LAFAYETTE, La. UPDATE: Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory announced Thursday that he has named a third-party audit firm to conduct a “full independent forensic audit” of Lafayette Utilities Services.
Carr Riggs & Ingram CPAs and Advisors has been selected to lead the audit.
While speaking on KPEL earlier that day, Guillory said LUS was “raided” by law enforcement and an undisclosed number of employees were placed on administrative leave.
Since his Thursday morning radio interview, the mayor-president has declined requests for an interview by News 10. A spokesperson for his administration said Guillory was “booked for the day.”
“LUS is a critical asset of Lafayette Consolidated Government, representing almost half of our financial activity,” Guillory said in a prepared statement released from this office Thursday evening.
“We have to be confident that we know everything that is happening — operationally and financially at LUS. That is why I am calling for a full forensic audit of LUS by CRI,” Guillory continued. “We need an unbiased, independent view of the situation at LUS so that we can apply the right remedy, restore the confidence of ratepayers and assure its integrity for financial markets.
Guillory also submitted a formal complaint directly to Louisiana State Police Superintendent Col. Kevin Reeves, not Louisiana State Police Bureau of Investigations Region II.
The letter requests the state law enforcement agency to investigate LUS and LUS Fiber for allegedly destroying public records, namely emails thousands of emails in 2011, in “an attempt to cover up a crime.” The letter names LUS director Terry Huval as an individual who may have information on the alleged cover up.
Guillory announced that his administration was going to ask State Police into investigate LUS and LUS Fiber during his weekly radio program on KPEL.
ORIGINAL (The Advertiser): Mayor-President Josh Guillory confirmed Thursday that police officers “raided” the Lafayette Utilities System last fall following allegations that employees were deleting emails and records.
An undisclosed number of LUS employees were placed on administrative leave as part of the investigation, Guillory said during his live radio show on KPEL Thursday, though he declined to provide their names.
“Over this past fall, the degree of seriousness at LUS rose to the level that there was actually a raid that involved LUS. It involved our local police department,” Guillory said. “It was the previous administration trying to be as proactive as they can. It surrounded a discussion about files being deleted and allegations about computers being wiped.”
During Thursday’s interview on KPEL, Guillory claimed his administration will ask the Louisiana State Police to investigate the allegations that records were deleted. As of 2 p.m., State Police has received no such request, Troop I spokesman Thomas Gossen told News 10.
Guillory’s announcement is the latest development in questionable practices in Lafayette’s utilities systems. Last year, former Mayor-President Joel Robideaux launched an investigation into concerns about illegal transfers of millions of dollars from LUS to LUS Fiber as a way to subsidize the cable, internet and phone provider.
Before leaving office, Robideaux revealed that his review discovered about $12 million in improper payments LUS made to LUS Fiber in possible violation of state law that prohibits a government utility from subsidizing a related utility.
He reported his administration’s findings to the Public Service Commission, which oversees utilities in Louisiana.
The Daily Advertiser reported in December that LUS paid Fiber millions more dating back to 2011, according to an analysis of public records that stretched beyond the period Robideaux’s review covered.