Consultant slings accusations at Jefferson Parish council members

Consultant slings accusations at Jefferson Parish council members
Published: Aug. 12, 2015 at 6:01 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 12, 2015 at 9:54 PM CDT
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METAIRIE, LA (WVUE) - Explosive accusations against some Jefferson Parish council members came Wednesday from a high-paid hospital consultant who has been the subject of a Lee Zurik Investigation.

That consultant, Josh Nemzoff, paid for a full page letter to be published in The Times-Picayune. In it he accuses some council members of costing taxpayers $430 million.

Jefferson Parish pays Nemzoff $650 an hour, totaling nearly $1 million in taxpayer money even though our investigation uncovered Nemzoff was not turning in detailed invoices justifying his work.

Nemzoff was hired to advise the parish on privatization deals at East and West Jefferson hospitals.

In his letter published in the paper, Nemzoff said Council Chairman Chris Roberts and Councilman Elton Lagasse succeeded in driving a corporation away from the bid process and, "in doing so they cheated Jefferson Parish out of a bid that was $430 million more than the next closest competitor. One has to wonder to this day, what was their motive."

We talked to council chairman Chris Roberts about the letter Wednesday, "I think it's ridiculous, bottom line is that this certainly doesn't help to get the transaction closed, nonetheless I find it very suspect that these issues are raised now when he's questioned about his billing," Roberts said.

Lagasse had asked that Nemzoff's payments be withheld until back-up documentation justifying his work was provided. At a council meeting Wednesday, Lagasse withdrew that resolution, after the parish attorney said she was confident they have that documentation from Nemzoff.

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