[StBernard] WDSU Investigates: Allegations of political payback, conflicts of interest with parish hospital

Westley Annis westley at da-parish.com
Sat Oct 15 21:38:11 EDT 2016

WDSU Investigates: Allegations of political payback, conflicts of interest
with parish hospital
Updated: 6:34 PM CDT Oct 15, 2016 

Travers Mackel   
Investigative Reporter 


Allegations of political payback and conflicts of interest are brewing in a
high-profile investigation in one area parish.

These are new developments in a story that WDSU Investigates broke this year
and continues to follow.

The district attorney in St. Bernard Parish, Perry Nicosia, is in the final
stages of a criminal grand jury investigation into the St. Bernard Parish

As WDSU Investigates first reported in February, Nicosia is looking at how
the board spent and managed millions of dollars.

One of the people front and center in the probe is former councilman Wayne
Landry, who, until recently, ran the hospital. 

Here's what Landry told us in February:
"Well, we assume that somebody made an allegation that the DA's office is
looking into and listen -- we are cooperating fully, and I got to tell you
-- we are not afraid to be investigated by anybody, or audited by anybody,
so we are sure it will pan out to be nothing in the end, but I'm sure the DA
feels like he's doing his job and that somebody must have made a serious
allegation," Landry said in a Feb. 19 interview.

Now, as sources say indictments are imminent and likely in this case, Landry
is firing back at the district attorney.

His lawyers, Kyle Schonekas and Billy Gibbens, filed a motion Friday to
recuse the DA's office from the matter. They are citing a conflict of
interest legally, the DA represents the hospital; the Landry filing says
that Nicosia cannot prosecute anyone on the board objectively.

Landry said Nicosia's probe is motivated by politics.

In the filing, Landry accuses the DA of being an ally of current parish
president Guy McInnis, who Landry ran against last fall.

Landry's lawyers insinuate in the filing that the investigation is nothing
more than the result of political scores being settled. The motion asks a
judge to halt any grand jury indictments and investigations until the filing
is adjudicated.

Last month, we also first reported how the hospital was almost $1
million delinquent on its utility bills. Efforts have been made to assure,
despite the financial problems, that the power will remain on.

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