Tony Thomassie, a Jefferson Parish constable whose home was raided by sheriff’s deputies in March as part of a state investigation into whether he has abused his post, has filed a lawsuit against 2nd Parish Court claiming the court has illegally stopped using him to execute court orders.
Thomassie’s suit, filed last week in 24th Judicial District Court in Gretna, seeks an injunction to stop 2nd Parish Justice of the Peace Patrick Hale DeJean and Clerk of Court Nora Romano from using Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies to execute citations, summonses, seizures and writs in civil cases.
The suit says 2nd Parish Court began doing so March 7 in violation of a law that mandates those duties are to be performed by the constable unless he is “disqualified.”
The suit claims 2nd Parish Court is acting illegally and that any duties not carried out by Thomassie are “void and of no effect.”
Thomassie, who makes $92,000 per year, was the subject of television news reports in February that found he had been spending much of his workday in a Harvey bar rather than serving papers to defendants who are sued in the small claims court.
In late March, the Sheriff’s Office and investigators with the state Legislative Auditor’s Office raided his home looking for records that could shed light on complaints that he had deputized as many as 70 people for $20 per badge and racked up almost $95,000 in travel expenses over a three-year period.
The Metropolitan Crime Commission, which filed the complaints with the legislative auditor and has been collecting information on Thomassie for about five years, said none of the parish’s seven other constables billed it for more than $1,800 during that period.
Shortly after the raid, Thomassie said the accusations against him had no merit and suggested his troubles may stem from an undisclosed complaint with the state Judiciary Committee against DeJean. He has refused to comment on the investigation.
A hearing is scheduled for Friday in Judge John Molaison Jr.’s court.
Follow Chad Calder on Twitter, @Chad_Calder.