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Ethics Board Decision Could Take Months To Resolve

BOBBY ARDOIN
Editor/Consulting Writer

A Louisiana Ethics Adjudicatory Board decision which last month charged St. Landry Parish Sheriff Bobby Guidroz for entering into departmental insurance contracts with a company partially owned by his son-in-law, could take several months to resolve.

According to normal litigation procedures used in deciding other cases involving presumed Ethics Board violations, there are usually discovery requests, depositions and potential agreement negotiations by both parties before any conclusions for violation charges are reached.

Ordinarily the Ethics Board will hold a hearing on the matter if the parties involved fail to reach a settlement, Board procedures indicate.

In a statement filed in conjunction with the decision reached by the Board, lead Ethics Board attorney Charles E. Reeves stated that at some point a hearing will be scheduled on the matter involving Guidroz and insurance payments made to Dupre, Carrier, Godchaux Agency, Inc. Guidroz has stated through his attorney Mike Leger that he is not commenting at this point on the ethics violation charge which indicates that the Sheriff Department may have participated in obtaining 21 insurance policies from Dupre, Carrier and Godchaux worth $1.65 million since 2019.

Ethics Board members heard the allegations against the Sheriff’s Department on Sept. 7 and after listening to a filed complaint, made the decision to take action.

Board members agreed that an ethics violation occurred since the transactions happened allegedly between the Sheriff’s Department and a company owned in some part by an immediate family member, Willie Godchaux.

A copy of the Ethics Board decision refers to a state statute which says, “no public servant or member of a public servant’s family or legal entity in which he has controlling interest shall bid or enter into any contract, subcontract or other transaction that is under the supervision or jurisdiction of the agency of such public servant.”

The Ethics Board ruling also added that Godchaux should be considered an indirect owner of the company, since Godchaux owns 50 percent of the shares of the holding company that owns 63 percent of the company.

Dupre, Carriere and Godchaux allegedly violated the rule regarding business transactions with immediate family members when the company entered into the contract with the St. Landry Parish Sheriff Department, the ruling shows.

Guidroz, who was first commissioned as sheriff in 2007, has been reelected four times. Guidroz ran unopposed in the October election.