NOPD’s Vappie resigns from HANO board seat awarded by Mayor Cantrell
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - NOPD officer Jeffrey Vappie, a former member of Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s executive protection detail, has resigned from a housing board seat to which she appointed him in March 2022.
The Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO) confirmed to Fox 8 that Vappie resigned from its board effective March 15. His departure had not been previously announced.
“Please be informed by this letter that I will be officially resigning from the board of the Housing Authority of New Orleans as commissioner, effective immediately,” Vappie wrote. His resignation letter went on to tout the accomplishments of the board and said he would support HANO’s work in the future.
Vappie was reassigned from Cantrell’s security team last November, after a series of Fox 8 investigations began taking a closer look at the NOPD officer’s timesheets and the amount of time he spent with the mayor -- both on and off duty -- inside the city-owned Upper Pontalba Apartment in the French Quarter. The NOPD later launched an internal investigation into the officer that has not concluded.
The Lee Zurik investigation found Vappie earning more salary from January-September 2022 and going on more trips with the mayor than any other NOPD officer assigned to her protection team. It also found that Cantrell had appointed Vappie as a commissioner on the HANO board in March 2022, even though he listed no previous public housing experience or expertise on his LinkedIn page.
Zurik: NOPD investigating officer frequently inside Cantrell’s city-owned apartment
Zurik: Officer Vappie investigation recordings raise questions about time spent with Mayor Cantrell in Pontalba apartment
Zurik: Investigators grill mayor’s security about travel and Vappie’s HANO board appointment
Zurik: Investigators question Mayor Cantrell’s security about travel, down time
Dillard University political analyst Dr. Robert Collins said last November that having a public employee on the public board could become a conflict.
“That raises questions,” Collins said. “Because, generally speaking, it’s standard practice not to appoint public employees to public boards. Simply because there could be a potential conflict of interest, especially when you’re dealing with a law enforcement officer. There could be investigations that he may have to oversee.”
Records showed Vappie’s first HANO meeting -- on March 29, 2022 -- started at 4 p.m. and lasted past 6 p.m. For the entire meeting, Vappie was paid by taxpayers to work for the NOPD. He also attended HANO meetings on Aug. 23 and Sept. 20 while being paid to protect and serve taxpayers, Fox 8 found.
Cantrell, through a statement issued by her office last November, defended Vappie’s inclusion on the housing board.
“In his duties as executive protection, he is called on to serve and protect not only the residents but also the mayor of this city,” the statement said in part. “His service on the Housing Authority of New Orleans Board of Directors is but another demonstration of his commitment to the City of New Orleans and her people.”
In Tuesday’s latest installment of Fox 8′s “Outside the Office” investigation, viewers learned that while serving on the HANO board late last year, Vappie also had been unusually reassigned while under NOPD investigation to an entirely different city department -- the Orleans Parish Communications District, which runs the city’s 911 system.
But neither his bosses at the New Orleans Police Department, OPCD director Tyrell Morris, nor the mayor’s office would explain what Vappie’s duties included during that monthlong reassignment, nor provide records of when he worked there.
Vappie later was reassigned again -- last December by interim NOPD Supt. Michelle Woodfork -- to the NOPD’s asset forfeiture unit.
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