Broken records: Sheriff not complying with open-records requests for documents

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Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman has been ignoring a series of public records requests filed with his office by The Lens.

Under the state Public Records Act, Gusman is required to turn over the public records immediately, or within three days if they are in active use. But four public records requests dating back to December have gone without a response from Gusman’s office or his attorneys at Usry, Weeks & Matthews.

Among public records sought by The Lens:

  • Records of Gusman’s take-home vehicle policy, a list of Gusman’s employees who have a take-home vehicle and whether they have gas cards for those vehicles.
  • Records related to paid details at Gusman’s office, following up on tips received by The Lens in response to a story on paid details at Gusman’s office published in December.
  • Records related to Gusman’s investigation of specific sheriff’s deputies for misconduct.
  • Records related to findings by the Department of Corrections in its most recent inspections of Gusman’s jail facilities.
  • Financial records showing money brought in by Gusman’s office from the civil sales of property since Gusman merged his office with former Civil Sheriff Paul Valteau.
  • Records showing how Gusman paid for his annual Thanksgiving dinners in 2010 and 2011.
  • Specific personnel records at Gusman’s office.
  • Email communications between Gusman’s office and his paid public relations firm, The Ehrhardt Group, for a specific period.
  • Records covering Gusman’s trip to Singapore when he avoided testifying before a Justice Department Review Panel on prison rape, including expense reports, records showing who accompanied Gusman on the trip.
  • Inmate grievance records related to the resolution of inmate grievances over a three-month period.
  • Gusman’s calendar for a three-month period.
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