NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The Jefferson Parish Office of Inspector General wants to talk to Parish Councilman Mark Spears as part of an investigation, but the IG won’t disclose what that investigation is about.
At a council meeting Wednesday, the council approved using taxpayer money to hire an outside law firm to represent an unnamed council member in connection with the inspector general’s case.
According to our news partners NOLA,com | The Times-Picayune, the IG’s office filed court documents that indicate Spears repeatedly ducked a subpoena to testify before the IG’s office, even dropping to the floor to avoid being served. But Spears said it was the subpoena that dropped to the floor, not him.
NOLA.com also reported that Spears told the IG’s office he would do an interview if they would tell him what the matter was about. But he said the agency refused. We spoke with Spears after Wednesday’s council meeting and to Council Vice Chairman Dominick Impastato.
“I’m not getting on the camera. I could tell you about it, but I’m not going to tell you on the record,” said Spears.
Reporter: “What do you know about that Inspector General investigation?”
Impastato: "Nothing. That’s kind of the issue. We have no idea what it’s even related to. I don’t, unless someone else does, I can’t speak to that.”
According to court documents, the Inspector General also got a subpoena for Kirk Usey, an appointed member of the parish’s Planning Advisory Board, because the IG’s office said “he has knowledge related and relevant to the open matter” under investigation.
Again, the IG would not tell us why he wanted to speak with Spears and Usey or what his office is investigating.
In November, a Lee Zurik investigation found questionable spending of public money by Spears, including sending $75,000 last year from his discretionary tourism fund to the Zurich Classic Golf Tournament. In return, it appeared the council got a suite, even though four council members had no idea the parish had it.
FOX 8 watched that suite for three days of the tournament in April and found Spears and some of his closest advisers in it.