Mayor-President Joel Robideaux confirms he’s checking with federal and state officials to make sure that his aide’s loan is not a conflict.
Robideaux said he’s asking the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, HUD, for an opinion on the transaction, and he’s also asking for an opinion from the state Board of Ethics.
“It’s been done in the past with employees receiving CDBG money, and it was approved, but circumstances are always different,” LCG spokeswoman Cydra Wingerter said.
Yesterday, Robideaux’s staff released a report that said the loan that Marcus Bruno obtained from a city-parish agency did not represent a conflict. On Tuesday, Mayor-President Joel Robideaux announced that the report, which he had requested from the attorneys who handle much of his city business, and found that his aide, Marcus Bruno, didn’t violate any laws or policies when he obtained the small business loan. The issue came to light in an Advocate story last week; council members called for an outside, unbiased investigation last week.
This week The Current posted a story about Robideaux’s purchase of a home belonging to Bruno’s wife. You can read about that here.
The report states that Bruno’s loan is legal because he did not “have any functions or responsibilities with respect to CDBG assisted activities,” was not “in a position to participate in a decision-making process with regard to such activities” and was not “in a position to gain inside information with regard to such activities.”
However, emails obtained by the Acadiana Advocate, and today by KATC, show that the loan administrator sent the agency’s draft by-laws to Bruno for review and approval; that Bruno was instrumental in reviewing resumes, interviewing and selecting potential board members for the agency, and that when an employee of the Lafayette chamber of commerce wanted to meet with the agency’s board he contacted Bruno to “plug in.”
To read the report for yourself, click here.