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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APR 24 In addition to the billion-dollar hole predicted for Louisiana's budget in the next couple of years, there's another billion-dollar bill coming due, blogger CB Forgotston tells us. Turns out the state funds that Gov. Jindal's budgets have been raiding over the past several years are owed another billion, he says.
APR 24 Hey, she knew how to throw a party. NOLA Defender tells us about the last hurrah of diva Mickey Easterling in this post. But really, to get the whole effect you need to see the pictures, and here they are. If you want to read a more personal obit about the lady herself, read this one in Gambit, written by Clancy DuBos.
APR 24 Blogger Ian McGibboney is remembering his college days in this post about politics. Although he was voting liberal, he was assured it was something he would grow out of (well THAT wasn't an accurate prediction). The Right seems to see all votes against it as evil at worst, and ignorant at best, he writes.
APR 24 The internet trolls (those people who will post the most hateful, vicious things as comments on articles and social media posts) are so out of hand that some publications have shut comments down. So how does the younger generation feel about them? This editorial in the LSU Reveille tells us one student's view, and it might surprise you.
APR 24 State Sen. Elbert Guillory has a plan to help teachers "take control" of their classrooms - he's written a bill that would allow teachers to call the cops anytime they felt a threat in their classroom, without involving the principal of their school, columnist Jarvis DeBerry tells us in his post. While the need for this bill is unconfirmed, DeBerry predicts it will just dump more kids into the prison pipeline.
APR 24 Magazine Street is "the" place to shop in NOLA, according to some people, but it is starting to look like a mall. This post on The Lens takes a look at the issue of chain stores moving in and the resulting increase in rents that is making it impossible for locals to operate there.
APR 24 Here's an interesting article in the Atlantic about a U.S. Supreme Court review of the way we handle jury verdicts here in Louisiana. The non-unanimous murder verdict, it could be argued, allows prosecutors to put minority jurors on a panel - and not have to worry about their decisions. The Court decides Friday if it will hear the case.
APR 24 Here's a comprehensive roundup of the numbers from recent polls in the pivotal Senate races across the nation, from the Los Angeles Times. There's also some analysis of some governors' approval ratings, and it includes quite a bit about Gov. Jindal, Senator Landrieu and the Medicaid expansion.
APR 23 Blogger Tom Aswell has good news for parents who don't want the private information of their offspring sold/provided to corporations: inBloom is shutting down. He's certainly right when he claims the lion's share of the credit for bloggers -- most of the mainstream media, certainly here in Louisiana, didn't do stories on our DOE's agreement with this corporation until months after the bloggers had started reporting on it.
APR 22 Louisiana politics is entertainment, nothing more than a comedy routine that writes itself, blogger Dayne Sherman says. But while we're chuckling at the wizard between the sheets and the kissing congressman, our higher ed system is collapsing, and nobody's doing anything about it, he says.
APR 23 Look out! The Buzz Feed blog has busted Senate candidate Bill Cassidy in this post. Cassidy, a physician who is campaigning on how horrible it would be for people to have health insurance, once campaigned on a plan that sounds suspiciously like (you guessed it) Obamacare. Woops!
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