District Attorney Keith Stutes may be launching an investigation of Lafayette Utilities System and LUS Fiber, while no decision has been announced about a possible Louisiana State Police investigation requested Feb. 6.
City-parish officials requested the state police investigation into the possible criminal destruction of public records, a violation of state law, following a whistle blower tip alleging computer files were deleted, possibly to cover up a crime, Mayor-President Josh Guillory said last week.
Lt. Nick Manale with the Louisiana State Police public affairs section told The Acadiana Advocate in an email Wednesday the agency received Guillory's letter requesting an investigation "and is currently reviewing the information. No further information is available at this time."
In a news release Wednesday, Guillory confirmed that Stutes requested documents related to prior investigations and audits of LUS and LUS Fiber after City-Parish Attorney Gregory Logan notified the District Attorney's Office about the request for Louisiana State Police to investigate the alleged destruction or alteration of public records, a violation of state law.
In addition, there are concerns about "possible violations of law related to the matter of questionable payments from LUS to LUS Fiber and the motivations behind and appropriateness of said payments," the news release states.
The administration received a letter from Stutes dated Feb. 7, according to the news release, advising he considers Logan's notice to be the filing of a complaint.
Stutes requested copies of "any and all documents or writings or memorandum, compiled as a result of or in any way connected to any internal investigations, inquiries, audits or examinations by LCG (Lafayette Consolidated Government) or any other public or private entities, including, but not limited to the Louisiana Public Service Commission, the Louisiana Legislative auditor, regarding LUS, LUS Fiber, and any former or present employees of LSC, LUS and/or LUS Fiber," the release states.
Guillory is cited in the news release as saying LCG will comply fully with the DA's request for documents.
"The ultimate goal," he wrote, "is to identify and correct the administrative and operations weaknesses that have allowed for questionable financial support and illegal subsidization between LUS and LUS Fiber so that we may transition both entities to lawful and financially healthy operations."
It has not been proven that LUS illegally subsidized the fiber division. LUS has been accused by the administration of former Mayor-President Joel Robideaux of making payments to LUS Fiber for services it never received and of overpaying for a questionable service to monitor power outages. The payments totaling more than $9 million allegedly were made to financially prop up the fledgling fiber operations, despite a state law prohibiting cross-subsidization of the telecommunications operations by LUS' other operations.
Stutes' request also is due in part, the release states, to an announcement by Guillory on his KPEL radio show Feb. 6 that Lafayette Police raided LUS in the fall of 2019 under Robideaux and confiscated computers.
Several individuals who were on the Lafayette City-Parish Council at the time said they never heard of a raid last fall.
The Acadiana Advocate requested documents about the alleged raid by Lafayette Police on LUS. In a response dated Feb. 11, Cearley Fontenot with Oats & Marino law firm, a contractor with LCG that reviews public records requests, advised the are no documents about a raid at LUS.
Logan advised the response to the public records request was accurate.
"I saw no findings of a raid," Cpl. Bridgette Dugas, public information officer with Lafayette Police, told The Acadiana Advocate.