New Orleans Court Accountant Vandale Thomas Earns $661K, But Can't Account for Hours

| by Michael Allen

Independent accounting contractor Vandale Thomas is currently under investigation by New Orleans inspector general Ed Quatrevaux. Thomas' job is to do accounting for the traffic court, but his work hours and pay do not add up.

"They didn't oversee this accounting contractor or require supporting documentation for the bills he submitted. This is about $660,000. And the invoices are for huge blocks of hours without any description whatsoever,” Quatrevaux told WLTV-4.

Thomas, who has worked for the traffic court since 2010, earned $561,000 in 2010, but another $100,000 that was paid to Thomas in 201 appears to be unaccounted for in the records.

"There's just aggregations of hours. Forty-five hours for this, 45 hours for that. And that's it. On that basis, we paid, the courts paid $661,000 to this guy. We'll be talking to people to try to make sure where the money went and what it was for,” Quatrevaux said.

At Thomas' rate of $80 an hour, that would mean he and his company were logging almost 20 hours a day for 30 days each month for 365 days, the entire year.

In a response to the inspector general report, the Traffic Court judges issued this formal statement: "Excluding Administrative Judge Dennis Dannel, the judges of Traffic Court were unaware that Thomas was performing the extra work for the city and the court… Our lack of knowledge is undisputed."

To complicate matters, Judge Robert Jones, the chief judge of traffic court, considers Thomas a personal friend.

Through a court official, Thomas relayed a statement that he was declining all interview requests on the advice of his attorney.