SORRENTO — Town Councilman Randy Anny took notes, made motions and even a few suggestions Tuesday at his first council meeting since FBI agents seized his fishing boat emblazoned with “Who’s Ya Daddy” from his driveway.
The agents visited his home just down Main Street from town hall a week ago Tuesday, neighbors and the town police chief have said, but the as-yet-unexplained seizure did not come up as the council dealt with everyday matters for the small Ascension Parish community.
The council worked through monthly bills and renewal of a state highway maintenance agreement and had preliminary talks with Mayor Mike Lambert about the next year’s budget and a possible revamp of the town’s planning and zoning rules.
Anny reminded Councilman Marvin Martin and other town officials about highway traffic figures Sorrento gathered a few years ago for proposed annexations that could be used for growth planning.
“If y’all can get those folders, maybe that’ll help a few people look at what Mike’s talking about,” Anny said.
After the council meeting Tuesday, Anny declined comment on the FBI’s seizure of his boat.
“Like I said, I have no comment because I don’t know,” Anny said.
When asked if he had received a federal target letter, Anny also declined comment.
Receipt of such a letter is an indication that someone is the subject of a federal criminal probe and is likely to be indicted.
Anny did say he had every intention of going to Tuesday’s council meeting and future ones, adding that things would “be business as usual.”
“Same Randy. I’m going to be here for the townspeople all the time,” he said.
FBI spokesman Craig Betbeze said Tuesday that he could neither confirm nor deny the existence of a federal probe. But talk of a federal grand jury investigation has circled the town for more than a year and a half since town officials raised questions about sewer repairs for which Anny signed a check in July 2012. Anny had check-writing authority then in the absence of then-Mayor Wilson Longanecker Jr., who was ill.
The work wasn’t finished by mid-2013 when Lambert took office, though the company had received a $77,500 check in advance a year earlier, an unusual procedure in government public works contracting.
A company lawyer claimed then that the company had already finished other work in town and was about to start the job when Lambert stopped the project. The full project was worth $142,000.
Anny has previously denied any wrongdoing with the project.
Also, Lambert said in 2013, a short time after he began raising questions about the sewer deal, that he turned over town documents to a federal grand jury but declined to describe the documents. The town’s attorney has refused to turn over any grand jury subpoena, citing unspecified federal rules, and did not even acknowledge one exists.
Follow David J. Mitchell on Twitter, @NewsieDave.