Audit raps Lafayette government for lax oversight of golf cart, mosquito control contracts _lowres

Lafayette Financial report -- audit

City-parish government was tagged in an audit released Monday for lax monitoring of two public contracts, one that is now being investigating by police and another that resulted in criminal charges against a longtime golf pro at the Jay and Lionel Hebert Municipal Golf Course on Mudd Avenue.

Michael Guidry, 70, who had worked as a contract golf pro for 24 years, was charged with unauthorized use of a moveable in February after unexpectedly announcing his retirement six months earlier.

Prosecutors have revealed little about the case, other than to confirm it involved golf carts. As golf pro, Guidry managed the golf cart rentals.

The audit released Monday does not shed much light on the allegations but notes one instance when Hebert’s company, Acadiana Golf Management Corp., billed an outside party $10,206 for the rental of publicly owned golf carts in 2014, then allegedly altered the invoice to show an $8,040 rental and passed along the lesser amount to city-parish government.

In a separate case, auditors questioned the oversight of city-parish government’s mosquito control contract.

The audit does not give specifics about the alleged issues with Mosquito Control Contractors Inc., a New Iberia-based firm that has had the public contract in Lafayette Parish since 2002.

But documents obtained earlier this year from city-parish government allege an employee with the company falsified information on the extent of contractually required public outreach work.

City-Parish President Joey Durel said in an April interview that city-parish government has scaled back the contract pending a criminal investigation.

MCCI owner Glenn Stokes has said he fired the employee responsible for public education programs within two hours of learning of the discrepancies.

The public outreach work involved dropping off literature on the health concerns of mosquito bites and giving presentations at local schools.

MCCI has since repaid city-parish government $37,524 for public outreach work that was billed but which might not have been done.

The questions surrounding the two contracts were made public earlier this year.

City-Parish Chief Financial Officer Lorrie Toups wrote in a message to auditors that procedures have been tweaked to strengthen the oversight of both contracts.

The audit released Monday was for the fiscal year that ran from Nov. 1, 2013, to Oct. 31, 2014.

Outside of the contract issues, the audit paints a fairly rosy picture of city-parish finances: tax revenue was stable and city-parish government has rebuilt a substantial emergency reserve after a few years of tapping its savings account to cover operating expenses.

Follow Richard Burgess on Twitter, rbb100.