City-Parish President Joey Durel is asking Lafayette Housing Authority board member Leon Simmons to step down after learning of Simmons' aggressive action toward local media at the LHA office Monday morning.
Simmons, the board member who represents LHA residents, pushed a KLFY TV10 videographer's camera when the station was covering the story of LHA Executive Director Walter Guillory's and Deputy Director Jonathan Carmouche's resignations Monday. The station was filming Guillory as he walked to his car (while being questioned by Daily Advertiser reporter Claire Taylor) to leave the LHA's premises. Despite Guillory's pleas for him to not intervene, Simmons persisted, calling the reporters "some buzzards, some damn buzzards" before throwing down his drink and walking away. The station did not air the controversial footage in its coverage yesterday but did run it at 5 p.m. today. View the video here.
"After hearing about the incident, I intend on asking him to step down," Durel told The Independent Weekly Tuesday afternoon.
Simmons, who fought to get his board position back after Durel dismissed him and four others in mid-August after a critical audit of the LHA, has also been under fire for driving residents of LHA's programs around in an LHA-owned van. An LHA volunteer, Simmons uses the van for such services as delivering meals and shuttling elderly LHA clients to casinos. Yes, casinos.
At a board meeting this afternoon, which Simmons attended along with John Freeman and Joe Dennis, the board authorized Freeman to sign checks for the LHA until an interim executive director is named. The board, however, cannot spend any money without the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's authorization.