Contractor wants DA recused from Livingston fraud case

Former Livingston Parish contractor Corey Delahoussaye says the 21st Judicial District Attorney’s Office should be recused from prosecuting a public records fraud and theft case against him because it previously provided him with legal advice on a related matter.

The District Attorney’s Office filed an 81-count bill of information against Delahoussaye in December after a parish grand jury declined to indict him on allegations he falsified timesheets and billing invoices submitted to the parish.

The grand jury vote was 8-2, one vote shy of the nine needed for indictment.

Delahoussaye has called his prosecution “malicious” and said the District Attorney’s Office, as well as the parish president and council, became hostile toward him after he reported allegedly improper and illegal debris removal work following Hurricane Gustav.

District Attorney Scott Perrilloux declined to comment on the contractor’s allegation Friday but said his office will oppose the motion to recuse.

Whatever relationship may have existed between Delahoussaye and an attorney Perrilloux appointed as parish legal adviser fell considerably short of an attorney-client relationship and is not sufficient basis for recusal, Perrilloux said.

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

C-Del billed the parish for about $2 million, but the Parish Council terminated its contract with the firm in August 2011 after council members began raising 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 times he had claimed to be doing work for the parish.

Delahoussaye claims his termination was retaliation for his reporting of allegedly illegal work performed by other contractors that was submitted for federal reimbursement.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has denied roughly $59 million of the parish’s claims for Gustav cleanup costs. That dispute is in arbitration, where FEMA’s arguments against payment have relied in part on information provided by Delahoussaye.

In his motion to recuse, filed Wednesday, Delahoussaye said he sought legal advice on numerous occasions from Blayne Honeycutt, who served as the parish’s legal adviser during the term of C-Del’s contract with the parish.

Honeycutt was appointed by Perrilloux, the district attorney whose office the parish’s Home Rule Charter designates as the parish’s legal counsel.

“As a contractor for the Livingston Parish Council, I deemed it appropriate to rely on the advice and counsel of their attorney,” Delahoussaye said in an affidavit supporting the recusal motion.

Delahoussaye said he sought Honeycutt’s counsel on several issues, including his contract and billing with the parish.

Because Honeycutt provided Delahoussaye with legal advice, it would be a conflict of interest for Perrilloux’s office to prosecute Delahoussaye’s criminal case, Delahoussaye said.

The recusal motion seeks instead to have the state Attorney General’s Office take over prosecution of the case.