[Editor's Note: this story was updated Tuesday at 5:25 p.m. after Vincent Pierre issued a statement.]
Roshell Jones, the third place finisher in the District 44 state rep race, claims KJCB radio has accused her of accepting bribes for her support of incumbent state Rep. Rickey Hardy.
In a “cease and desist letter” sent via certified mail Oct. 31 and addressed to KJCB radio and its manager, J’Nelle Chargois, Jones, who is an attorney, writes:
Please be advised that the purpose of this letter is to demand that you and your radio station cease and desist from your slander of my name in regards to the political race involving incumbent Mr. Rickey Hardy and Vincent Pierre.
You have made several false and slanderous accusations live on your radio station, including accusations that I have accepted bribes from Governor Bobby Jindal and Joey Durel’s administration in exchange for an endorsement of Mr. Hardy.
Ms. Chargois this is absolutely false and I demand that you refrain from such a vicious and false attack on my character and integrity, otherwise I will be forced to take legal action against you and your radio station.
In a separate letter to Pierre, Jones makes a similar charge, claiming Pierre has accused her of accepting bribes in his campaign literature.
In each letter, Jones threatens legal action if the accusations don’t stop.
At about 1 p.m. Tuesday, The Independent left a message for Chargois at KJCB radio and sent an email to one of Vincent Pierre's campaign organizers. The challenger, who had not yet received Jones' letter when we reached out to his campaign, responded late Tuesday afternoon, saying he stands by his Friday, Oct. 28, statement regarding Jones’ decision to endorse Rickey Hardy. That statement read:
The heavy-handed, closed door tactics of Governor Jindal have again become an issue in Lafayette Parish local legislative elections. The endorsement of third-place finisher Roshell Jones of Rickey Hardy came only after promises were made to her by Governor Jindal and City-Parish President Joey Durel.
In a conversation with Vincent Pierre on Friday morning, Ms. Jones said “They did offer me certain things.” Ms. Jones further indicated that “it would be beneficial to myself and my family to endorse Rickey Hardy.”
“I continue to believe that this election should be decided by the people of District 44, not by outside interests of the Governor and Mr. Durel,” Pierre said. “The past four years of the Jindal-Durel-Hardy regime have been a disaster for the residents of District 44. Voters in District 44 know that we need a new direction. I offer that change of direction.”
“I will not make any further comment about Mrs. Jones and her communications with others,” Vincent said in his Tuesday release. “I provide as part of my response the affidavits of Lester J. Gauthier, Mike Stagg and Wilfred Pierre.”
In those sworn and notarized affidavits, all three men recall a conversation Vincent Pierre had with Jones between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. on Oct. 28 in Gauthier’s law office on South Pierce Street. In that conversation, Jones told Vincent that she would be endorsing Hardy. At one point, Vincent put her on speakerphone. All three say they recall her saying, “They did offer me certain things.” They also recall Jones using the words, “beneficial to myself to endorse.”
If Jones did indeed make these statements, it is unclear who she was referring to when she said “they.”
Hardy and Pierre face off in the Nov. 19 runoff. Read more about Jones’ endorsement of Hardy here.