The chairman of the East Baton Rouge Redevelopment Authority’s board of commissioners says he has been contacting other members of the board individually to discuss the future of RDA President and CEO Walter Monsour.
Board Chairman John Noland says public meeting laws have made it challenging for the board to privately discuss Monsour’s tenure at the agency, but that he has been “sounding (out) board members one on one” and that the board is “evaluating our course of action.” He says the board has confirmed a quorum to hold a special meeting Oct. 30 to discuss Monsour’s future, but that the meeting has not yet been called.
Noland’s comments to Daily Report came Sunday, after a report in The Advocate detailed $190,000 in legal work earned by the Butler Snow law firm, where Monsour’s son, Jordan Monsour, is an attorney. Butler Snow represented clients that received funds from the RDA. Noland says the board was unaware Butler Snow was doing the work until after the fact, but that he was aware the RDA staff had requested an opinion on the issue from the state Ethics Board. That request was later withdrawn before an opinion could be rendered. Noland says he was unaware the request was withdrawn and regrets not following up on the matter.
“I am guilty of losing track of it at some point,” he says.
Noland also says he believes the legal contracts may be among the reasons Mayor Kip Holden has been so hostile of late toward Walter Monsour, his one-time friend and former chief of staff. Earlier this month, the mayor criticized Monsour’s $365,000 salary and benefits package, said he would not allocate money for the RDA in the 2015 budget, and questioned how Monsour has been spending money at the agency.
Noland says the latest disclosure of the legal contracts won’t help matters.
“This is going to make it more difficult for us at the RDA,” he says.