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High-ranking college official facing battery charge over violent, profanity-laced tirade

2 months 1 week 22 minutes ago Thursday, July 12 2018 Jul 12, 2018 July 12, 2018 5:17 PM July 12, 2018 in News
Source: WBRZ Investigative Unit

BATON ROUGE- Southern University Board of Supervisors member Donald Ray Henry was ticketed following an altercation at his day job as the executive director of the Lafourche Basin Levee District.

Henry asked for a $10,000 raise recently, a year into the job. Currently, he makes $125,000 from the levee district. When levee commissioners voted to table the issue about the raise, one colleague said things got violent.

"He said what the f*** is going on," Whitney Jasmin, a levee commissioner, told the WBRZ Investigative Unit.

"I said man look, you don't deserve this kind of money this soon on the job. He told me I was a rotten, no-good, [series of expletives, deleted in an editorial decision].”

The bizarre rant continued, Jasmin said.

“He jumped on my brother and called him a short, fat, no-good, [series of expletives, deleted in an editorial decision]."

The profanity-laced tirade was the least of what was about to come next. Jasmin recalled Henry pushing him so hard, it slammed his body into the wall. Jasmin said he injured his neck in the fracas.

"He put me against the wall into the building," Jasmin said.

Jasmin filed a police report and an arrest warrant was issued for Henry for simple battery. Thursday, Henry opened up about the encounter at his workplace.

"We had an exchange of words, and frankly, Chris, it's a personnel matter," Henry told Chief Investigator Chris Nakamoto. "It's being handled by the personnel committee."

Jasmin said he's extremely disappointed because he voted to make Henry the executive director last year. Henry said despite the situation, he's confident he will be able to keep his position. When asked what made him so confident, he said, "I have no comments."

Two months ago, the WBRZ Investigative Unit reported on Henry’s questionable use of homestead exemption in Gonzales. The report uncovered Henry was voting in elections using a Donaldsonville address so he could keep his Southern Board of Supervisors position.

Louisiana law outlines why there is an issue: Part of State Law 18:101 B reads, "If a person claims a homestead exemption, pursuant to Article VII, Section 20 of the Constitution of Louisiana, on one of the residences, he shall register and vote in the precinct in which that residence is located."

After the story, sources confirmed to WBRZ a criminal investigation is underway in Ascension Parish.

"No comment, thank you," Henry said about this situation when asked Thursday.

Jasmin believes Henry lost control and should be conducting himself in a more professional manner.

Henry was appointed by Governor Bobby Jindal to sit on the Southern Board of Supervisors and was selected by levee commissioners to be the executive director. Commissioners are appointed by the governor to the Lafourche Basin Levee District.

"We are his boss," Jasmin said. "He tried to operate this levee board with a strong-arm like he is our boss. That's his mentality."

Two months ago, a spokeswoman for Governor John Bel Edwards said there was nothing the governor could do since Henry was a Jindal appointee. WBRZ asked, again Thursday for this report, for a position from Edwards’ administration. A spokesperson said the governor's office is looking into it.

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