Attorney General Sues Red River Waterway Commission
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry has filed suit against the Red River Waterway Commission claiming two members of the board are serving illegally.
This dispute centers on the non appointment of Carolyn Prator to the Board. She was nominated by the Caddo Parish Commission, the Caddo Levee Board and the Red River Valley Association. But she was passed over by the Governor. Instead, John Bel Edwards moved at-large member Ron Lattier to the designated Caddo Parish seat on the board.
Landry issued the following statement:
Today's legal action was done to ensure proper representation on the Red River Waterway Commission as dictated by law. The law commands every region has a voice on this Commission; so my office and I are fighting for fairness to Northwest Louisiana.
The suit was filed in Natchitoches Parish, details how Governor John Bel Edwards upset the Commission's balance when he unlawfully filled the vacancy created by the death of Mickey Prestridge. Despite the unanimous nomination of Carolyn Prator by the applicable nominating entities for the Caddo Parish vacancy – the Governor appointed Michael DeVille, a resident of Rapides Parish, as a member-at-large of the Commission; even though there was no at-large vacancy to which DeVille could be appointed.
Carolyn Prator is listed as an interested party in the suit. She is the wife of Caddo Sheriff Steve Prator who has been critical of the Governor's criminal justice reform efforts. State Senator Greg Tarver tells KEEL News the Governor told him he was not appointing Prator to the post for that reason, but the Governor denies that claim.
"While many have made this issue political, I remain consistent that this is solely about fairness and the rule of law," concluded General Landry. "Northwest Louisiana must be treated fairly and the law must be followed."
The suit is asking the court to prohibit the Red River Waterway Commission from recognizing DeVille as a member of the Commission and from recognizing and treating Ronald Lattier as the Caddo Parish member of the Commission.
Additionally, the lawsuit requests the court direct the Red River Waterway Commission to take all actions necessary and advisable to secure Prator's appointment to the Commission as the Caddo Parish member.
Here's our interview with Senator Tarver about what the Governor told him: