Agenda Item
Docket No. 11-060
Advisory opinion request concerning the Terrebonne Parish Consolidated Government acquiring property from a company owned by Rene Claudet, the brother of the Parish President, Michael Claudet.
Terrebonne Parish Consolidated Government has a roadway widening project (Hollywood Road) utilizing state and federal funding which requires the acquisition of significant servitudes to four lane a hurricane evacuation route in Terrebonne Parish. Included within the properties affected by the roadway is property owned by a corporation wholly owned by Rene Claudet and his wife Barbra Claudet, the Parish President's brother and sister-inlaw. Further, Michel Claudet holds a mortgage on Rene Claudet's personal residence and included as collateral is the hotel situated on the land to be acquired by the Parish.

Information obtained from the Parish indicates that the Parish will acquire a 3.758 acre tract. The total number of property owners (ownerships) that TPCG will be required to procure property rights from on this project is thirty-three (33). The acreage to be acquired from Hollywood Properties (the Quality Hotel) is 0.156 acre which is about 4.2% of the total acreage. A church has the largest acreage to be acquired at .537 acres or 14.3%. The remaining 31 owners average about .0989 acres or 2.6%.

In BD No. 2010-221, the Board determined that land owned by Hollywood Properties, Inc., a company owned by the Terrebonne Parish Consolidated Government's ("TPCG") Parish President, Michael Claudet's brother and sister-in-law, may be expropriated by TPCG, as long as the Parish President does not participate in the expropriation process.

Now, the TPCG is requesting an opinion regarding any potential participation issue arising if TPCG turns over the appropriation process to the District Attorney's office.

Section 1113 of the Code prohibits a public servant, a member of his immediate family, or a legal entity in which he owns a controlling interest, from entering into a transaction under the supervision or jurisdiction of the public servant's agency.

Section 1112 of the Code prohibits a public servant from participating in transactions involving his governmental agency in which any member of his immediate family has a substantial economic interest.

Section 1102(21) of the Code defines "substantial economic interest" as an economic interest which is of greater benefit to the public servant or other person than to a general class or group of persons. Since the proposed initiative can potentially impact each elector in the parish, a council member's interest in the initiative is no greater than that of any other elector in the parish.

Adopt proposed advisory opinion.

Assigned Attorney: Tracy Barker
2011-060: Advisory Opinion Request
2011-060 Draft Opinion