Committee investigating Baton Rouge’s bus system claims department is not cooperating

A special committee looking into possible negligence within the Capital Area Transit System (CATS)
Published: Nov. 2, 2022 at 10:45 PM CDT

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - A special committee looking into possible negligence within the Capital Area Transit System (CATS) claims the department is not fully cooperating with the investigation.

A team was created in July to investigate the conduct of some members appointed to the bus system’s board of commissioners, and possibly get them removed.

The CATS board came under fire when former CEO Bill Deville was stripped of his titles and duties after a series of problems, but he was still allowed to collect a six-figure salary.

This led to council members accusing the board of mishandling taxpayers’ dollars.

Attorney Michael Adams, who was hired to do a full review of the case, told members at a public meeting on Wednesday that CATS has not provided all the information they need, nor is the system allowing them to speak with certain people.

Councilwoman and committee chair Carolyn Coleman says she is frustrated to hear about the lack of cooperation, but she says she is not shocked.

“No, I’m not surprised at all,” Coleman said.

The committee approved a motion to begin issuing subpoenas if this cooperation continues.

There was no one from CATS at the meeting.

“We’ve given them several chances to come and clear their name,” councilwoman Jennifer Racca said. “We’re having to drag this out in legal processes. What are we doing? What are we doing with taxpayers’ dollars?”

Councilmembers hope they can get this resolved as soon as possible.

“With every hope that we had was that we could get this resolved, move forward, and clean up whatever that needs to be cleaned and not end up on the news over, and over again with the headlines ‘Look at what CATS is doing now,’” Racca said.

“Grown folks sit down and have conversations, and then monies could’ve stayed, where monies need to have stayed, but we have to do what we have to do,” Coleman said.

Adams could not share too many details due to the nature of the investigation, but he says he wants to sit down with each CATS commissioner to discuss five areas of interest.

“We need full cooperation, we need all the documents, and we need the participation of talking to these commissioners to find out what’s been going on over there the last two years,” Adams said.

The next meeting is set for Dec. 7.

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