A former Livingston Parish contractor and whistleblower previously charged with overbilling for work after Hurricane Gustav has sued the state Office of Inspector General for malicious prosecution, defamation and invasion of privacy.
Corey delaHoussaye claims in a lawsuit, filed late Monday in the 19th Judicial District Court in Baton Rouge, that the inspector general’s investigation into his company’s billing was illegal, resulted in unfounded criminal charges against him and shut down his ability to gain other employment.
Inspector General Stephen Street said Tuesday afternoon that he had not yet been served with the lawsuit, but “the idea of malicious prosecution is completely without merit, and we will aggressively defend ourselves.”
Street declined further comment.
The criminal case against delaHoussaye effectively ended in January after Judge Brenda Ricks, of the 21st Judicial District Court in Livingston, suppressed all of the inspector general’s evidence underlying the charges — 55 counts of filing false public records and four counts of theft.
Prosecutors alleged that delaHoussaye had been playing golf, working out and tanning at a gym and getting medical treatments at an anti-aging clinic during hours he billed the parish for wetlands mitigation and other work after Hurricane Gustav.
Ricks said the inspector general lacked authority to investigate delaHoussaye or his firm, C-Del Inc., and improperly used a subpoena to get medical records that should have been obtainable only by search warrant. Ricks also ruled that the inspector general’s subpoenas failed to state facts that would justify obtaining delaHoussaye’s golf and gym records. After the Jan. 14 hearing, delaHoussaye’s attorney in the criminal case, John McLindon, said prosecutors had agreed to dismiss the charges. However, a search of the court records late Monday indicated no motion to do so had been filed.
District Attorney Scott Perrilloux could not be reached for comment Tuesday on whether his office had dismissed the criminal case.
In his lawsuit, delaHoussaye claims the Inspector General’s Office not only illegally investigated him but also supplied some of the records it obtained to outside parties who later used the information in a 2014 federal arbitration hearing between Livingston Parish and the Federal Emergency Management Agency over $59 million in unpaid storm cleanup costs. DelaHoussaye is represented by Al Robert in the lawsuit.
DelaHoussaye had served as a consultant to FEMA during the arbitration, helping the federal agency convince a three-judge panel that Livingston’s claims for reimbursement should be denied due to questionable work and billing practices of other contractors involved in the project.
Defendants named in delaHoussaye’s lawsuit include Street, chief investigator Greg Phares and former investigator Jessica McCrary Webb.
DelaHoussaye is seeking unspecified damages and attorney fees.
Follow Heidi R. Kinchen on Twitter, @HeidiRKinchen, and call her at (225) 336-6981.