Rubin: Durel in contempt

by Leslie Turk

District Judge Ed Rubin ordered the city-parish president to pay a $258 fine and perform eight hours of community service.

Fifteenth Judicial District Judge Ed Rubin ruled Monday that City-Parish President Joey Durel be held in contempt of court for removing three Lafayette Housing Authority members on Nov. 19 after Rubin had reinstated them late last year on an earlier dismissal (the city-parish council upheld both removals). The judge ordered Durel to pay a $258 fine and perform eight hours of community service. That time is to be spent speaking at local schools on the role of government, The Advocate reported, citing court minutes of the contempt hearing.

The judge also gave Durel a 15-day suspended jail sentence, which he would have to serve if he fails to pay the fine or perform the community service, the newspaper reported.

"We are disappointed by today's ruling, but recognize and respect that this is part of the judicial process," City-Parish attorney Mike Hebert said in the brief statement issued late Monday afternoon. "We strongly disagree with this decision and are considering our available options to seek further judicial review."

The ongoing matter of the board members' service is moot, as the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is now running the troubled Lafayette Housing Authority and acting as its board of commissioners. Read more on the LHA's problems and the dismissal saga here.