The state Supreme Court followed the Third Circuit in dealing another blow to City-Parish President Joey Durel and the C-P council on their decision to remove Lafayette Housing Authority board members.
Joe Dennis, John Freeman and Leon Simmons could soon be back in the sympathetic courtroom of District Judge Ed Rubin. The former Lafayette Housing Authority board of commission members have been fighting for reinstatement more than a year. City-Parish President Joey Durel removed them in August 2010 after a blistering audit of the agency led to an FBI investigation, and Rubin reinstated them Oct. 27, 2010, calling their dismissal arbitrary and capricious because board member Donald Fuselier was allowed to stay on.
(Fuselier subsequently resigned from the board in February of this year.)
Durel, however, again removed Dennis, Freeman and Simmons last November claiming the trio illegally went into executive session (although board members asked the media to leave the room so they could go into executive session, a visiting judge found that they had not violated the law).
After the council upheld their November dismissal, the three went back to Rubin, asking that Durel and the council be held in contempt of court for violating Rubin's original order to reinstate them.
Arguing that the second dismissal was a new removal unrelated to Rubin's order, the administration appealed, and the Third Circuit Court of Appeal ruled against LCG this April, noting it was premature to challenge the contempt issue. Durel et al also sought to have Rubin recused, claiming the order for contempt was secured through ex parte contact with the plaintiffs’ counsel. LCG also alleged bias and prejudice on Rubin's part, noting in court filings some of the judge's comments in a conference call:
a. “I’m irate about this matter. I’ve seen nothing but disregard of my October 27 Order.”
b. “I’m tired of this [expletive deleted].”
c. “I almost held them in contempt last time but Pat Ottinger took responsibility. Now they’re doing it again.”
d. “I’m tired of being in the middle of this [expletive deleted].”
e. “Mr. Hebert, unless the two of you can work something out before Friday, there’s
going to be a hearing on this matter.”
After Rubin's suggestion the parties try to settle, Hebert received an email from the former board members' counsel offering to discuss settlement terms to avoid a March 11, 2011, contempt proceeding, according to court filings. “It is unclear how a settlement between litigants can avoid contempt proceedings, but this email made it clear that both counsel who participated in the conference call with Judge Rubin had the same understanding of comment 4(e) above – a settlement between the parties would avoid the imminent contempt proceedings,” Hebert writes in the filing. “The only possible relief available to Respondents would be a reinstatement to their positions as Commissioners on the Lafayette Housing Authority, and/or payment of some sum of money.”
After the circuit court also declined in April of this year to reverse Rubin’s decision to recuse himself, LCG appealed to the state Supreme Court. On Sept. 16, the higher court declined to hear the case, effectively sending it back to district court.
For now at least, this entire costly legal battle is an exercise in futility. There no longer is a board of commissioners of the LHA. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has taken over the troubled agency's operations, having recently hired Katie Anderson as chief operating officer. When a new board might be seated is anybody's guess.
City-Parish President Joey Durel is asking the council to sign off on a resolution approving a pair of deals that would lead to razing the seedy Lesspay Motel at Four Corners to build a new police substation as well as transforming nearly a block Downtown where the old federal courthouse building now molders into a mixed-use development.
In 2013, the IRS — already the least popular governmental agency in the country — became the target of intense investigations after it was revealed that they had specifically and improperly scrutinized applications for tax-exempt status from organizations associated with the nascent Tea Party movement.
Improving the running game was "a point of emphasis" during the offseason and the results have manifested themselves in the form of substantially greater production.
Louisiana's health department said Wednesday that its evaluation of the state's Medicaid privatization was on target, despite criticism from the legislative auditor that it lacked key data and contained inconsistencies.
Artificial sweeteners eyed; Scottish independence vote begins; Ford has cancer and more national and international news for Thursday, September 18, 2014.
Thursday's Blogs from the Bog!
The feds converge on your office, seizing records on several employees as part of a pay-for-plea investigation. WWYD? If you’re Mike Harson, you give yourself a $12k raise.
It’s football season and after back-to-back winless weekends for the Saints and the Cajuns many citizens are finding it difficult to be civil much less happy. Well, chew on this.
Considering his repeated stays in the local penal system, David Narcisse Jr. should have known that having a semiautomatic shotgun, even one given to him by a friend, wasn’t the brightest of ideas.
A state district judge on Tuesday threw out a last-minute retirement hike lawmakers gave to the state police superintendent, ending a political firestorm over a pension boost passed without public scrutiny on the last day of the legislative session.
The House has passed a bill to increase oversight of veterans' hospitals under construction, following a report that some medical centers take three years longer to complete than estimated and cost an extra $366 million per project.
An obvious follow-up question for any Republican politician who accuses Democrats of being science deniers is one about science, to which Jindal bobbed and weaved like a welterweight champ.
The Lafayette City-Parish Council is expected to decide tonight (Tuesday) whether to go along with a proposal City-Parish President Joey Durel made in February’s State of the Parish Address and consolidate taxes for mosquito control and the parish health units into a broader tax program that would also cover animal control.
U.S. District Judge Richard Haik has dismissed Greg Davis’ lawsuit against the LPSB, yet in his ruling, the federal judge doesn’t bite his tongue in pointing out the "threat" being posed by certain board members.
Of all the political offices being contested throughout Lafayette Parish, the race for Broussard’s top police post has literally become one of the most heated.
A state district judge is deciding whether to issue an injunction against the enforcement of a last-minute retirement hike that lawmakers gave to the state police superintendent.
A new website is up for Louisiana's state government employees and retirees to choose their health insurance plans for next year, a choice they must make by October.
That fact that New Orleans led both games in the final 10 seconds of regulation, and lost each by a field goal or less, is of little solace.
The superintendent will make another go at getting a budget passed for the already commenced fiscal year as the LPSB is slated to meet tonight on the eve of the state’s budget adoption deadline.
A person familiar with the situation says New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram has a broken hand.
It seeks an investigation into a $100,000 fund transfer from Vitter's federal campaign account to an independent PAC supporting Vitter's 2015 candidacy for governor.
Landrieu has acknowledged that she improperly billed her Senate office for nearly $43,000 in charter costs that should have been paid from her campaign account.
House District 45 Rep. Joel Robideaux is term-limited and running for city-parish president next year, leaving his seat up for grabs come 2015 and at least three likely contenders so far, including ...
When the Browns explained their plans to Brian Hoyer about bringing rookie Johnny Manziel into the game, Cleveland's starting quarterback bit his lip and devised one of his own.
National debate over solitary confinement puts spotlight on Angola inmate’s 35 years in ‘the hole’