Lafayette City-Parish Councilman Kenneth Boudreaux may have run afoul of Louisiana law by serving on the council while employed as a youth services and program director at the 15th District Attorney’s Office, which is funded in part by parish government, according to a Legislative Auditor’s Office report released Monday.
The probe, conducted in 2015 after Boudreaux resigned from the District Attorney’s Office, found other possible breaches of the law, including Boudreaux questionably receiving full-time pay for those weeks when he didn’t work 40 hours. Those weeks, according to the report, include time he spent at council budget meetings and at out-of-town conferences he attended as a councilman.
But investigators said part of their probe was stymied when they tried to verify Boudreaux’s work sheets at the District Attorney’s Office.
“We attempted to review documentation of Mr. Boudreaux’s work activities for the district attorney during the period he was attending out-of-town conferences and budget hearings for the Lafayette City-Parish Council,” the report states.
“However, during our audit we learned that Mr. Boudreaux’s former administrative assistant destroyed documentation supporting Mr. Boudreaux’s work activities following his termination in January 2015.”
Efforts Monday to contact Boudreaux through the city-parish government and on his cellphone were unsuccessful.
For 20 years, Boudreaux was the youth services director for former District Attorney Mike Harson, first in Lafayette Parish then in Vermilion Parish, two of the 15th District’s three parishes. The other parish is Acadia.
In 2007, the Attorney General’s Office said it was improper for Boudreaux to work in a position funded by the legislative body that he was a part of. Another opinion in March 2008, however, OK’d Boudreaux’s employment as the District Attorney’s Office youth director in Vermilion Parish, as long as it was funded by the Vermilion Parish Police Jury.
According to the report, Harson in a letter assured the Attorney General’s Office that Boudreaux would be paid with Vermilion Parish funds and that Boudreaux’s “position will not be funded, by any extent, by the Lafayette Office or the Lafayette Consolidated Government through the Lafayette City-Parish Council.”
State investigators, however, found that from 2008 to 2011 the District Attorney’s Office indirectly funded Boudreaux’s $42,723 a year salary by reimbursing Vermilion Parish with Lafayette Parish money. Harson told the auditors he used dollars from a “discretionary fund” at his office.
“Mr. Harson stated he believed that these funds could be used in any manner he deemed appropriate as long as they were necessary and reasonable to the performance of his constitutional responsibilities,” the legislative auditor’s report states. Boudreaux stated he wasn’t aware that district attorney funds were used to pay him.
Robin Magee, who is Boudreaux’s attorney, wrote in the report that the allegations lack proof.
“Despite months of examination and investigation by your office and multiple revisions of your audit report, there is still no evidence that Mr. Boudreaux violated the Louisiana constitution or state laws,” Magee wrote. “Considering the absence of proof, we believe the proposed findings are incorrect.”
Magee also said Boudreaux had a positive effect on young people during his years on the job.
District Attorney Keith Stutes, who upset Harson’s re-election bid in 2014, chose not to retain Boudreaux when he took office.
Stutes in a letter said circumstances described in the audit occurred before he took office. “As a matter of fact, it was upon my taking office that I discovered certain facts that gave rise to your investigation,” he said.
The audit contains a few recommendations: that all District Attorney’s Office employees fill out time sheets and have them approved by supervisors, that employees destroy records only in accordance with department policy and state laws and that before a job offer is made to a public office holder, the District Attorney’s Office get an opinion from the Attorney General’s Office.
Follow Billy Gunn on Twitter, @BillyGunnAcad.