Walter Guillory, the former executive director of the Lafayette and Opelousas housing authorities, pleaded guilty in federal court Friday morning to soliciting and accepting bribes from vendors and admitted his role in a bid-fixing scheme that benefited a single local contractor.
As part of the plea deal, Guillory has agreed to cooperate in the federal government's ongoing investigation into the housing authorities. Guillory was forced to resign as head of the Lafayette Housing Authority in late 2010, after an independent audit turned up numerous instances of gross mismanagment and raised the specter of criminal activity in the organization.
|Walter Guillory, the former executive director of the Lafayette and Opelousas housing authorities, pleaded guilty in federal court on Friday.|
During Friday's proceedings, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kelly Uebinger said Guillory took in more than $100,000 in contributions from housing authority vendors for a baseball fundraiser he sponsored annually between 2007 and 2009.
A source familiar with the fundraisers, which were held at the Hilton Lafayette, says there was no baseball team; rather, the donations were supposed to be used for the housing authority’s youth programs.
“He received in excess of $100,000 in contributions from LHA and OHA vendors,” said Uebinger. “They would make yearly donations to the baseball team in exchange for doing business with the Housing Authority.”
The problem, noted Uebinger, is that Guillory couldn’t account for how much of the $100,000 went to the baseball fundraisers and how much went into his pocket.
However, Guillory’s attorney, Frank Dawkins, claimed the donations were split, with $50,000 going to the fundraisers and Guillory keeping the other half.
On the separate matter of the bid-fixing scheme, Guillory addressed the court saying former employee Garnette Thomas — who pleaded guilty to wire fraud in September — was responsible for most of the falsified bids, which were crafted in order to benefit one company identified in court records as “K.A.” That contractor, based on an IND investigation, is Kendall Anderson of Anderson Iron Works. Anderson has not been charged in the case.
“Once I noticed the bid laws were not being followed, I talked to [Thomas] and made sure we started getting three bids,” said Guillory. “My name was forged on some of those documents. I had an idea ... an inclination that bid law was not being followed when I saw that one contractor was being awarded all the work.”
According to U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Foote, Guillory faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for bribery and up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the bid-fixing scheme. Foote also ordered a $100,000 forfeiture of Guillory’s assets.
Following Friday's court proceedings, Guillory was aloof, declining to respond to questions from the local media.
Guillory’s sentencing is scheduled for Wednesday, June 11, at 1 p.m.
Just how high corruption at the two housing authorities will be traced could largely depend on what Guillory has to say now that he has agreed to cooperate fully in the investigation. It's likely the feds have set their sights on bigger fish in the bid-fixing scheme.
Sources close to the investigation tell The IND additional charges and/or indictments are expected in the case. Read more here.
Guillory also was subpoenaed recently as a possible witness in the upcoming case between former City-Parish Councilman Chris Williams and the LHA. Read more on that here.
The parent of Investar Bank says its second-quarter earnings fell to $1.1 million or 26 cents a share from $1.7 million of 44 cents a share in the same period a year ago.
1,554 rigs were exploring for oil and 315 for gas. Two were listed as miscellaneous. A year ago there were 1,770 active rigs.
Most personal auto insurance policies exclude coverage when people charge money to drive others in their personal vehicles.
Louisiana's 21 casinos took in $203.5 million statewide in June, edging up one-half of a percentage point from a year earlier.
Business First Bank has announced plans for a Baton Rouge market expansion through a merger deal with American Gateway Financial Corp.
Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers opens on Johnston.
Acadiana's Top 50 Private Companies
It would be an understatement to say Schumacher Group had a challenging year in 2013.
Hampton Toyota has been serving Acadiana as the premier Toyota dealership for more than 10 years. And now, the glossy Johnston Street dealership is looking forward to a makeover.
Even when Floyd Degueyter is on “vacation” he’s hard at work.
As the second largest metal heat treating company in the country, Analytic Stress Relieving Inc. has grown by leaps and bounds since its inception in 1979.
When the Prohibition era came to an end in 1933, Joseph R. Streva saw an opportunity to make a little extra money to supplement his day job.
When a hurricane hits, Brent Mouton doesn’t run. The convenience store chain owner is proof that the challenges of mother nature can almost break a business, but Mouton learned to grow out of temporary closure from near devastation in 2002 and of lost potential revenue.
By launching a Super PAC to end all Super PACs, our Top 50 keynote speaker hopes to change the game in Washington.
Oil Center-based private facility extends its offerings with special events venue in failed women’s store.
One year later, is his expansion plan paying off?
Newspaper industry insiders question John Georges’ expansion plan.
How the U.S. has gotten itself into another fine mess
The Heymann Center was transformed into a culinary adventure in mid-June for the EatLafayette kick-off event, A Taste of Lafayette, and for the third consecutive year, a sellout crowd filled the Cajundome Convention Center June 19 to hear LEDA chief Gregg Gothreaux’s State of the Economy report.
A look at recent hirings, promotions and other announcements from Acadiana's business community.
Anne Pyle puts a bow on a stellar, expectations-defying career with her latest venture.
The company currently has 10 branches throughout Louisiana, including an Ambassador Caffery location which opened last year.
Lawmakers have added $15 million to the attorney general's budget to pay for Louisiana's ongoing legal case against BP for damages caused by the 2010 Gulf oil spill.
The state's jobless rate rose to 5 percent in June from 4.9 percent in May. Louisiana's unemployment rate was 6.4 percent in June 2013.
Long-established private club opening special events venue in failed women’s store at Kaliste Saloom Road and Camellia Boulevard.