The city's inspector general has cleared New Orleans police chief Ronal Serpas of any wrongdoing in connection with the chief's pension application.
But, IG Ed Quatrevaux’s investigation raises new questions. His weeklong probe focused on three allegations.
In a letter to Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Quatravaux says the news media reported that Serpas put his start date as May 6, 2010 to qualify for additional pension benefits.
Quatravaux says Serpas did sign the form on May 6, but since that had no bearing on his retirement benefits, that allegation is unfounded.
"I actually filled out the form on May 18th, when I took my physical," Serpas said in a recent interview.
By his own admission, Serpas signed the form May 18, and FOX 8 actually reported that he put the wrong start date. The director of the pension board told FOX 8 in an interview that someone with the city may have thought Serpas had to re-enter the pension system before he turned 50 on May 9, 2010.
"I just have to assume someone with the city didn't know that after age 50, he could become a member," said Kathy Bourque, director of the state's Municipal Police Employees Retirement System
Quatrevaux also investigated whether Serpas got paid by New Orleans from May 6 through May 10, even though that is not what FOX 8 reported.
It was reported that according to official payroll documents, Serpas did get paid by both Nashville, Tenn. and New Orleans for a full day's work on May 10, the day before he was sworn in as chief here. Serpas and Landrieu both told us they were not sure if that was legal.
“I don't know whether they were or not, nor do I know if that's illegal," Landrieu said.
The IG's office did not address that payroll issue. The third allegation centers on assistant city attorney Victor Papai, notarizing the pension form and dating it May 6. When Serpas was still in Nashville and again, admits he didn't fill the form out until May 18.
"The most basic rule is that the person, who is the signatory on the document must appear in person before you and the date and the signatures have got to be accurate," said Loyola Law Professor Dane Ciolino.
"That matter is always between a lawyer and the bar association, so of course it concerns me. As a general rule, you shouldn't notarize a document outside the presence of a person signing it," Landrieu said.
Quatravaux says he has referred that matter to the Office of Disciplinary Counsel for further review.
FOX 8 reached out to Quatravaux about this story, but have not heard back from his office.