LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY)– The City Council voted unanimously to fund the investigation into the Mayor-President Josh Guillory awarding drainage contracts. News Ten’s Rodricka Taylor has followed this story, and final steps are now being taken by the City Council following Guillory’s suggestion to conduct an audit investigation.
At last night’s meeting, Guillory provided the answers to the 18 questions Councilwoman Nanette Cook asked in June. He said the council received electronic copies over the weekend but he wanted to also provide a 3,500 page numbered hard copy.
“I’m confident that you all have the capacity and capability to review this information without having to pay someone to read through it for you at great expense to our taxpayers,” said Guillory. “Now I know that every question that you asked is answered in great detail right now, so my hope is that we could avoid spending $100,000 in taxpayers’ money to reproduce these exact same documents you have in your possession.”
Councilwoman Cook replied and appreciated the Mayor-President, “You probably saved some of the hundred thousand dollars, so I appreciate that, but I believe we’re going to go ahead and move forward and get some help with reviewing it.” She added that the council will also submit the 3,500 page document to the investigation team to ensure a clear understanding.
District 3 City Council member Andy Naquin, “We can agree with spending part of that $100,000 to review all of this paperwork to make sure that everything is in good shape, and I’m confident we’ll prove that. I don’t think we will have any issues, but we need to ensure that the public understands that we had a lot of feedback and emails and people wanting to get to the bottom of this paperwork.”
Community members were present at the meeting and expressed their agreement with council’s decision to conduct the investigation.
“I’m just here to ask you to do the right thing. This is not personal. I really just want to know the answers. If we got those answers several months ago, I think a lot of people would put their minds to rest,” said Jan Swift, a concerned citizen.
Swift was told that a the price to obtain a hard-copy of the document Guillory provided would be one dollar per page.
Nureaka Ross said it would be her last time attending the city council meeting, and she no longer wants to be a part of the “circus” as she thinks the decisions are made before the meetings. Ross feels that Lafayette administration has made a mockery of democracy.
“You all are paid to do your job. To serve as a check and balance of this administration, so it’s your time to do the right thing and please find this investigation,” said Ross. She says to Guillory, “Josh, I think you’re a cool guy, but you know deep down inside, if that were your property being destroyed, this would have never happened.”
Geoff Daily, a columnist for The Current, said the city council has the opportunity to start shining a light into the darkness and see how deep the administration’s bad behavior runs.
“The only way you can accomplish this is by funding this investigation and bringing a three-party to analyze the facts. Unfortunately, we can no longer trust what the administration is telling us as the unvarnished truth,” said Daily.
Susan Gillette, the President of Bendel Partnership, said, “To date, we have been told by experts in the field that the Homewood drainage project will provide no value, nor gain for the parish proper, or the citizenry of Lafayette. Quite to the contrary, we believe the drainage plan undertaken on our property is nothing but a power-wielding, unproven money dump wasting the taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars.”
As the council took in all these comments, they voted on a decision to fund the investigation with the general fund. They hope to get the answers needed for themselves and the public.
“We pray you will be successful in uncovering who is actually gaining from this poorly-planned and badly-executed project,” said Gillette.