Davezac changes plea to guilty before federal judge

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 24, 2010



NEW ORLEANS – A Destrehan engineer involved in a bribery scheme with former St. John the Baptist Parish President Bill Hubbard pleaded guilty Thursday to charges that he paid a $5,000 bribe to the former parish leader in exchange for parish contracts, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Ray A. Davezac, 55, who initially pleaded innocent to the charges in a court appearance in February, now faces a maximum jail sentence of five years with an additional three years of supervised probation and a fine of $250,000, according to a release from US. Attorney Jim Letten. Davezac entered his plea before U.S. District Judge Carl J. Barbier. Sentencing is set for July 15.

According to court documents, Davezac, owner of Davezac Consulting Engineers of Destrehan, was

one of three parish contractors who wrote checks to a New Orleans automobile dealership to help Hubbard purchase a Toyota Camry for a girlfriend. Hubbard resigned as parish president on Sept. 24 and pleaded guilty Sept. 25 to taking $20,000 in bribes from the contractors. Sentencing in his case is set for June 29.

According to the release, Davezac’s company in turn received contracts to manage projects tied to the parish’s $29.5 million bond issue and oversee the use of funds from the parish’s Coastal Impact Assistance Program. Both contracts, which were awarded by the St. John Parish Council at Hubbard’s request, were terminated in October following Hubbard’s guilty plea.

In addition to Davezac’s firm, sources have told L’Observateur that the other vendors allegedly involved in the bribery scheme include Pipeworks Plumbing & Demolition of River Ridge and Parson & Sanderson of Elmwood. St. John Parish documents show the parish had paid more than $1.2 million to the three companies for work done in 2008 and 2009. The parish council has since canceled all contracts with the vendors, but no other firm has been charged in the investigation.