Former Lafayette/Opelousas Housing Authority Director Pleads Guilty to Bribery and Bid Corruption Conspiracy
|U.S. Attorney’s Office February 14, 2014|
LAFAYETTE, LA—United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced today that Walter O. Guillory, 51, of Lafayette, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Foote to receiving bribes while running two housing authorities in the Acadiana area and also for his part in a conspiracy to award bids to a preferred contractor in Opelousas.
According to evidence presented at the guilty plea, Guillory served as the executive director of the Lafayette Housing Authority (LHA) from June 1998 to October 2010, and he served as executive director of the Opelousas Housing Authority (OHA) from November 2005 to November 2010. During this time period, Guillory sponsored a local baseball team. He solicited donations from various vendors and contractors of both the LHA and the OHA for “his baseball team.” From 2006 to 2010, the vendors were expected to make yearly donations in exchange for doing business with the housing authorities. Some of the contributions were spent on personal expenses and not for the baseball team. He solicited and received more than $100,000 in bribes from the vendors between 2006 and 2010.
Guillory is also accused of conspiring with others to circumvent bid laws in order to award construction contracts to one company who performed construction work for OHA. They used the fake bids to make it appear that several companies were placing bids on construction projects, but in fact, there was only one company being considered. In addition, they used interstate wire communication facilities including e-mail transmissions for a variety of purposes, including sending and receiving e-mails related to contracts and false bids. Guillory approved these contracts with full knowledge that the bid rules, laws, and regulations were not being followed from 2007 to 2009.
Guillory faces up to 10 years in prison for one count of receipt of a bribe by an agent of an organization receiving federal funds, and he faces 20 years in prison for one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The charges also carry three years of supervised release, a $250,000 fine, forfeiture, and restitution. Sentencing is set for June 11, 2014.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kelly P. Uebinger is prosecuting the case.