State auditors reviewing three vendor contracts

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 6, 2009



LAPLACE – St. John Parish officials said Monday four parish contracts involving three companies allegedly tied to a bribery scam orchestrated by former Parish President Bill Hubbard are now under review by state legislative auditors.

Acting Parish President Pat McTopy, who took office after Hubbard’s abrupt resignation late last month, has asked state auditors to perform a full and impartial review of all aspects of contracts the parish has with Davezac Consulting Engineers, Parson & Sanderson and Pipeworks Plumbing and Demolition in an effort to weed out potential improprieties in the bidding and awarding processes. The three companies are said to be involved in a bribery scam that helped Hubbard pay for a new car for a former girlfriend.

“The audit is being done to ensure the public of a complete and transparent review of the contracts that have been in the media in recent weeks,” McTopy said. “My administration will comply with the needs of the auditors throughout this entire process.”

The legislative audit comes just one week after St. John Parish District Attorney Tom Daley agreed to conduct a legal review of the contracts, which are tied to general maintenance and consulting work within the parish.

Buddy Boe, acting chief administrative officer for St. John Parish, said the auditors will be performing a full review of all documents spanning the entire timeframe of the contracts. He said the parish has provided the signed contracts as well as all bid documents, bid submissions, specifications and specific information on when bids were opened on the contracts. He said the auditors will also look at council minutes pertaining to authorization of the bid process, acceptance of the bids, and authorization for contract signing, along with any and all invoices, payments, purchase orders, and any other internal documents authorizing payment or showing completion of work.

“We want them to be as complete and thorough as possible with this,” Boe said. “We want the public to know we are in full cooperation with the auditors and we will have all documents available for review.”

Boe said the contracts with Pipeworks, for general parish maintenance and ditch digging, and Parson & Sanderson, for general pump repairs, both expire at the end of the year.

He said two contracts with Davezac, which involve management of the parish’s $29.5 million bond issue as well as oversight of the parish’s Coastal Impact Assistance Program grant, were awarded earlier this year at Hubbard’s request.

The auditors were called in last week, and final results should be available within the next several weeks.