Lafayette

Jan 20, 2011 9:12 PM by Shawn Kline

LHA Board: "a government conspiracy"

Housing Authority Commissioners say there's a conspiracy in Lafayette Consolidated Government.
Three commissioners accuse five people of cashing in on the housing authority through tax credit properties.
"So this is Mr. Becker tied to Ottinger who's Mr. Durel's attorney." Former Commissioner John Freeman said, pointing out the connections, "all these people in this web in the City of Lafayette."
Former Housing Authority Commissioners calling it a "conspiracy."
Linking Property Developer Greg Gachassin to Attorney, Richard Becker and former LHA Executive Director, Walter Guillory.
Becker also works with Pat Ottinger for Lafayette City Council- bringing City-Parish President Joey Durel into their picture.
"A gangster-style conspiracy." Commissioner Leon Simmons says, "to suck the milk from the cash cow illegally as federal dollars are pumped into the housing authority."
The commissioners say federal dollars coming from Gachassin's tax credit properties eventually end in someone else's pocket.
HUD liason Dan Rodriguez says there's no money coming from the housing authority going to any tax credit properties. The properties are simply affiliated with lower income housing.
"Tax credits are deductions that investors get on their personal income taxes," Rodriguez explained.
According to City-Parish President Joey Durel, this is just another tactic the former commissioners are using to "muddy the waters" and draw attention away from them.
"If I was trying to hide something from a board, I would've left them on." Durel says, "they obviously didn't know what was going on."
Commissioners say they are convinced of a conspiracy but Durel is convinced it may be time to move along.
"Maybe it's time to go to HUD and say it really is time to put this in receivership, it's time to end the sillyness." Durel says, "it's occupying way too much of (Lafayette's) time and energy."
The commissioners plan to have an investigation of what they believe to be evidence and pursue further legal action.

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