The Louisiana Board of Ethics ruled Friday that former Jefferson Parish Constable Antoine “Tony” Thomassie and his wife violated the state’s nepotism laws when he employed her for more than a year to handle wage garnishments for him.
The couple was not fined, though they admitted the facts of the case against them and that they violated the law.
The consent opinion was adopted by a 10-1 vote by the Board of Ethics, with Charles E. Bruneau dissenting.
Thomassie, who was elected as the parish’s 2nd District constable in 1987 and lost his re-election bid in 2014, worked from home and did not maintain a separate bank account or credit card for his duties as constable.
He kept 50 percent of the fees and deposits he collected and a 6 percent commission for managing wage garnishments, minus whatever expenses he had.
Thomassie hired his wife in August 2012, when the 2nd District justice of the peace stopped employing a clerk, and he employed her until the end of 2013.
Thomassie, who lives in Marrero, has been the subject of inquiries by the state and law enforcement agencies.
In March 2014, his house was raided by state auditors and Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies after the Metropolitan Crime Commission filed a complaint with the state Legislative Auditor’s Office.
That investigation was looking into Thomassie’s travel expenses, which amounted to $94,343 over a three-year period, and allegations that he gave out as many as 70 badges for deputy constables who paid him $20 a week to carry them.
Patrick Dejean, the 2nd District justice of the peace, has sued to block the release of that audit report, saying the auditors misrepresented themselves.
Thomassie also was the subject of investigative news reports on WVUE-TV that alleged he was spending time in a West Bank bar during hours he claimed to be working.
In July, he was arrested in Westwego and booked on DWI after being captured on film struggling to stand up in a parking lot in broad daylight. He pleaded not guilty to DWI and failure to maintain control of his vehicle but has not yet gone to trial.
The 2nd District covers most of Jefferson Parish’s West Bank west of the Harvey Canal.
Follow Chad Calder on Twitter, @Chad_Calder.