Cat Five Political Storm Engulfs Ascension Parish

President Kenny Matassa bribes Gonzales Council candidate

07/31/2016 by Wade Petite

Wayne Lawson is not for sale…no matter what Ascension Parish President Kenny Matassa and his bagman, Olin Berthelot, have to offer. They offered Lawson quite a lot if…If Lawson withdrew his candidacy for Gonzales City Council, Division E. But Wayne Lawson is not for sale; and Matassa, if there be any justice in Ascension Parish, is about to find that out the hard way.

Pelican Post has obtained over an hour of audio, in four separate recordings, where Matassa and/or Berthelot (whose brother is State Representative Johnny Berthelot) can be heard tendering bribes to Wayne Lawson. The recordings were captured over a three day period; July 27-29. The initial recording is not the best quality but statements are clear enough (the rest are crystal clear).

Ascension Parish district attorney says office will look into bribery allegations leveled against parish president

BY DAVID J. MITCHELL | dmitchell@theadvocate.com Aug 1, 2016

GONZALES — District Attorney Ricky Babin said Monday his office is investigating recordings purporting to show that Ascension Parish President Kenny Matassa and another man tried to bribe a candidate for Gonzales City Council to drop out of the race in the fall.

The Pelican Post, an online publication regularly critical of Matassa that is based in Gonzales, alleges the recordings posted Monday show Matassa, a former five-term Gonzales city councilman, and Olin Berthelot, a Gonzales businessman, tried to entice candidate Wayne Lawson with as much as $1,200 to fix his trailer and with a parish job.

Lawson, a part-time barber in Baton Rouge, qualified last month for the council election in Division E and is still in the race against Councilman Neal Bourque.

Babin, who is out of town at a conference, said he is still trying to learn what happened, though he said Matassa had already spoken to him in an attempt to give his side of the story.

“I guess we’ll be doing some digging,” said Babin, the district attorney for the 23rd Judicial District in Ascension, Assumption and St. James parishes.

Matassa hires high-profile law firm

Tuesday, August 2nd 2016, 4:39 pm CDT
By Cheryl Mercedes, Anchor

ASCENSION PARISH, LA (WAFB) –

Ascension Parish President Kenny Matassa has hired criminal defense attorney Lance Unglesby to represent him against bribery allegations, WAFB’s Cheryl Mercedes reports.

Unglesby, son of attorney Lewis Unglesby, says he will speak to reporters about his client Wednesday afternoon. He added that Matassa has no plans to resign.

Matassa and Gonzales businessman, Olin Berthelot, are accused of trying to bribe Wayne Lawson, a candidate for Gonzales City Council, into dropping out of the race.

The story was first reported by The Pelican Post online newspaper.

Man who recorded Kenny Matassa offering bribe lifts his silence

August 02, 2016 3:58 PM in Top Story
Source: WBRZ
By: Chris Nakamoto

GONZALES- Tonight, the man who claims he received $1,200 and the promise of a parish job from Ascension Parish President Kenny Matassa and Businessman Olin Berthelot is lifting his silence.

Wayne Lawson said he was wearing a recording device the entire time and quickly gave the money back.

“It was the responsible thing to do,” Lawson said. “I would like them (my voters) to realize this race is not new to me. I’ve been in it quite a few times. I promise them the same things I did before. There will be honesty, integrity and good representation.”

Audio recordings published on the Pelican Post Online Newspaper first brought the allegations of a bribe to light.

Tuesday, WBRZ cameras captured investigators from State Attorney General’s Office and Ascension Parish Sheriff Jeff Wiley entering the Ascension Parish District Attorney’s Office. We’ve learned all were meeting over an investigation into possible felony charges that could be coming for Ascension Parish President Kenny Matassa.

“This statute that is called into question is offering someone a thing of value to get out of a political race,” District Attorney Ricky Babin said. “So there’s several statutes that could apply from malfeasance to straight up bribery.”

It was learned by the Investigative Unit that Lance Unglesby has been hired to represent Matassa in dealing with the matter. Unglesby said that Matassa does not plan to resign.

For a second day in a row we’ve reached out to Kenny Matassa to get his take on the alleged bribe. Yesterday, his spokesperson told us we needed to go through his attorney. But, he wouldn’t tell us who his attorney was. Today, our calls were not returned.

Wayne Lawson interview on WAFB at 6; Matassa whereabouts unknown

08/02/2016 by Pelican Post

Nobody seems to know Kenny Matassa‘s whereabouts but the wheels of justice continue to roll, albeit ever so slowly and the investigation into allegations that the parish president bribed a candidate for Gonzales City Council is underway. As District Attorney Ricky Babin confirmed that Louisiana Attorney General has been brought on to assist with his and APSO’s investigatory effort, Matassa skipped two meetings Monday night.

“Yes, my office has been in contact with the Attorney General and his office will participate in what is a local investigation,” Babin confirmed Tuesday morning. “My office forwarded an ‘assist letter’ and Attorney General Landry agreed.”

Sheriff Jeff Wiley’s office has the lead and APSO’s forensics team has begun analyzing the original recording of a Wednesday, July 27 meeting where Wayne Lawson, the candidate alleged to have been bribed, Matassa, and Gonzales businessman Olin Berthelot discussed Lawson’s withdrawal from Gonzales’ Division E Council. Pelican Post turned over the recording device utilized to APSO and two of Babin’s ADA’s during a two-hour meeting on Monday afternoon.

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One Response to “Cat Five Political Storm Engulfs Ascension Parish”

  1. SocialJustUs Says:

    Who would sell out for $1200? what kind of penny-ante operation is Ascension parish? Much higher in Lincoln…

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