Agenda Item
Docket No. 12-399
Advisory opinion regarding whether William Nungesser, Plaquemines Parish President, may submit an application for resubdivision before the Plaquemines Parish Council as mandated by a court order.
On November 8, 2005, William Nungesser formed Live Oak Grove Plantation Development, LLC. On November 22, 2005, Live Oak acquired an undivided 50% interest in property known as the Ranatza property. In exchange for such acquisition, Grace Ranatza became a 30% owner of Live Oak and Mr. Nungesser owned the remaining 70%. Ms. Ranatza's brother was the owner of the remaining 50% of the Ranatza property.

On January 1, 2007, Mr. Nungesser took office as Plaquemines Parish Parish President and was re-elected in October 2010.

On October 18, 2007, Mr. Ranatza died. His succession was opened on October 23, 2007. The relationship between Mr. Nungesser and Mr. Ranatza's heirs quickly soured resulting in numerous claims and lawsuits. In October 2011, the parties were able to settle their claims without the necessity of a trial. The settlement was judicially recognized in a Consent Judgment and Order to Partition Property by Private Sale. Pursuant to the Judgment and Partition, it was ordered that Live Oak and the Civellos (one group of heirs) exchange certain property with the Hammetts (another group of heirs). In order to accomplish this property exchange in the court ordered mandates, a resubdivision of the Ranatza Property from one lot into two lots was required.

Chapter 20 of the Plaquemines Parish Code of Ordinances governs the resubdivision of property. In Plaquemines Parish, council approval is required for the resubdivision of property into two or more lots, unless an exemption applies. In the case at hand, no exemption applies. As long as all requirements of the resubdivision ordinance are met, the council must grant the resubdivision, thus there is no discretion on the part of the council to deny such resubdivision request. The application for resubdivision is reviewed by several departments to insure that zoning requirements are not violated and other legal requirements are met.

In the present case, Live Oak, the Civellos and the Hammetts have applies for resubdivision of property pursuant to the court ordered mandates. The application meets all requirements of the Resubdivision Ordinance. The application has not been presented to the council for approval as Mr. Nungesser is concerned there may be a R.S. 42:1113A issue.

La. R.S. 42:1113A states no public servant, or a member of such a public servant's immediate family, or a legal entity in which he has a controlling interest shall bid on or enter into any contract, subcontract or other transaction that is under the supervision or jurisdiction of the agency of such public servant.

La. R.S. 42:1102 (23) defines "Transaction involving the governmental entity" to mean any proceeding, application, submission, request for a ruling or other determination, contract, claim, case, or other such particular matter which the public servant or former public servant of the governmental entity in question knows or should know: (a) Is, or will be, the subject of action by the governmental entity. (b) Is one to which the governmental entity is or will be a party. (c) Is one in which the governmental entity has a direct interest.

Adopt proposed advisory opinion.

Assigned Attorney: Tracy Barker
2012-399- Advisory Opinion Request
2012-399 Draft Opinion