Appeals court rules New Orleans 911 must provide Inspector General with financial records


An appeals court ruled that New Orleans’ 911 system must turn over the financial records that the city’s inspector general had requested to determine whether the call center and its leaders were using public resources properly. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday issued a ruling upholding a ruling. Orleans Civil District Judge Nakisha Erwin-Knott did so last year. The Orleans Parish Communications District, which runs and operates New Orleans’ 911 and 311 lines, had challenged subpoenas for the Inspector General’s financial records. One of the subpoenas was sent to the district accounting firm, which asked the district court to quash it. Duplantier, Hrapman, Hogan & Maher argued that providing the documents would violate client privilege under state law. The Orléans Parish Communications District joined the cabinet challenge and also asked the judge to quash his subpoena from the Inspector General. Erwin-Knott quashed the accounting firm’s summons and spoke out in part against the OPCD, ruling that the Inspector General had the neighborhood. The OCPD appealed against this decision. Lawyers for the communications district had argued that the agency was not part of the city government and did not report to the Inspector General. The appeal court decision said. “This claim almost seems fallacious.” He noted that the OPCD’s financial report, for example, states “(f) for financial reporting purposes, the district is a constituent unit of the city of New Orleans”. As to the issue of authority, the appeals court ruled that the city’s charter of autonomy states that the inspector has the power to investigate “entities receiving funds through the city. “. Former Inspector General Derry Harper opened an investigation into the OPCD after audits of the accounting firm in 2017 and 2018 revealed significant shortcomings in the way the district was managing its finances. The concerns included missing checks, incorrect cash reconciliations, incorrect reporting of wages, incorrect reporting of sick leave, annual leave and several credit card expenses with no documentation required. Harper resigned on October 31, 2020 and Edward Michel was appointed Acting Inspector General. “The decision clearly established the authority of the OIG, which allows our office to review all City entities receiving appropriate funding to ensure the prevention and detection of fraud, waste and abuse,” Michel a stated in a press release. An OPCD spokesperson said Thursday that its legal team is still reviewing the Fourth Circuit decision and is not ready to discuss whether to appeal to the Louisiana Supreme Court.

An appeals court ruled that New Orleans’ 911 system must turn over financial records requested by the city’s inspector general to determine whether the call center and its officers are using public resources properly.

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday issued a ruling upholding a ruling made last year by Orléans Civil District Judge Nakisha Erwin-Knott. The Orleans Parish Communications District, which runs and operates New Orleans’ 911 and 311 lines, had challenged subpoenas for the Inspector General’s financial records.

One of the subpoenas was sent to the district accounting firm, which asked the district court to quash it. Duplantier, Hrapman, Hogan & Maher argued that providing the documents would violate client privilege under state law. The Orléans Parish Communications District joined the cabinet challenge and also asked the judge to quash his subpoena from the Inspector General.

Erwin-Knott quashed the accounting firm’s subpoena and spoke out in part against the OPCD, ruling that the inspector general could obtain the financial records directly from the district. The OCPD appealed against this decision.

Lawyers for the communications district had argued that the agency was not part of the city government and did not report to the Inspector General. The appeal court decision said. “This claim almost seems fallacious.” He noted that the OPCD’s financial report, for example, states “(f) for financial reporting purposes, the district is a constituent unit of the city of New Orleans”.

As to the issue of authority, the appeals court ruled that the city’s charter of autonomy states that the inspector has the power to investigate “entities receiving funds through the city. “.

Former Inspector General Derry Harper opened an investigation into the OPCD after audits of the accounting firm in 2017 and 2018 revealed significant shortcomings in the way the district was managing its finances. The concerns included missing checks, incorrect cash reconciliations, incorrect reporting of wages, incorrect reporting of sick leave, annual leave and several credit card expenses with no documentation required.

Harper resigned on October 31, 2020 and Edward Michel was appointed Acting Inspector General.

“The decision clearly established the authority of the OIG, which allows our office to review all entities in the city receiving appropriate funds to ensure the prevention and detection of fraud, waste and abuse,” Michel said in a statement.

An OPCD spokesperson said on Thursday that its legal team was still reviewing the Fourth Circuit decision and was not ready to discuss whether to appeal to the Louisiana Supreme Court.


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