New Orleans council calls for full accounting of Sheriff Hutson’s spending

Published: Sep. 1, 2022 at 5:43 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A New Orleans city councilman has called for a full accounting of Sheriff Susan Hutson’s expenditures after a FOX 8 report showed a man terminated as head of the city’s juvenile justice center, earned $175 an hour working for the sheriff.

At first denial, Sheriff Hutson said Kyshun Webster wasn’t on the payroll. But a Fox 8 public records request found that he was hired to work for the sheriff’s transition team and made $35,000 for a few weeks of work.

More: Questions over hiring at Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office

“This is just going back to old-school Louisiana politics... it’s just based on what you know,’ said Dr. Robert Collins, Dillard Political Analyst.

Webster was hired by the sheriff after resigning from the city’s Juvenile Justice and Intervention Center just before he was to be terminated by Mayor Latoya Cantrell. The mayor’s termination letter came after an escape of four inmates, and a riot that had to be quelled by the NOPD swat team.

After leaving city employment, Webster got a job with the sheriff’s office.

Now, the head of the council budget committee wants answers, as he anticipates Hutson to request a deputy pay raise.

“At this point, we know their ask is coming to us, how are they justified? We just can’t give money away,” said Council Budget Chairman Joe Giarusso.

Former mayoral candidate and New Orleans pastor Tom Watson called a news conference Thursday (Sept. 1) to defend Webster, at which Webster was not present.

“I believe there’s a lynching of Keyshawn Webster going on by the media,” said Watson.

Watson says Webster will hold individual interviews later to discuss his job performance both with the city and the sheriff’s office. In the meantime, he says the criticism of Webster falls down to one thing; racism.

“There has been a severe attack of black leadership. The mayor recall effort... Jason Williams almost going to prison,” said Watson.

In spite of those allegations, council members have concerns.

“Everything needs to be on the table, and there needs to be an honest public discourse about what’s happening,” said Giarusso.

That discourse will begin in earnest when council budget hearings begin in a matter of months.

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