BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A local state representative said claims made by the outgoing Angola Prison warden on 9News This Morning are false.
On Wednesday, Warden Burl Cain alleged that Kenneth Havard went to the Advocate newspaper after a meeting between the two did not go his way. Havard said the warden's story is not accurate.
"I think it's a sign of desperation from a desperate man," said Havard, who represents East and West Feliciana as well as parts of Zachary.
Recently, the Advocate published a series of reports that questioned whether Cain's private business dealings, including a large real estate deal, violated a Louisiana Department of Corrections policy that forbids personal interactions between Department of Public Safety and Corrections personnel and inmates or their families.
Perhaps one of the most damning reports by the newspaper alleged that Cain got a prisoner who was on his deathbed to videotape a murder confession, claiming that he was actually the killer and that another inmate, who was friends with a Cain associate, was not.
Back in September, Cain and Havard met to discuss Ronnie Jett's candidacy for the state legislature. Jett is a former deputy warden at Angola and former mayor of Norwood. He ran for the House District 62 seat against Havard, the incumbent, in last fall's election. Ultimately, Havard won with 63 percent of the vote.
Still, Cain said Jett's candidacy "freaked out" Havard.
"He thought I put him in the race so then… he started complaining and I arranged a meeting with Havard," Cain said. "He said, 'Yes, you need to call him. You got him into the race, you got to get him out.' He flipped the cell phone over and said, 'Call him.'"
Cain said he called Jett and Jett refused to back out. Cain alleged Harvard then retaliated by going to the Advocate Newspaper.
"Rep. Havard just grabbed the phone back and said… 'What's going to happen here, there's going to be some collateral damage.' You're really looking at the collateral damage now," he said, referring to himself.
Havard has a different account. He said he did not ask or pressure Cain to call Jett. He insists Cain offered.
"I said for the record, for anyone listening or may be listening in the future, 'I am not trying to get Ronnie Jett out of this race. But if you'd like to call him you can,'" Havard said. "He talked to Ronnie for five minutes. He said, 'You know Ronnie, you really ought to get out of this race, you're really stressing relationships.'"
Havard denies going to the newspaper.
Havard said he and Cain are enemies and that the feud has persisted for several years.
Back in the early 2000s, the family of Havard's wife - the Kleins - got into a dispute with Cain.
The Kleins supplied stock for the Angola Prison Rodeo for decades. In 2004, Dan Klein said Cain tried to shake him down for money after he raised his price for the stock.
Cain lowered rodeo bid specifications to allow open competition. Dan Klein said at the time the change was made to force him out because his professional rodeo credentials wouldn't allow him to lower standards enough to compete.
Havard said he is happy Cain is stepping down.
"He's never been told 'no' and no one's ever, I think, stood up to him," Havard said.
While he does disagree with the Warden's account of the story, Havard said he does not mind the credit for Cain leaving.
"If he wants to blame me for his resignation, I will accept it and will wear it as a badge of honor," he said.
Cain is scheduled to resign officially on January 1.
James LeBlanc, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections, said Darrel Vannoy, the current warden of Dixon Correctional Institute, will serve as the interim warden at Angola. He has worked in corrections for 40 years.