LAFAYETTE — A Lafayette attorney has filed a federal lawsuit against the son of Iberia Parish President Errol “Romo” Romero, claiming the younger Romero exercises an amount of influence over parish operations that only the president should have.
It’s unclear at this point exactly who the attorney is representing.
The lawsuit claims Shane Romero, an attorney, is the man behind some documents written in the name of his father, including a 2012 complaint letter sent to officials with oversight of Louisiana legal issues, including the chief justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court, the lawsuit alleges.
The complaint letter made accusations about Iberia Parish District Attorney Phil Haney that ultimately were dismissed by the state Attorney General’s Office. State investigators looked at the case and found flaws, including sworn statements that were later proved bogus.
The lawsuit, filed Friday by Lafayette attorney Gary McGoffin, comes on the heels of a report by former U.S. Attorney Donald Washington. For over two years, Washington investigated some of the goings-on in Iberia Parish government and Shane Romero’s role in his father’s duties as president. The younger Romero is described in both documents as a “pro bono” attorney who acted with the authority that only the president legally has.
The lawsuit asks a federal judge to prohibit Shane Romero from acting as a parish official who writes parish documents and dispenses policy from behind a veil. It also seeks to prevent the younger Romero from entering nonpublic areas of the Iberia Parish offices.
Errol Romero said Monday that the lawsuit is the result of machinations by Haney. “None of (the allegations in the lawsuit) has any merit,” the parish president said.
An attempt to contact Haney late Monday was unsuccessful.
Shane Romero said the lawsuit and Washington’s investigation were politically motivated and timed to come out less than 30 days before the Nov. 4 election day for the younger Romero, a Republican, in his run for New Iberia City Court judge against four other candidates: Natalie Bernard Broussard, a Democrat; Trey Haik, a Republican; David Lamm, no party affiliation; and Edward Landry, a Republican.
“Let’s call this exactly what it is: an attempt to improperly influence the election process by Phil Haney and his cronies to once again ensure their hand-picked candidate has an advantage,” he said.
Shane Romero also questioned exactly who filed the lawsuit. Iberia Parish government encompasses many offices, including Errol Romero’s.
“Here we have Mr. McGoffin acting on behalf of the parish as a party plaintiff, for which he has no authorization,” Romero said.
McGoffin, the attorney who filed the suit, said Monday that the younger Romero has acted with parish presidential powers, even sending out job termination notices to some parish employees before his father’s 2012 oath of office. Those letters later were deemed illegal.
“(Shane Romero) has been running things since before Mr. (Errol) Romero took office,” McGoffin said.
The lawsuit incorporates much of Washington’s findings, which were released Wednesday in a report to the Parish Council.
Viewing a video deposition Errol Romero made in a case connected to parish government, Washington concluded Romero did not write the complaint letter about Haney.
“The complaint filed by parish President Romero could not have been prepared by parish President Romero as he does not appear to have the skills or capacity to create such a document,” Washington said in his report.
Washington noted the legal terms employed in the complaint and concluded Shane Romero and another attorney composed the letter.