PRESS RELEASE 4/18/12

 PARISH PRESIDENT ROMO ROMERO RESPONDS TO ATTORNEY GENERAL STATEMENTS

 New Iberia, LA - The parish president’s office has not yet received a copy of the state attorney general office's findings.  Apparently, the attorney general only determined District Attorney Phil Haney's office has done nothing "criminally" wrong by billing parish government for health insurance reimbursements for non-parish employees or by campaigning during business hours in the DA's office and at local businesses. “I couldn't disagree more with the attorney general's findings and his failure to see, or acknowledge, the improper acts being committed by DA Haney and his office,” Romero said. The DA’s office is sitting on a $7.5 million surplus. Meanwhile, parish government receives a monthly invoice from the DA, without any supporting documentation, and Mr. Haney expects the parish to pay it blindly.  If Mr. Haney wants parish government to pay health insurance for him and his assistants, then he should open his books and prove that it’s a legitimate and ‘necessary and unavoidable expense’ as required by law.  Less than a month ago, an appellate court found in Washington Parish Government v. Reed that employment benefits for ADA’s are not a mandatory obligation of parish government. Also, many others that have viewed the documents see clear violations of state law.  In addition, new documents were obtained by the attorney general in March that show illegal acts by the DA's office which include: an email sent during business hours by ADA Rob Vines for vote solicitation; emails showing DA Haney and ADAs Bo Duhe and Rob Vines personally campaigning on taxpayer time; and, a statement by ADA Duhe admitting he contacted people and held meetings in the DA's office at which the parish president’s race was discussed, all during business hours. “It's a double standard when elected officials throughout Louisiana are found guilty for identical acts,” Romero said. “I can only hope that justice will be served for the people of Iberia parish by the other agencies also investigating the complaint, and I will patiently wait on their determinations before I make any final decisions on these matters.”