Parish Council of St. John the Baptist invited to consider votes on insurance contracts | Local politics


LaPlace insurance agent asks the Parish Council of St. John the Baptist to investigate its allegation that Parish Councilor Steve Lee concealed a conflict of interest during the vote to approve the contracts of insurance between 2003 and 2008.

St. John the Baptist Ward Councilor Steve Lee

John Millet argues in his

to Acting Parish President Pat McTopy that Lee should have revealed he was receiving commissions from Arthur J. Gallagher Risk Management Services placing policies with the Port of South Louisiana and St. Charles Parish Council while voting on the advice of St. John to give the parish business to the company.

Lee has an agreement to solicit business for Louisiana Insurance Services and other companies, according to Lee’s response to a 2008 ethics complaint about the practice.

He argued that he doesn’t decide which risk management company gets the job.

Lee referred questions about it to his attorney, Gray Sexton, who said they stemmed from Millet’s inability to secure the parish’s insurance business.

“The parish council asked for a series of

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advisory opinions

of the ethics committee and that Mr. Lee and the board have behaved with care with the opinions that were rendered by the ethics committee, ”Sexton said. “As many of these issues have been raised and dealt with, they have been decided in favor of the parish council and in favor of Mr. Lee.

The ethics committee ruled in July 2009 that Lee’s actions did not violate state law because Lee does not determine which insurance company underwrites the business.

But Millet argues that this is a sham, especially in the case of the St. John School Board’s health insurance contracts in 2004.

“He offers Coventry (health care) to the school board one week, then votes to give them parish business next week,” he said.

Millet, who has raised the issue of conflict of interest for years, said he didn’t expect to win business if his claims were true.

“At one point I had hoped to get some part of this deal, but I know that won’t happen,” he said. “I just want them to do the right thing.”

District Attorney Tom Daley, whose office is the parish’s legal adviser, said he did not receive Millet’s latest complaint, but said he passed on Millet’s earlier complaints about it to the state attorney general’s office to decide whether they warranted further action.

Matt Scallan can be contacted at [email protected] or 985.652.0953.

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