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.
The Lafayette Parish School Board's mishandling of its insurance selection process over the last two years has caught the attention of the FBI.
Kids under 18 will have to pursue skin cancer the old-fashioned way.
Lafayette Parish School Board member Kermit Bouillion says he will defend his District 5 seat in the upcoming election.
The Louisiana chapter of Americans for Prosperity sent the pledge request to all 144 lawmakers in February.
The 5-foot-10, 203-pound former second-round pick has gone to three Pro Bowls in his five seasons.
The state argues that if they identify how they're getting the drugs, they could have trouble buying more because companies don't want to be known as helping in an execution.
The enrollment period ends this month.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Wednesday, March 12, 2014:
So far the Democratic agenda includes proposals to expand Medicaid; increase the minimum wage; offer equal pay to women; heighten regulations on predatory lending practices, like payday loans; and add more transparency in the governor’s office.
Hot-button education issues ranging from Common Core to charter schools have some lawmakers pushing to scrap the appointing process and go back to electing the state's super.
Police say the handcuffed man fatally shot himself in the back, but his family isn't buying the story.
Gov. Bobby Jindal offered a budget proposal that suggests new education and health care spending, pay raises for state workers and an incentive fund to encourage colleges to enhance their science, engineering and technology training.
Hopefully he’ll be better prepared today than he was in that Feb. 20 deposition.
They came by the hundreds, arriving from all regions of the state to gather on the steps of our Capitol in protest of the Legislature’s long tradition of giving industry the go-ahead to abuse our air, our water and our coastline, all in the name of good economics.
Gov. Bobby Jindal’s recent rhetoric against President Barack Obama has failed to boost his standing among the conservative base.
Louisiana's annual legislative session begins.
The state has hired marksmen to shoot feral hogs from helicopters at two wildlife management areas in south Louisiana.
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has stalled action on a $3.5 billion annual school funding formula due to state lawmakers by March 15.
The New Orleans Saints have yet to make it official as of this writing, but popular wide receiver Lance Moore has reportedly been cut by the team to free up salary-cap space on the roster.
While two medical marijuana bills are slated for the upcoming legislative session, what some Louisianans might not know is that the plant was approved for therapeutic use by state lawmakers in 1991.
The agenda is shaping up to be lighter than in previous years. But Jindal is term-limited, with fewer than two years remaining in office, and he saw his last big initiative — a proposed rewrite of Louisiana tax law — collapse without getting a vote in 2013.
Sharper has been held without bail because of an arrest warrant issued by Louisiana authorities accusing him and another man of raping two women.
Two Lafayette men have been revealed by police as the infamous duo behind a caper that shook our fair city to its core.
The Lafayette Parish School Board has received a second letter of demand related to last year’s insurance debacle, this time from Key Benefit Administrators claiming it’s owed $93,000 from the school system.
The Louisiana coastline is vanishing faster than mappers can keep track.