Tensions were high during Tuesday's Lafayette City-Parish Council meeting when council members were allowed to question 2012 LCG auditor and certified public accountant Burton Kolder regarding the finances and reports of growth for LUS Fiber.

Today, LCG Chief Administrative Officer Dee Stanley stopped by “Mornings with Ken and Bernie” for our weekly “Lafayette Live” segment to talk about the meeting, the high tensions, and to further explain the financial findings of Kolder's audit.

An article in Wednesday's Daily Advertiser highlighted a heated exchange between Stanley and Councilman William Theriot during Tuesday night's meeting. During the meeting, Councilman Theriot alleged that LUS Fiber's retained earnings show LUS Fiber is losing $1 million a day, to which Stanley responded, "the comment is not only wrong, it was irresponsible".

Stanley said Tuesday night's confrontation with Councilman Theriot stemmed from the Councilman using figures that Stanley felt intentionally painted LUS Fiber in a negative light.

A councilman in particular wants to take depreciated value and combine it with another number called 'imputed tax', the amount of money LUS Fiber would have to pay if it were not tax exempt. If you compare those two numbers in the time since LUS Fiber's inception it's $38 million. That's a big number, but that's $38 million of the $40 million quote-unquote 'deficit' that Burton Kolder has shown. So the real deficit is in the $2 million range.

This is because you don't have to pay for depreciation. Depreciated assets, depending on the assets, continue to function after the depreciation.

Stanley said the contentions of Tuesday's meeting surrounded the depreciation of assets figure reported in the audit, a figure Stanley felt is not an accurate depiction of a business' growth.

The law requires our auditor Burton Kolder to depreciate this asset. To reduce its value based on aging equipment. To say what it's worth now. The point is, it still works, it's still doing its business. Depreciated assists still earn revenue.

 

If you look at Fiber as a competitive business, and you look at that growth, it has been phenomenal over the last three years.

CAO Stanley reiterated the validity of the auditor's findings as well as his credentials to make an accurate assessment.

Burton Kolder, Certified Public Accountant, and let me repeat the word, certified, he's got a ethical and legal obligation to do his job independently. He's got an obligation to tell us, the council, and the public if there's a problem, but Fiber's revenues are $25 million dollars. They've been in business 3 1/2 years and they're growing every week.

Though he said he stands by a councilman's right to ask questions, Stanley felt the line of questioning between Councilman Theriot and Kolder crossed the line of professionalism.

I certainly respect any elected officials right and obligation to ask any questions they see necessary to get the answers they need to get, but is there anybody who watched that dog and pony show Tuesday night that thought that's what that was? It was an inquisition. It was an insult to a professional, it was an insult to Burton Kolder. The feeling inside that room, and the people I talked to after was that that was more than somebody seeking answers to a question, that was somebody trying to do damage to a product.

To listen to the full audio from the interview, click the play button below.