Elected official plans to step down after WBRZ report, furious with Investigative Unit
ASCENSION PARISH - Two months after the WBRZ Investigative Unit exposed Justice of the Peace John Hebert's actions, he abruptly called it quits by posting a sign on the door of his office this week.
His resignation caught many elected officials by surprise.
In October, the WBRZ Investigative Unit exposed Hebert was handling cases outside of his jurisdiction. We submitted a public records request to Hebert asking for information about eviction cases. Hebert appeared to ignore the email even though we received an auto-reply from him thanking us for the public records request.
Thursday, Hebert was fuming mad about the report.
"That's dirty Chris," Hebert said to Chief Investigator Chris Nakamoto. "I think it's kind of sleazy what you did."
Hebert maintains he never got that request.
Hebert admitted that he did handle cases that were outside his jurisdiction during our interview Thursday, and also said that his decision to step down had nothing to do with the story. Instead, he claimed he was thinking about retirement.
"Recently I met with HR at the sheriff's office and realized it benefits me to go back to the sheriff's office to better my retirement for the betterment of my family," Hebert said.
The WBRZ Investigative Unit checked with Ascension Parish Sheriff Bobby Webre. He said there have been no promises of a job for Hebert in his administration.
Hebert's resignation comes two months after he won re-election to another six-year term as justice of the peace. Why he abruptly retired two months after his re-election is a question only Hebert can answer. Christie Mayeux, his colleague in another justice court, said his actions in the past have amounted to a money grab. She also believes what he was doing was criminal.
"For many, many years he's been hearing things outside of his jurisdiction," Mayeux said. "There are companies that are not domiciled in Ascension Parish. He's allowed those companies to file suits in his court, and neither the defendant or the plaintiff reside in Ascension Parish."
As we were waiting for Hebert to do an interview with us, a State Department of Transportation dump truck arrived on his property with a special delivery. The worker said Hebert had requested dirt.
Hebert said anyone in the parish can get that dirt if they call DOTD and they'll drop it off at your home for free. Hebert said he did not request it though.
"They called us and said, 'we in the area. Do ya'll have a place we can dump so we don't have to make a run across town?'" Hebert explained. "I received a call from a DOTD supervisor asking if we could take it, and I said yeah."
Hebert said he intends to submit his resignation to the Secretary of State's Office within the next week.
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