NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) — An investigation that began with questions about New Orleans Police Officer Jeffrey Vappie’s timesheets quickly expanded to include questions about his time spent in a city apartment with Mayor LaToya Cantrell.
Newly obtained recordings of the Public Integrity Bureau’s investigative interviews with Officer Vappie and other members of the executive protection team, Robert Monlyn and Charles Ellis, show investigators asked about travel with Mayor Cantrell and Vappie’s nomination to mayor on a public panel.
Taxpayers paid Officer Vappie to protect Mayor Cantrell on more trips than any other member of her executive protection team. On a few occasions, Vappie traveled first class with the mayor.
Before Vappie joined Mayor Cantrell’s security service, no officer ever traveled with her.
- Advertisement -
“At some point you started traveling,” a PIB investigator asks Vappie’s partner, Officer Monlyn. “When did this happen, do you remember?”
“I don’t remember right away,” begins Monlyn. “It was definitely after there were two threats against the mayor. Two white men who threatened (them), two separate, and I think about that time, right after. Somewhere near.”
While Monlyn said security threats were the reason the executive protection went traveling, Ellis, who is now retired, never mentioned any threats.
“The mayor didn’t start traveling until Vappie came,” Ellis told a PIB interviewer. “When he came, Katrina Simmons, the mayor’s scheduler, told us, ‘Hey guys, you’re all going to be traveling with the mayor.’”
Ellis said he’s started preparing his things – preparing a passport and luggage for his turn in the rotation.
- Advertisement -
“And I never got a call at all,” Ellis said.
OUTSIDE THE OFFICE
The Inspector General recommends renting the apartment in Pontalba publicly
- Advertisement -
“Comedy of mistakes”: Former NOPD boss blows up publication of Vappie recordings, calls for independent investigation
The notes of Officer Vappie’s investigation raise questions about the time he spent with Mayor Cantrell in the Pontalba apartment
Police Observer Claims Leak In NOPD’s Vappie Inquiry; Prosecutor admits “mishap”.
Investigators also asked Vappie about his appointment to a public body. Mayor Cantrell appointed Vappie to the board of directors of the New Orleans Housing Authority (HANO) despite having no experience in public housing.
“I had a conversation with my boss, the mayor,” Vappie said. “I asked her how one would start one’s career outside of law enforcement in another public service — another function of serving the public. And she mentioned various bodies; NORD, HANO is one of the boards. And when the HANO position became vacant, I was asked if I was interested.”
“Who asked you?” asked the interviewer.
“The boss,” Vappie replied.
Fox 8 uncovered instances of Vappie attending HANO board meetings while also working for NOPD – and being paid by taxpayers. Legal experts speak of wage fraud. Vappie says he was told to go to meetings by his boss.
“Was there any reason why you would attend this board meeting while on duty for NOPD?” asked the interviewer.
“Yes, absolutely; with the mayor’s permission. She has…she wanted me to attend these meetings. It was a meeting every Tuesday of the month,” Vappie replied.
“You did not receive instructions from a NOPD supervisor to attend this meeting?” asked the interviewer.
“None. No. I had orders from my boss, who I was working for at the time, the mayor,” Vappie replied.
“And the mayor instructed you to go to the meeting during working hours?” the interviewer continued.
“That’s right,” Vappie said.
Monlyn called Vappie’s appointment to the board “strange”.
“I don’t know of any other police officers on any body,” Monlyn told investigators.
Vappie’s staff told PIB investigators that some of his actions, uncovered in a series of Fox 8 investigations, were embarrassing and tainted the office and the job they have devoted their lives to.
Do you see a spelling or grammatical error in our story? Click here to report it. Please enter the title.
Copyright 2023 WVUE. All rights reserved.