Caillouet asks Morel to charge councilmen with malfeasance

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 20, 1998

Leonard Gray / L’Observateur / May 20, 1998

HAHNVILLE -Stanford Caillouet, a long-time critic of the St. CharlesParish Council,, has called upon 29th Judicial District Attorney Harry Morel to institute malfeasance charges against Parish Councilmen G. “Ram” Ramchandran and Brian Champagne.

Caillouet, a constant thorn in the flesh of the Parish Council at virtually every meeting for the past several years, was denied a forum at Monday’s meeting.

He was removed from the council chambers during public comment on an ordinance when he called Ramchandran a “disgrace.”In a letter to Morel dated May 14, Caillouet, joined by Gwen Dufrene of Bayou Gauche, protested several occurrences of council chairman Ramchandran and past council chairman Champagne denying them access to addressing the Parish Council.

The reasons given for the refusals were that the topics planned for discussion were repetitive and disruptive.

Also, Caillouet charged that Champagne denied him the right to attend Parish Council meetings on several occasions in 1997, and termed it a violation of the state open meetings law.

Champagne, on the other hand, affirmed the expulsion followed Caillouet’s personal insults from the podium, including on one instance, calling Champagne a “Hitler.”Caillouet cited the parish home rule charter, which states: “No person shall be denied the right to observe and, within Council guidelines, to address the Council, provided that the person has submitted a written request containing the nature of the subject to be discussed.”Champagne and Ramchandran point out Caillouet and Dufrene on several occasions did not stick to council guidelines and were, therefore, refused the opportunity to speak.

As a response, on May 14 Morel contacted Timothy Screen, director of the Louisiana Attorney General Criminal Division, and asked for assistance and advice in prosecuting this case should one develop from Morel’s investigation.

Caillouet, in a letter to L’Observateur published in today’s edition, thanked Morel for his involvement in settling the matter.

During Monday’s meeting, Caillouet called Ramchandran a “disgrace” to St.

Charles Parish, and Parish Councilman Terry Authement moved to have Caillouet expelled from the chamber.

“Do we have a second?” Ramchandran asked.

“You’ve got it from me, anytime,” Champagne responded. With a 6-2 vote,Caillouet was expelled with a deputy escorting him out into the lobby.

Voting against the expulsion were Parish Councilmen Curtis Johnson and Ellis Alexander.

Morel was unavailable for comment yesterday.

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