Former City-Parish Councilman Chris Williams, embroiled in controversy over his former job as a contract case worker for the federal Disaster Housing Assistance Program through the Lafayette Housing Authority, is firing back, in a manner of speaking.

In a rambling, convoluted story in the August issue of Southern Consumer Times evidently (but not clearly) written by former LHA board member John Freeman, readers are given the multi-tiered defense that, A) board members and Williams are being unfairly vilified, B) the audit actually finds no improprieties and, C) this is really about bad blood between Williams and state Rep. Rickey Hardy.

Williams was canned from the position and the board members dismissed by City-Parish President Joey Durel following the release of an independent audit finding, to say the least, irregularities in LHA operations. The SCT article has no byline and shifts from first-person singular to third person to first-person plural.

Williams did not return repeated phone calls for a series of articles in The Independent Weekly about the LHA audit. But in a segment in the SCT article headed “A PLEASURE TO BE REMOVED,” Williams’ case is laid out (reproduced here verbatim and in its entirety):

It is not often I can say I am proud to be a casualty. Doing right things right and respecting protocol, digesting what is in front of me and then attempt to make the best possible decision is my make up. But from the perspective of the people that influenced my dismissal I can say thank you. You have allowed me the opportunity to know and thank the many citizens who have called to reassure me and other board members in this matter. If there is a tone of dissatisfaction, you are on point. What angers me more is how these events took place outside the board room, especially, by the Chairman. The abuse of power, the misguided blatant overthrow of the board without just cause and the marred reputation of good citizens, yes, this is really disappointing. Had Chris Williams not been working the DHAP program and had Donald Fusilier not been Rickey Hardy’s best friend, these escalated events may have not taken place. Sometimes I wonder what the African American and Lafayette community thinks of this. Maybe the Independent Weekly can make up some type of script for the informers — maybe make them look good. I am sure, Rickey, what’s her name?, yes, you called her Leslie, maybe she can continue trying to make all of us look bad; maybe give you a political make up job; or maybe a good speech. The people who were newly appointed directors were appointed long after the DHAP program. They did not deserve this mayhem. Is this what you (Rickey) bring to our community? If it is, I think its time for you to sharpen your resumé.

The article — again, no byline despite frequent use of first- and third-person pronouns — also takes to task former LHA board Chairman Buddy Webb, who cited both health problems and disenchantment with the housing authority in resigning before results of the audit became publicly known (this segment, too, is reproduced verbatim and in its entirety):

I don’t understand why Buddy Webb has a gag order not to speak to the press. He should have been gagged sometime ago. There was a famous boxer that said, ‘You can run but you can’t hide.’ We will not let you think that you resigned because you done it under protest, embarrassment and for health reason. No! You did not! You resigned because you fail miserably as a Chairman and leader. You resigned because the people who trusted you, you could not look them in the eye. You resigned because you mislead Joey Durel. No Buddy, you can not hide now! No way! You can not hide the fact that the Auditors said all of the money was accounted for. Yes, you are on the run. Run Buddy! Did you ever stop to think what you were doing and the families you were hurting? We can sleep well at night knowing we can face up to injustice when we see it. And if we never get another appointment, it will not stop us from serving this community and fostering good will for all the citizens of Lafayette. Run Buddy, Run!

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