Judge Recuses Herself from Natchitoches Community Improvement Foundation Lawsuit Proceedings

By Edwin Crayton

At a June 11, 2019 hearing, Judge Desiree Dyess stepped aside from presiding over the lawsuit Henry O Flipper Foundation (HOFF) has filed against the Natchitoches Community Improvement Foundation (NCIF). Judge Dyess cited as her reason, a legal matter from a few years ago which involved HOFF Chairman Vincent Cofield and Dyess Law Firm, a company owned by her family.

The Henry O Flipper Foundation lawsuit against the Natchitoches Community Improvement Foundation charges it with improperly denying HOFF a $200,000 grant HOFF was seeking in order to build affordable housing in Natchitoches. HOFF makes several other charges in its lawsuit, including allegations that NCIF has failed to conduct audits per NCIF’s own bylaws and that NCIF is in contempt of the 2003 and 2014 Court Orders which guide the organization. The Natchitoches Community Improvement Foundation is a non-profit organization which is court ordered to distribute 1.8 million to the citizens of the City of Natchitoches through the awarding of grants and scholarships in the areas of recreation, education, economic development and housing. It meets quarterly on the second Tuesday of the month. The next meeting is Tuesday, July 9, 2019, 7pm at First Baptist Amulet Street.

The lawsuit proceedings will be rescheduled after a new judge is in place.