendent, ending a political firestorm over a pension boost passed without public scrutiny on the last day of the legislative session.
The House has passed a bill to increase oversight of veterans' hospitals under construction, following a report that some medical centers take three years longer to complete than estimated and cost an extra $366 million per project.
An obvious follow-up question for any Republican politician who accuses Democrats of being science deniers is one about science, to which Jindal bobbed and weaved like a welterweight champ.
The Lafayette City-Parish Council is expected to decide tonight (Tuesday) whether to go along with a proposal City-Parish President Joey Durel made in February’s State of the Parish Address and consolidate taxes for mosquito control and the parish health units into a broader tax program that would also cover animal control.
U.S. District Judge Richard Haik has dismissed Greg Davis’ lawsuit against the LPSB, yet in his ruling, the federal judge doesn’t bite his tongue in pointing out the "threat" being posed by certain board members.
Of all the political offices being contested throughout Lafayette Parish, the race for Broussard’s top police post has literally become one of the most heated.
A state district judge is deciding whether to issue an injunction against the enforcement of a last-minute retirement hike that lawmakers gave to the state police superintendent.
A new website is up for Louisiana's state government employees and retirees to choose their health insurance plans for next year, a choice they must make by October.
That fact that New Orleans led both games in the final 10 seconds of regulation, and lost each by a field goal or less, is of little solace.