NEW IBERIA, La. (KLFY) – The New Iberia Housing Authority chairman Bishop Darren Sophus spoke to News 10 after the board commissioner Raymond Lewis challenged his residency.
News 10’s Rodricka Taylor has followed the story, providing more information on the residency challenge.
Sophus said that as a lifelong New Iberian of 50-plus he has a love and passion for serving the community.
“Nobody pays me to do this,” he said. “I have been volunteering for this for 15 years. He’s new to the housing commission, and he just needs to be in compliance, and so I challenge him to change his behavior, or he needs to resign.”
“Simply because his behavior been repulsive. His behavior has been misogynistic towards the female workers, and his tactics have been a strong arm toward the board members. As chairman, I’m not going to tolerate or condone his behavior,” he added.
The chairman also said that the whole essence of why the conflict exists is from a request Lewis made that wasn’t achieved or accomplished at the time he appealed for it.
“It’s the protocol of HUB that we follow here, and he does not want to do that,” Sophus said. “His makeup has always been run to the media. Name drop. Say all kinds of outlandish things and think that’s going to intimidate people. I think New Iberia is tired of that and to be personal, I’m repulsed by it.”
He also added that he was appointed by the previous mayor of New Iberia and reappointed by current Mayor Freddie DeCourt.
News 10 asked to see the protocols on whether Sophus needs to live in the city or the parish to serve on the board, and he directed to city attorney Jeff Simon.
Simon told News 10 that he could not comment on the matter and to reach out to the mayor. The Mayor has not given any comments.
New Iberia Housing Authority Commissioner Raymond Lewis claimed in 2006, when Simon was the Home Rule Charter Commissioner for the city of New Iberia, that there was an issue with two different members that lived outside the city limits, and in the end, they both resigned.
“It’s incumbent with the oncoming business of the housing authority that we keep progressing, and not be distracted, and someone who’s qualified who lives here who’s vote here can serve,” said Lewis. “So Bishop do the honorable thing. Stop lying and step down you know you don’t live in the city and let someone that pays taxes, lives here, works here, prays here, move on to the board.”
Sophus stated, “in the event that I do move out of Iberia, I would have to inform and then step down, that’s fine but I’m not going to step down because he’s requesting me to step down. If the mayor asks me to stop down then I’ll step down.”