New allegations of possible wrongdoing by Port Allen Mayor
PORT ALLEN- More allegations of possible wrongdoing by Port Allen Mayor Deedy Slaughter surfaced after a contempt hearing was continued in West Baton Rouge Parish today.
In court, we learned Slaughter hired a new legal team of attorneys to represent her after a judge overturned her firing of Chief Financial Officer, Audrey McCain earlier this year. The legal team from Phelps Dunbar includes Paul Leblanc, Shelton Blunt and Laranda Walker. The big question is who is paying for these new attorneys.
"Is the mayor paying for this out of pocket," Nakamoto asked Ralph Slaughter, the Mayor's unpaid Chief of Staff.
"I would doubt that. She's the Mayor and has to be represented since she was sued in her official capacity," Slaughter said.
But, the Attorney General's Office has a much different opinion on situations similar to this one. In an opinion released in 2009, Buddy Caldwell's Office said, "A mayor can't unilaterally hire and pay an attorney to defend him at the cost of the municipality without the concurrence of the board of aldermen." In this case, that would be the City Council.
The opinion goes on to say that if there is money budgeted, the Mayor is authorized to use those funds. News 2 has learned Port Allen budgeted $25,000 for legal fees for the fiscal year. Already most of that amount has been spent. City Attorney Victor Woods is paid out of that fund.
"We just want to move forward, reach an amicable agreement with the Mayor and Council," Cy D'Aquila, Audrey McCain's attorney said. "We want Port Allen to move forward."
The hearing today was continued until the end of May. In the meantime, McCain's attorneys are defining her roles and will file that into the court record to prevent further micromanagement.