PORT ALLEN — City Council members assured citizens Wednesday that they would not vote to cover the more than $50,000 in legal expenses accrued by former Mayor Demetric “Deedy” Slaughter in 2013.
“We have not voted to pay that and I will not vote to pay that,” Councilman Hugh “Hootie” Riviere said during Wednesday’s Finance and Personnel Committee meeting.
The statements came in the wake of an audit report released last month, showing that the council decided not to force Slaughter to repay thousands of dollars in public funds she used to pay lawyers.
Discussion at Wednesday’s meeting centered on invoices reflecting Slaughter’s legal representation during numerous civil lawsuits filed against her before she was recalled from office.
Audrey McCain, the city’s chief financial officer, said that Slaughter denied public records requests for the invoices while in office.
“She (Slaughter) said that since they regarded litigation, they were not public record,” McCain said. “I told her I thought that was wrong. If it’s public, it’s public. If it’s not, it’s not.”
McCain added that after Slaughter left office, the invoices regarding her legal fees went missing from City Hall.
“They were there,” McCain said of the invoices. “I didn’t remove them, and I did not authorize anyone to move them. We have searched that office everywhere.”
Councilman Gary Hubble, who chairs the committee, adamantly opposed paying the fees, describing the vilification he and other council members suffered during that time.
“Saying yes means that I say she (Slaughter) was right, and she was not. I don’t support paying any of it,” he said to a round of applause from the audience.
Councilman R.J. Loupe also said he would not support paying the expenses. He called for law enforcement to look into the matter, saying that he feels that “something illegal” may have taken place.
“What it comes down to is that we need to respect the money,” he said.