Mayor Kip Holden says Sheriff Sid Gautreaux is lying about a so-called gentleman’s agreement the sheriff claims the two struck weeks ago regarding an ongoing dispute over approximately $4 million in federal grants. “I haven’t reneged on any agreement,” Holden says. “That’s a lie.”
Gautreaux contends he and Holden agreed on April 14 that the sheriff would sign off on four Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness grant applications, but says the mayor has not forwarded him the applications since they shook hands on the deal. Holden confirms he and Gautreaux met at a local businessman’s office (neither the sheriff nor the mayor will say exactly where the meeting took place), but says there was never any agreement made. A 25% share of the grants is to go to local law enforcement, and in 2009 GOHSEP began requiring the sheriff to sign some grant applications on behalf of all law enforcement agencies in the parish. Holden, however, contends GOHSEP can’t legally require the sheriff’s signature on a federal grant application.
“It’s a political power grab by the sheriff and the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security,” Holden says. “I want to resolve this, but the bottom line is it has to be in writing. Don’t give me this ‘gentleman’s agreement’ stuff—get it in writing.” The grants in question were awarded for fiscal years 2009 and 2010, but the money has not been released because the applications are considered incomplete. Holden says the city-parish is not in jeopardy of losing any funding, as extensions can be obtained if necessary. The GOHSEP grant issue, including detailed spending reports from the past six fiscal years, is on the Metro Council agenda for Wednesday. —Steve Sanoski