3rd Circuit reverses Durel contempt charge, boots LHA board members
The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal in a ruling issued Wednesday threw out a contempt of court charge levied against City-Parish President Joey Durel by District Court Judge Ed Rubin during the contentious 2010-2011 saga involving the Lafayette Housing Authority. The appeals court also ruled that three men Durel twice removed from the LHA board of directors and who were reinstated by Rubin — Joe Dennis, John Freeman and Leon Simmons — cannot serve on the board.
Durel first booted Dennis, Freeman and Simmons in August of 2010 for “neglect of duty” after an audit of the LHA showed gross mismanagement of the agency. The three filed suit and Rubin reinstated them. In November of that year Durel again removed the three board members following a widely publicized LHA board meeting during which the board blocked public and media access for a time. Rubin again reinstated the board members and in March of 2011 found Durel in contempt of court, ordering him to pay a nominal fine and spend two weeks in the parish jail or, in lieu of that, perform community service.
Durel appealed to the 3rd Circuit, which today exonerated the mayor and endorsed his removal of the board members. Read the full ruling here.
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