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 fight to clean up Lafayette Parish could get some added ammunition with two ordinances up for votes Tuesday by the City-Parish Council targeting litter-bugs.
By striking a deal to lessen the blow of health insurance changes on state workers, school employees and retirees, Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration lowered the volume of criticism but gave itself and local school boards a new budget headache.
With the airport tax coming up for a parishwide vote in about a week, the Broussard City Council and its mayor have come out in support of the proposal.
Protesters rallied peacefully in several Louisiana cities in the wake of the Missouri grand jury decision not to indict a police officer in the fatal shooting of Michal Brown.
US cities bidding on Olympics; Guard prevents more Ferguson riots; storm threatens travel and more national and international news for Wednesday, November 26, 2014.
Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
The U.S. rep billed LSU for work allegedly performed on the same days Congress voted on major legislation and held important committee hearings on energy and the ACA.
Abysmally low participation by the public has prompted the council to scuttle the 2014 survey with plans to simplify it and try again next year.
The village now says the ordinance will likely be overturned and authorities will more vigorously enforce existing leash laws.
Bill Cassidy cast an early ballot Tuesday, seeking to draw renewed attention to a race that has fallen off newspaper front pages and away from people's minds as they plan holiday meals and shopping schedules.
Battered all night by Baltimore's relentless pass rush, Drew Brees could feel his protection collapsing and Terrell Suggs getting ahold of him as he urgently unloaded a pass to the right flat toward tight end Jimmy Graham.
After a convincing defeat at the polls on Nov. 4, Earl “Nickey” Picard has decided to let bygones be bygones with his former right-hand man Brian Pope, announcing his support for his former employee’s runoff bid to become Lafayette’s next city marshal.
Saturday the athletic department did everything possible to ensure the 2014 Ragin’ Cajun seniors remembered fondly their last home game. Rain and lightning never arrived but turbulence did in the form of the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
Even stranger than the Republican Party’s decision to hold a “unity rally” earlier this month for Congressman Bill Cassidy in a Baton Rouge bar, Huey’s Bar, was the fact that the establishment was named after Louisiana’s most famous Democrat.
Bar Code is not a gay bar.
After failing to pass a medical marijuana bill last year, state Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks, is telling supporters he will return in 2015 with legislation that focuses on different applications like oils and pills.
Voters, obviously, are not yet tuned into the 2015 ballot, despite the intriguing races it will host.
By now, the story of how longtime LSU coach Dale Brown discovered Shaquille O'Neal has been told many times: Brown happened upon a massive 13-year-old at an army base in Germany, stayed in touch with him and eventually became like a second father.
Fate simply wasn't ready to give the New Orleans Saints a break from longtime nemesis Steve Smith.
Lafayette Police have had a busy day.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration will use $130 million in patchwork financing from a tax amnesty program, insurance settlement, uninsured motorist penalties and other excess funds to close most of the state's midyear budget deficit.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu said she disagrees with President Barack Obama's actions on immigration, hoping the latest controversy doesn't worsen her campaign difficulties.
Gay-rights advocates challenging Louisiana's same-sex marriage ban announced Thursday that they have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review their case before it is heard by a federal appeals court.
Thinking himself the “son of God,” the man charged with the 2013 killing of an officer of the Chitimacha Tribal Police will not stand trial following a ruling Thursday on his mental competency.
Either Saints coach Sean Payton doesn't want to tip Baltimore off as to who'll start in New Orleans' secondary on Monday night, or he really doesn't know yet.