May 9, 2012 11:53 PM by Shawn Kline

Council devotes thousands to investigate Parish President

Iberia Parish Council sets aside $7,500 to investigate Parish President Romo Romero and the accusations he made against the District Attorney; alleging misused taxpayer dollars.

The Attorney General's Office already told Romero his accusations are baseless.

"No, I did not do anything wrong," Romero replied to a reporter's question.

Romero stands by his accusations, 120-pages of documents highlighting misused taxpayer dollars specifically in the DA's office.

"It's our due diligence," Councilman Roger Duncan said. "We were elected to do what's right for the parish."

The Attorney General's office suggested some of those documents in the complaint were baseless and could be false. Duncan says that's why the council should investigate: a crime could have been committed by the Parish President.

"The Attorney General wouldn't have pointed out there is two allegations and the possibility of a felony if he didn't find something out," Duncan said. "We need to find out what's going on."

The investigation will not just cost taxpayer dollars (up to $7,500) but it's costing council its attorney. DA Phil Haney recused himself due to a conflict of interest: unable to represent council with an ongoing investigation involving allegations against himself.

The council voted to hire an auditing firm in place of the District Attorney.

"I think the general public does need to know," Duncan said. "If there's nothing there, fine, let's drop it, get along with our business and everything is fine."

Duncan says if a felony has occurred, it's worth the price. Romero, welcoming the investigation, is at the same time willing to put all this behind them.

"We have not had a discussion about what parish government can do to improve the quality of life in Iberia Parish," he said. "It's time this nonsense stops and we start working for the people and with the people."

Council set a date of May 30th to interview those who signed documents in Romero's allegations.



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