District 4 school board rep Tehmi Chassion filed a criminal complaint on Oct. 29, 2015, against Erica Williams, his opponent in the Nov. 4, 2014 election — less than a week shy of the one-year anniversary of Chassion's successful re-election bid.
In the complaint, according to a document provided to The IND by Cpl. Paul Mouton, spokesman for the Lafayette Police Department, Chassion accuses Williams of “registering her vote and registering her candidacy for Lafayette Parish School Board under an address that was not her actual domicile.”
Mouton says the complaint first went to the district attorney’s office, which contacted police, and that the investigation is “ongoing.”
According to Ravis K. Martinez, Williams’ campaign manager for the November 2014 election, Williams was called to LPD headquarters soon after the complaint was filed by Chassion. She was questioned by Officer Adam Lefort and released.
Martinez adds that Williams has been active as a volunteer at Northside High School, which is in Chassion’s district, and that Chassion attempted to have Williams barred from campus.
The criminal complaint against Williams, according to Martinez, was filed after Chassion’s unsuccessful attempt to have Williams denied access to the NHS campus.
"A lot of people are shocked that he would pursue this after he won the election," Martinez tells this newspaper. "He's trying to discredit Mrs. Williams, who's been very involved at Northside High School."
Chassion has not responded to a voicemail from The IND left on his personal cell phone nor to an email to his LPSS email address.
Martinez says that Williams has been advised by her attorney to refrain from making a statement while the matter is pending. Martinez, meantime, issued a statement Friday:
It’s unfortunate that Temi Chassion, Brandon Shelvin and the United Ballot would seek to try to discredit Mrs. Williams. It’s even more tragic as they are doing this again now.
We went through this early in the school board election last year, with various investigations all clearing Mrs. Williams of any intentional wrong doing.
To try to discredit Mrs. Williams and the great work she is doing for Northside High and the community is sad to say the least.
It seems that they are determined to try to silence a strong leader and education advocate. Instead of working with Mrs. Williams to help find solutions to the issues that our students are facing, they attempt to not only discredit her, but also to get her banned from being able to even go to Northside High School to volunteer and engage our students.
It’s time that the community reject this type of gutter politics and work together with strong leaders like Mrs. Williams to kill this cancer that has infected our communities for so long.
Our communities and especially our kids do not need these types of purely political distractions from our leaders. Our communities and children need school board members and council members who are serious about making real change and progress in the lives of the people that they represent and not change and progress that only profit themselves.
Ravis K. Martinez, Campaign Manager