It may be a while before the rest of us know what the Louisiana Legislative Auditor found when it looked through the Lafayette Housing Authority’s finances, but two board members and the state representative who called for the audit will know Monday afternoon.
State Rep. Rickey Hardy, who in August notified Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera's office that an independent audit of the LHA revealed a host of problems with how the government funded agency has been conducting business, tells The Independent Weekly that he also will be allowed to review the results at a 2 p.m. meeting today. Dan Rodriguez, the U.S. Housing and Urban Development monitor sent to Lafayette to oversee operations after the problems came to light, will also attend. The media and public are not invited to see the findings, and the LHA will be given two weeks to respond to the audit.
But unless state law requires that two-week waiting period, the audit could be made public sooner, LHA board member Donald Fuselier says. Fuselier and newly seated board member Shirley Vige are all that remain of the five-member board, as in November City-Parish President Joey Durel again dismissed Joe Dennis, John Freeman and Leon Simmons, alleging violations of the state open meetings law. Durel removed the three men in August, and the decision was upheld by the Lafayette City-Parish Council. However, they were reinstated by District Judge Ed Rubin. They are again appealing their dismissal.
Fuselier said Monday morning that he plans to accept the findings today. “I pretty much told them there will be no response,” he says. HUD may want to respond, “but I don’t think they will,” Fuselier adds, noting that HUD is anxious to return all authority to the board of commissioners but is unable to do so because of the pending appeal.
The LHA’s top two officials, Walter Guillory and Jonathan Carmouche, resigned in October, shortly after Rodriguez’s arrival.
The FBI and HUD’s office of inspector general are also investigating the local housing authority.