In a tersely worded bill of information filed March 17, the U.S. Attorney’s office charged contractor Kendall T. Anderson with a single count of misprision of a felony in connection with an ongoing probe of a bid-fixing and bribery scheme at the Lafayette and Opelousas housing authorities.
The feds allege that Anderson, who was previously identified in court documents only as “K.A.,” provided false information to the Opelousas Housing Authority and failed to report that bids were being manipulated by former OHA employee Garnette Thomas. Thomas, who pleaded guilty to wire fraud in September, was responsible for most of the falsified bids, which were crafted in order to benefit only one company, Anderson Iron Works. (The IND has long maintained that "K.A." was Kendall Anderson.)
In February, Walter Guillory, who headed both authorities before resigning in 2010 amid a scathing audit of the Lafayette operations, pleaded guilty in federal court to soliciting and accepting bribes from vendors and admitted his role in the bid-fixing scheme that benefited Anderson’s company.
In court for his guilty plea, Guillory said Thomas was the one responsible for most of the falsified bids.
“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.”
What the federal investigation has yet to answer is who was directing Thomas, who was 75 years old and a resident of St. Augustine, Texas, when she pleaded guilty in September.
There is no doubt in the mind of one former OHA employee about the role Thomas played in the scheme the feds say went on at the agency from 2007 to 2009. “I believe she was instructed to make it happen,” says our source, who asked to remain anonymous. “I think it came from higher up.”