BATON ROUGE- The subpoena that started the legal battle between the State Legislative Auditor's Office and the St. Tammany Parish Coroner's Office requests emails written by and/or between five top executives at the coroner's office, and the coroner himself, Dr. Peter Galvan.
The documents are part of an investigation into questionable spending and operating practices by Galvan. The FBI and State Attorney General are also probing the office, while a group of citizens is trying to recall Galvan. They say it's a shame the auditor had to go to court to get the information.
Carl Ernst said, "It's a delay tactic and it's cost us even more; another outrageous behavior on the part of the coroner."
Monday, an agreement before a judge in Baton Rouge led to the coroner's office having to hand over around 80,000 emails to the auditor. Galvan initially challenged the request saying some of the emails were protected by attorney-client privilege, among other reasons, so a the judge will decide the fate of those 2,000 emails in question.
Attorney for the Legislative Auditor’s Office, Jenifer Schaye said, "We're confident the court will make a wise decision on those documents."
Galvan's attorney's did not offer comment after the hearing, but residents say they're pleased.
"I think it sends a powerful message that you can't hide," said Ernst.
The deadline for the coroner's office to comply with today's ruling is Friday at 11 a.m.
The parish president's office also had a struggle with the coroner's office over requested documents earlier this year. In that case, Galvan's office said the records in question did not exist after turning over what appeared to be documents created just because of the request.
The Concerned Citizens of St. Tammany group, organizing the recall petition drive, released sign-up locations on its Facebook page Monday.