Just 15 months after being officially appointed city police chief, Randy Hundley's position with the department now hangs in the balance. Hundley was placed on paid administrative leave last Wednesday pending an investigation by state police into whether he illegally recorded employee phone conversations within the police department. State law prohibits anyone from recording a phone conversation without at least one party's knowledge and consent.
While Harson has not officially confirmed the origin of the allegations, multiple sources say Hundley's secretary, Jeanette Luque, filed the complaint. Luque is a 25-year veteran of the department who has served under a number of police chiefs.
In February, Lafayette Police Public Information Officer Mark Francis confirmed that Hundley's office was the focus of a federal inquiry into allegations of wiretapping within the office. At that time, Hundley told The Independent Weekly that speculation he may be stepping down as police chief as a result of the wiretapping allegations was unfounded and that he intended to remain city police chief for the foreseeable future. City-Parish President Joey Durel is a longtime friend of Hundley and appointed him interim police chief in February 2004 following the retirement of former Chief Ronald Boudreaux. Durel formally selected Hundley as the new city police chief in December 2004. ' Nathan Stubbs
APRIL FOOLS AT THE DAILY ADVERTISER
Leave it to The Daily Advertiser to cover one of the biggest Louisiana sports stories in recent years with one of the paper's biggest blunders in recent years. A front-page, banner headline on Saturday, April 1 ' the day of LSU's Final Four showdown with UCLA ' trumpeted a 16-page special section titled "Final Four Keepsake."
There was only one small problem. The section was nowhere to be found inside the paper.
In the following day's edition, The Advertiser understatedly noted, "Because of an error, this section did not appear in Saturday's newspaper."
So LSU fans, already left with a bitter taste in their mouths after the team's dream season ended with a lopsided 59-45 loss to UCLA, were treated to the outdated special section on Sunday, complete with its front-cover "LSU Tigers roar into Final Fours" headline. ' Scott Jordan
ACADIANA C.A.R.E.S. LAWSUIT SETTLED
A contentious lawsuit between Acadiana C.A.R.E.S. and Roselawn Properties owner Kathy Ashworth ("Homeless for the Holidays," Jan. 11) has been settled. The suit centered on lease payments, insurance, and maintenance issues, and the settlement allows the C.A.R.E.S. offices to remain downstairs and Hope House, a residence for AIDS/HIV-positive clients of the agency, to reopen upstairs. Hope House closed its doors in December 2005 in advance of an anticipated eviction notice from Roselawn.
The lawsuit cost CARES $53,848 ' $31,000 of which was incurred in 2006. The non-profit agency is asking for financial support from the community and is planning a fundraiser to help pay for the legal fees.
C.A.R.E.S. now has a two-year lease for the offices and Hope House, with an option to renew for one more year. Rent has increased $2,000 a month under the settlement, from $3,000 to $5,000 monthly. In the third year, the rent will go up another $2,000 to $7,000 a month. C.A.R.E.S. Director Claude Martin says Hope House should reopen in 10 days, and it won't be a moment too soon. "We already have a waiting list of people to move in," Martin says. ' Mary Tutwiler
DOGGED BY ALLEGATIONS
Last week, Louisiana Attorney General Charles Foti Jr. announced that his office was conducting an investigation into the Humane Society of the United States for the alleged misuse of funds raised for relief efforts following Hurricane Katrina. Wayne Pacelle, HSUS' chief executive officer, says the organization raised $30 million to help with animals during natural disasters, with $4.8 million earmarked for Katrina relief efforts. Foti's office requested an accounting of the funds spent by HSUS, which Pacelle says HSUS has provided. "There's been no allegation of impropriety," he says. "The attorney general has basically asked us to provide information, which we've done."
Pacelle says HSUS was one of several organizations operating under the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, which allowed pets to be adopted and transferred out of state after Oct. 15. "I think what happened here is that some people complained to Foti's office and said, 'We can't get our animals back.' It's unfortunate, but that's just the way things happen. The state allowed the adoptions to occur. It wasn't like we were some rogue entity." According to Pacelle, HSUS rescued 10,000 animals ' 8,500 were companion animals and 2,300 were eventually reunited with their owners.
Pacelle was not pleased that Foti jointly announced the HSUS investigation along with news of his office's Red Cross investigation: "We were kind of upset that they announced it with the Red Cross thing, because there were actual allegations of misuse of funds [within the Red Cross], and for us there's been no such allegations," Pacelle says. ' R. Reese Fuller
SPEAKING OF PETS â?¦
A large number of animals were displaced by last fall's hurricanes and never reunited with their owners. To avoid this in the future, the Louisiana Animal Welfare Commission is pushing legislation in the ongoing regular session to create an official governmental pet registry. House Bill 772 by Rep. A.G. Crowe, a Slidell Republican, would create a voluntary, statewide database that would link up pets with their owners if they become lost. "This will be of considerable benefit with regard to disasters, the like of which we experienced last year," says Pinckney A. Wood, chairman of the welfare commission. There would be a registration fee of $15, which will be reduced 50 percent if the pet is spayed, neutered or fitted with a microchip tracking device. ' Jeremy Alford
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High-profile criminal defense attorney Daniel Stanford awaits his fate in the Curious Goods conspiracy trial.
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A federal judge on Thursday asked lawyers battling over Louisiana's new, restrictive abortion law for an agreement that apparently could let clinics stay open — at least for a while — after the law takes effect Sept. 1.
An abortion rights organization wants a federal judge to block enforcement of Louisiana's new abortion law while its lawsuit to overturn the law makes its way through court.
Republican presidential prospects Ted Cruz and Bobby Jindal are planning to speak at an Iowa Christian conservative event in September.
The attention surrounding Victor White III has spiked with the release of last week’s autopsy report, which has raised a number of serious questions about the night of his death and has put the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office under an increased wave of scrutiny as more national media outlets are jumping on the story, most recently seenh on MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show.
A group supporting taxpayer-funded private school tuition vouchers is appealing a federal judge's order that Louisiana must provide regular reports to federal officials on the state's voucher program.
The Discovery Channel has canceled reality TV star Will Hayden's popular "Sons of Guns" show after his arrest on an aggravated rape charge.
The LPSB will finally hear from the attorney it hired to investigate the superintendent at a special meeting Thursday at 4 p.m.
Authorities are investigating a report that a student there warned the principal of impending violence similar to that depicted in the movie "The Purge."
Saints cornerback Champ Bailey has played for more than a handful of playoff teams during a career that has seen him selected to 12 Pro Bowls.
Police say a 56-year-old Lafayette man walking behind a dump truck died when the truck hit him as it was backing up.
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees is a proud papa of new baby girl.
The books on Louisiana's last budget year have been closed, but it took a bit of borrowing from this year to make the numbers work.
The Iberia Parish Coroner responded Monday to the attention surrounding the questionable shooting of Victor White III, a black man from New Iberia who died April 2 while in the custody of local law enforcement.
Two months after lawmakers agreed to create a $40 million higher education incentive fund, no decisions have been made about how to divide the money.
With Drew Brees back healthy, the New Orleans Saints are free to work on the little things that can make the difference between a Super Bowl run and something less.
Incumbent U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu and her lead GOP challenger Congressman Bill Cassidy are running close when it comes to money. Landrieu has $5.5 million to Cassidy’s $5.6 million in the bank.
With expectations mounting that Gov. Bobby Jindal will soon announce his campaign for president, attention is turning to not only who he will bring along with him but also what will transpire politically back home during the transition.
Seven of the 11 U.S. cities in a new ranking of “most dangerous diets” are in the Bayou and Lone Star states, but the ranking is more about poverty than fried oysters.
Lafayette police are investigating a fatal shooting involving an alleged burglar and homeowner.
Saints tight end Jimmy Graham got the message from the NFL. He's not dunking footballs over goal posts any more.
With qualifying over, the start of campaign season is official, and for the Lafayette Parish School Board, the race toward Nov. 4 will pit 20 candidates in battles for all 9 of the district’s available seats.
An abortion rights organization has filed the first court challenge to a Louisiana law that would require doctors who perform abortions to be able to admit patients to a nearby hospital.