A deputy assigned to St. Bernard Parish Government raided a storage unit owned by former Parish President Craig Taffaro on Tuesday and seized boxes of parish records. A federal judge has ordered the parish to turn the records over to her by 11 a.m. today as a part of the U.S. Justice Department's ongoing civil rights case against the parish.
View search warrant
In an affidavit supporting the parish's search warrant, Sgt. Jarrod Gourgues testified that the parish is investigating Taffaro for allegedly violating the state's law against injuring public records. He also testified that Taffaro told the parish attorney, Bill McGoey, that he 'had indeed removed (parish) files from the government building.
But Taffaro's lawyer, Henry Klein, said those statements are false. He said Taffaro directed his employees to scan all of the documents and keep copies of them in the parish's computer system after he was defeated in his bid for re-election last year. Klein said Taffaro only kept copies, not originals, and that he wanted the files in case he needed them for the lawsuits that continue against his administration.
Gourgues testified that a parish employee checked some of the 19 boxes seized and found time sheets and documents related to the Redfish Cup tournament.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Sally Shushan issued a subpoena ordering the documents be turned over to federal court. U.S. District Judge Ginger Berrigan has asked St. Bernard Parish to turn over documents in the ongoing case related to alleged racial discrimination in the parish's housing policy under Taffaro.
Taffaro is now the head of Gov. Bobby Jindal's hazard mitigation office.