Livingston man charged with false billing in Gustav work

Prosecutors have filed 81 formal charges against a former Livingston Parish contractor accused of falsifying billing invoices and theft related to parish Hurricane Gustav cleanup work.

The 21st Judicial District Attorney’s Office filed a bill of information Tuesday charging Corey Delahoussaye with 73 counts of filing or maintaining false public records and eight counts of theft.

The bill says the false public records were filed between July 2010 and September 2011.

The action comes about two weeks after a Livingston Parish grand jury, on an 8-2 vote, declined to indict Delahoussaye in the case. One more vote would have led to an indictment.

District Attorney Scott Perrilloux had said his office would formally charge Delahoussaye after the grand jury vote.

Perrilloux and Delahoussaye declined comment Thursday about the formal charges.

Delahoussaye’s attorney, John McLindon, said his client would surrender to the Sheriff’s Office on Thursday to be officially booked.

He said Delahoussaye will plead not guilty when his arraignment is eventually set.

“If it ever gets to trial, we look forward to telling our story in open court,” McLindon said. “I think a lot of people don’t want that story to be told.”

McLindon declined to elaborate when asked about Delahoussaye’s story.

Livingston Parish hired Delahoussaye and his firm, C-Del Inc., in October 2009 to help resolve wetlands permit and mitigation issues lingering from the parish’s debris cleanup efforts from Hurricane Gustav in 2008.

Delahoussaye billed the parish for about $2 million, but the then-outgoing Parish Council in terminated its contract in August 2011 with C-Del after council members raised questions about Delahoussaye’s invoices.

Delahoussaye was accused of playing golf, working out at a health club and taking his children to swim meets during time he claimed he was working.

Delahoussaye has denied the claims. He has said his termination was in retaliation for his reporting of alleged improper and illegal cleanup work of three firms he was supposed to monitor.

Delahoussaye also has said a golf club at which he played recorded incorrect tee times and days for him and he worked more than 40 hours per week but billed only 40 at the parish’s request.

Delahoussaye also has said he sometimes disguised the actual hours he worked because he was working as an FBI informant at the time. An FBI spokeswoman declined comment Thursday when asked if Delahoussaye worked as an informant for the agency.

Shortly after taking office in 2012, Parish President Layton Ricks stopped payment on a $379,000 check issued to Delahoussaye by then-Parish President Mike Grimmer for Delahoussaye’s Gustav work.

Ricks has repeatedly declined to sign the check.

Delahoussaye sued the parish and the three cleanup and monitoring firms — International Equipment Distributors, Alvin Fairburn & Associates and Professional Engineering Consultants — in August 2012, claiming they conspired to disgrace him and violate his civil rights.

The Livingston Parish Council voted in December 2012 to let council attorney Chris Moody settle the case. However, no settlement was ever reached.

The council’s vote came at a time when the state Inspector General’s Office was looking into Delahoussaye’s dealings with the parish.

A March 1 letter McLindon sent to Moody, obtained by The Advocate on Thursday, refers to a letter that Moody had sent council members in February.

In it, Moody recommended that any settlement wait until Delahoussaye had given an official statement to the Inspector General’s Office.

McLindon said in the March 1 letter that Delahoussaye would gladly give a statement if the parish agreed to give Delahoussaye the final payment he was owed for his work.

Moody responded with a letter a week later, saying he was upset McLindon had received Moody’s letter to the council.

Moody indicated he might file a separate lawsuit asking the courts to force Delahoussaye to return the money he earned from the parish.

The three engineering firms have since been dismissed from Delahoussaye’s lawsuit, but the parish and Ricks remain as defendants.

Perrilloux also investigated Delahoussaye in November 2011 but turned the case over to federal authorities one month later.

Agents from the Louisiana Inspector General’s Office seized at least 42 electronic devices from Delahoussaye’s Baton Rouge home on July 25 that contained records investigators believe show Delahoussaye falsified his billing records.

The chief investigator for the Inspector General’s Office, Greg Phares, said his office is continuing to work with the District Attorney’s Office to “ascertain the facts” in the case.

Advocate staff writer Heidi R. Kinchen contributed to this report.