Vermilion Parish Company Not Paying for Orleans Deputies Hotel Rooms
Why would a Vermilion Parish-based dog training company want to pay $18,000 for hotel rooms used by Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office deputies during Mardi Gras?
This is just one of several questions surrounding a situation when deputies used the hotel rooms during Mardi Gras according to NOLA.com. No New Orleans Police officers had similar accommodations.
LAK9 is an organization that trains dogs. According to their website, they offer K-9 training, dog protection training, and general dog training.
When people started questioning why the OPSO spent money for their deputies to stay at rooms in the French Quarter for Mardi Gras, Sheriff Susan Hutson started looking into things. She then fired four deputies in her administration including the former chief finance officer David Trautenberg. NOLA.com says he told staff they were not eligible to be able to get these rooms with taxpayer funding.
When the controversy broke, LeBlanc offered to help the Sheriff out by covering the tab. Hutson, at the time, said LeBlanc was trying to do something nice for the officers. NOLA.com says Trautenberg's lawyer told WVUE-TV that before he got canned, Trautenberg was investigating whether LAK9 had already or was currently considering trying to get a contract with the Sheriff's Office. The Sheriff's Department confirm they had contacted Leblanc's company about a training dog the year before.
When interviewed by NOLA.com, Leblanc changed his mind citing the controversy, and he doesn't need the stress while recovering from an operation.
Hutson, for her part, has defended the housing as critical saying that if they were paying multiple other agencies to bring on all these officers, it was right to have her people overlooking all of the security for Mardi Gras. She also named Leblanc and fellow LAK9 co-owner Land Broussard honorary deputies.
NOLA.com also reports Broussard has now announced that he will be running for Vermilion Parish Sheriff.
Taxpayers will end up paying for the rooms.