Ethics opinion okays dealings with levee district
The Louisiana Board of Ethics opined in July that there were no conflicts of interest for a second cousin of the president of the St. Mary Parish Levee District to enter into a contract with the levee district for services.
The board concluded at its July 15 meeting that Acadiane Renovations Ltd., owned by Dan J. Hidalgo Sr. of Franklin, could bid services to the St. Mary Levee District.
D. Hidalgo, the company’s president, is second cousin to William Hidalgo Sr., the levee district’s president.
In a letter dated July 18, Brent E. Durham, writing on behalf of the board, informed D. Hidalgo that contracting with the Levee District would not violate Section 1113A of the Code of Governmental Ethics, which says that a public servant or a member of his immediate family is prohibited from bidding or entering into a contract, subcontract or other transaction that is under the supervision or jurisdiction of a public servant’s agency.
“An ‘immediate family member’ as defined by the Code in Section 1102(13), does not include second cousins,” Durham wrote in the letter. “Therefore, ARL may enter into a contract with the St. Mary Parish Levee District.”
D. Hidalgo said this morning that his company had expanded to include certifications for highways, streets and bridges. Levee work is included in this field.
He said the move allowed them to perform services for the levee district as well as other clients that required similar work.
“Before I wanted to engage in any contract … I wanted to make sure we weren’t going to have any conflicts (of interest),” D. Hidalgo said today.
To date, though, he said no contract has been entered or is pending with the board.
D. Hidalgo said he has done previous work with the parish before, though.
B. Hidalgo was out of the office this morning, but Levee Board attorney Gerard Bourgeois also confirmed that Acadian has not done any work for the board.