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.”
The Lafayette superintendent insists the budget is illegal and vows to fight on.
"I am not a scientist," Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has said numerous times, a response that other members of his party have parroted.
Republicans are running strong races against endangered Democratic incumbents in states such as North Carolina, Colorado, Arkansas, Louisiana and Alaska. Republicans are also looking to replace retiring Democrats in Iowa and West Virginia with a GOP lawmaker.
Republican congressman Vance McAllister is trying to make up to Louisiana voters for getting too close to a married former employee.
You may not like all of “it,” but U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, unlike many of her colleagues, isn't sitting around twiddling her thumbs in Congress.
Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro says he "can't wait" to play against Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
The heat keeps rising for Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal as a new slate of corruption allegations surfaced this week.
If opposing defenses sell out to stop the Packers' passing game, they risk being gashed by powerful running back Eddie Lacy, a New Orleans-area native.
At the horn the officiating crew trotted to the tunnel and left security personnel to clean up after them.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Sign "ninjas" cleaning up clutter; NYC doctor positive for Ebola; Ferguson grand jury decision nears; and more national and international news for Friday, October 24, 2014.
We can safely assume incumbent Chief K.P. Gibson isn’t too worried about this challenger.
Nationally, Republicans must gain six seats to win Senate control. The most competitive races, many in states where Obama lost in 2012, remain too close to call.
The Baton Rouge Republican has repeatedly battled a perception within his own party that he perhaps wasn't the best choice to carry the GOP banner.
Even if Jimmy Graham's production dips while the star tight end recovers from a shoulder injury, it looks like Drew Brees won't have much trouble finding other targets.
A former campaign manager for Senate candidate Rob Maness is striking at the Republican contender's tea party support, saying Maness only sought to appeal to conservative organizations because he needed money for his campaign.
Ninety-two percent of public school teachers were rated either effective or highly effective in a report the state issued marking the second year of a new statewide evaluation process.
School board members Mark Babineaux, Hunter Beasley and Tehmi Chassion can vote to fire Cooper — because we all know that’s exactly what they’ll do.
District 2 school board candidate Simon Mahan is hoping to unseat first-term incumbent and former Carencro Mayor Tommy Angelle in the Nov. 4 election.
District Attorney Mike Harson is showing his desperation by falsely attributing quotes to his opponent and blocking journalists from his social media.
The governor is traveling the country laying the groundwork for a possible 2016 presidential campaign, but his approval ratings at home hover well below 50 percent.
State District Judge Bob Downing extended the order and delayed a planned Wednesday hearing about a permanent injunction while negotiations continue between Attorney General Buddy Caldwell and the waste disposal site operator.
New Louisiana higher education commissioner Joseph Rallo will be paid more than his predecessor.
Elijah McGuire and Alonzo Harris each had four rushing touchdowns, and Louisiana-Lafayette rolled to 419 yards on the ground in a 55-40 victory over Arkansas State on Tuesday night.
Bill and Hillary Clinton are the validators-in-chief for Democrats struggling through a bleak campaign season in states where President Barack Obama is deeply unpopular.