LAFAYETTE — Former City-Parish Councilman Chris Williams said he and the Lafayette Training and Career Development Center are owed about $20,000 in wages from the Lafayette Housing Authority, according to a civil suit filed last week.
Williams, who is president of the Lafayette Training and Career Development Center, entered into a contract with the Housing Authority in January 2008 to provide case management services for its Disaster Housing Assistance Payment Program, according to the lawsuit.
Williams was one of five caseworkers fired after a report by the state Legislative Auditor’s Office questioned $243,000 in payments to the workers, some of whom were paid up to $37 an hour.
The audit found widespread problems with spending and management at the agency, eventually leading to a takeover by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in March.
Williams was terminated Aug. 13, 2010, without being notified in writing about the reasons for his firing, which is in violation of his contract, the lawsuit states.
In January 2008, Williams’ contract provided a bi-weekly salary of $16.08 per hour and a biweekly car allowance of $300, according to the lawsuit.
In December 2008, Williams entered into a second contract through March 31, 2010, in which he would be paid a salary of $30 per hour, or $3,260 bi-weekly, along with his pre-existing car allowance, the lawsuit said.
The Housing Authority applied to extend the hurricane housing program in February 2010 and Williams consented to an extension to continue providing case management services, the lawsuit said.
The program was extended to Oct. 31, 2010, and Housing Authority Deputy Director Jonathan Carmouche informed Williams that he and the Lafayette Training and Career Development Center would be needed to provide “close out” services until Oct. 31, 2011, the suit said.
The contract states Williams was to receive a 30-day written notice of termination specifying the nature, extent and effective date of termination, the lawsuit said.
Williams’ attorney, Harold D. Register Jr., writes in the lawsuit that because the Housing Authority terminated the contract without good and just cause prior to the agreed term, “LHA is contractually obligated to Williams for ‘the whole of the salaries which he would have been entitled to receive, had the full term of the services arrived.’ ”
Register did not return a call to his office seeking comment Monday.
The lawsuit said the Housing Authority is liable for either the 90 days in unpaid wages, or the full wages from Sept. 6, 2010, the date Williams and the development center made a demand for payment to the Housing Authority.
The audit states Williams submitted timesheets for 40 hours a week to the Housing Authority while working a full-time job as a counselor at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
The audit found an overlap of 91 hours billed to both ULL and the Housing Authority.
Williams has denied any allegations of double-dipping, stating the work was performed by him and his employees.
Auditors noted Williams couldn’t provide any records indicating which employees worked which hours.
Two other contract workers, Linda Jefferson and Myra Elizabeth Parker, also have filed similar suits against the Housing Authority.
Jefferson’s lawsuit was dismissed earlier this month.
Her attorney, Pride Doran, did not return a call seeking comment Monday.
Parker’s suit is still pending.