The Guillory administration has responded to a set of detailed questions about recent city drainage projects asked earlier this month by the City Council chair - but not with any answers.
"While the interrogation appears to be political in nature, the implied allegations may have needlessly planted a sense of distrust with our constituents that warrant an adequate response," a letter written by Mayor President Josh Guillory states.
And so, Guillory writes, the responses should be provided by "a qualified, independent party" and he suggests that the council contract with the city-parish auditor, Kolder Slaven and Company, to pull the data requested and provide responses to the questions. Because the issues involve both councils, Guillory suggests that the city and parish councils have a joint special meeting to hire the firm.
If you'd like to read the letter for yourself, just scroll down.
At issue are a list of questions asked by City Council Chair Nanette Cook at the June 7 council meeting. To read our story about it, and see the full list of questions, click here.
"We are going to submit some questions to the administration just for some clarity on a couple of things - well, there are several things on this list - in light of all the drainage projects that are happening in the community, some in litigation and some that are actually happening," Cook said at the time. "There are several things are going on that I personally need a little more clarity on to understand what some of these projects are and where we are in terms of funding, what money is left in a lot of our emergency drainage funds."
The questions include requests for extremely specific information regarding payments to a contractor who completed a controversial spoil bank project in St. Martin Parish which currently is the subject of a federal lawsuit and a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers investigation, as well as all payments made out of several "Bayou Vermilion Flood Control" projects. It also asks for detailed documentation of the bid process for those projects, and detailed information regarding the charges and payments made.
In recent months, LCG has landed in court several times over drainage projects, mostly because of a so-called "quick-take" process of expropriating property for those projects. LCG lost at least one of those cases, in which a court ruled that the property wasn't properly taken and that LCG wasn't even able to justify using it in the first place.
Clickhere to view the letter Mayor-President Josh Guillory wrote.