Brief: Lafayette councils demand answers on audit

Josh Guillory at podium
Photo by Travis Gauthier

The gist: A joint special meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. today to address LCG’s financial audit, which documented extraordinary flaws in its findings.

Get caught up. In the annual financial audit released earlier this month, auditors found that LCG likely broke local and state laws. They said it violated the Home Rule Charter and state constitution, including public bid law, during the last fiscal year. Most of the violations were centered on LCG’s $110 million parishwide drainage program, which has largely defined the first term of Mayor-President Josh Guillory and his “new pace of government.”

Council members are pressing for answers. Last week the chairs of both councils sent a list of 11 questions they wanted the Guillory administration to answer and provide documentation for ahead of this afternoon’s meeting, but they got no response, multiple council members confirm. 

Burton Kolder of Kolder Slaven & Co., which has more than 35 years of experience auditing municipalities like LCG, will present his firm’s findings at the meeting and council members are expected to continue to press the administration for answers. The public will be allowed to comment. 

In a letter to Guillory on May 17, the council chairs wrote:

Josh, below is a list of questions following the Audit Exit Meeting with Kolder, Slaven & Company, LLC, the LCG Auditors. The Exit Meeting included the Council Chairs and Finance/Budget Chairs. Because the City Chair serves in both capacities, the Finance Vice Chair for the City was able to attend.

The questions are being presented in advance of the Special Joint Council meeting on May 23rd at 5:30 pm, so as to expedite the Special Joint Council meeting and provide a courtesy to the Administration so questions are not posed on the spot during the meeting. You are asked to respond to the questions prior to the 5:30 pm meeting on Tuesday, May 23rd with the answers and documentation. The earlier those responses are provided, the greater the likelihood that they could be reviewed timely for the meeting.

The audit report had 29 findings, 12 of which were repeated from the previous year. Among the notable findings condensed by the Louisiana legislative auditor, which is conducting a separate investigative audit of the Guillory administration:   

  • Lack of complete purchasing documentation 
  • No signed contract for a public works project totaling more than $1 million 
  • Overdraft of $19.8 million related to a grant for construction of detention ponds
  • Improper use of sales tax proceeds from 1961 and 1985 dedications
  • Various public bid law violations
  • Acquisition of certain property without an ordinance and at a price higher than appraised value
  • Improper use of ad valorem drainage millage proceeds
  • Noncompliance with reporting and monitoring requirements for U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and U.S. Department of the Treasury programs

The report has been sent to Attorney General Jeff Landry and the governor, as is required by law. Landry’s office can choose to act on it, or sit on it. His office did not respond to messages seeking comment.