After reviewing Video Evidence, Judge denies Temporary Relief – Videos Attached

The hearing was called to order by Judge Bruce Bolin, Judge ad hoc, appointed by the Louisiana Supreme Court. The hearing on August 13, 2019 was scheduled pursuant to the request for temporary restraining order and permanent injunction filed by local resident and taxpayer, Alan McMurtry, who filed suit against the Natchitoches Parish Government and Rick Nowlin as the president of the Natchitoches Parish Government.

McMurtry alleged in his Petition that Rick Nowlin as Parish President, had violated the Home Rule Charter and local ordinances passed by the Parish Council by declaring “emergencies” and circumventing the Parish Council regarding budgetary matters.

Judge Bolin, after considering the pleadings that were filed into evidence as well as exhibits filed into evidence by counsel for Alan McMurtry, Geoff Westmoreland, and counsel for the Natchitoches Parish Government, Steve Mansour, denied Mr. McMurtry’s request for a temporary restraining order as of the hearing date, but held open the option for the court to issue a TRO or injunction at a later date, if necessary.  Judge Bolin indicated that the matter would be set for trial at some point soon in the future on the permanent injunction issue. The trial date has not been scheduled at this time.

McMurtry presented evidence that included his pleadings, ordinances of the Natchitoches Parish Government which limit the Parish President’s authority to spend funds, and two (2) Emergency Declarations by Rick Nowlin as Parish President, declaring emergencies on the 25th day of March 2019, and on the 29th day of May 2019, together with five videos from the June Parish Council meeting.

Judge Bolin viewed the video evidence presented by counsel for McMurtry that documented public comments made by both President Rick Nowlin and Director of Public Works, John Richmond, admitting that there were no “emergency” conditions that led to one or both of the emergency declarations. One of the videos presented to the Court documents the admissions of Nowlin and Richmond that no emergencies existed. (The videos introduced into evidence are attached for the public to view).

McMurtry, through his counsel, argued that the Parish President had violated the Home Rule Charter and Ordinances adopted by the Parish Council which limit the capability of the Natchitoches Parish President and imposes spending restrictions on line-item budgetary matters. McMurtry requested that the court enter a restraining order to stop the practice of the Parish President acting through “Emergency” Orders, which are alleged to violate the Home Rule Charter. The parties stipulated that the emergency orders on their face had expired and that the expenditures under said emergency declarations had been exhausted.

The court, after considering the pleadings and exhibits, denied the request for temporary relief but did not dismiss the lawsuit and ordered the matter fixed for trial on the merits.

Council Member Doug de Graffenried to John Richmond
Council Member Doug de Graffenried to Rick Nowlin
Council Member Doug de Graffenried to ADA Steve Mansour
Council Member Russel Rachal to John Richmond
John Richmond speaks about the non-emergency

NOTE: The Video clips shown above were obtain by a written request to the McMurtry attorney. 


8 thoughts on “After reviewing Video Evidence, Judge denies Temporary Relief – Videos Attached

  1. Seems like the word “emergency” means different things to different people.

    Mr. McMurtry appears to think Mr. Nowlin overstepped his bounds. Does Mr. McMurtry think the funds should have gone elsewhere? Does he think the council should have handled the situation in a different way? Does he think someone on the council is getting some sort of kick back? Does he just want to get council members out of office?

    Mr. McMurtry, please tell us why you’re doing this. Do you see something so bad going on with the council that you’re spending your own money to put on the brakes?

    Leads me to some more questions. Apparently everybody on the council knew about it and didn’t raise any objections at the time, so does that mean that they weren’t paying attention? Or if they didn’t see any problem with what Mr. Nowlin did, why are we making a big deal out of it now? Does Mr. McMurtry simply want to draw our attention to the slightly under-handed way Mr. Nowlin and all the other council members moved money around to get that rock?

    Me, I’m sick of government doing things in the shadows. We never know who to believe, and we wonder what everybody’s agenda is. Government needs to be transparent. Emails going back and forth can’t be read by the voters. I’m sick of people using words that we believe to mean one thing and twisting them to justify what they do. Was it really an “emergency” back in March when we found out the parish couldn’t get the rock, or could someone have called around to other companies who could supply it. Mr. Richmond said Winn Rock has had problems before with meeting demand. Maybe it’s time the parish found a more reliable supplier.

    There’s a quote by someone that compares the everyday processes of government to making sausage. Watching either will change your opinion about how great it is.

    • TRANSPARENCY is the key point to me. Just be upfront and tell the facts. People saying this was no big deal and that might be true but why all the drama? If you can’t be trusted and honest with the little things????????? You have a council to make decisions,but only 2 making them lol do we need the rest! TRANSPARENCY don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining!

  2. He’s got my vote! Don’t want a person already doing under the table tactics. They could have gone to the council to call an emergency! Starting out with this and not in the office yet?? Richmond has to many close ties to the city,front Street and the city shot callers.

  3. Over the last few years, many in Natchitoches Parish have complained about Parish Government and “where is the money going.”
    This month a concerned citizen came along, spent his money and is asking the Parish Officials to stop playing games and operate the Parish like a business. Declaring emergencies to avoid council approval is not the way to run a business or a government.
    I have read the media coverage and I have come to the following conclusions:

    1. The good and honorable Judge must have viewed some evidence regarding the funds spent. Determined that the document used to spend the funds was expired and in testimony there was no more money left to be spent. Therefore, there were NO FUNDS to “restrain” and therefore no restraining order could be issued. Most interesting is that Judge kept his right to issue one in the future if needed, that leads to the conclusion that he saw something in the evidence that did not pass a “smell test.”
    2. I watched each of the videos provided, several times in fact, and concluded that they are the supporting evidence that no true emergency existed and those videos are the evidence for the next trial on whether they are Lawful or Unlawful declarations. The media stated that a trial on the lawfulness was to come SOON.
    In summation, thank you Mr. McMurty for stepping up, using your resources and doing what others only complain about around the coffee bar.

  4. I don’t live in dist. 3 but please voters there we don’t need a fella who sues us on th council. How much is this costing the parish to deal with this lawsuit? In the video with Richmond he explains clearly the reason for the use of the word emergency. A two-yr-old can understand that.

  5. It seems the ”Emergency Declaration” did not pass the smell test. The citizens of Natchitoches Parish should be glad that Bel Edwards gave the teachers a raise before the election… before that became an emergency that the Parish Council would have to act upon.

  6. Good lawd! Please voters, please, give us 5 council members with an ounce of common sense. These 5 in this video are…well, clueless. And this lawsuit, based on this? They say you get the government you deserve, voters. I think we deserve better.

    • Jason, I totally agree. We’ve let the good ole boys club go for to long. It’s tome for some outsiders who actually care about our parish and not their positions! We can and should be doing better. Please people don’t vote with this Alan joker just trying to make a name for himself. Almost all the parish roads are in a state of emergency.

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