Mary Roper civil lawsuit against parish delayed because of hacking allegations _lowres

Mary Roper

Baton Rouge Councilman John Delgado is digging into fired Parish Attorney Mary Roper’s work schedule to determine if she was working regular full-time hours while employed by the city-parish.

Delgado filed a public record request Thursday seeking copies of all of Roper’s time sheets, calendars and schedules kept for the past two years.

But those files are missing, said Lea Anne Batson, acting parish attorney. And the last person seen with them was Roper.

“We have been unable to locate the records in our files,” Batson said in an email. “It is my understanding from the office manager that they were in Ms. Roper’s possession the last time she saw them. We do not keep duplicate copies, but they are stored in a locked cabinet that only the office manager has access to.”

These records are not permitted to be removed from the city-parish because they are considered public records, Batson said.

Asked about the public record request, Delgado would only say that he’s “trying to determine if the hours worked by the (former) parish attorney to make certain they complied with the requirements of the position.”

He wouldn’t further discuss his motivation behind the request or whether he suspected Roper had not been working full-time hours.

Roper was fired in September after a long, contentious and public battle between her and a faction of the council. But the feuding continues even as the Metro Council has started its search for a new parish attorney.

Roper has filed several lawsuits against the Metro Council and individual council members challenging the process that led to her termination. She also is demanding they turn over emails and communications she requested.

She has filed several public record requests seeking communications between council members that refer to her and the Parish Attorney’s Office. Her attorneys have said they intend to demonstrate that council members were colluding to remove her from office.

Roper has said she plans to file a defamation suit against council members for statements they made publicly ahead of her termination. Her husband, Eiad Odeh, a former city-parish employee who resigned in October, also sued the city-parish last week alleging discrimination and defamation.

Roper did not return a phone call seeking comment for this story.

Roper’s schedule was cited during her termination hearing in September as one of the reasons she was fired.

Mayor Pro Tem Chandler Loupe accused her of not working full time, citing his own investigation into her hours in 2010 by using parking garage logs. The logs revealed that Roper sometimes arrived at 10:30 a.m. and left at 2:30 p.m., Loupe said.

Roper has repeatedly dismissed the accusations throughout the years, noting that attorneys are required to be out of the office as part of their jobs.

Delgado said he is hopeful that the records are ultimately located.

“I would think that her time sheets and calendar are city property, so I would hope we’d be able to get them back in our possession, whoever would have them,” he said. “Whoever has them has an obligation to return them to the city-parish.”

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