What's Hundley Thinking?

by Nathan Stubbs

The former police chief reverses course on his retirement.

The word "coerced" appears in bold alongside the definition, "to compel to an act or choice," right at the top of a three-page letter written by former Lafayette Police Chief Randy Hundley to the Lafayette Fire and Police Civil Service Board, asking they reinstate him as police chief.

Hundley resigned as chief of police last month, shortly after a grand jury indicted him on three counts related to surreptitiously intercepting oral communications within the police department ("The Rise and Fall of Randy Hundley," JULY 12). He and three other officers are scheduled for arraignment July 18.

In his letter, Hundley claims city administrators and his detractors within the department conspired to force his resignation. He says he is innocent of the criminal charges he is facing; the charges stem from a complaint filed with the district attorney's office in March by Hundley's secretary, Jeanette Luque. Hundley says Chief Administrative Officer Dee Stanley told him that if he retired, the state police investigation into Luque's complaint would "go away." Stanley called the allegation "ludicrous," noting that he cannot order state police to halt an investigation.

Hundley also writes that an FBI probe of the bugging allegations ' conducted prior to the state police investigation ' found that no laws were violated and that the charges were part of a "political ploy to remove me from office."

If the civil service board grants Hundley's request, it would be a first. Because Hundley is now retired and no longer a civil service employee, the board may not have jurisdiction to rule on his appeal. Hundley's letter cites two Louisiana laws (which either do not exist or were incorrectly noted) related to coerced retirements. Fire and Police Civil Service Board Chairman Jason Boudreaux could not be reached for comment.

Hundley has already cashed a $38,000 check of retirement benefits to pay attorney's fees and wrote that he is motivated by his concern for community safety. "With the increase in criminal activity in our city under the current administration," he says, "I am concerned for the citizens of my city and am anxious to resume my post to combat the criminal elements plaguing our community."

So Hundley's now blaming increased crime on Joey Durel? Or is that a shot at interim chief Jim Craft? However you slice it, the whole saga's only getting more bizarre.