By Bob Anderson
Florida Parishes bureau
June 20, 2012
LIVINGSTON — After another contentious meeting, the Livingston Parish Council voted 5-2 Tuesday night to direct the parish president to pay a contested bill to a contractor in an offshoot of the Hurricane Gustav cleanup effort.
Shortly after taking office, Parish President Layton Ricks stopped payment on a $379,000 check written to C-Del Inc. by then-Parish President Mike Grimmer.
At the time, Ricks said C-Del would be paid if an investigation of C-Del was favorable to the company.
The bill needs to be paid, Councilman Marshall Harris said, and if an investigative agency determines the company overcharged the parish, the owner, Corey Delahoussaye, should be prosecuted.
Councilwoman Joan Landry and District Attorney Scott Perrilloux led opposition to paying C-Del until questions about the validity of the bills are settled.
When questioned by Perrilloux, Delahoussaye said his company had billed the parish for about $2.1 million.
C-Del was hired in October 2009 to help the parish resolve wetlands permit and mitigation issues lingering from the parish’s Hurricane Gustav cleanup in 2008.
The company worked for the parish for about two years before the departing Parish Council members canceled its contract last year. The $379,000 would have been the final payment.
Landry, who said the matter has been turned over to the state Inspector General’s Office, made a motion to continue putting off the payment until an investigation is complete. There was no second to her motion.
She also suggested in vain the auditor who produced questions about the billing be asked to appear before the council.
Delahoussaye told the council that information provided by the auditor had incorrectly claimed that golf course records indicated Delahoussaye was playing golf at times he was billing the parish.
The country club listed his golf charges on incorrect days, he said.
He showed the council records of emails and other work he said he did during those hours.
Perrilloux asked him if someone else could have done the computer work.
“I’m the only one with the username and password,” Delahoussaye said.
Delahoussaye said he not only worked the hours that he billed, but also worked many hours for which he didn’t submit invoices.
The council voted to direct the parish president to pay C-del the $379,000 minus $6,275 in bills questioned by the auditor.
Landry, who voted against the motion, said the $6,275 represents what was found in only a small portion of the C-Del billing.
Councilman Delos Blackwell also voted against directing the parish president to pay the bill.
Cindy Wale, Chance Parent, Jim Norred, Ricky Goff and Harris voted to direct the parish president to pay.
After the meeting, Delahoussaye said he is not under investigation.
“This is a witch hunt,” he said.