‘Incredibly disappointed;’ Vappie’s attorneys say recording leak compromised investigation

Published: Mar. 17, 2023 at 10:26 AM CDT|Updated: Mar. 17, 2023 at 2:44 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Attorneys for New Orleans Police Officer Jeffrey Vappie say they and their client are “incredibly disappointed” that investigative recordings were leaked.

In a statement sent on Fri., March 17, attorneys Branden Villavaso and Nicholas Lindner say the investigation is compromised.

“Officer Vappie cooperated fully with this investigation and submitted to a tedious P.I.B. interview,” the statement reads. “There was an obligation to impartially and confidentially conduct the investigation. We limited comments to the press during the investigation to protect its integrity, but those entrusted with safeguarding the investigation files did not. We fail to see how the investigation can maintain integrity, and it gives at least an appearance of impropriety, if the public and the media are drawing conclusions based on compromised portions of the investigation in the court of popular opinion.”

The city attorney says the recordings were “inadvertently” leaked.

The president of the Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO) says the recordings were sent to a “recently reinstated board member,” but that no sitting members of the board were ever in possession.

“The city attorney’s office has issued a public statement on the recordings which were inadvertently shared by their office with a recently reinstated HANO board member. The HANO Board of Commissioners would like to clarify that at no time was any sitting board member ever in possession of recordings from the PIB investigation,” HANO president Carol Johnson said in a statement.

On Wed., March 8, the New Orleans City Council voted to reinstate board member Sharon Jasper, who was twice removed from her position following requests from the board’s president to Mayor Cantrell.

In a statement, Jasper says she had no knowledge of the tapes or the leak and was made aware only through media reports.

“I have been targeted for being a champion of the people and for this I have been persecuted. I have never in my life seen so much corruption in the housing authority as we are seeing today. The administrations want to blame someone who is innocent of the corruption being plagued upon the residents of public housing. This is what happens to people who will not bow down or be silent against injustice, human and civil rights violations,” the statement reads. “It is obvious from the two Appeal Hearings that there is a wave of corruption that is trying to disenfranchise public housing residents and those who speak on their behalf. It is time for both administrations to show respect and concern for the people. Not disrespect and corruption. My two Appeal Hearings clearly show there is a factor of ineptness running through both administrations and the attempts to silence my crusade has led to more questions being raised.”


Former New Orleans city attorney reacts to leak in Vappie investigation

Calls for third-party to investigate Officer Vappie after alleged missteps during his investigation

Investigators grill mayor’s security about travel and Vappie’s HANO board appointment

Officer Vappie investigation recordings raise questions about time spent with Mayor Cantrell in Pontalba apartment

In the recordings, Public Integrity Bureau investigators question Officer Vappie and two other members of Mayor Cantrell’s executive security team about Vappie’s behavior with the mayor, his time spent at the city-owned Upper Pontalba apartment, traveling with the mayor, and Vappie’s mayoral appointment to the HANO board.

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