Lafayette Housing Authority Executive Director Walter Guillory and Deputy Director Jonathan Carmouche both resigned Monday morning, The Independent Weekly has learned. It is unclear who is in charge of the embattled agency at this time.
In one of the latest developments at the troubled housing authority, last week the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s inspector general arrived at the office to conduct an audit. Another top HUD official from Texas is expected to set up shop at the local authority’s offices this week.
HUD insisted to local media that it hasn’t taken over the local housing authority yet has made it clear no expenditures can take place without its authorization.
The LHA has been under the microscope since an audit of its operations, released by independent auditors in late July, pointed to 16 serious problems with how the agency is managed and questioned more than $240,000 in payments to contractors working the Disaster Housing Assistance Program. The audit’s findings prompted an investigation by the Louisiana legislative auditor and FBI after Guillory, above, suggested to the board that a new auditing firm be hired.
The Independent Weekly has since learned that it has been several years since the LHA’s board formally reviewed one of its annual audits to discuss the findings and form a plan of action for dealing with them. Audit findings in those years point to repeated problems that have continued to grow, specifically around expenditures of money and documentation issues. The agency has thus been operating with very little oversight from its board of commissioners.
Guillory joined the LHA in November 1998 after HUD took over what was then a grossly mismanaged agency. A former minor league baseball player, Guillory worked for the Alexandria Housing Authority (November 95 to June 98) as deputy director and city of Alexandria (November 96 to June 98) as a recreation specialist before returning to Lafayette. Before that, he worked for Boys and Girls Clubs in Alexandria and Lafayette.
Guillory makes $186,000 a year (with a $5,000 business allowance and other benefits), having been given a $55,000 raise by the board of commissioners late last year — about the time he was leaving the Opelousas Housing Authority, where he was paid $80,000 a year to also serve as executive director. That agency is also now under investigation.
Much of the LHA controversy has also involved Guillory's second in command. The auditors also noted that Carmouche, who was in charge of the DHAP, was himself getting a piece of the DHAP action, inspecting homes in the program “on Saturdays” for $75 a pop. Carmouche, who earns $85,000 a year, got an extra $20,000 from the LHA for inspecting homes in 2009 and had already been paid $11,300 when he stopped conducting inspections this year after the audit.
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AUG 1 Blogger Mike Deshotels takes the gloves off in this post as he writes about education "reform" in Louisiana. It's not reform because it is not improving education - not even a little, he says. He's also taking the mainstream media to task here; they're not doing their job in reporting on these issues, he says.
AUG 1 Death Valley, Deaf Valley, Tiger Stadium, whatever you call it, it's been named the "most intimidating" college football arena in the country. This post on the College Spun blog looked at the top 15 and named LSU number one. It references the 1988 Tommy Hodson play -- when the crowd's reaction registered as an earthquake on the university's seismograph.
AUG 1 Fortune Magazine takes a look at a study by researchers in Indiana and Hong Kong (well THAT'S an interesting pairing) who looked at corruption in American states. Of course, we're in the top five, coming in second behind Mississippi. Hey, we'll do better next year!
AUG 1 Columnist Jeremy Alford is writing about secrecy in this post on LaPolitics, in particular "the dark side" of the legislative process, also known as conference committee. The loosey-goosey (and generally not open) process is rich with possibilities for problems, as was proven with the so-called Edmonson amendment, Alford writes.
AUG 1 Blogger Tom Aswell reports here on the emails he received in response to a public records request to State Police in his continuing investigation of the so-called Edmonson Amendment. In particular he's reporting the "talking points" created by one top State Police official about the bill, as well as some snide comments about one of Aswell's reporters.
AUG 1 Louisiana voters don't seem to be overjoyed by any of their choices in the Senate race, Jim Brown writes in this week's blog post. The polls don't show robust support for any of the candidates, Brown says, and he's thinking back to the time he floated legislation that would have allowed people to vote for "None of the Above."
AUG 1 Blogger CB Forgotston is keeping up with the reaction to the Edmonson Amendment, but the real problem isn't going to be fixed with more laws, he says. A major problem is a lack of integrity among legislators, he opines; without it, no amount of legislation is going to solve this problem.
AUG 1 Since the Washington Post story start circulating this week - you know, the one where the writer says that Congressional Candidate Lenar Whitney is the most frightening hopeful he's ever met - the lady has become notorious, this post on the NOLA Defender blog tells us. You can even watch her documentary (?) entitled "Global Warming is a Hoax." Ahem. Can we run away now?
JUL 31 Blogger Rod Dreher is offering excerpts, as he often does, from a blog he's found interesting. This time, the subject of his interest is the ubiquitous Facebook, but it's a creepy view of the social media format, and how predators can use it.
JUL 31 Here's a fun post on the Movoto blog about Louisiana stereotypes. These 10 are accurate, the blog posits, and it's really not wrong. Most of them are pretty positive - as opposed to other stereotypes about us, which also aren't all wrong.
JUL 31 State Treasurer John Kennedy, who also sits on the board that oversees State Police retirement, continues his push to have the so-called Edmonson amendment investigated, blogger Tom Aswell reports here. The director of that retirement system says an investigation is coming, but he's waiting on lawyers to tell him what to do.
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