Attorney Richard Becker penned a letter March 14 to the state attorney general for an opinion on whether records for the partnership formed to develop Cypress Trails Apartments are a matter of public record, but the request never made its way to the AG.
Attorney Richard Becker penned a letter March 14 to the state attorney general for an opinion on whether records for the partnership formed to develop Cypress Trails Apartments are a matter of public record, but the request never made its way to the AG. Becker wrote the letter on behalf of the LPTFA, which is spearheading the apartment development.
“The attorney general’s office did not receive the request,” says AG spokeswoman Sharon Kleinpeter.
Becker could not be reached for comment this morning on whether he will submit the request — or resubmit, if by chance it was lost in the mail or misplaced or overlooked by the AG's office.
In connection with this week’s cover story, “How Gachassin Games the System,” the attorney made a written request to the AG dated March 14 and provided The Independent with a copy of the letter. The letter was written in response to our request for access to records on the partnerships and individuals involved in the 72-unit apartment complex for the elderly under way at Moss and Sophie streets in north Lafayette. We also asked to see a copy of the consulting contract signed between the publicly funded development and Greg Gachassin, a former LPTFA board member. The $10 million project is being funded in large part with low-income housing tax credits awarded to the LPTFA by the Louisiana Housing Finance Agency.
To execute its first low-income housing development, LPTFA formed an affiliate non-profit entity that is the general partner in Cypress Trails Limited Partnership, which also includes a private entity representing a tax-credit investor as the limited partner. LPTFA’s affiliate owns .01 percent interest as the general partner, with the private group owning 99.99 percent as the limited partner. Initially, LPTFA’s project involved the Lafayette Housing Authority, but LPTFA recently asked to remove LHA from the deal because of its financial and management problems that are the subject of an ongoing FBI investigation. With the LHA involved, the records for the partnership were exempt from the Louisiana Public Records Act, due to a special exemption for “affiliates” of housing authorities. The Independent now contends the partnership has forfeited that exemption.
LPTFA is a trust organized under the laws of the state that holds millions in assets for the benefit of city of Lafayette.
What the AG’s office did receive from Becker on March 15 was a request about whether the public trust can accept written votes from its board members without holding a public meeting. Becker indicated in the letter that LPTFA had recently formed an affiliate non-profit, presumably CTLP, to develop and own a low-income housing tax-credit project in Lafayette and has had difficulty coordinating the schedules of a quorum of its board of trustees for the numerous document approvals. The LPTFA board is already short one member, as the original documents creating it call for it to have a board of five.
The AG’s response to Becker’s request? No. The state’s Open Meetings Law requires a vote with a “live voice,” the AG informed him, and that person must be physically present.
“The request for an opinion concerning the application of La. R.S. 42:11 et seq, the Open Meetings Laws, to the Lafayette Public Trust Financing Authority was received in our office on March 15,” Kleinpeter says. “In response to that request, Opinion 11-0070 was released on Monday April 18. Our log in and paper work indicate that this was the only request from LPTFA.”
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Louisiana's higher education leaders are trying to work out a financing deal to keep the state's public colleges from running low on state cash to operate their campuses.
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Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Tuesday, December 10, 2013:
For the first time in at least five years, retired teachers, state workers and school system employees could see an increase in their pension checks.
Lawmakers and Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration shared a collective sigh of relief with the news that Louisiana's tax amnesty program brought in the $200 million that they used to help balance this year's budget.
Drew Brees often makes the extraordinary look routine, particularly during night games in the Superdome.
The teams were extended invitations Sunday for the New Year's Day matchup played at Raymond James Stadium, home of the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
If all 44 projects are approved, about $300 million would remain in the fund set up as a down payment to help the Gulf.
Last week, the Saints gave up 429 yards to Seattle, second most in a game this season.
Since Anthony Jennings and Brooks Haack were not expected to contribute until next year at the earliest, it seemed like a sneak peek at hidden Christmas gifts.
Louisiana National Guard personnel seeking benefits for same-sex spouses will have an easier time filing the requests, despite a state refusal to let its workers process the paperwork.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera sees one potential flaw with his team's stellar defensive play so far this season. "Apparently we like to bite on the double moves," Rivera said.
Computer hackers may have gained access to the personal information of thousands of Louisiana residents who use debit cards issued by JPMorgan Chase for three state agencies, authorities said Wednesday.
Jim Purcell, who has been in the job since February 2011, notified the Board of Regents about his decision at its monthly meeting.
Hushed plans for a commercial development along the Louisiana Avenue portion of the Holy Rosary campus put the future of longtime tenant EarthShare Gardens in jeopardy.
If a recent advertisement in The Daily Advertiser is any indication, speculation the local daily will be implementing the “Butterfly Project” could be more of a reality than the Gannett-owned paper’s top execs are willing to admit.
Mettenberger injured his left knee while unloading a 32-yard completion in the fourth quarter of No. 14 LSU's 31-27 victory over Arkansas last Friday, and LSU coach Les Miles confirmed the severity of the injury on Wednesday.
An ordinance to phase out a 2 percent rebate to Lafayette merchants for collecting and remitting on time sales taxes cleared the City-Parish Council by a 6-3 vote.
Louisianans are the fourth most likely to use profanity yet also the fourth most likely to be courteous. So, please, just kiss my a** ... if it’s not too much trouble.
The state Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority voted Tuesday to authorize two lawsuits against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
A long night on the field in Seattle got even worse off of it, and now the Saints are operating on a compressed time-frame as they brace for surging Carolina with first place in the NFC South at stake.
Public school letter grades, teacher evaluations and student promotion won't be affected by Louisiana's shift to more rigorous educational standards for two years, the state's top school board decided Tuesday.
Vitter told The Associated Press that he is sending an email to supporters Wednesday and is in discussions with his family about the possibility.