Attorney Donald Fuselier, the only Lafayette Housing Authority board member retained by City-Parish President Joey Durel in the wake of a blistering audit of the agency, has resigned from the board of commissioners.
At 11 a.m. Wednesday, Fuselier told The Independent Weekly he was about to call Durel and HUD monitor Dan Rodriguez to notify them of his decision. Fuselier also said that HUD Regional Director of Public Housing Justin Ormsby is in town today and had asked to meet with him at 1:30. Fuselier says his resignation from the board is effective immediately. “I’m not even going to go to the meeting.”
Fuselier says he was not told the nature of this afternoon's meeting. The Ind learned earlier today that Ormsby would be at the LHA office, but his spokeswoman, Patricia Campbell, would not comment this morning: “I may have something for you this afternoon.”
“It’s best that the LHA move forward, and it’s best that I move forward,” Fuselier says. “It’s time. I probably should have done it before.”
When Durel dismissed board members Joe Dennis, Leon Simmons and John Freeman in August, Fuselier offered to step down and has made the offer several times since. “[Durel] asked me to stay," Fuselier says. "And I was able to do some things to try to get this better.”
Durel has maintained Fuselier’s background as a former city prosecutor and his legal knowledge were assets to the LHA, but the decision came back to bite him. District Judge Ed Rubin disagreed with Durel’s logic and reinstated the three board members for the specific reason that Fuselier had been retained. Durel dismissed the three commissioners again after they held an improper executive session in October, and they are again appealing.
“Hopefully, if I resign, they will resign, too,” Fuselier says.
After an annual audit revealed numerous problems at the LHA and potential criminal activity, state and federal investigators stepped in. The FBI’s and HUD’s investigations are ongoing.