Craig Taffaro, the longtime chief deputy for the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, is retiring next week after spending nearly five decades in local law enforcement.
His retirement comes as a probe that led federal investigators to subpoena records from a business co-owned by Taffaro and his boss, Sheriff Newell Normand, appears to be drawing to a close.
The federal investigation involves the criminal division of the Internal Revenue Service as well as the FBI.
Normand said last year that he had been informed by the IRS that the "focus of their investigation is tax filings by another individual.” He did not name the person, but sources with knowledge of the probe have said it is Taffaro.
On annual financial disclosure statements to the state Ethics Board, Normand has routinely listed income of between $25,000 and $100,000 from a company called CTNN, of which he is half-owner. Taffaro is not required to fill out such disclosures, so it's not clear if he earns a similar amount.
Shortly after news of the investigation broke in July, Normand noted in a statement that he had paid all taxes owed on his income from CTNN.
Normand and Taffaro formed CTNN in 2008, a year after Normand was elected sheriff.
The company, whose name is an amalgamation of the two men’s initials, earns commissions by acting as a sort of middleman between Harvey Gulf International Marine, a transportation firm that services offshore oil companies, and Pelican Marine Distributors, which provides food and other supplies to companies like Harvey Gulf.
Harvey Gulf is run by Shane Guidry, a major Republican political donor who also works as a reserve deputy in the JPSO and who has a high-ranking — but low-paying — part-time position in Attorney General Jeff Landry's office.
Taffaro, meanwhile, is also Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser's father-in-law and managed Nungesser's holdings while Nungesser served as Plaquemines Parish president. Among the companies Nungesser had a stake in during that time was Pelican Marine Distributors; the company was eventually sold.
Separate from its inquiry into CTNN, the FBI has been looking into contracts and public works projects carried out during Nungesser's tenure as Plaquemines Parish's top executive.
Mike Magner, Taffaro's attorney, released a statement to The New Orleans Advocate in which he called Taffaro a longtime friend and a "dedicated public servant to the people of Jefferson Parish."
Magner added: "He always served the public diligently and with dignity and he will be sorely missed."
Asked whether he expects Taffaro to face federal tax charges, Magner said he had no comment.
"If anything along those lines happens, I will address it at that time,” he stated.
Taffaro, 69, who also served stints with the Gretna Police Department and the Jefferson Parish District Attorney's Office during a law enforcement career that began in 1968, will be feted at a party in Elmwood on Wednesday evening.