LIVINGSTON — A state court judge again suppressed all the prosecution’s evidence in a criminal case against a former Livingston Parish contractor accused of overbilling after Hurricane Gustav — a ruling that effectively brings the case to an end.
Prosecutors charged Corey delaHoussaye with dozens of counts of falsifying public records and theft, claiming he billed the parish for wetlands mitigation work after the storm when he was golfing, attending his children’s swim meets, going to the gym and visiting a Baton Rouge anti-aging clinic.
The charges were based on evidence the Louisiana Office of Inspector General gathered — evidence delaHoussaye argued had been obtained in violation of his privacy and due process rights.
Judge Brenda Ricks, of the 21st Judicial District, agreed, ruling Thursday that the inspector general’s subpoenas failed to state facts that would justify obtaining delaHoussaye’s golf and gym records.
Ricks also ruled that the subpoena the Inspector General’s Office used to obtain delaHoussaye’s medical records was insufficient. Those records can be obtained only through a search warrant establishing probable cause.
The ruling effectively blocks the prosecution from using any of the evidence underlying the charges, which John McLindon, the contractor’s attorney, said the prosecutors have agreed to dismiss.
Neither District Attorney Scott Perrilloux nor Assistant District Attorney Greg Murphy, who was handling the case, could be reached for comment after the ruling.
“True vindication,” delaHoussaye said Thursday afternoon. “I’m just glad it’s finally over. It should never have gotten to this point.”
Ricks had ruled in May that the inspector general lacked jurisdiction to investigate delaHoussaye and that the evidence was illegally obtained. The 1st Circuit Court of Appeal overturned the second half of that ruling in July, saying the judge must look instead at whether the evidence was unconstitutionally obtained.
After again suppressing the evidence Thursday, Ricks said there was no need to readdress the jurisdiction question.
McLindon said he, too, is happy the case is over.
“Sometimes, when you’re a whistleblower, things like this happen to you,” McLindon said.
DelaHoussaye has said he informed the FBI of potential fraud by the parish’s debris removal contractors after the 2008 storm. He also served as a consultant for the Federal Emergency Management Agency in a 2014 arbitration hearing, where the agency defeated the parish’s claims for $59 million in additional cleanup costs.
DelaHoussaye contends it was his stand against Livingston Parish’s “good ol’ boy network” that resulted in his “malicious prosecution.”
The case began inauspiciously enough with a grand jury that came one vote shy of indicting delaHoussaye on counts related to the alleged overbilling.
Perrilloux pressed forward, filing an 81-count bill of information in December 2013 based on about $25,000 worth of “questionable” billing out of the $2.3 million that delaHoussaye’s company, C-Del Inc., charged the parish.
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