LAFAYETTE, La. — The Lafayette Consolidated Government has released the independent forensic audit of LUS Fiber that was requested earlier this year, which claims that former Lafayette Utilities Systems Director Terry Huval may have violated one or more state laws by having LUS pay millions of dollars of improper charges to LUS Fiber.
In February, Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory named Carr Riggs & Ingram CPAs and Advisors (CRI), a third-party audit firm, to conduct a full independent forensic audit of Lafayette Utilities Services' affiliate transactions and finances.
The audit, which is dated Aug. 12, looked at the LUS billing transactions regarding how many sewer lift systems were connected to LUS Fiber and its ability to detect if service was interrupted at a customer's home, which is referred to as the Power Outage Management System, or POMS.
In the audit, several LUS and LUS Fiber employees were interviewed by CRI including LUS Interim Director Lowell Duhon and LUS Fiber Interim Director Teles Fremin. The audit also looked at audio recordings and transcripts of previous interviews of current and former LUS and LUS Fiber employees conducted by the Oats & Marino Law Firm.
The audit found that LUS Fiber had used POMS on 989 customer sites in order to alert LUS Fiber whenever service went down. The audit cites internal emails from Huval that reveal he originally intended to have LUS Fiber provide the service to LUS at a cost of $15 per month. However, Huval then raised the price to $25 per month after learning that only less than 1,000 sites were covered.
LCG Chief Communications Officer Jamie Angelle released the following statement on the audit:
The administration is carefully reviewing all of the information received in the audit and its possible implications. The investigation is on-going. We are going to continue working to make both LUS and LUS Fiber financially efficient and continue providing the best possible service for our customers and taxpayers.
Last year, former Lafayette Mayor-President Joel Robideaux conducted an internal review of LUS and reported to the council that Huval was involved in a potentially illegal pricing scheme for services provided to LUS from LUS Fiber.
Robideaux presented his findings from his internal investigation of LUS and LUS Fiber at the beginning of the final meeting of the Lafayette City-Parish Council meeting on Dec. 18, 2019.
On Feb. 6, Guillory requested that the Louisiana State Police "investigate serious matters" that occurred at Lafayette Utilities System and LUS Fiber.
And nearly a week later, the Lafayette Consolidated Government announced it was working with 15th Judicial District Attorney Keith Stutes to hand over documents relating to its internal investigations into LUS, LUS Fiber and any former or present employees.
In a June letter that Guillory sent to the Lafayette City and Parish Councils, he writes that Huval carried out a massive illegal pricing scheme that resulted in LUS paying millions of dollars of improper charges to LUS Fiber in violation of the Fair Competition Act, Public Service Commission rules, LUS’s own Cost Allocation Manual and good business practice.
You can read the full audit below.
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