St. Charles Parish attorney doesn’t get new digs

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 22, 2000

LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / August 22, 2000

HAHNVILLE – The request for office rental and purchase of furnishings for the St. Charles Parish Department of Legal Services was shot down Mondayat the Parish Council meeting, but not without fireworks.

The request first arose earlier this year to locate the parish attorney in an office apart from his private practice. The request Monday was voted downin a 6-3 vote of the council.

The request included funds to rent Suite 320 of the new One American Place bank building on River Road near the Hale Boggs Bridge at a monthly rate of $2,025 per month for three years. The suite is 1,526 square feet of officespace.

In addition, the request called for full furnishing of the suite, including $2,355 for an executive desk, $750 for an executive chair, more than $2,500 for bookcases, $2,600 for a conference table, $1,295 for a sofa and $985 for a love seat.

In May, Councilman Desmond Hilaire moved to refer the matter to the appropriate council committee, which would review the space needs of all departments.

However, council member Dee Abadie said during Monday’s meeting that a request of department heads to comply with a survey on space needs was allegedly sabotaged by Public Information Officer Steve Sirmon, who reportedly asked employees not to reply to the request.

Sirmon declared, “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” and Abadie commented, “I trust the employees who called me.”Stanford Caillouet of New Sarpy angrily declared he was going to everyone from the Louisiana Bar Association to “60 Minutes” to expose the alleged corruption and declared, “This is a complete fraud!” Cletus Martin of Luling suggested the parish council approve the purchase of a small office building, rather than sinking money into rent.

Pat Elfer of St. Rose said space should be made for Raymond at thecourthouse, even if it’s a trailer alongside.

The building is owned by Jackie Bee Corp., controlled by Fifth Circuit Court ofAppeals Judge Edward A. Dufresne Jr. His son-in-law, Louis Authement, spokeon behalf of the lease.

Raymond told the parish council during his departmental report that he’s added two full-time parish employees to assist him and he works 70-80 hours per week, 60 percent spent on parish business.

However, during that report, Abadie said she’s made many requests for legal advice on parish business and has received no response.

“The parish is getting its money’s worth,” Raymond said.

The vote was 6-3 against the request, with only Terry Authement, Brian Fabre and Desmond Hilaire voting in favor of Raymond’s request.

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