St. Landry Parish Council vs. Parish Pres. Bill Fontenot

OPELOUSAS, LA (WAFB) - There's a good ole fashion feud brewing in Opelousas, LA. The St. Laundry Parish Council is suing the Parish President, Bill Fontenot. The council says they simply want the President to do his job.

St Landry parish council is asking a judge to order Fontenot to provide a series of documents to the council. Back on June 22, 2012, Andrea West, an Assistant District Attorney, filed a public records request with Parish President Fontenot, after an outside audit that showed some discrepancies. To date those records remain in Fontenot's hands.

"Well the council had asked me because some things have come up," said West. "Some questionable expenses some things in the audit and they asked me to do an investigation to see what I could come up with...if there were any un-authorized expenditures." She looked for information from the parish to conduct her audit.

The council asked for any list of any and all contractors doing any and all work on the Delta Grand, an old movie theatre that's directly across the street from the court house in Opelousas. 9News was told that early plans were to make it part of the next door jail; instead it was renovated and we're told rarely used by anyone.

The Council is also asking for documents on the drug court, an old bank building, again directly across the street from the court house.

The parish bought it and the purchase price, according to some council members, greatly exceeded original projections. The council also asked for information on various work done inside the court house, and the airport where a new $47,000 hanger was built recently.

Skeptical council members say they never voted on any money for the airport project.

"We wanted get to the bottom of it," said longtime council member Wayne Ardoin.  "We want to try to regain possession of the monies that were available to try to put on the roads."

In the Parish President's office there is an entirely different take on the situation. He says he has offered for the council to view the documents, but he says he's not making copies.

"So I'm not refusing any documents I really believe this is a waste of time," says Fontenot.

When pressed if he thought there was going to be a problem with an upcoming Legislative Auditor's report, Fontenot replied "I don't think so, not at all. I feel comfortable with that."

Council woman Pam Gautreau is still frustrated. "We called the investigation. We want the documents. These aren't our documents, they belong to the taxpayers."

A Hearing is set for Friday. The Trial is set for Wednesday.

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