Livingston's Debris Debacle at a Standstill

NBC 33

POSTED: Monday, July 21, 2014 - 5:22pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, July 22, 2014 - 8:22am

It's been an ongoing issue since 2008- Livingston Parish contractors looking for paychecks, and parish officials failing to provide the money. NBC 33's Rachael Penton has the latest on the Livingston Parish debris cleanup debacle.

When Hurricane Gustav swept into Louisiana in 2008 Sam Mack and his Livingston Parish contracting company was hired to begin the debris cleanup.

"We were told that we would be paid without a doubt and that we had nothing to worry about," says Mack.

But nearly six years later, Mack's company is out of business and still waiting on more than $700,000 owed to him by the parish for the cleanup work.

"I spent half of my retirement to purchase equipment whenever I was asked to do this."

Back in May, Livingston Parish officials appealed FEMA's decision to deny the parish the more than 59 million dollars spent on the cleanup, but lost.

(Livingston, La)- "We don't agree with that. We're very disappointed with that ruling," says Parish President Layton Ricks.

Now the entire issue is at a standstill until Ricks meets with an attorney on Thursday to find out what options the parish has.

"I hope he comes with some options. Viable options that the parish can proceed and try to recover and get some of these dollars to get our people paid."

...Even if it doesn't involve FEMA.

"There's debt forgiveness programs. We may can seek that route. There's Congressional action that we may can seek to get help with," adds Ricks.

Ricks also hopes the parish can avoid a lawsuit from contractors being forced to sue in order to repay their bank loans.

"For everybody to start suing everybody makes no sense at all because nobody has any money."

It's a debris debacle that has cost a lot of people in Livingston Parish, a lot of money.

"We worked. We did the job. We should get paid. I feel the parish should find the money some way some how to do that," adds Mack.

Officials say that so far they have managed to collect about 11 million dollars. Dome contractors have been paid, while others haven't received a penny. Ricks says that he will call a special session on Thursday with the council, after he hears what attorneys have to say.   

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