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.
The Lafayette City-Parish Council will consider on Tuesday a revised plan to the transform a block in Downtown Lafayette into a mixed-use residential-retail-commercial development that doesn’t include giving title to the property to the Lafayette Public Trust Finance Authority, an arrangement the council rejected earlier this month.
Trying to combat the national undertones of Louisiana's U.S. Senate race, Democratic incumbent Mary Landrieu is traveling the state this week on a sort of pork celebration tour, telling voters about the projects and aid she's delivered to Louisiana.
Ever thought that big, pink Gulf coast shrimp you ordered at the restaurant or bought from the store didn't taste juicy or salty enough? Maybe it wasn't from the Gulf.
The state treasurer won't sign financial documents needed for $200 million in borrowing or for a refinancing of existing debt until he believes they accurately explain the surplus disagreement.
Bill Cassidy voted for 97 percent of the bills signed by Barack Obama.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is joining South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley on her campaign bus tour.
A New Iberia man has been sentenced to life in prison for killing a 4-year-old girl and scalding her 3-year-old brother.
A district judge decided Wednesday against sanctioning attorney/school board candidate Dawn Morris for her behind-the-scenes role in a lawsuit against Mark Cockerham.
Secretary of State Tom Schedler says Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration may have improperly destroyed records in the state employee health insurance program, in the middle of a heavily-criticized rewrite of benefit plans.
San Fran wins the World Series; Sistine Chapel improvements; Kurds moving toward Syria and more national and international news for Thursday, October 30, 2014.
Thursday's Blogs from the Bog!
Paper cites the former ADA's "experience as a prosecutor, his demonstrated integrity, and his ideas for reshaping the [DA's] office" in urging voters to support Keith Stutes Nov. 4.
Louisiana officials have sent a letter to the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene un-inviting members of the group who have recently been to ebola-affected West African countries from attending the group’s annual conference in New Orleans next week.
Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints have to find a way to win on the road if they plan to take over first place in the NFC South.
"It is obvious that Louisiana economic performance has not outperformed the South or the United States as a whole and, in fact, has substantially underperformed..."
A state district judge said he will rule Friday on a preliminary injunction to keep some charter schools from receiving $60 million through Louisiana's public school financing formula.
Saints fans were to gather, make merry, eat/drink compliments of a new Downtown group and watch the Saints beat Carolina and claim 1st place in the NFC South. But...
New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram doesn't see his dramatic spike in production as any sort of validation.
U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu is facing off one last time with her two main Republican challengers before next week's election.
He’s pulling for Knezek and Hidalgo on his end of the parish but issued endorsements in three other districts as well.
Off a narrow gravel road running between a handful of mostly abandoned lots near a Mississippi River levee, down past sprawling oak trees and thick weeds, a lectern framed by banana trees has been set up in front of three short rows of folding chairs.
Hillary Rodham Clinton is heading to New Orleans this weekend to stir up voter support for Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu.
Saints coach Sean Payton has spent much of his team's erratic season trying to build his players up.
The Daily Advertiser has weighed in on this year's LPSB elections with nine endorsements.