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City Council to consider launching investigation of Guillory administration

Posted at 9:55 AM, Sep 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-02 00:16:12-04

The Lafayette City Council will consider a resolution Tuesday that would launch an investigation into the Guillory administration.

KATC spoke to Lafayette City Councilman, Glen Lazard, who said "the mayor himself recommended that we do an independent audit if that's what we chose to do."

"The one that really caught our attention the most was the removal of the spoil banks in St. Martin Parish. We're not saying that anybody did anything wrong we simply don't know," Lazard said.

Several weeks ago, council members said they had questions about Mayor-President Josh Guillory's statement that he was in rehab for 21 days. The questions had to do with whether or not he was running the government; the City-Parish charter states that when the mayor is unavailable for more than 48 hours a city council member must be appointed to run things. Guillory assured them he was doing the city's business. City-Parish Attorney Greg Logan, who was one of two people Guillory said he was in touch with, told council members they would be in violation of a state law and face fines and jail time if they went forward with appointing a replacement.

Even before that, City Council President Nanette Cook posed to Guillory a list of detailed questions about some of the administration's drainage projects. To read about that, click here. In response, Guillory said city employees don't have time to answer questions about how the projects were bid or paid for, and advised Cook to hire an external firm to do the research.

But although the resolution does mention drainage, it is much broader than that.

We reached out to the Guillory administration for a reaction, and they said they're ready to get started.

"We respect the process we have nothing to hide, the administration has nothing to hide, Mayor-President Guillory has nothing to hide. And we're confident that once this investigation is completed that there would be no findings out of the ordinary, and everything will be the way it should be," said Guillory spokesman Jamie Angelle.

Cook said when she asked the MP some questions about these drainage projects a couple of months ago, he suggested the council conduct an audit. But, she said, an audit already is done annually, and they didn't want to limit anything, so they used the provision in the charter that authorizes investigations.

"It really is to get some answers, really looking at the contracts, the bid laws, all those things and honestly to find out if it was done correctly," Cook said. "I'm hoping it was done correctly. And if nothing else, this will clear the air of all the questions out there. Have we done this right?"

The plan is to hire a CPA firm and an attorney to assist in the investigation, she said.

If it turns out that something wasn't done correctly, the findings will be turned over the proper authorities, she said. The attorney would be able to advise the council on the proper steps to take, she said.

For the other part of the investigation regarding Guillory's actions since he was sworn in, the aim is also to answer questions, she said.

"There are lots of questions about this company he created, any connections he might have with Rigid, we'd also be looking at those contracts," Cook said. "That would be part of the audit, the investigation, looking at those contracts to see, what are the details of them."

Rigid was the contractor in the spoil banks project.

The council doesn't review contracts, because the Mayor-President has authority to sign them, she said.

"At the end of the day, we assume they're done correctly and legally, and i'm still assuming they are," she said.

Also on Tuesday's agenda is an introductory City Council ordinance that would allocate $100,000 to pay for the investigation. The ordinance notes that the Mayor-President's veto power does not extend to any ordinance that deals with a council investigation of his administration.

The resolution states that the investigation will cover all employees of the "executive branch of the city of Lafayette."

The resolution also states that "the scope of this investigation shall also include an investigation of third-party entities and/or persons directly or indirectly involved, financially or otherwise" in the subjects laid out by the resolution for the investigation.

Those subjects are:

"All drainage-related projects and/or works (including but not limited to all transactions, events, occurances, facts and/or circumstances, financially or otherwise, related directly and/or indirectly therein), involving the direct or indirect expenditures of public funds, use of personnel, employees, assets and/or resources, either in whole or in part, of the City of Lafayette, for the time period beginning May 1 2021 through the present date..."

and also:

"The direct or indirect expenditure of public funds, use of personnel, employees, assets and/or resources, either in whole or in part, of the City of Lafayette by the Mayor President, at the discretion of the Mayor President or benefiting the Mayor President for the time period beginning January 6, 2020 through the present date."

January 6, 2020 is the day Guillory was sworn in as Mayor-President.

The resolution specifically references a section of the Lafayette City-Parish Charter that talks about the council's investigative power:

The resolution can be read below: