State Inspector General Stephen Street said Friday he is investigating the Jindal administration’s cancellation of a workshop that would have generated income for one of the governor’s opponents.
“The Governor’s Office asked us to take a look at that, and we will do so,” he said.
Street, who was appointed to his job by the governor in 2008, would offer no timeline for the investigation, including whether it will be completed before the Oct. 22 primary.
The governor’s press secretary, Kyle Plotkin, said the Jindal administration requested the investigation “out of an abundance of caution.”
A public records request shows members of the Jindal administration discussed “Niki Bird” Papazoglakis’ gubernatorial campaign before deciding against hiring her nonprofit organization to do a workshop.
Papazoglakis, a Democrat currently on leave from Promoting Awareness, Victim Empowerment, accused Gov. Bobby Jindal of retaliating against her candidacy by canceling a planned workshop with her sexual violence awareness organization.
The Jindal administration blamed budget cuts and licensing issues for the cancellation.
In emails released Friday by the state Department of Children and Family Services, or DCFS, a worker for another state agency forwarded a copy of a news item about Papazoglakis running for governor.
“There goes any chance of a contract with her!” Karen Stubbs, deputy assistant secretary for the Office of Juvenile Justice, wrote DCFS officials.
Kaaren Hebert, a policy adviser at DCFS, then asked the agency’s secretary, Ruth Johnson, if Papazoglakis’ candidacy would have any bearing on her organization’s contract for the workshop.
“(I) could not believe it was the same person,” Johnson responded.
A few weeks later, DCFS officials agreed they could not move forward with the workshop because of budget problems.
Papazoglakis, who requested the records, said the emails show a bias against her because she is running for governor.
“To me, it shows they clearly chose to cancel the contract due to me entering the race,” she said.