Government & Politics

Office of Inspector General cleared in ethics investigation

The city’s Ethics Review Board has dropped an investigation into Inspector General Ed Quatrevaux and Eduardo Hernandez, an investigator with the Office of Inspector General. It appears, however, that three city officials who were named in the same probe are still under investigation.

The investigation concerned claims by Zepporiah Edmonds, the city’s former parking administrator, who took an involuntary retirement earlier this year after her boss, Department of Public Works Director Mark Jernigan, informed her she was to be fired.

“After investigation, the complaints filed with the Ethics Review Board by Ms. Edmonds against Ed Quatrevaux and Eduardo Hernandez were dismissed because no violation occurred,” OIG General Counsel Suzanne Lacey wrote in a statement.

The board voted in its March meeting to dismiss Quatrevaux and Hernandez from the investigation, which was opened in October, meeting minutes published this week show.

Edmonds requested the investigation in September, alleging that Hernandez falsely accused her of failing to cooperate with an investigation into abuses by a small number of parking control officers. Edmonds claimed Hernandez colluded with Jernigan to use the report to discredit her and ultimately ensure that she would be fired. She also said that Hernandez should have recused himself from the investigation because Andrea Easterling, one of the officers identified in the report, had repeatedly ticketed his girlfriend’s car.

In a November letter, Lacey admitted that Easterling ticketed Hernandez’s girlfriend’s car but denied it was a conflict of interest. She also dismissed Edmonds’ claims of collusion, writing that Hernandez only wrote about Edmonds’ alleged failure to cooperate “because it was so egregious and long standing that it deserved its own commentary.”

The Ethics Review Board’s investigation also focused on three city officials: Jernigan, Department of Public Works employee Linda Copeland and Cedric Grant, the head of the Sewerage and Water Board and Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s infrastructure czar. Edmonds accused the three of waging a campaign of harassment and retaliation that she said was related to complaints she made about an alleged bid-rigging scheme involving a multimillion-dollar parking ticket contract.

Though Ethics Review Board attorney Dane Ciolino can’t discuss the specifics of active investigations, including the subjects, he confirmed in a text message that the overall investigation into Edmonds’ complaint, minus Quatrevaux and his staff, is still ongoing.

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