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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

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Council requesting DA to “investigate” parish president

Council requesting DA to “investigate” parish president

Parish President Jimmy Cantrelle refused on Tuesday night to elaborate on his December 6th Facebook posting regarding what he called attacks in Council meetings and in the press over a U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) complaint.

“If we pulled the item at the last meeting, what item are you referring to?” asked Councilman Jerry Jones at the Tuesday public meeting.

“I am not at liberty to say, but I am tired of these false accusations,” responded Cantrelle.

It is unclear what the complaint was about, whether it was an investigation of the dismissal of one or several employees, and/or the reasons for dismissal.

In an attempt to get to the bottom of the complaint and other questions, Jones offered three resolutions on Tuesday requesting that District Attorney Cam Morvant’s office “investigate” certain matters.

One was a resolution asking Morvant to “investigate the possible criminal activity associated with the manner in which random drug screens for the Parish have been handled.”

The second request to the DA is to “investigate the possible malfeasance in office of the Parish President regarding bribery.”

And the third is a request to “investigate the possible extortion of the current Parish President regarding bribery.”

Councilman Daniel Lorraine asked several questions about the resolutions which Jones would not answer.

“Unless ya’ll tell us what we are voting on, I can’t support this measure,” he said.

Debate ensued as to whether the DA, who is also legal counsel for Cantrelle as well as for parish government, could investigate the person he represents.

Several councilmen asked for more clarity on the third resolution.

“Is he being ‘extorted’, or is he ‘extorting’?” asked Councilman Michael Gros.

Again, Jones would not respond.

The vote on all three resolutions was 5-4. Dissenting were Lorraine, Autin, Bourgeois, and Gros.

As a result of the passage of the resolutions, Cantrelle sent out a press release regarding the Council’s requests to the DA.

Cantrelle said the drug screen issue “deals with a personnel issue which cannot be discussed publicly.”

Of the other requests to investigate malfeasance and possible extortion, Cantrelle responded: “These allegations are false and unsubstantiated. The charge is unfounded and scurrilous.”