Three of the ousted Lafayette Housing Authority board members finally had their chance to formally review the blistering audit that led to their removal, and the news was anything but pleasant.Three of the ousted Lafayette Housing Authority board members finally had their chance to formally review the blistering audit that led to their removal, and the news was anything but pleasant.
Tim Green of Monroe-based accounting firm Allen, Green and Williamson told the commissioners the 2009 audit contains 16 specific problem areas, which is far more than the average number of findings in a typical review, The Advocate reported. “At 16, you failed the test,” the paper quoted Green telling the three board members Wednesday. “I’m just being candid with you.”
Joe Dennis, John Freeman and Leon Simmons, who were dismissed from the board in August by City-Parish President Joey Durel, were reinstated to the board last week by state District Judge Ed Rubin. While he found that Durel had the authority to dismiss the board members and that their removal was properly upheld during an appeal to the City-Parish Council, Rubin noted that Durel’s action was arbitrary because of his decision to keep one board member, Donald Fuselier. Durel has yet to respond to Rubin's ruling.
The board's initial efforts to hold a meeting failed due to lack of a quorum because Fuselier did not show up, but after further review of the board’s bylaws, LHA attorney Daniel Stanford found that the original proclamation creating the housing authority, signed in 1940, called for a board of commissioners consisting of five members appointed by what was then the mayor of Lafayette. At some point since then, a board member was added from Broussard and Abbeville (those two dismissed members did not appeal), but Stanford could not find where a resolution was ever passed authorizing the creation of two additional seats. Therefore, a board of three constitutes a quorum, Stanford says.
At Wednesday’s meeting, officials from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development informed the board members that they cannot approve any expenditures without authorization from the federal agency. HUD, which arrived this week and plans to stay for weeks, possibly months, to work through the problems in the audit, provides most of the LHA’s funding. At Wednesday's meeting HUD officials said they had not taken over the housing authority.
The audit questioned what appeared to be exhorbitant payments to contract case managers who were working with clients displaced by hurricanes (the five case managers were later fired by the board), extra payments to LHA Deputy Director Jonathan Carmouche for inspecting homes (a practice that has since ceased), potential violations of state bid law requirements and numerous issues of altered documents and/or lack of documentation for expenses. The audit also pointed to various deficiencies in how the LHA handled funding and expenses for the St. Antoine Gardens home-ownership program, problems that remain on the LHA's books.
State Rep. Joel Robideaux, R-Lafayette, surprised few in the Hub City Wednesday afternoon when he made (semi) official what most of us have known for months: He is running to replace Joey Durel as city-parish president.
Louisiana's first black Republican state senator since Reconstruction — who was a Republican before he was a Democrat before he was a Republican again — is accusing Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu of using the black community for votes and providing nothing in return.
LSU's governing board has backed new hospital privatization contracts that give hospital managers greater ease to leave the deal and fewer restrictions about must-have services.
U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu is courting young voters in several appearances across Louisiana this week, talking about her support for legislation that could lower students' college costs.
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Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration has renegotiated contracts for six LSU hospital privatization deals, hoping to reach a compromise with federal health officials that will keep Medicaid dollars flowing to the privatized patient services.
Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu is defending her record on gun rights, seeking to rebut sharp criticism from the NRA in a state where the right to bear arms is given special constitutional protection.
Citizens, you have less than a week to register to vote in the Nov. 4 election. Remember, if you don’t vote you can’t complain about the outcome. Well, you can but it’s kind of hypocritical.
After being forced out by its former landlords last year, the community garden has a new location and a 10-year lease.
The party says it has hit a milestone, reaching 10,000 registered voters in the state.
Defensive captain Junior Galette is disgusted by the Saints' sluggish start.
The use of $60 million in Louisiana's public school financing formula to pay for nearly three dozen charter schools violates the state constitution, a statewide teachers' union claimed Monday in a lawsuit.
February trial date indicates parties were unable to negotiate a settlement.
There was a time when United Ballot had a political stranglehold so tight on Lafayette’s black community it was nearly unbreakable, but that grip might be loosening.
The race for Lafayette city marshal may not be the most exciting of this year’s local political contests, but it could prove the most historic.
With the DA’s race too close to call and negative media coverage of Mike Harson on the ebb, will challenger Keith Stutes take the gloves off?
Gov. Bobby Jindal has been viewed as a health care policy wonk, and he's tried to build on that image ahead of a likely 2016 presidential campaign, positioning himself as the candidate with substantive ideas.
Jerry Jones watched what he called the best effort he's seen in 25 years as owner of the Dallas Cowboys in the first half, and that was before Tony Romo had the longest scramble of his career and DeMarco Murray finished off yet another 100-yard game.
Two of the most recognizable women in Republican politics, Sarah Palin and Mary Matalin, have been heavily involved in Louisiana’s current election cycle.
Even though the Louisiana Democratic Party has thrown its support behind former Gov. Edwin Edwards’ congressional bid, national Democrats are not expected to follow suit.
“[Mike] is no longer the energetic ADA that his recent ad is trying to portray. I just think Mike needs to get the hell out.” — Kermit Harson, DA Mike Harson’s brother
The New Orleans Saints have listed Jonathan Goodwin as questionable for Sunday night's game in Dallas, raising the prospect that second-year pro Tim Lelito will start at center for the first time.