Business News

Oh Henry, not again?

by Leslie Turk

Onetime licensed architect turned unlicensed home builder bilks another client, lawsuit claims.

Henry Boudreaux from his Aug. 5 arrest

[Editor's Note: This story contains an expletive.]

Lafayette home designer Henry A. Boudreaux, a one-time licensed architect, is accused of taking advantage of the kindness of a friend in a recent lawsuit filled with allegations closely mirroring an earlier suit that led to his indictment by a Lafayette Parish grand jury last year.

Boudreaux has pleaded not guilty to a felony theft charge in connection with claims he bilked a Vermilion Parish couple out of hundreds of thousands of dollars in contracting, design and consultation fees for a renovation to their historic 1840s Acadian home in the community of Meaux. The case is set for pre-trial hearings on Oct. 13, according to the district attorney’s office.

Boudreaux qualified for a public defender in that case because most of his assets are held in the name of his wife, Sonya Boudreaux.

In the most recent suit, filed in state court Aug. 10, Cheryl Heymann Lemoine claims she loaned Henry and Sonya money and that both parties agreed that the debt would be worked off through improvements to Lemoine’s home on Oakforest Drive in Lafayette. Lemoine’s attorney, William Large, says when his client entered into verbal contracts with the Boudreauxes, the couple also owed her for work they failed to complete on a townhouse she owns on Brightwood Drive in Grand Pointe subdivision.

The suit states that the parties agreed in early 2016 that the debts would be settled once the defendants completed a cement patio and brick wall at the Oakforest residence. As part of the agreement, Lemoine also paid an additional $1,000 to the couple.

According to allegations in the lawsuit, Lemoine later learned that the defendants sought “unauthorized kickbacks from subcontractors” and pocketed more than half of the $50,000 she spent on the project.

The suit names Henry and Sonya — Lemoine says she routinely wrote checks to Sonya for work performed by Henry — and the couple’s business, HSB Design and Contractors LLC. The suit claims that none of the defendants has a contractor’s license, that they have not registered with the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors and that they do not have insurance, as Louisiana law requires.

Boudreaux, 57, was arrested in August of this year on a count of residential contractor fraud. Lafayette Police Department records show that in May Lemoine told police she had entered into an agreement with Boudreaux in 2014 for him to provide various building materials and had paid him $98,444 but received only $16,000 worth of materials. The warrant was signed by 15th Judicial District Court Commissioner Thomas Frederick, and Boudreaux turned himself in to Lafayette police on Aug. 5. He was handcuffed and transported to the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center, where he was booked for the warrant.

Soon after the cement patio was completed, around May 2016, a rainstorm caused Lemoine’s patio and back yard to flood, the suit claims. “It was clear that the patio and its drain was not properly designed and needed repair,” according to the suit, which goes on to say that a third-party inspection revealed that the drain was substantially lower in depth than the storm drain it ran into. “Since water does not flow uphill, the flooding was inevitable," the petition states. "This would have been apparent to a minimally competent contractor."

Lemoine says it cost her $35,000 to tear up the faulty patio and replace it. She further alleges that the defendants cut corners on the brick wall “for the purpose of keeping more money for themselves” and that she had to pay $8,000 to repair it.

"It appears from the public record that this isn't the first time Mr. Boudreaux has done this," attorney Large tells ABiz.

Reached on her husband’s cell phone late Tuesday afternoon, Sonya Boudreaux said that Henry has “given to our community over and over and over again, and so have I, so you know we’re a little fed up with The Independent." (The Independent, like ABiz, is owned by IND Media.)

“We talked to the press,” she said, referencing last year’s coverage of the couple’s legal problems and Henry’s indictment. “They misrepresented everything, and it really fucked us.”

It should be noted that Henry Boudreaux did not return this media company's call for last year's stories.

(Full disclosure: Henry Boudreaux was the architect on a home owned by Independent publishers Steve May and Cherry Fisher May. An earlier version of this story stated that Boudreaux was arrested in May when he actually turned himself into Lafayette police on Aug. 5. Lemoine's complaint against Boudreaux was filed in May.)