Lafayette government sues municipal court lawyer over bank statements

The Lafayette Consolidated Government is suing Lafayette City Court attorney Gary McGoffin for a request to record court bank records from November.

LCG filed a lawsuit Monday asking 15th Judicial District Court Judge Thomas Frederick to order McGoffin, as a representative of the City Court, to produce documents an auditor requested as part of an LCG investigation. on court costs.

LCG has been seeking fines of $100 a day since November as part of the lawsuit.

The LCG, 15th Judicial District Court, and Lafayette City Court share facilities and expenses for some public property, but are separate political entities under state law. Both courts are headed by elected judges and judges cannot sit in both courts.

Emails attached to LCG’s lawsuit show parish-town attorney Greg Logan requested seven years of monthly bank statements for 14 accounts used by City Court on Nov. 2, 2021, as part of a process analysis by consulting firm KPMG and another audit of Court finances.

The request was initially delayed by problems with access to financial records and staff availability, but emails provided by McGoffin show that he and court staff had responded to the request with several documents by November 16.

The emails included in the lawsuit are available at the end of this report.

Logan contacted McGoffin on November 16 about problems with a password on some electronic records. McGoffin responded that day by providing the password and asked Logan if he needed any other records to scan, as it would take court staff several days.

The LCG lawsuit included a subsequent email from Logan to McGoffin on April 12, 2022, in which Logan said the tapes had still not been received.

McGoffin responded that day saying he would look into the matter. He then emailed a City Court clerk who told him she was waiting for Logan to decide if he wanted to see hard copies of the records that were already available at the City Courthouse.

“The items in question have already been removed and boxed and have been in place for months. We were waiting to see how they wanted these documents delivered to them as the cost of scanning was quite high,” the employee wrote. in an email to McGoffin.

“Logan was supposed to come back with us to see the documents.”

Logan pointed out that the City Court clerk’s response to McGoffin’s email

State law does not require public agencies to scan records that do not already exist in electronic format to respond to public records requests.

City-Parish Attorney Greg Logan in a meeting Tuesday, May 18, 2021.

In a statement Tuesday, City Court Judge Doug Saloom called the lawsuit “puzzling” because many of the application documents were provided to LCG in August 2021 before the application was even issued in November.

“This action is puzzling because the original hard copies of the requested documents were made available on November 16, 2021. The cost of reproducing these documents would exceed more than $1,500.00 – an expense to be paid from taxpayer funds – for documents LCG has ever seen,” he wrote.

“Since then, three attempts have been made to deliver the (records) in digital format in addition to the paper documentation which has already been produced and remains available.”

McGoffin was named the accused in LCG’s lawsuit, even though he is a contract attorney for the City Court and not an actual employee of the court.

He said LCG’s decision to sue him, rather than the court, despite his lack of control over custody of the records, should be seen in the context of his representing clients in ongoing lawsuits against LCG challenging his own answers. to public records requests and its recent “quick” land seizure.

McGoffin represents the Daily Advertiser in various public records processes and litigation, including against LCG. He also represents the heirs of Lucille B. Randol in a lawsuit against LCG for its expropriation of 14.5 acres of family land.

His portrayal of the defunct Independent Weekly in a 2015 public records lawsuit against former Lafayette Marshal Brian Pope ultimately led to Pope’s criminal conviction.

A date has not yet been set for a hearing in the case on City Court records.

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