JEFFERSON PARISH, La. (WVUE) – Following a FOX 8 lawsuit filed last week, a judge in Jefferson Parish on Monday ordered the city of Kenner to keep public records of FEMA timesheets after Hurricane Ida.
FOX 8 has been trying to get these records for more than two months.
FOX 8 attorneys went to the Gretna Courthouse to try to get the city of Kenner to release some long-sought public documents, and Judge Raymond Steib set a deadline.
âToday the judge ordered the records to be produced and they are starting ongoing production. I think that was the right result, âsaid Scott Sternberg, FOX 8 attorney.
Since October 12, FOX 8’s Lee Zurik and investigative producer Cody Lillich have been trying to get connoisseurs to create FEMA timesheets with 21 employees, including Mayor Ben Zahn, former Jefferson Parish Councilman Paul Johnston and former Mayor of Covington Candace Watkins.
Zurik: FOX 8 is suing Kenner Mayor for delays in public records
“The law says you should submit these records in three days and sometimes we get a letter saying it will be 30 to 45 days to report, but it has been much longer than three days and much longer than 45 days … we need to have this information immediately because it is newsworthy, âsaid Sternberg.
Last week, a lawyer from Kenner criticized the lawsuit in which FOX 8 accused Kenner of âmasonryâ.
âOur law firm is processing the lawsuit. We think it’s frivolous, but there should be a solution shortly, âsaid lawyer Roy Bellina.
So far there has been no solution.
In court on Monday, Kenner attorney Matthew Sherman told the judge that the department that maintains public records is also handling insurance claims and remedial measures, and he promised to make the documents available.
Sternberg said the requested records should be easy to create. FOX 8 filed six public record requests before filing the lawsuit. On Monday in court, Judge Steib sided with FOX 8 and set a deadline of January 6th for the submission of the documents.
“I’m glad he directed the city to keep producing these so we don’t have to wait until January 6th, but as long as we have the records by January 6th I think everything will be fine,” said Sternberg.
Sternberg says that there are sometimes exceptions to public records, but he says that under applicable law, there is no exception for FEMA time and attendance records.
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