The head of the Houma-Terrebonne Housing Authority and an NAACP official have feuded for years over the origins of a flier depicting a bribe and David Duke.
Jerome Boykin, head of the Houma NAACP, claims his former friend Wayne Thibodeaux, executive director of the Houma-Terrebonne Housing Authority, created the flier.
The handout — featuring photographs of Boykin, his mother and Duke — accused Boykin of taking $25,000 to support a candidate in a state Senate race.
The flier triggered a lengthy legal battle and a request to look at Thibodeaux’s work emails.
Thibodeaux said Thursday that he fought against the attempt to look at his emails on principle.
He said there is nothing in them about the Senate race or the flier.
“It’s privileged no matter how silly it might be,” he said.
Boykin referred questions Thursday to his attorney but questioned Thibodeaux’s claim that the emails would not shed light on the flier.
Now the state Attorney General’s Office has waded in, saying Thibodeaux can keep private a handful of sought-after personal emails sent on his public email account.
Assistant Attorney General Emalie A. Boyce wrote in a three-page opinion that the emails in question did not relate to the housing authority, illegal activity or anything for which Thibodeaux could be disciplined. Opinions issued by the Attorney General’s Office do not carry the weight of law.
“Purely personal emails at issue are not subject to production under the Public Records Act,” Boyce wrote.
The flier stems from the 2009 state Senate race that pitted then-Democrat Norby Chabert against Republican Brent Callais. Chabert won the race.
Boykin claimed an acronym on the flier stood for Thibodeaux’s political action committee, the Louisiana Institute for Citizens’ Empowerment. Thibodeaux said his committee does not use the acronym listed on the flyer.
In October 2009, Boykin sued the Housing Authority after the Terrebonne Parish District Attorney’s Office failed to tie the flier to any of the authority’s workers.
Thibodeaux said a judge later dismissed the housing authority from the lawsuit. He said Boykin then sued his political action committee and him.
Thibodeaux said the feud dates back to when he supported someone other than Boykin for the NAACP presidency.
“It really is a trail and a tale,” Thibodeaux said.