Over the last few weeks, the community has been focused on the recent events and allegations of corruption involving Youngsville Chief of Police Rickey Boudreaux and Councilman Kayla Reaux. Members of the community filled the Youngsville Council Chambers on March 30, 2023 to see what, if any, meaningful action would be taken by the Youngsville City Council. In the end, they voted unanimously to support a resolution authorizing and directing the Mayor, Ken Ritter, to secure an independent investigation. It will likely be months before any further information comes to light regarding this tangled web, but while things play out we would be wise to broaden our focus so other matters of corruption don’t go unnoticed.
LOCAL PUBLIC OFFICIAL PLEADS GUILTY IN PUBLIC CORRUPTION CASE
Just one week before focus shifted to Youngsville another public official was entering his guilty plea in federal court and implicating others. Dusty Guidry, a former contractor with the 15th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, pled guilty in federal court on March 23, 2023 to two counts of conspiracy to commit an offense (18 USC 371) and one count of soliciting a bribe (18 USC 666), aiding and abetting (18 USC 2). Guidry was charged through a Bill of Information which was initially filed under seal.
According to the stipulated factual basis for guilty plea filed into the record Guidry served as the coordinator of the Pre-Trial Diversion Program for most of 2021. Guidry solicited and/or directed other co-conspirators to solicit individuals with active criminal prosecutions to participate in the Pre-Trial Diversion Program offered by the 15th Judicial District. Individuals were promised favorable resolutions of pending cases in the district, including the dismissal of criminal charges in exchange for monies paid to vendors. The stipulation identifies at least five unidentified vendors who allegedly participated in the criminal conspiracy.
Guidry agrees that he received bribery payments totaling $739,497.71. It should be noted that Guidry also worked as the Director of Pre-Trial Intervention Services for the District Attorney’s Office in the 19th Judicial District prior to his 2021 arrest in St. Martin Parish on drug charges.
CRIMINAL CONSPIRACY EXTENDS TO A STATE DEPARTMENT
In addition to his role in the criminal conspiracy at the 15th Judicial District Attorney’s Office Guidry also admits his involvement in another scheme at the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. Beginning in May of 2019 and continuing until December of 2021 Guidry “served” as a commissioner for the LDWF. During his tenure on the commission Guidry along with at least one other public official agreed to receive payments and/or other tangible benefits in exchange for securing contracts for a vendor. For his role in this conspiracy Guidry acknowledges receiving $89,072.53.
So, who is the unnamed criminal conspirator at the LDWF? Time will tell, but it is someone high enough up in the agency to sign and enter into contracts on behalf of the agency.
THE FISH THAT GOT AWAY?
It has been over a decade since federal authorities raided the office of then District Attorney Mike Harson in February of 2012. That investigation led to the conviction of several individuals within the District Attorney’s Office, and/or the ongoing prosecution of other public officials and private citizens. Amongst those sentenced was Barna Haynes, the long-time secretary of Harson who was ordered to serve 18 months in federal prison. Haynes was at the time married to Gary Haynes.
Gary Haynes, an Assistant District Attorney who also served as the City Prosecutor, was placed on administrative leave just one day following the FBI raid of the 15th Judicial District Attorney’s Office in May of 2022. Could he be the co-conspirator (a public official at the 15th Judicial District Attorney’s Office) referenced in the Guidry plea agreement? Is this all just a continuation of the former pay for plea scandal which previously operated within our local government? Again, time will tell.
What we do know is that in the last few years Guidry netted over $828,570.24 for his part in the conspiracies. Whether the Youngsville scandal reaches the heights of corruption we are witnessing unfolding at the 15th JDC remains to be seen. Either way, these are examples of the absolute corruption that has taken over our local systems.