NEW ORLEANS -- New Orleans Inspector General Ed Quatrevaux had to back down when the Recovery School District wouldn’t provide his auditors with records. He admitted his office lacked the jurisdiction to compel a state agency to turn over the information.
But he says a state law gives him that power over the Orleans Parish School Board, and he is ready to sue the OPSB to make them comply with a June 25 subpoena seeking financial records for the performance audit his office is doing.
“It’s as large as the Sewerage & Water Board. It’s as large as the city of New Orleans proper in terms of finances. It has a record of corruption at the highest levels, and what we want to do is go back in there and test for all the fraud schemes the FBI found there back in the early 2000s,” Quatrevaux said.
Interim Schools Superintendent Stan Smith has said OPSB is independent of the city and doesn’t have to turn over the records. But Quatrevaux says the schools collect taxes through the city, and based on that he cites a 2008 law that he believes gives him oversight power.
OPSB sought an opinion from Attorney General Buddy Caldwell about Quatrevaux’s jurisdiction, but Caldwell declined. The attorney general’s office does not issue opinions on cases that are to be decided by a court, as this one now is.
“I’m disappointed because I thought it would be important to a group of people who are making the argument the organization they lead has changed -- that it would be important for them to get some kind of third-party verification of that,” Quatrevaux said.