Of course, it comes courtesy of its chairman Jim Huey. For months he’s been trying to engineer himself a big payoff since the District’s board chairman only earns a pittance and state law allows other levee district board leaders to earn $1,000 a month. He argues that he’s owed the monthly stipend over his nine-year term even if state law doesn’t entitle him to it. This has come after he tried to get a fast one pulled in the legislature to accomplish much the same thing. And instead of making sure of adequate flood protection, the District has been funding amenities for casinos and investigations (and paying judgments because of them) into Huey’s ideological opponents.
Now it comes out that Huey didn’t waste any time after Hurricane Katrina in putting the fix in. He committed the board to pay rent (reimbursable by the federal government) for office space to his cousin-in-law, and to that guy’s son a contract to get cleaned up both of the District’s marinas (just two of the many things where District money went instead of flood protection). Let’s check out his explanations concerning these sweetheart deals.
In the name of the board, he rented 3,000 square feet for $5,000 a month for six months in Baton Rouge. Which raises a number of questions:
The other no-bid contract almost makes this one look virtuous. Essentially, Huey contracted to the son of his cousin’s husband and to another guy who the son had met only days before to create a new company in a field they didn’t know anything about to restore order to the smashed-up marinas. Huey said he did this out of fear that people would happen or intrude on the property, injure themselves, and sue the District. Again, there are questions:
Fortunately, other board members finally have woken out of their slumber and have started to ask questions about these things. To which Huey has responded he might step down from the board because of the querying. My advice to it: take this offer and lock the door in case he changes his mind.