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Advocate looks into people behind promises made in Opelousas

Posted at 2:24 PM, Nov 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-18 15:24:09-05

Recently, the City of Opelousas hosted a press conference touting a promised huge investment.

KATC wasn’t invited to the event, but we did a story afterward, and you can see it here.

Our media partners at The Advocate did some digging into the people involved, and reports that information about the past business successes they tout is scarce, and two of the key players in the effort have had recent financial problems, according to a review of government records and publicly available information. An executive of a company cited as the financial muscle behind the project said plans are in the preliminary stages and that he was shocked to hear an announcement had been made, the Advocate reports.

Those involved did not respond to requests for interviews from the newspaper to discuss their plans for Opelousas or other projects they’ve handled.

Spearheading the publicity tour was Opelousas native Haley Ahart-Keiffer, after whose family the current airport is named.

The Advocate reports that Ahart-Keiffer and her husband emerged from a personal bankruptcy last year after taking more than six years to pay off debts of $109,000, according to court files. At the time of the Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing 2011, the couple reported a combined annual income of $58,203.

The newspaper also reports that New York-based financier, Gbenga Adalumo, who accompanied Ahart-Keiffer when announcing the plans, also has had financial difficulties. Adalumo’s house in Baldwin, New York is in foreclosure, court records show.

To read the entire investigation by The Advocate, click here.